Kelis’s milkshake may have brought all the boys to the yard, but her sauce is bringing everyone straight to her kitchen. The singer turned “saucier” has been drawing crowds from around the world to watch her perform on stage for years, but her greatest (yummiest) performance may just be happening atop her marble kitchen table in the Los Angeles home she shares with her husband and son, Knight. This is where Kelis, the Le Cordon Bleu chef tested all of the recipes for her new book, My Life on a Plate: Recipes from Around the World.
A native New Yorker, Kelis spent her childhood admiring her mother run her own catering business. Driven by the speed and the intensity of the kitchen, she developed a strong passion for food at a young age. This passion continued well into adulthood when Kelis traveled the world as an international performing artist. Between shows she would spend her time discovering local markets and hole-in-the-wall restaurants, always learning about the unique flavors and cuisines within each city.
My Life on a Plate is Kelis’s first cookbook. It is an exploration of tastes and cultures, chronicling her experience as a chef, musician, mother and wife. We wanted to find out what the singer, chef, and “saucier” keeps in her personal refrigerator- yes, there are two fridges in her home, “mom’s fridge” as she calls it! Of course it is always stocked full of sauce, but you will be surprised to see what else Man Repeller and The Food Life found hiding on those shelves…
I’m a huge sauce person. I’m a saucier, that’s my speciality. I guess it started when I was in culinary school and it became my thing. It’s like when you find your major in school. I didn’t go in with that plan, but that’s what I left with. After I graduated, I slowly started thinking about what that really meant and a few things happened. I went on tour and then I came home, and home used to be New York, but I was recording out here in LA so much that I started to crave jerk sauce. In New York you can get that anytime, but here it does not exist. Don’t listen to what they tell you! So I started making it myself because of that. From there all these other things started to happen and it eventually led to me start Bounty and Full which is my sauce company.
THE WORK FRIDGE:
This is my working fridge. I like to keep this fridge off limits to the family. Usually what ends up happening is I will make something or I will be testing something and my son or his cousin will just come in and eat it, and then i’m like, “You’re kidding me!” So I just say, don’t touch the big fridge. This is mom’s fridge. This is also where I keep my pregnancy cravings!
I don’t have a ton, but I do have some. Right now it’s Jello, which is a weird thing. I am obsessed right now. I hate the green and orange flavors. It’s all about the red. I tried the natural brands, but they were gross. I want J-E-L-L-O. I have also been on a tomato craze. So I have tons of heirloom tomatoes. Our neighbor grows them, so we do trade-offs of sauce and tomatoes. It’s a really great relationship. I made a tomato mango salsa which is tucked in there because the season for these is coming to an end. I have a nectarine thing going on now too. Everything is way more intensified. I don’t have any really gross cravings. It’s just like the things I like – I want them all the time.
I am part of a beer of the month club which I have not been drinking, but these are some of those. They usually send two of each, so my husband will save me one and drink the other…
TAKING IT EASY:
Lately I have been super lazy because I’m pregnant, so I do simple and easy things like chicken and brown rice for my son. I have tortillas back there which are homemade and I froze them. I had a BBQ so that was all from that. We did a roasted pig in a caja china.
This is actually really low key for my fridge. It’s usually tupperware crazy, but I haven’t been cooking, I have just been so hot!
The Reddi wip! Funny enough actually, I had another little gathering here. I made these pineapple sponge cake things. And I just felt like that was easier. I have been cutting corners lately, I would usually make my own.
I get most of my fruits and vegetables delivered once a week from a farm collective. Lot’s of oranges. I love orange juice, we squeeze fresh orange juice everyday.
In my cookbook, I talk about what kitchen staples are. I don’t think cooking should be a burden. I’m not one of those people who has time to go to the grocery store every time I cook. You go once a week but you want to get all your basics. For me that is onions, garlic and peppers that’s my ‘mirepoix’. I also always have heavy cream, ghi and milk. There is usually mayonnaise in there because you can do a lot with mayo. If I am running out of eggs, you can supplement it with mayonnaise. In the pantry will always have sugar, flour, buttermilk. I feel like all of these things are like bridges. They link one thing to another, it’s always good to have them.