What's the perfect recipe for an epic holiday celebration? A season filled with love, of course!
The minute trick or treaters left her neighborhood on Halloween night, Jeannie Mai Jenkins went into holiday mode by putting up her Christmas trees and doing all that she can to make the season bright for her 11-month-old daughter Monaco.
And while the America's Test Kitchen: The Next Generation host can't wait to see her baby girl open presents on Santa's big day, she is much more focused on gifting her daughter unconditional love.
"I used to say I don't want her to get over spoiled," Jeannie told E! News in an exclusive interview. "But I don't think it's such a thing to be spoiled with love. I don't want her to be over spoiled with material things. But love? Pour it all on."
On Jeannie's side, her brother tries to come over every weekend to spend time with Monaco. As for Jeezy's family, Papa Jenkins, who grew up in Georgia, likes to teach Monaco about the countryside and how to make mud pies with a little dirt and a shovel.
"They are teaching her games," Jeannie said. "We're teaching her how to speak different languages. And the number one thing that both sides of the family are teaching her is how to eat different foods. She's already had South African food, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Italian, Indian, Pakistani. She's had every different type of food you can imagine and that is so special to me because I would love for Monaco to really not only dive deep into her own cultures of being Black and Vietnamese, but also celebrate everybody else's culture that's out there in the world too."
As the holidays approach, however, so does the added pressure to accomplish countless tasks and errands to ensure everything goes smoothly.
For Jeannie, who serves as the Chief Brand Officer for Owl's Brew, she's focused on being present instead of perfect for her first Christmas as a mom.
"I told Jeezy for the holidays, let's just enjoy good family time," she said. Let's not get too caught up in the details of things. And he agrees with me. We're going to have a lot of close family members, the ones we care about."
Jeannie added, "I'm so grateful for our family. Family includes everybody around you—blood related or not—that have just been supportive and celebratory of all the things that you've gone through. That is something to never take for granted…We're just going to have family fun."
Which is what's on the menu in her new, uh, appetizing gig as the host of America's Test Kitchen: The Next Generation. In the show, 11 home cooks come together in hopes of becoming the newest America's Test Kitchen cast member.
"I love, love, love food," Jeannie said. "I love the way food brings people together. I love the way culture gives food its flavor and this show scoured America for the best home cook that could not only give us awesome recipes we haven't heard of, but could also talk about their cooking, teach us about their cooking, entertain us while cooking. It was definitely the most exciting, thrilling show I've ever done."
America's Test Kitchen: The Next Generation premieres Dec. 9 on Amazon Freevee.