He once said becoming host of Cake Wars in 2014 was “the biggest blessing of my life” — and nearly a decade later, Jonathan Bennett is feeling even more grateful. His latest Food Network project, Battle of the Decades — in which chefs from different generations face off using ingredients from the past along with new viral recipes and trends — debuted in August. “I’m pinching myself,” says the 42-year-old. “I’ve never laughed harder. I’m cracking up the whole time.” Here, Jonathan (who also hosts Halloween Wars) talks to In Touch’s Fortune Benatar about married life (he and fellow TV host Jaymes Vaughan, 40, wed in March 2022), his lasting friendship with his Mean Girls costar Lindsay Lohan and his guilty pleasure.
Tell us more about Battle of the Decades.
JB: We’re traveling back in time. There’s a lot of nostalgia. There are fun ingredients like Fruit Roll-Ups and Hamburger Helper and Wheaties, and then gadgets like the Easy-Bake Oven and the George Foreman Grill. And we have amazing guest judges like Jennie Garth and Nia Vardalos.
What’s your favorite nostalgic food?
JB: I love Fruit Roll-Ups. I grew up in the generation where we had color dye and chemicals in all of our food, and I loved it. [Laughs]
You and Jaymes have been married for more than a year now. What makes you the perfect match?
JB: I wouldn’t say we’re the perfect match. I’d say I found someone who will tolerate me. We’re never bored with each other. We’re like kids — we’re always trying to make the other one laugh or scare the other one. We also get to travel so much, and that’s been a fun part of our relationship.
You’re both very vocal in the LGBTQ+ community. Why is that important to you?
JB: It’s one of my life missions to move the needle forward. When Jaymes and I share content on Instagram, it’s because there are young versions of Jonathan and Jaymes who need to see that. We didn’t have that representation at that age.
Are you guys thinking about having kids anytime soon?
JB: There aren’t enough hours of the day just yet. With all our traveling and shows, there’s just so much happening. One day, just not today.
Your old costar, Lindsay, welcomed a baby boy in July. Are you still in touch?
JB: Yeah! I messaged her congratulations. She deserves all the love she’s getting right now.
She’s come a long way.
JB: To go from knowing her when she was 17 to see her grow up and start this family — it’s so exciting. I wanted her to name the baby Jonathan, but I guess it’s off the table. [Laughs] I’ll just be Uncle Jonathan!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
JB: You’re never too much and you’re always enough. Early in my career, I wasn’t brave enough to share who I was. I was afraid that once I came out, the girls who were my fans would hate me. It was actually the opposite — everyone embraced it. Once you’re able to be yourself, your whole world opens up.
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