Because food connects us all, Yahoo Life is serving up a heaping plateful of table talk with people who are passionate about what's on their menu in Deglazed, a series about food.
You've likely seen her on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but Garcelle Beauvais is more than her TV persona. She's also a mom and a lover of all things food who knows how to throw a good party. Something every party at her home includes? A cocktail that's easy to make — or even grab out of the cooler.
"When I think about summer get-togethers it's all about citrus," Beauvais tells Yahoo Life. "All you want to do is have something refreshing."
Beauvais spoke with Yahoo Life as part of her work promoting Absolut vodka, where she serves as social director of the brand's Front Yard Citrus Club, a partnership formed from Beauvais' love of bringing the party out of the backyard to the front of the house. "Growing up we would sit on our stoops and we would see people and we would chat," she says, explaining that bringing the party to the front yard allows everyone to invite their neighbors and friends over for a day of fun. "This is the perfect way to ring in the summer."
Along with any party, there needs to be a way to keep drinks cold — especially in the summer heat — so Beauvais also helped co-create a line of unique citrus-inspired coolers with Outside Gang.
Whether the party is indoors or out, Beauvais likes to make her cocktails in big batches. "What I find as a host, especially in the summer, is I want to have as much fun as my guests," she says. "I don't want to have to worry about if everybody's OK." Her tip? Have a cooler ready with drinks so guests can grab what they like and continue enjoying the party.
Summer parties are a big deal in the Beauvais house, and along with the parties come foods that everyone enjoys. "Pigs in a blanket are always a great way to go," she shares. "You want summer to be easy. It's not a sit-down dinner, it's not a five-course meal. You want to be able to enjoy and have everybody else be casual."
What may not be as casual in the 55-year-old author of Love Me as I Am's life are dinners on the Real Housewives, where meals are filmed as more of a ... production. "I've never had dinners that are so explosive," she says of on-camera dining.
"It's so funny because we get all dressed up, we're excited and eventually we know the drama will ensue," she adds. "What's interesting is we can be having an amazing time and the tides will turn so quickly."
When Beauvais is feeling nostalgic for a taste of home, she makes a traditional Haitian dish called lambi, a conch stew with onions, peppers and a variety of spices. After cooking the dish for hours the final result is what she calls "tropical spicy."
Haitian dishes remind Beauvais of her mom's kitchen in Miami. "Just walking in, it smelled like home," she recalls. "It's interesting because, with my mom, there was never any measuring cups or measuring spoons. She would just throw things together and they would come out amazing."
During busy weeknights, her go-to meal is salmon and veggies. When her 14-year-old twin sons are at home, meals are a little more robust. "I do lasagna, and they love that," she says. "I also do chicken parmesan."
On weekends when her schedule is more flexible and allows for more time in the kitchen, Beauvais enjoys cooking Haitian dishes like stewed chicken and rice and beans. "I feel like I'm a sous chef, always cooking something," she says. "And you know when you have boys they eat a lot, so the fridge is always open."
Even though she does most of the cooking, Beauvais' kids like to hop in the kitchen and join her on occasion. "When my son Jaid has friends over, they cook," she says. "It's really incredible because growing up my brothers were never in the kitchen unless it was time to eat, but now I feel like this new generation of boys are cooking all the time. It's awesome."
When it comes to celebrity chefs, there's one that tops the list for her family. "Gordon Ramsay is really big in our household," she says. Beauvais' son, Jax, is obsessed with the celebrity chef, and the family recently went to Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen restaurant.
Beauvais says she's also big fan of traveling to Italy to experience the food scene. "I was just in Positano, and I just love the food," she says.
So what's her perfect meal in Italy? A pesto risotto with some butternut squash on the side, then a double-decker scoop of gelato with one scoop each of coconut and mango.
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