TODAY Food recently caught up with the newly single actor in his home state of North Dakota where he was filming a spot for the state’s latest ad campaign. Getting busy in the kitchen isn't a hard a sell for the Midwest native who owns a restaurant in his hometown of Minot. “I don’t own a restaurant because I like to cook,” Duhamel told TODAY Food. “It’s because I like to eat.”
While his favorite dishes at his eatery 10 North Main are the bison steak and pheasant strips, when he's at home, Duhamel tones down the menu to suit a preschooler's palate.
“If I’m cooking, it’s usually for my son,” said the "Transformers" star who turns 45 this month.“I’ll make eggs and grilled sandwiches — but lasagna is my specialty.”
When asked about the secret behind his take on the classic Italian comfort food, (in 2012, Fergie even raved about his “mean lasagna” to Rachael Ray) Duhamel simply shrugged and said it’s his “homemade sauce.” When asked how Axl Jack would describe daddy’s cooking, Duhamel laughs. “'Good',” the actor quipped.
But when asked how the toddler would describe mommy’s cooking, Duhamel laughed even harder and said, “'Not as good as daddy’s'.” Still, the actor remained humble about his culinary skills. “I think I have a fear of cooking more than anything. I don't know how people can throw certain things together and just make it work.”
One of the people he’s referring to is Thomas Keller, Duhamel’s friend who also happens to be a James Beard Award-winning chef.
During last year’s AT&T golf tournament in Pebble Beach, California, Keller wowed a crowd of hungry players — but Duhamel missed the magnificent meal. “He [Keller] was staying with me at a friend’s house. He cooked one night for everybody,” Duhamel recalled. “Of course, it was the one night that I'd already committed to going to another dinner I couldn’t get out of.
"I got back thinking they would have saved some for me, but they ate everything!”
Even with a famous, food-loving father, Axl Jack seems to be like many other kids his age and Duhamel says it's not always easy to get his son to eat everything he's served.
“I bribe him with promises of dessert,” Duhamel admitted. “But I always follow through with those promises, so he knows if I say ‘You have to finish these three pieces of broccoli,' he won’t quit until he’s done.”