Growing up, Mary McCartney spent hours around the dinner table with her family discussing food, not music. “I have a lot of fond memories of talking about flavors and coming up with ideas together,” Mary, a daughter of Paul McCartney and his first wife and Wings bandmate Linda McCartney, tells Closer. “We would always talk about how to fill that gap in the middle of the plate.”

Concern about animal welfare, personal health and the state of the planet led Paul and Linda to embrace a vegetarian lifestyle for their family in 1975. Linda cooked often, and her cream of tomato soup became one of her daughter’s favorites. “When I needed comfort, I asked her to make it,” says Mary, 53, who puts her own spin on Linda’s recipe in her new cooking series, Mary McCartney Serves It Up. “I would always have it with lots of toast. It was just warming and made me feel safe.”

That was always Paul and Linda’s goal. The couple did their best to raise their children far from the spotlight. In fact, Mary didn’t even realize her parents were famous until she was older. “When you’re within it, you don’t really notice it so much,” she explains.

Paul also encouraged his children to live their dreams. “He said just follow your heart and try not to be swayed too much by what people think of you,” Mary says. “Have confidence in yourself and believe in yourself.”

She took those words to heart. Today, Mary is a cookbook author, photographer and director. “Those are my passions,” says Mary, who made her directorial debut in September with If These Walls Could Sing, a documentary about Abbey Road Studios.