Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson

After Modern Family recently won the Emmy for Best Comedy Series the 5th year in a row – setting a record – we figured it was time to hang with another cast member (besides Ty Burrell – who we already chilled with). This time around, we chatted with Jesse Tyler Ferguson (aka Mitchell Pritchett), whose Tie the Knot bow tie collection (which can be purchased here) is nearly as appealing as his character on the show. Turns out, Ferguson’s quite the foodie as well as our favorite dapper comic, so we got his take on food, fashion, his cast members and the hit show that’s become the television phenomenon…

jesse tyler ferguson interview

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?

I try and eat fairly healthy and clean. I love putting a fried egg over anything and calling it breakfast. Quinoa, lentils, and rice are my favorites.

Lunch would be a really great sushi platter or a salad with a lean protein. I’m a sucker for spicy food. Taco salads are my favorite.

I love cooking, so my ideal dinner would include something I’ve picked up fresh from the butcher; skirt steak is my go-to. I’ve been making a lot of corn dishes; I add chimichurri or pesto to it. Oh, and a cocktail or glass of wine.

A recipe your Mom used to make that you still love…

Christmas cookies: Sour cream, sugar, and Candy Cane cookies.

Can you pick out the funniest thing that’s ever happened on the Modern Family set? What was it?

Aubrey [Anderson-Emmons], who plays my daughter Lily, joined the cast of our show in the third season. She had never been on a television set before. After her first scene on her first day she looked up at Eric [Stonestreet] and me and said, “Are you real people? Cause you live in a fake house.”

Characteristics you and Mitchell share…

I’m passionate, and I can be a bit of an introvert. I think I would be a good dad, like Mitch. I’m not as handsome as Mitch is.

Your pre and post shoot routines…

I don’t do too much to prepare beyond trying to memorize my lines. I never over prepare. I love discovering things on set as I’m working.

Do you have a favorite scene ever that you’ve been in? What was it?

I love the scene in last year’s episode where Mitch stood up to Jay and questioned his discomfort with the wedding. It wasn’t a funny scene; it was packed with emotion and frustration. We wouldn’t have been able to do a scene like that in the first season. It felt like a moment we had to earn.

Something fun to know about each of your cast members…

Eric is one of the most generous people I know. He does so much for his family and friends. He makes me look bad.

Ed [O’Neill] loves to cook. He also loves to talk about cooking. Each day usually starts with a run-down of the meal he made for himself last night.

Sofia [Vergara] has a picture of my Mom and aunt in her trailer. They are wearing clothes from her K-Mart line, and Sofia thinks they should be models for the new collection.

Ty [Burrell] is an amazing cook as well. He and I are foodies, and love trying new restaurants together. He also owns a bar and a restaurant in Salt Lake City.

Julie [Bowen] has more energy packed into her tiny frame than a full-sized windmill.

Sarah [Hyland] is my musical theater buddy. We are both obsessed with Broadway, and now Aubrey (who plays Lily) is getting the itch!

Nolan [Gould], Rico [Rodriguez], and Ariel [Winter] all now have their driver’s licenses, which freaks me out.

jesse tyler

What’s always in your on set trailer fridge?

Right now, it’s just water: sparkling and flat.

 What’s a Modern Family set lunch like?

I usually order a salad. If we are lucky it’s someone’s birthday, and there’s cake.

What got you into designing bow ties with Tie the Knot?

I have always been interested in fashion. Having been to a few awards shows, I always felt like my favorite part of dressing up a suit was with the neckwear. Justin, my husband, had the idea to combine my passion for marriage equality with my desire to start a bow tie line. Thus, Tie The Knot was born.

What does someone’s bow tie say about them?

A bow tie is a unique accessory. It can work formally or casually. It can be fashion forward or classic. Ultimately, I think it depends on how you style around it.

What other accessory should every man own?

Every man should own a good tailored dark navy suit. It’s incredibly versatile. And, it should always be clean and ready to go.

A funny fashion memory from your childhood…

I used to wear polo shirts buttoned all the way to the top with a show string tied around my neck like a tie. It never caught on, but I wore it camping once. I think I was about twelve.

Best advice you’ve ever received…

Do what you do well. Don’t worry about not being good at everything. (These are words of wisdom I gave to myself after an audition in which I attempted a German accent).

Words to eat by…

Save room for dessert.

What are your favorite cities for food? What restaurants do you go to in each?

In New York City, I currently love Café Gitane and Antica Pesa in Brooklyn. In San Francisco, there is a great Italian place called Flour + Water. In Los Angeles, we love Faith & Flower, Cafe Stella, Son of a Gun, Commissary, and Bestia.

If you could host a dinner party with any five people living or dead, who would be there? What would you cook?

I would invite Carol Burnett, Jackie Kennedy, Tony Kushner, Oprah, and my great grandfather Jesse Uppercu. I would make salmon with a sriracha and maple glaze, and a salad with corn. I would ask them all to bring a dish; I’m more interested in what they would bring.

jesse ferguson husband

*Jesse Tyler Ferguson, photographed at Café Stella in Los Angeles, CA by Danielle Kosann.