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You Got Served: Cooking With Coolio

coolio-2

The Hip-Hop nation knows Coolio for his unique hair and

monster hit song “Gangsta’s Paradise” from his quadruple platinum album of the

same name. While he’s still got new music cooking in the studio, Coolio has been focusing

heavily on his kitchen skills for his new online show, Cooking With Coolio.

 

In doing his show independently on MyDamnChannel.com, Coolio

is able to give an uncensored, humorous edge to the culinary arts. We caught up

with the veteran rapper to chew the fat about the ways he turns soul food

healthy and how he’s making true entertainment out of cooking.

 

AllHipHop.com: Tell us a little about how you came up with

the concept for your show and how things developed.

 

Coolio: The concept came about from just playing around. Me

and my cousin was in the kitchen one day hooking up a meal and I said, “Wow,

what if we had a cooking show? It would be like this” and then we started

acting it out. So we did that for a year to a year-and-a half – people would

come over and if I was cooking I would pretend like I was doing a cooking show.

It grew from that.

 

I started telling people about it, and I met this guy that

was a writer – we were working on something else together – and he was

interested in the cooking show. He had some people draw up some things for

kitchen gear, and then he wrote an outline and we just took it from there. We

shopped it for a while, and though we had a few offers, nobody wanted to let us

do what we wanted to do in order to make it the way we wanted to do it. That’s

how we ended up taking it to My Damn Channel, because they gave us the freedom to

do it the way we wanted to.

 

AllHipHop.com: How do you go about creating an episode?

 

Coolio: That’s Elan’s job, one of our writers and producers.

He came up with most of the concepts for the shows – we gave him our recipes

and then he tried to come up with concepts for each show. Originally it started

out as cooking and comedy, it ended up getting to be comedy and cooking.

[laughs]

 

We started out with concepts for the first couple of episodes,

and then we found out that only worked for a few of them. We scrapped some of

the ideas and then we just started –freestyling stuff towards the end. After

we shot the first day-and-a-half all the ideas started to grow, and then

somebody would throw in an idea and it just came together.

 

AllHipHop.com: Are these recipes that you’ve created

personally or are they family recipes?

 

Coolio: It’s kind of weird, I’ve changed all of my family

recipes, because my mom used to cook with all of those high cholesterol

ingredients and high fat ingredients. So I just took a lot of her basic recipes

and added to them. I think my spaghetti is better than hers, and that was one

of my favorite things that she cooked. I just made it a little bit better, I

just took some of those flavors out that weren’t absolutely necessary and

turned the fat and cholesterol meters down and we just came up with some good

things.

 

Then I create as well. It’s all experimentation, it’s just

like making music or doing art or making clothes. You do a model, a sample and

then you let people try it and you try it. Usually if I like something

everybody else is gonna like it, because I’m real critical of food. If I go to

a place and buy a meal and it’s not good, I’ll never come there again.

 

I pick up some concepts from restaurants that I go to, I’ve

even went in the kitchen and asked the chef, “What is this? How do you make

this?” I’ve had a bit of formal training, I don’t have a diploma or anything,

but I almost finished the whole course.

 

AllHipHop.com: As far as being on tour and on TV sets where

you’re in trailers with catered food and in different environments where you’ve

probably eaten really bad food over the years, have there been any red flags

for you that said, “Hey I need to change the way I’m cooking right now?”

 

Coolio: Nah, not really, I got a cast iron stomach and a

high metabolism and I’m regular. [laughs] My body does its job pretty well, I

don’t have ulcers, stomach problems, problems with gas or anything like that.

People get older and they start going through that kind of stuff. No high blood

pressure or cholesterol, because I stopped eating that way when I was in my

early 30’s. When I cook, or when I’m paying for something and I have a choice,

I’m eating pretty healthy stuff. I eat my greens and I get it going, it’s

pretty easy for me though. I’ve never had a problem with that.

 

AllHipHop.com: Has anyone influenced you in particular, watching

them go through having high blood pressure, diabetes or things like that?

