From Olivia Wilde’s extramarital vinaigrette to Drew Barrymore’s torn-up pizza: the world of celebrity salads | Food


Among the terrible revelations in a Daily Mail report earlier this week about the demise of the relationship between actors Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis in 2020 was that Wilde allegedly made a bowl of salad with her “special” dressing to bring to her new boyfriend Harry Styles and Sudeikis was so distraught, he lay down in front of her car so she couldn’t leave the house.

There are other, more disturbing details in the story about Wilde and Sudeikis’s domestic affairs (and for the record, both Wilde and Sudeikis claim the Daily Mail account, which was based on an interview with the former nanny, contains “false and scurrilous” information) but what the Internet really wanted to know was, what made that dressing so special that Sudeikis couldn’t bear to see it shared? Was it possible that it had some sort of magical properties that keep the greens from wilting for however long it would take to drive to Harry’s house?

One woman in particular took an interest in the mystery salad: the proprietor of the TikTok account the Salad Lab, who prefers to be known only by her first name, Darlene. The premise is simple: almost every day, Darlene prepares a different salad using test tubes, beakers and petri dishes to hold the ingredients and concludes with a beverage recommendation, usually wine. She began the account as a way to share recipes with her college-age daughter, but now she’s best known for reproducing the favorite salads of celebrities, which she has found through magazine profiles, restaurant menus, and other Internet sleuthing. She has 2 million followers and her own fame has grown to the point where she can reach out to the celebrities directly and they will answer.

Darlene says she prefers not to get involved with politics or celebrity scandals, but so many of her followers requested Wilde’s salad that on Tuesday night, she sent a request to Wilde asking for the recipe. Fifteen minutes later, Wilde posted an Instagram story of page 177 of Heartburn, Nora Ephron’s 1983 roman a clef about her divorce from journalist Carl Bernstein. “I like to think it was in response to me,” Darlene says, “but I don’t know for sure.”

In the book, Ephron’s alter ego Rachel teaches her unfaithful husband Mark how to make vinaigrette just before she leaves him for good. (If only Wilde had been so generous! Who knows what trouble she and Sudeikis might have avoided?)

The salad is simple compared to some of the other celebrity salads Darlene has prepared for the Salad Lab. Drew Barrymore’s, for instance, required tearing up a slice of pizza, and Beyonce’s usual order at the Southern California vegan chain Cafe Gratitude has two separate dressings and a multitude of ingredients.

But Ephron/Wilde’s dressing is a simple emulsion of Gray Poupon, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Ephron writes that it’s “perfect for salad greens like arugola [sic] and watercress and endive”.

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Very early on Wednesday morning, Darlene posted her TikTok of what she calls “Olivia Wilde Style Salad with Notorious Vinaigrette Dressing.” The Styles song “As It Was” plays in the background. The suggested accompaniment is a northern California cabernet, reported to be a favorite of Wilde’s. Within 18 hours, it had more than 400,000 likes.

“She’s a very clever woman,” Darlene says of Wilde. “Is it a great dressing? No, it’s terrible! It’s very bitter. But that’s what makes it so great. She took it from a book about a divorce.”

Darlene has been misled before. A few weeks after she recreated a bulgar-chickpea salad that Jennifer Aniston was said to have eaten every day for 10 years on the set of Friends, Aniston told an interviewer that it was never her salad. Which may have been just as well: Darlene says in the video that she suspects that Aniston must have been very sick of it.

If you’re interested in eating salad like a celebrity, Darlene recommends Bella Hadid’s (arugula with parmesan, cucumber, red pepper, avocado, and an olive oil dressing), Elle Fanning’s (a modified Cobb without tomatoes), and Billie Eilish’s (vegan with many, many ingredients).

But she’s not done with the Wilde story. “It might be fun,” she says, “to know what Harry Styles’s REAL favorite salad is, too.”