Confession: Watching MTV's Teen Mom is totally our guilty pleasure. So we couldn't resist the opportunity to chat with Farrah Abraham, who spent the last year attending the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale for culinary arts.
The single mother made her reality-television debut in 2009 on MTV's 16 and Pregnant. She and daughter Sophia (now 3) went on to be a part of the spinoff Teen Mom, which became a huge hit. Soon, Abraham was being featured on covers of celebrity gossip magazines and being stalked by the paparazzi at our local Publix. This season of the show debuted June 12; it includes snippets of Abraham eating out at P.F. Chang's, Martorano's, and more.
Now, after four years of cameras constantly in her face, the 21-year-old "momtrepreneur" is ready to begin a new venture, into the world of food.
Abraham took some time to chat with us about her new Hot Pepper Italian sauce, "Mom & Me"; culinary school; and the final season of Teen Mom.
New Times: How are you? I understand you're in L.A. now, but you recently spent some time down here in Florida for school, right?
Farrah Abraham: I'm great. I just finished up some filming out here in L.A. And yes, I started my bachelor's degree at the Art Institute in Fort Lauderdale. I'm currently taking a break for work reasons. But I'm definitely on my way to completing my master's degree. I'm really excited about that.
And this is for a degree in culinary arts and management?
How did you decide on that route?
I decided way back when, before I had my daughter. I was already in school with some credits in the culinary field, so I decided to stick with that through pregnancy. And it ended up becoming my passion.
What's been your favorite part of culinary school so far?
I really love incorporating entertainment and the art of food. Doing food photography and shooting videos was also cool. It was really interesting to watch myself cooking; I learned what to do better. You know how to cut certain ways and different techniques. I had so many wonderful instructors. We definitely had a blast.
Do you watch any cooking shows? Any favorites?
Oh my God, yes. I love watching the Food Network. It's all so creative. I love watching Giada at Home. She's so cool to me. I'm Italian, and she's got so much Italian flavor. Definitely one of my favorites.
And she's got that whole mom-chef brand thing going on. Is that what you want to do?
Yes! I'm a "momtrepreneur"! I definitely have plans of doing some branding and working on my own things. We just launched the new hot pepper sauce [Mom & Me]. And it's been so amazing. I'm so happy that I get to work with my family on that.
While you were living down in Fort Lauderdale, did you have any favorite places to eat?
Honestly, I really liked eating at all the hotels along the beach. They have some really great chefs in the restaurants and so many different cuisines. But I'm still scoping out the area for great places to eat.
What's your favorite thing to cook?
Well, before the sauce was actually branded, it's always been my favorite thing to cook. It's something we did as a family. And we'd just use it with some homemade garlic bread or pasta. Anything Italian, really.
And I read you have plans of opening a restaurant?
Yes! Of course! That's one of my next big projects, which is why I'm taking a break from school. While I know that learning and being in school is so important, I also think it's necessary to take a break to make dreams happen. So that's where I am at right now. Focusing on location, financing, architecture, and just putting myself in that mindset.
What kind of cuisine?
It would be a fusion of Asian and Italian. I think it's two of the best worlds in food. I think it'll be an interesting but wonderful mix.
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So, this is the last season of Teen Mom. How do you feel about that? Are you excited for it to end?
It's bittersweet. I think most of us are sad because we won't get to see each other as much. But we also won't have the cameras and constantly being filmed all the time. I really think this final season is the best season so far. You get to see us as adults rather than just a bunch of teenage girls.
And as far as the experience, do you have any regrets?
No. It's been a wonderful experience. I was just shocked, and still kinda am, that I was chosen to be in the original [16 and Pregnant] and then move on to Teen Mom. I don't think any of us could have imagined where we are today. And the impact it's made on the world. So I'm very much thankful that I've been a part of it. I'm just trying to be a good role model and a hard-working mother. I'm so grateful for all the people watching and supporting me and the other mothers on the show. I know we're all so thankful for the opportunity.