Maye Musk really likes sticky toffee pudding. Like, she really likes sticky toffee pudding. Sometimes, she’ll skip dinner entirely and head straight for dessert, if sticky toffee pudding is on the menu. It’s a specialty of her culinary-minded son, food entrepreneur Kimbal Musk, and it’s a staple on the menu at The Kitchen, the sustainable restaurant-turned-restaurant group group he co-founded.
Musk, by her own admission, is no great chef herself, so she occasionally relies on her son to satiate her voracious sweet tooth. (Her daughter Tosca’s culinary instincts tend more towards healthy, savory options; no word on son Elon’s skill with a knife.)
“It’s my favorite in the world,” she said of sticky toffee pudding. And yet, she approaches it with restraint: “I’m a dietician, so I can’t have it very often,” she added.
This weekend might be a hold-the-entrée kind of weekend: Each year, Musk, the 69-year-old model, diet and nutrition counselor, and mother of three, gathers with her children—and some grandchildren—to celebrate Mother’s Day. Sometimes they eat out, but most often, it’s a home-cooked meal. (Musk stays out of the kitchen.)
This year, she and at least two—perhaps all three, schedules permitting—of her children will meet at a yet-undisclosed location for the occasion. (For the security of her son Elon, the billionaire tech mogul and chief executive of Tesla, as well as her own, the whole plan is very covert-ops.) They share a dry, British sense of humor that can be abrasive to outsiders, Americans especially, but “it’s not mean—it’s funny,” Musk insisted. “We can use that with each other.”
Mother’s Day might provide extra cause for celebration—and for laughs—but according to Musk, “pretty much every time we get together I feel like it’s Mother’s Day.” Though they’re all occupied by ambitious careers, they still manage to see each other often: Tosca lives just five minutes from her mother, while Musk and Elon see each other about once a week when their travel schedules coincide (she recently accompanied her son to the Vanity Fair Oscar party), and next month, she will travel to Stockholm to participate in a panel discussion on diets and nutrition with Kimbal.
Her children's ambition is probably something they inherited from her—and Musk from her own mother—anyways. Born one of five siblings in Canada, Musk and her family relocated to Pretoria, South Africa, when she was a child. Her parents ran a chiropractic practice, where Musk and her siblings worked as receptionists and took dictations to earn pocket money. By 15, she was modeling, with her mother chauffeuring her from gig to gig; by 18, when she got her license, she was autonomous, though she still brought her sister along for support. While still pursuing modeling, Musk earned a master’s degree in dietetics, married Errol Musk, and, in 1971, gave birth to her first son, Elon.
“Best day of my life,” she said, sincerely. She worked from home as a nutrition counselor when her three children were young: “That’s how I managed to survive financially—because of course, modeling is not a reliable income,” she explained. “If they needed me, I was there.”
Still, she picked up the odd modeling gig—and Elon, Tosca, and Kimbal could occasionally be spotted in the front row at fashion shows. “The three kids would sit there reading their books. I wish we’d had pictures in those days,” she said. (Fashion never really took hold for them—Musk nabbed a modeling gig for Tosca when she was 11, and, in Musk’s account, she was bored stiff. More recently, though, Tosca directed a campaign in which Musk appeared, a reversal of the usual dynamic of parent wielding a camera at their child.)
Musk started traveling more frequently—both for fashion jobs and speaking engagements on nutrition—as her kids approached adulthood and they each made their way to Toronto.
“I think it just gave them the basic principles of working hard and working long hours and enjoying your work,” she said.
Now, though scattered across the west coast, they keep in touch—via email, via text, via the more-than-occasional Instagram like, “and I retweet a lot,” she said. Musk likes all her children’s Instagrams—not, she assured me somewhat indignantly, out of a sense of obligation, but because “I just think everything my kids do is fabulous.”
Though an active Instagram user—like her sons, and, to a lesser extent, her daughter—Musk wasn’t convinced she would post anything from her upcoming Mother’s Day festivities.
But perhaps she could be convinced for sticky toffee pudding.
Paris Hilton breaks down her 13 favorite early-2000s trends, and why they're still hot: