The Ultimate Cesar
“To cookbook or not to cookbook?”
That was the question model Cesar Casier asked in a post on his blog in April of last year, and his answer came shortly after, when a publisher reached out to the 24-year-old Belgian (pictured) and decided to help make his dream a reality. “I have a bucket list of things I want to do in my life, like make a club hit, go to Sydney, go bungee jumping, etcetera, and also, make a cookbook,” said Casier, who has walked major runways including Saint Laurent, Dior, and Missoni, and appeared in the pages of Paris Vogue, Elle, and L’Officiel, to name a few. These days, Casier is perhaps most recognized as the current face of Armani Exchange. But that might soon change when he debuts his first cookbook Model Kitchen, featuring 75 eat-clean recipes (some of which are contributions from his top model pals) and gorgeous food and fashion photos, next month. “I have this great passion for food and for fashion. I left home for modeling and I didn’t want to go to all these fast-food restaurants, so I started to learn to cook,” Casier, who is now based in New York, explains. “So, I decided to make a cookbook about what models eat.”
And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to know what models eat to stay looking so good? You won’t find any revolutionary stay-thin secrets in Model Kitchen, but you will, however, find healthy recipes that are easy and affordable to make, along with Casier’s favorite dining destinations in the major fashion cities. “They aren’t touristy places, they are where I like to go with my model friends for a great cup of coffee or a drink,” he says. (Think: Café Gitane or Peels in New York.) “We did so much research, and there isn’t a book like this out there—not even Heidi Klum has done it,” adds Casier, who did the book almost completely on his own in between shoots with Steven Klein or Carine Roitfeld, from creating the recipes to the food-styling to the photos. But he also got by with a little help from his friends, including Derek Blasberg, who wrote the forward, styling by Tom Van Dorpe, and contributions from 12 of his top model friends, Lily Donaldson, Milla Jovovich, Karlie Kloss, Lindsey Wixson, and Bette Franke among them. From Jovovich’s baked salmon with asparagus and Julia Restoin-Roitfeld’s chicken dish, to Casier’s juice cleanses and Skinny Dips (good for carrots, not chips, folks), it’s all in there. Here, Style.com has the exclusive first glimpse inside the book, along with his signature Cesar salad recipe, before the tome goes on sale in Belgium early next month. Look out for Model Kitchen in select stores in the U.S. shortly after.
Click to to get Casier’s Cesar salad recipe.
The Cesar Salad
For the salad:
-2 chicken filets
-1/2 head of iceberg lettuce
-1 slice of whole-grain bread, toasted
-salt and pepper
For the Caesar dressing:
-2 egg yolks
-5 anchovy filets, packed in oil
-1 clove of garlic
-1 teaspoon mustard
-salt and pepper
Wash and shred the lettuce. In the meantime, bring some water to a boil in a small saucepan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place it on a baking sheet in the oven. When the water boils, cook the eggs until they are hard-boiled (8 to 10 minutes). Peel the pear and cut into slices. Also lay the pear slices on the baking sheet and broil, but for no more than 20 seconds. Arrange the lettuce in the center of the plate. Peel and quarter the hard-boiled egg and place on top. When the chicken is ready, cut it into pieces and cut the toast into small squares. Add to the salad. Finally, top the salad with the grilled pear slices and thinly sliced radish. Serve with Caesar dressing on the side.
For the dressing, Mince the anchovies and grate the clove of garlic. Place the egg yolks in a bowl and add the anchovies, garlic, and mustard. Mix thoroughly and gently fold in a bit of fruity olive oil and a little lemon juice until you have a smooth dressing. Season to taste with pepper and just a bit of salt. The dressing won’t need much salt because the anchovies are salty enough.