As one of the original members of A Tribe Called Quest, Jarobi White is hip-hop royalty. But what many people don’t realize is that he’s spent the last two decades honing his cooking skills, attending culinary school and tackling the role of executive chef at NYC’s August restaurant.
Billboard caught up with him while he was hanging out with celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, who owns popular Streetbird Rotisserie in Harlem.
It didn’t take long for White to knock out the similarities between his two passions: food and music. Here are 5 quotes from his and Samuelsson’s Billboard interview.
1. Being on the pass is like being a conductor.
Says White: “You have your individual sections. Let’s say sauté is the brass, the fryer is the woodwinds. And sometimes it’s like, ‘You come, you stay. Now you come. Now everybody together.’ You’re directing.”
2. You build crescendos.
Says Samuelsson: “You’re building something up and then bringing it down. I look at fat and vinegar, salt and sweet, sour and bitter, and there’s got to be a little bridge there. If you don’t have the downs, you can’t have the ups. Without music, I couldn’t cook. It gave me my identity.”
3. The instant gratification.
White: Like when you see people take a bite and go, “Mmmm.”
4. You’re only as good as your last hit.
White: “…in music, you’re only as good as your last song. With cooking, you’re only as good as your last dish. But you have the chance to fix it the next time around.”
5. Parting of ways.
Samuelsson: “I’m sure with musicians, it’s a record label or manager that screwed you. Every chef I know has had an ownership breakup.”
White: “I’ve seen some famous chefs cook and I’m like, ‘This dude is a total hack. What the f—!’ And then there’s a song and you’re like, ‘Why is this song so popular? This shit sucks!'”
7. Honey Yuzu Chicken Wings could definitely be a song title.
Scroll towards the bottom of the interview to find White’s recipe.
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