The late-night host and father of four often shows off the edible works of art he creates for his 3-year-old daughter Jane on social media. In February, Kimmel sent the Twitterverse into a frenzy when he showed off the Finding Dory pancakes he made to celebrate seeing Ellen DeGeneres. (DeGeneres even responded joking that coincidentally, she made her wife Portia de Rossi pancakes that looked like Kimmel that morning, too.)
He’s since followed up with even more impressive creations like his rendition of Thomas the Tank Engine and Lightening McQueen from Cars. Bonus: Each pancake comes with a photo of Jane admiring her breakfast in all her adorable glory.
So when PEOPLE caught up with Kimmel to discuss his friendship with pizza legend Chris Bianco, we had to find out the secrets to his intricate griddle cakes. Mostly, he says, it comes down to the fact that he used to spend hours drawing as a kid—but the comedian does have a few tips you can mimic at home.
“I just add organic food coloring to pancake mix and I put each one in a squirt bottle and I’ll just kind of squirt it out on to the pan,” he says with modesty. Using a non-stick griddle pan like Kimmel’s is also key.
As for who picks the subject matter: “My daughter makes requests and then I have to obey those requests,” he says.
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The avid foodie learned to cook while living in Seattle and shopping at Pike Place Market after his job as a radio host for KZOK in 1990. “We would go there almost every day and I’d just buy fish or produce or whatever, and I’d go home and cook it for dinner,” he says. “I’d make dinner every night.”
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These days, Kimmel cooks for his family as often as he can during the week, and almost every weekend.
“For me, the work that I do is fleeting. You do a show, it airs, and then it’s gone. Then you do another show, it airs, and then it’s gone. Cooking, I feel like I’m making something that’s real,” he says. “I just think there’s a primal pleasure to feeding your family, and I love to eat, so that’s part of it.”