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Trisha Yearwood: Still cookin' in her 'Southern Kitchen'

Wendy Geller
Senior Editor

Trisha Yearwood’s husband, Garth Brooks, affectionately refers to her as “The Queen.” The title is more than simply endearing, however, when considering the singer/TV star’s reign over a royally packed schedule — not only is she in the midst of a world tour with Brooks, she’s also entering the 10th season of her popular Food Network series Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. Her endeavors juggling a music career, tv show, and high-profile marriage gracefully — and with a fair amount of humor — have paid off, earning her an Emmy as well as legions of fans who love her for her ability to make it all seem down-to-earth.

Yahoo had the opportunity to chat with Yearwood and discover that the easygoing, family-oriented, and fun-loving personality she displays on television translates exactly to real life. The 10th season of Trisha’s Southern Kitchen premieres Saturday, August 19 at 10:30am ET/PT on Food Network.

YAHOO MUSIC: When you started out doing your show, did you have an idea it would run this long — all the way into 10 seasons?

TRISHA YEARWOOD: We set out to do six episodes for Season One, and I didn’t even know if we would have fun. I actually asked my agent, “I know it’s probably never been asked, but could we have something in there where if [the network] loves it and we don’t have fun, can I get out of it?” (laughs) Because I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it.

I resisted doing it for a long time because I wasn’t sure If it would be fun, and and I ended up having the best time. And they were happy with the show and it did well, so I’m just enjoying it as long as it lasts. We do two seasons a year, so it’s been five years, and I’m surprised that it’s still going strong and continuing to grow.

I appreciate Food Network because in the midst of this — about two years in — this world tour with my husband happened. It’s pretty intense. I thought “I don’t know how I can do the show and this.” So they don’t get as many new shows from me as they’d probably like, but they’ve been very kind about taking the new shows when they can get them.

We spoke with Garth last fall about your world tour, and he enthused that as long as he was able to tour with you, it wasn’t “work” at all, just a lot of fun. However, you’re juggling the TV work as well! Do you agree with his assessment? 

It is fun for me…I think you’re tired and there’s a part of you that wants to say “y’know, man.” But I’m sure if that if you had a real job you’d really be tired. The kind of tired we are, you bounce back from. And it is fun. But, in the midst of this tour, I joke with my husband that we come home and he sits by the pool with the other husbands and I go to work. (Laughs) Great! But there is also downtime. The tour we’re gone usually on the weekends, sometimes it’s a Thursday through Sunday, but then we’re home during the week. So it’s really a nice mix.

One thing I will say, I have learned a lot these 10 seasons. I’m working with a production company called BS TV, they also do The Kitchen and they came to the table a few seasons ago and had some ideas about how we could really make our production work to our advantage a little more efficiently. So just the way we shoot, the order in which we shoot, has really tightened up our day. I used to go in at 7 in the morning and I’d get home at 8 or 9 and I’d be so exhausted and have to get up at 6 again the next morning. [Now] our days are sometimes over by 4:30! So it’s really doable and I think a lot of that has to do with who’s making the schedule and how they figure out how to get it all shot.

It still sounds like a lot. How do you manage to find any time for yourself? 

This month right now, we’re actually off, we usually take a month a year on this tour to give everybody a break. So this is when I go to the dentist, get my yearly mammogram, I do all the things I don’t have time to do during the year. I’m checking off the boxes this month.

But in the beginning, when we started this tour … I’ve done 200 days a year, I’ve been on the road nonstop in my life, but I’ve never been on a tour that lasted three and a half years (laughs). When it started, I really had anxiety about it – I love to sing, I love to perform, but I didn’t know how this is going to work and how we’re actually going to have a life too; how we’re going to see our families, all of those things. But you get into the rhythm and you realize, it’s all doable. And I will say that it took me a little bit to get into the rhythm of it but once I did I have enjoyed every second.

And now, this portion of the tour will be done in December. We’re not going to retire—and I’m going to do my own thing, do my own music and my own stuff—but this particular tour in this form will be done. It has been really intense, but it’s been so much fun. We work with about 50 people in our band and crew that are family to us — most of these guys and gals we’ve known for 25 years. So we really do enjoy each other’s company. And we enjoy being out there because he and I aren’t leaving a spouse at home. We wouldn’t have done it if we couldn’t have done it together; it’s just not possible.

What is your favorite way to recharge when you are home?

When we get home after a Thursday through Sunday run, I’m gonna be in my pajamas all day Monday — I won’t lie (laughs). That’s what I need to do. I might read a book and drink a pot of coffee all day. Garth will sleep in, but then he’ll get on the tractor somewhere, just to move some dirt around or knock a tree down. That makes him happy.

Is it strange for you to have such a prominent role now as a lifestyle/TV star when your primary career identification has been a musician for so long? 

I think at first I actually had a problem with it. At first I was like, I don’t want people to forget that I do music. And at first I felt I needed to defend that I wasn’t done doing “the other,” because people ask “So are you not going to make music anymore?” And I’m like “I’m actually making an album right now! I’m on tour right now! I’m doing that, dammit!” (laughs). But now I feel I am really proud of it, because it has been an incredible surprise career for me, that I didn’t know was going to happen. So I’m embracing it. And we play music on the show when it makes sense — most of the people who watch the show know the music, but there are some who don’t, so I think it’s kind of fun when they go “Oh my gosh, she sings too?”

Can you pinpoint some of your favorite moments on the show?

There’s a lot. I have to remind myself a lot that we’re doing a cooking show, because we do such silly things. But we have so much fun! I’m not a chef — I’m a home cook, like my mom. I think most people cook like I do, so we like to show the mistakes, and show how to fix these mistakes. Like if you drop an eggshell into the bowl, you don’t cut and make it look perfect, you show the mistake.

My favorite moments have usually been with my sister, she’s my “person,” she is the kinder and gentler version of me. She’s not as outgoing and loud as I am, but she has really evolved in this show. Like I’ll call her and say “We’re going to dress up like Steel Magnolias and you’re going to have really big hair,” and she’s like, “OK.” This season, we dress up in gear and go paint balling. It’s hilarious. My favorite moments are those that are just fun. My production team knows now that I will pretty much try anything.

Anything you put your foot down on, though?

They thought roller derby would be really funny, but I can’t even roller skate so that’s not going to happen. I have ice skated with the Nashville Predators — that was really fun!

The show is nominated for an Emmy — and you’ve already won an Emmy for it (in 2013).

That was one of those things that wasn’t on the [bucket] list, y’know — you want to win a Grammy, you want to win Female Vocalist of the Year, but you don’t think about an Emmy. So it’s kind of the only thing I have on my husband. Which, I’m sure, he’ll figure out a way to win an Emmy soon. So I’ll have to figure out a way to get past him on that!

Speaking again of your husband, your duet medley on the 50th Anniversary of the Country Music Awards last November — people are still talking about how amazing that was! 

That was my favorite CMAs ever, they really honored the past, which was awesome. There were artists there who just don’t go to the CMAs anymore, you know? I loved it, and I loved being part of being able to pay tribute to those great duets. It’s something that we’ve carried over [on our tour] — we’ll do a little piece of those songs, which is just so much fun, just to get to sing that stuff.