Mary Jo Eustace
Profession: Author and Chef
Notable achievements: Two-time Gemini award nominee for best host; For 13 years, hosted What's for Dinner? with Ken Kostick, who died on April 21; Hosted He Said, She Said with Ken and Mary Jo on the W Network
Upcoming: U.S. and Canadian Book tour for Cooking For Your Cub
She gained fame as the host of What's For Dinner?, but Mary Jo Eustace made headlines after her husband Dean McDermott dumped her for Hollywood actress Tori Spelling.
But the mother of two didn't cry over spilled milk. She wrote a series of best-selling books including Divorce Sucks. Her latest is a "cougar cookbook" called Cooking For Your Cub. On her book tour, she'll drive a 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan SUV.
Why did you a buy a Tiguan?
I got a call from my dealer and somebody wanted my 2009 Jetta station wagon. My lease was almost up and I went in and thought I'm just going to get the same car and then I saw the Tiguan and thought, 'Oh my god! This is a cool car! This is a little sexier - so why not treat myself to it?'
It's a little sport utility and it's really cute. It's sexy - I got it in black.
I love Volkswagen because they are really well made with fantastic engineering. They're great cars and they look good, but they're not flashy. I love that they're a little sporty. I love the engine. I tend to drive very fast - my kids love it when I drive really fast.
Have you had any speeding tickets?
I've avoided speeding tickets. I don't like to go slow in a car. I like speed - I'm in and out. And I like to get somewhere fast.
My nightmare is being stuck behind someone going so slow it's like they're parking. I hate that. In Los Angeles, you're driving for your life, too.
If your car were a dish what would it be?
Something very sturdy like a rigatoni with a Bolognese sauce. It would be very simple, elegant.
L.A. is known for its fancy luxury cars - how does your VW hold up to them?
In my mind I think its better.
I remember once in my old Volkswagen I was at this very swank restaurant waiting for the valet and the car in front of me was a Bentley and the car behind me was a Mercedes. My Volkswagen pulled up and the valet opened the wrong door and the car seat fell onto the curb. I thought, I'm not taking any of this stuff seriously.
I feel secure in my car. It's not the most expensive car, but it's perfect for me. I would not want to spend $100,000 on a car. I don't get that. It doesn't sit with me. I just want a good dependable cute car.
So what would you spend one-hundred grand on?
I would spend that money on surgery, travelling, renovating my house, landscaping my backyard - stuff that in my day-to-day life I would get a lot of enjoyment out of. I would never drive something as a status symbol. It's not who I am - I'm not interested in that.
Do you like driving?
I do. I do a lot of road trips. I love just getting in the car, having a loose plan and going. It's beautiful to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway. It's gorgeous. It's really relaxing when you don't have to worry about getting to a certain place at a certain time. I used to do so many road trips when I was younger. I went to McGill and we would do lots of road trips to Toronto or the Eastern Townships. It's always been fun, especially when it's you and a girlfriend - that's the best.
What do you listen to on the road?
In the morning with the kids I put on the soft rock station which is pure schmaltz, but we listen to it because we're trying to win money from the radio station.
When I'm alone, I plug into my iPod and listen to my own music. I love Kayne West's new album, Cold Play, Crowded House, the Chili Peppers - that's great music. No kid's music.
Any rules in the car - can the kids eat in it?
In the new car, food is a complete no-no. Sometimes after ice cream I've looked back and there have been such atrocities in my car. It's unbelievable.
My son Jack is very sneaky when he eats in the car. He hides food under the seat and in the sides of the door so I have to be on top of it.
I have to be careful with a car seat, too, because sometimes it gets so hot in L.A. the car seat melts onto the seat when you get over 110 degrees in the summer. With the new car, I put a towel under the seat.
What was your first car?
A Honda Civic standard. I had it for 12 years. Then I got a Jetta, a Ford Explorer, another Ford Explorer and since then it has been Volkswagens.
Any mishaps behind the wheel?
The worst time that I've had behind the wheel was when I had to retry my Ontario driver's licence.
My insurance and everything got lost in the mail and I found out that my license was expired. I had to go to some god-forsaken place and take my licence. My car hood popped up and the guy went to shut it and it caught on something and it bent in half so I had to do my driver's test with the hood of my car waving up and down.
I barely passed - I was mortified and angry. I was livid. I left with my licence but I had to get my car fixed for $500.
When we were younger we had a big old Chrysler that my parents gave the kids. It looked like a hearse. It was such a piece of crap and we ran it into the ground. It died a slow painful death on the way to the cottage on the 401. We had to get it towed away; it was scrap metal.
If I could bring you the keys to any vehicle what would it be?
A little nice elegant Mercedes-Benz convertible would be fantastic. I wouldn't want a Ferrari or Lamborghini. When I see men climb out of a Lamborghini I'm like, give me a break, are you kidding me?
Do you know anything mechanically about it - do you know what's under the hood?
You're so funny! An engine. It's black. It's got really good pickup. It's got a lot of room and it looks cute - that's all I need to know.