(AllHipHop Feature) Ask Brooklyn based Chef Roblé Ali about his love for Hip Hop and the high-profile caterer to the world’s biggest celebrities will run off a list of his favorite rap acts that includes Public Enemy, Jay-Z, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, The Notorious B.I.G., EPMD, UGK, Rakim, Snoop, and his number one rapper all of time Ghostface Killah. He will also excitedly share that Kid Cudi’s latest album Indicud has been on repeat since it was released, and he’ll give props to Kanye West’s artistry and sense of style.
While Roblé is an admitted die-hard fan of the culture he is not a fan of carrying the tag of “Hip Hop Chef.” Not because the star of Bravo’s reality series Roblé & Co. feels the term is negative or derogatory. Roblé just thinks he should not have to wear any labels.
“When I first starting getting attention some blogger slapped the term ‘The Hip Hop Chef’ on me. If I was a young Asian guy or young white guy or a young Latino guy would they be calling me the ‘Hip Hop Chef’? No,” explains Roblé. “I love Hip Hop. I grew up on it, but I’m just a guy that cooks. I don’t want to get stuck in some box. That’s all it is.”
Roblé has catered for some of Hip Hop’s elite. Kanye West, 50 Cent, Russell Simmons, Kevin Liles, and Steve Stoute have all hired Roblé for events. The King Of Pop Michael Jackson has tasted his cuisine, and last year he got the ultimate co-sign when he was tapped to cook for President Barack Obama at a $38,000 a plate gathering hosted by Spike Lee.
In 2011, Roblé took his talents to cable television, but don’t think Top Chef or Hell’s Kitchen. Chef Roblé & Co. is an hour-long program that follows the ups-and-downs of Ali, his sister Jasmine, and the rest of his team as they build his catering business.
“It’s not a competition show. It’s not really a cooking show,” says Ali. “It’s a dramedy about a group of people at a catering company that caters to fabulous people for amazing events and have a good time doing it. Some drama, but more than anything else I think it’s comedy.”
Ms. Drama of "The Gossip Game" fame also sat down with Chef Roblé. Here's the video.
Roblé seems to love comedy as much as he loves cooking and Hip Hop, so it only makes sense that he would combine all three for his next project. Ali is teaming up with his sous chef and friend since high school Ché “Gravy” Gaines and "professional eater" Jason “J. Brew” Brewster to form the parody group the Food Tang Clan.
The trio already has ten songs done for their upcoming Watch The Stove mixtape. The comedic album will feature the tracks “Yams A Make Her Dance," “F.R.E.A.M. (Food Rules Everything Around Me),” and “Grubbin’ Problems.”
“We’ll be in the kitchen playing around making freestyle parodies of rap songs. We got so good at it I was like we should get in the studio and make a couple of songs,” says Roblé. “We’re not really trying to be rappers. It’s just comedy.”
While Roblé clearly does not take his rap career to seriously, he does recognize that as the only African-American chef with his own prime-time show, he carries the responsibility of being a positive representation for his viewers.
“Whether I like it not, I know that I am [a role model], so I try to carry myself the best way I can and stay out of trouble,” says Roblé. “I know this [show] is inspirational to people, because I hear it everyday on Instagram and Twitter. People are always letting me know like, 'hey my son wants to be a chef because of watching your show'.”
With season 2 of Roblé & Co. set to debut this week, the aspiring comic rapper possibly stepping into the role as Hip Hop’s “Weird Al” Yankovic, and promoting the sales of his Food Porn clothing line, Chef Roblé has a lot on his plate. According to Ali, it's his fans that keep him going.
“I get a lot of constant positive feedback, so it let’s me know to keep doing what I’m doing.”
Season 2 of Chef Roblé & Co. will debut Wednesday, June 5th at 10 PM/9 Central on Bravo.
Watch the season 2 trailer for Chef Roblé & Co. featuring appearances from Questlove, Amar’e Stoudamire, and Michael Strahan below.
photo credit: Jesse Frohman