 

Coolio: No not really. One of the things that influenced me

a lot was eating in Italy, and being in Italy for over a month and how they

don’t use butter really at all. They use olive oil, so for a lot of dishes I

substitute olive, sunflower or peanut oil for butter.

 

AllHipHop.com: How many episodes did you start out with?

 

Coolio: We did 10 for the first season.

AllHipHop.com: Would you entertain doing it on television or are you just

really adamant about sticking with this plan [on the internet]?

 

Coolio: Well, I suppose at this point we’re gonna stay on

the net because we have a lot of mature content. But if the money’s right and

people are gonna make it worth our while, then we’ll take it to network

television or to cable. It’s hilarious, but you don’t even realize that you’re

watching a cooking show at some points in it. It’s like you’re watching some

comedy, but then at the end when you see the finished product you realize,

“Damn, he just showed me how to make some s**t! I could use this.”

 

AllHipHop.com: What are some other ways that people can

reduce cholesterol and unnecessary fat when they cook soul food?

 

Coolio: You can use sugar substitutes. When recipes call for

pork or beef, you can use turkey instead. It just depends on what it is you’re

cooking, you look at what you’re cooking and say, “Should I use butter here or

not? What kind of oil should I use? Should I use pork in my greens or smoked

turkey necks?” When it comes to soul food, that’s all you can do.

 

I don’t do a lot of soul food. I can do soul food, but

people know how to cook soul food. The people that don’t aren’t gonna try to

cook soul food, they’re gonna go out and buy it from somewhere. Now if you’re

talking about somebody that’s just starting out and wants to cook soul food, if

they don’t know anybody that cooks it, then yeah, maybe I can give them a few

tips, but for the most part I do fusion more or less.

 

I do Mexitalian, Blasian – which is Black and Asian – like

soul rolls. Soul rolls are eggrolls but they got flavor in them. You’ve never

tasted an eggroll that will taste like one of my soul rolls. I came up with that

because the traditional eggroll with all of the bean sprouts, they never put

enough meat in it. I just kind of flipped that whole concept, I still use

cabbage, but I just added a few things to it to make it taste better, and then

at the same time it’s still healthy.

 

AllHipHop.com: Are you calorie conscious when you create

your works or are you more about watching cholesterol?

 

Coolio: It depends on who I’m cooking for. We’re starting a

catering business – it depends on what the client calls for. One thing that I

refuse to substitute is flavor though. If somebody tells me, “I like really

bland food” I’m like, “Oh well you need to get another chef or caterer because

I refuse to make food without flavor.” Everything I cook is well-done. I don’t

cook any meat rare or medium-rare over here. But one thing about my steak is,

you don’t need a knife, all you need is a fork.

 

AllHipHop.com: It’s hard to make buttery soft steak well-done.

 

Coolio: Most people try to fry their steak. The only way you

can do steak on top of the oven and make it get butter soft is by smothering

it. Smothering takes away a lot of the flavor as well, especially if you’re not

one of those people that likes some really well seasoned foods. It depends on

what you like, some people don’t like garlic and onions. I can make stuff and

put garlic in it, and you’ll never know – I hide it with another flavor.

 

AllHipHop.com: I’m sure a lot of people are going to want to

tune in and see what you’ve got going on.

 

Coolio: I would advise people to tune in. Just go to

mydamnchannel.com, it actually airs on Monday of next week. I would advise

people to check it out, you’re gonna get some insight and laugh your a** off at

the same time. Then I’ll give you some ways to look at some old favorites, like

caprice salad. That’s pretty basic, but I’ve actually come up with another way

to do it that’s not caprice salad anymore, it’s “Coolio Caprice Salad” that’s

got kick. Some people like it real plain and they want to taste the flavor of

the cheese, that’s what a lot of people are going for. Especially Italians,

they just put a little bit of oil on it and that’s it. But I kind of flip it.

 

The whole premise of my style is to help people be able to

go to a regular grocery store, get a two dollar steak and make it taste like a

20 dollar prime rib. That’s my thing right there.   

 CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT EPISODE 1 OF COOKING WITH COOLIO!

 

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