Former WWE Personality Renee Paquette is Really Cooking Now!

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 15: WWE Host Renee Young speaks onstage at 'Hit A Home Run With Content Creation And Streaming' during the 2015 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Four Seasons Hotel on March 15, 2015 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Heather Kennedy/Getty Images for SXSW)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 15: WWE Host Renee Young speaks onstage at 'Hit A Home Run With Content Creation And Streaming' during the 2015 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Four Seasons Hotel on March 15, 2015 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Heather Kennedy/Getty Images for SXSW) /

Looking ahead to the next stage of her career, Renee Paquette’s first step is to become a cookbook author.

When Renee Paquette left the WWE Universe and her Renee Young persona behind late this summer after eight years, the uber-talented and vivacious broadcaster left millions of fans wondering where she’d turn up next. In the short-term, the answer would be her kitchen. But fret not, you’re all invited in, or will be when her new cookbook is released next spring.

Giving both installments of Borat a run for their money in the category of great titles, Renee’s cookbook will be Messy in the Kitchen: My Guide to Eating Deliciously, Hosting Fabulously, and Drinking Copiously.

Surely there’s a story behind the book’s title, right, Renee?:

“I was set on having a great subtitle to it and it took me forever. I’m so bad at coming up with titles for things. We were batting around a bunch of different ideas and I think the messy in the kitchen part of it is just like, roll up your sleeves. There’s nothing fancy happening here. Let’s just get into it and have a good time. And keep that glass full while you’re doing it.”

Messy also came into play when I referenced Renee’s social media posts featuring the likes of shumai, galettes, pot pies, empanadas, and pierogis and suggested that she’s rolling in the dough. And for as daunting as working with dough is for the home cook, the aforementioned photos suggest that she’s nailed it.

“So funny that you say that because I wrote in my cookbook that I never wanted to mess with dough because it does seem very daunting. We’re talking about yeast and waiting for something to rise. Is it at the right temperature? And so when I was writing my cookbook, I wrote a bunch of it in Florida. I live in Nevada, so working with yeast in the dry desert isn’t like the humidity in Florida. That’s going to change things. So it’s the science of working with dough that I think can be a little offputting, which is also a reason why there are no desserts in this cookbook. There’s a pizza crust. There’s a pie crust. And then there are cinnamon rolls.”

And the messy part?

“The cinnamon rolls recipe is the one that took me the longest to hammer home. I made them seven or eight times, just being like, why do I not make this perfect. It was driving me a little bit crazy, but ultimately I feel like I was happy with what I landed on. But yeah, working with doughs can definitely be daunting. But it’s doable. It’s wrapping your head around the fact that you’re going to have flour everywhere. You’re gonna have it on the counter, you’re going to have it on the floor. You’re gonna have it on your clothes.”

While Renee’s cookbook is clearly a labor of love, her passion for the artform expands far beyond her own work.

“I just love cookbooks. I like to collect cookbooks. I love to just sit and read through them and look at the beautiful pictures and read some of the dialogue that’s in them. There’s just something. I don’t even know what the word is. It’s calming to me, very calming to me to flip through a new cookbook. They just make me happy. So I wanted to make something that I would also enjoy just sitting on my couch, open a bottle of wine, even if at first you’re not even going to necessarily be cooking something. I want someone who reads mine to be able to open it and read it and enjoy the aesthetic of it alone.”

Since Renee’s adoring public has to wait until spring for Messy in the Kitchen: My Guide to Eating Deliciously, Hosting Fabulously, and Drinking Copiously, they can bide their cookbook reading time in the interim with some of her personal favorites.

“The cookbook I recommend to everybody and even gift it to a lot is Salt Fat Acid Heat. Samin Nosrat is incredible and the book is so beautiful and she is just so welcoming and warm and you can tell she just loves what she does. And that essence of it is just amazing. With the illustrations and how pretty they are and you can feel how much attention to detail was put into it. I have a pork shoulder in the slow cooker right now and as I’m tinkering with what I want to put in there, I’m making sure that I’ve got that fat, a little acid, salt, and some heat. I honestly think about that all the time with my ratios, trying to get stuff right. It just makes any meal that much better.

“I also absolutely love Chrissy Teigen’s cookbooks. I love what she was able to do, especially letting her personality really come through. And as I was developing what I wanted to do for my cookbook, I bought pretty much every celebrity cookbook. I got Kristin Cavallari’s cookbook. And I love Antoni Porowski from Queer Eye’s cookbook. Matty Matheson’s cookbook is amazing. He’s an incredible chef from the east coast of Canada. His book has a lot of down-home east coast-like chowders and great seafood. He’s a great butcher too.”

As a television personality, Renee Paquette’s ebullience and humor are always in great supply, so it seemed only natural to ask just how much of that comes to life in her cookbook. After all, great recipes are exactly that, but it’s still a book, right? Personally, I wanna be fed AND entertained.

“There’s a lot of cursing. There’s some sass. There’s a little romance. There’s a little bit of everything in there. I kind of peel back the curtain. I think people will get a better idea of my life at home with my husband and my dogs. There’s a lot of spicy personality in there. And that’s something I felt like had been kind of stripped away from my voice and personality on air for the past 20 years, so it was really nice to reconnect with that girl and let people see that side. I think people will really like that.”

The Toronto-born Paquette made a name for herself at The Score in her native Canada before heading south to enchant American television audiences through her work for WWE and Fox Sports, as well as being a cast member on season 6 of E!’s Total Divas. You can take the girl out of Canada, but can you really ever take Canada out of the girl, especially when it comes to food?

“There’s always poutine. And I have a clam chowder poutine recipe in my cookbook. Also, All Dressed chips. We always get pegged in Canada for just having ketchup chips, which I love, but All Dressed chips are the best. I actually ordered a bag off of Amazon for like $40 or something, but I needed them for my cookbook because I was making All Dressed chips pork chops. I breaded my pork chops in All Dressed chips and then baked them. All Dressed chips are like barbecue, salt & vinegar, ketchup, and sour cream & onion. They have a smoky taste and an acidity to them, but not quite as sharp as salt & vinegar. These have almost like a tomato base to them. They’re incredible! So good!”

Even though Tim Hortons seems to be the default when Canadians wax nostalgic for home, Renee gushed about other destinations and favorites.

“I love Harvey’s. Harvey’s is amazing fast food. They’ve actually got a great veggie burger and I have Harvey’s cravings. Swiss Chalets are another good one for fast food. I love just getting a rotisserie chicken with some fries or a baked potato, and some coleslaw. I actually have a package of their gravy. Their gravy is actually almost like a Cincinnati chili in the sense that it doesn’t taste like a traditional gravy. It has a cinnamony kind of hint to it, a sweetness to it that’s not like a regular brown gravy. I love Jos Louis, which is like a whoopie pie. Then there’s Passion Flakie. And also a French Canadian pea soup called Habitant. I could list a million different things that I miss.  I crave it so often it kills me.”

While Renee Paquette waits for an end to the pandemic so she can head back to Canada to satisfy her cravings, we’re left to wait for the spring release of Messy in the Kitchen: My Guide to Eating Deliciously, Hosting Fabulously, and Drinking Copiously. I have zero doubt that the wait will be well worth it for everyone.

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Are you Messy in the Kitchen like Renee Paquette? Do you have a favorite cookbook too?