Cesar Casier is the total package — a strikingly handsome model, he is also hardworking, upbeat, gracious, multilingual, and he can cook! Monsieur Casier recently published a cookbook titled MODEL KITCHEN which takes as its subject the beautiful people in the fashion world and the food they eat. Yes — models eat! Here is the proof! Several of the recipes are contributed by models including a recipe for roasted chicken and quinoa prepared by Julia Restoin-Roitfeld which appears below. Cesar has also worked with Carine Roitfeld, making his auspicious Vogue Paris debut in the awe-inspiring 90th anniversary issue in the editorial "Les péchés," accompanied by models Lara Stone and Christopher Michault as shot by Steven Klein. I am delighted that Cesar, or "Ceesie" as he is affectionately known, kindly agreed to this exclusive interview to tell us more about his new book MODEL KITCHEN and the charming man behind it.
Congratulations on the publication of your intriguing book, MODEL KITCHEN! What inspired the book, what was your "a-ha!" moment, when you knew you must make your idea a reality? What are some of the challenges and rewards of publishing a book? When do you anticipate releasing the book in the US? In addition to recipes, I have read that MODEL KITCHEN includes your favorite restaurants, can you tell us more about that?
The inspiration came from my personal bucket list. I always wanted to publish a book and when I posted the idea on my blog, thecesarsalad.blogspot.com, a Belgian publisher contacted me and the rest is history.
My a-ha moment came right after I signed my contract! I suddenly realized that this book needed to be PERFECT! Not only the recipes but also the layout, the food pictures, the atmosphere pics, the cover, the models who I wanted to get a recipe from, the writing… I knew this was going to be my baby and it still is and always will be. I'm so happy, proud, and thankful that I accomplished this beautiful book at such a young age.
The biggest challenge for me was to make the book not an ordinary cookbook but something more special. For me MODEL KITCHEN is almost a coffee table book cause it's just so pretty and the layout is very nicely done by my close friend Lisbeth van Helleputte.
The challenge is to make it as good as possible and to make sure that a lot of people will like it and of course buy the book. The biggest reward is that the book is a success and that all the people that I know LOVE it. As for now I only had positive reactions so that is a good thing! ;-)
We are are still looking for the right US publisher, but we are already in contact with a few so it's just a matter of time. The Dutch version is already sold out, we will reprint probably very soon and the English version is now on sale at select stores. Colette in Paris and Net-a-porter are selling it already and we are in contact with more exclusive stores such as Selfridges, Corso Como, Rizzoli… Fingers crossed that those amazing stores will pick up MODEL KITCHEN asap.
I've also put in my favorite hot spots of the fashion cities Paris, London, Milan, and New York. I collected all the restaurants cards all over the years and I made my personal selection of the ones frequented by me and my other model friends. So it's not only food you can find in MODEL KITCHEN but also a little bit of a restaurant guide.
What was it like to work with Julia Restoin-Roitfeld on your project? Have you prepared her recipe yourself? How does it rate on the five-star scale?
I know Julia already a few years now. My best friend is very close with her so that's how I got to know her.
I spoke about my idea of making a cookbook while we were all having dinner and Julia loved it. She also has a big love for food and loves to cook. When I asked her for a recipe she didn't really know which one to give me, her amazing roasted chicken or her delicious quinoa salad. So we mixed the two recipes into one amazing dish.
I made her recipe already two times for my friends and I have to say I always get great compliments when I make it. Thanks Julia ;-)
On a scale of 5 I would give it a 4! It's super easy to make, very healthy, low in calories, and very tasty. I like to put some extra veggies with it. A perfect recipe for a model.
You had a memorable debut in Vogue Paris, appearing in the iconic 90th anniversary issue with Lara Stone and Christopher Michault as styled by Carine Roitfeld and photographed by Steven Klein. What can you share with us from that experience?
That shoot ["Les péchés"] is probably the most memorable and most amazing job I've ever done so far. It was a dream come true to be shot for Vogue. Not only was Vogue Paris my favorite magazine (when Carine was the editor-in-chief) but also to work with three of the most famous and best fashion people in the industry. Carine is for me one of the best stylists ever, Lara is one of my favorite models, and Steven is a MUST, for a male model, to work with in your career. The shoot was very funny and very over the top, as I was most of the time dressed as a women. But the pictures came out stunning and I'm even in Carine's Irreverent book, which makes it even more special!
You often mention your love of sports and your workouts on your blog, what are a few of your favorite ways to exercise? What keeps you motivated? What do you listen to while working out?
I try to workout at least 4 to 5 times a week. I love to swim and to run but lately I'm obsessed with spinning classes.
My motivation is probably my work. As a model your body is your work instrument, so you need to keep it healthy and in shape at all times. You never know what your next job might be.
Good music is a total must! I like to listen to pop songs, RnB, and hip hop when I workout, definitely something upbeat that gives me energy and where I can sing along with.
Languages are a passion of mine… you were born in Belgium which has three official languages, Dutch, French, and German, and you are obviously fluent in English, the primary language of your amazing blog, You Know You Can't Rome Without Cesar. How many languages do you speak? Are there others you wish to learn?
I speak about three languages: Flemish, English, and French. I also understand a bit of German as it's kind of similar to Dutch and we had to study it in high school (which was a total disaster).
