How Drew Barrymore and Pilar Valdez Wrote Their Cookbook, ‘Rebel Homemaker’

How do you two cook together?
PV: Drew has one of the most impressive cookbook collections I’ve ever seen, so we will literally just lay out the cookbooks on the kitchen island, and all they’re dog-eared, and we’ll flip through them, taking inspiration from different recipes, being like, “Oh,” we’ll say, “maybe we can do a fully Thai menu today.” Or we’ll find something like an Ina Garten dessert and decide to make it for the kids.

DB: I love food from around the world and learning about food from around the world. I also love experimenting, and so it’s been so fun to come to Pilar and say, “What if we tried this? What if we did that? I’ve always loved this combination.” And through her, I felt like I could spread my curiosity and culinary wings, and it’s just not something I would have done by myself or on my own. I think I’m someone who, for better or worse, doesn’t have the capacity to sit around and be content. I’m always gonna want to carry something to the next level.

PV: One of the things I think folks should know about you is that you have an incredible palate.

DB: Really?

PV: And an incredibly wide-ranging palate. So as a chef, that’s a really, really fun thing to cater towards because it sort of gives you room to play and try new things all the time. And so it was always like this really wonderful challenge.

When and how did you know you wanted to write a cookbook?
PV: I feel like Drew threw out the idea of a cookbook fairly early on after I’d met her. But at the time it was just this little sparkle of an idea. Drew does that occasionally. She’ll have a little dream that she’ll sprinkle here and there, and kind of walk away and sort of see how it settles.

DB: And after everything we cooked, and especially if we liked it, I’d ask Pilar, “Did you write it down?” Did you write everything down, Pilar?

PV: I’d be like, “Uh, no.” I’m a very intuitive cook, so maybe I would write down the name of whatever I made. But sometimes, you’re using whatever you have on hand, you’re being flexible to what’s available in the kitchen you’re in, and you’re swapping things out here and there. But Drew really started to drill it in me to get into the habit of keeping track of things to prepare for the potential of a writing opportunity.

Why write a cookbook now?
DB: Pilar and I were already kind of rubber-hits-the-road working on The Drew Barrymore Show and figuring out what we wanted to do culinarily speaking with the series. So when the opportunity to write the book came in our laps, we were like, “All right, we can do this, too.” But we were in the height of the pandemic and it got very daunting and overwhelming, very fast.

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