When Jesse Tyler Ferguson isn’t busy starring in his one-man hit Broadway show or making snarky, hilarious comments as Mitchell Pritchett on ABC’s Modern Family, the laid-back actor finds himself experimenting with new recipes in his Manhattan kitchen with friends like Padma Lakshmi.
“I find it very intimidating to cook with her,” Ferguson says of “amazing cook” Lakshmi, who has penned several of her own cookbooks. “I have all of her books!”
The actor says the two get together during awards shows to chat new recipes and their favorite foodie blogs.
“She actually stayed with me over the Emmy Awards and we cooked together,” Ferguson, 40, told PEOPLE at a Soho dinner tasting event sponsored by Pepcid.
And while the star enjoys cooking other people’s recipes, he also loves hitting up local joints like New York’s Babu Ji to gather inspiration for his own food blog created with professional chef pal Julie Tanous.
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“I just really love food,” says Ferguson. “I love local cuisines and I love exploring local spots.”
The amateur chef’s favorite recipe on his website is a fiery breakfast item inspired by his New Mexico roots.
“We have a sweet potato hash popover, it’s one of my favorite breakfasts! I make mine with hatch green chili and bacon and top it with a fried egg,” says the Albuquerque native. “It’s fantastic.”
And as for his routine the morning after consuming a heavy meal? Ferguson forgoes jogging in favor of Manhattan spin classes like Soul Cycle.
“They did a Hamilton themed one, with all Hamilton music, which was awesome!” says Ferguson. “I just get so attached to the instructors, you know?”