Kelis gives insight on food and music at Brooklyn book signing

photo by: David Loftus/Kyle Books
Photo by: David Loftus/Kyle Books

Kelis drew a klatch of cooking enthusiasts into the cozy meeting room of the Brooklyn Restoration Plaza on Wednesday, Sept. 30 for a Q-and-A and book signing. The 36-year-old singer, best known for her “Milkshake” anthem, released a recipe book — My Life on a Plate — in mid-September. And the crowd was there to gain secrets from the woman behind the concoction that “brings all the boys to the yard.” (Note: Her cookbook does not contain a milkshake recipe, but it does include an instructional guide for a very tasty “Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt Potato Chips.”)

As a Le Corden Bleu degree-holder and lifelong foodie, Kelis held an intimate conversation about her career, health choices and of course — her love of food — with the group of about 30 people.

The songbird, who performed at Afropunk a little over a month ago, is a woman who can appreciate creative decorations in food but at her crux, a girl has got to eat. “I get the art but I come from a different place,” she said. “It’s beautiful,” she described before adding that she is too hungry for the small platters.

With fiery red-orange hair (and a Nars-branded lip color to match), the eclectic artist also relayed how she approaches the two aspects of her career —- cooking and music. In a response to a fan, she explained why she rarely looks to others staples in the industry for inspiration.

“If I get too involved it clouds my thoughts and my individuality. Whether it’s music or food, I kind of isolate myself,” she said. “I have a hard time distinguishing myself. I kind of stay in my own lane.” Although she did admit that she’s “obsessed” with Chef Francis Mallmann (Chef’s Table) and called the YouTube series, Chasing China, “mind-blowing” and “most beautiful thing ever.” It’s the culture that draws her, she said. And with a Puerto Rican-Chinese mother and an African American father, it’s clear to see why.

But there was one theme that shined through all of her words — enjoy all you can in life.

“I’m the most indulgent person you know. I like everything in abundance. More is more. That’s just how I live my life,” she said. “I’m traveling around because I recognize that I may not want to do this forever. And I’m going to suck up every possible thing that I can while I can.”

A testament to her indulgent tendencies is her sauce company, Bounty and Full, as well as her routine while traveling. Even if she has less than 24 hours in a new place, she’s always going to make the most of it. And there are three things she’s guaranteed to do at each stop: “I got some shoes, I went and tasted some stuff, and had a great glass of wine,” she shared.

Although she’s always on the go, she’s not going to let that get in the way of her joie de vivre. “I’m busy and I’m rushing but I love my life. I don’t take for granted that this is a blessing,” she said. “I live my life. No one can ever say, ‘she wasn’t fun.'”

Kelis released her book, My Life on a Plate, on Sept. 18. Her latest album, Food, is also dedicated to cuisine.

–victoria johnson

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