I would love to learn Spanish and Italian, but not sure if I'll ever get to that point. Maybe when I move to Spain or Italy, who knows?
If you were styling yourself for a shoot, who would be the photographer? What would you wear?
I would probably wear a mix of Givenchy, Dries van Noten, and Acne (My three favorite brands). The photographers would probably be Mert & Marcus, I worked with them once before and I had a great time on set with them.
Or of course Mister Steven Meisel, he is THE photographer of the century!
The quality of the food you eat is obviously a priority in your life, what are the staples of your diet? What is your comfort food? Which recipe from MODEL KITCHEN have you prepared most frequently? Which recipe would you suggest a reader try first? (Right after making Julia's chicken, of course!)
All the things I eat to stay in shape can you find back in my cookbook MODEL KITCHEN, but I don't really follow a diet. I try to eat healthy, fresh and low in calories.
My comfort food must probably be caramel popcorn, wine gums, or scones! I can't resist them, especially not when I have a hangover.
I make guacamole and hummus almost once a week, I love to eat it with celery sticks and baby carrots. When I have friends over I like to make my lemon roasted chicken, a recipe my lovely cousin gave to me, with brussels sprouts or with roasted pumpkin. And for dessert I like to make banana bread, another guilty pleasure of mine.
I think they should try every recipe! They are all very easy to cook, healthy, and very yummy! But if I had to take one I would say: the lentil salad with avocado and smoked mackerel or my dad's pasta vongolé, it's so easy to make but SO delicious!
You write a fun blog, You Know You Can't Rome Without Cesar. You have a positive outlook and a wry sense of humor and I love that Ceesie speaks about himself in the third person, c'est fabuleux. How did you begin your blog?
I began my blog almost four years ago, wow time flies!
It all started just for fun and to keep my friends and family back in Belgium informed about my traveling and adventures.
When I started the blog I didn't expect to get so popular at all. I still love it as much as when I started it. I try to write twice a week and it's most of the time about myself and about things I like or hate. (food, traveling, fashion, music…)
You lead an adventurous life, traveling frequently for both business and pleasure. Share with us a few of your favorites…
Best food: My dad's food!
Best shopping: Barneys NYC
Best beach: BONDI Australia
Best looking natives: In style I think the Scandinavians and when it comes to the look I would go for someone from the south (Brazilian, North African, Italian…) I like a girl/guy with a tan.
Best party: Julia's 30th Birthday party at Indochine NYC, a night I will never forget in my life!
On your blog you mention that your interest in the fashion world first began in your mother's shop in Ghent. Tell us more about her work and how it has inspired you.
That's very true!
Since I was a kid my mom took me with her to see the best fashion shows in Paris and Milan and on Saturdays I was always helping her out in the store, which sometimes still happens when I'm back home in Belgium.
OONA is without a doubt the best shop in Ghent. Sadly enough it's only women's.
She sells Givenchy, Missoni, Costume National, Alexander Wang, and Helmut Lang. It's a very chic store with a touch of Rock 'n' Roll.
My mom has always been an inspiration to me when it comes to fashion. I think she has the best style and the best taste, not only in clothes but also in architecture and lots of other stuff.
Even when I'm in NYC I sometimes ask her for advice when I'm not sure about a piece of clothing I see in a store.
For me my mom is the definition of CHIC and FUN!
Do you have plans for future books? Or will another project on your bucket list be consuming your attention, time, and energy? I would especially like to know more about your life as a DJ… Where can readers hear you spinning?
Future books? People keep on asking me that question. And I think I'll have to pass on that, at least for now. The book was amazing to do and I still love working on it, like doing interviews and TV appearances, but it took a lot of energy and time. Now my priority is to sell MODEL KITCHEN all over the world.
In Belgium and Holland the Dutch version already sold out and I hope that will happen in all the other countries where MODEL KITCHEN will be sold.
I try to focus now on modeling, as that is still my main job. But there are still many things I want to accomplish before I die. I would love to make a club hit, go to Rio de Janeiro, design a collection for a brand, bungee jump… Time will tell but you ain't seen nothing yet of Ceesie! ;-)
Oh, please don't call me a DJ. I DJ-ed on my book launch in Belgium and I had the best time doing it! After that I got contacted to DJ at one of Belgium's biggest clubs and I had a blast too, but I just play my favorite songs after each other with my iPod and I ask a friend to help me mix it together! ha ha! So i'm not really a DJ.
But who ever wants me to DJ at their party, please contact me and I'm more then happy to mix you the best party hits together!
Here is the complete list of recipes contributed by models for the book MODEL KITCHEN by Cesar Casier:
Milla Jovovich: Baked salmon with green asparagus
Mirte Maas: Shrimp salad
Bette Franke: Grilled egplant with feta and mint
Frida Gustavsson: Oven roasted salmon with zesty salad
Karlie Kloss: Mango salsa
Jac: Fresh pepper and basil soup
Julia Restoin-Roitfeld: Roasted chicken and quinoa
Lily Donaldson: Kale salad
Suvi Koponen: Casserole with whole grain pasta
Lindsey Wixson: Chocolate chip cookies
Anais Pouliot: Fruit and parsley juice
Elise Crombez: Stuffed pepper with corn
Photographs courtesy of Cesar Casier and Fashion Spot.