Sasha Perl-Raver of "The Private Chefs of Beverly Hills" Cooks to AC/DC and Jay-Z
Thu, 14 Oct 2010 08:46:13
Being one of The Private Chefs of Beverly Hills isn't all that different from being a rock star.
The chosen six chefs on Food Network's Private Chefs of Beverly Hills get to hang out with celebrities, put on their own kind of crazy show and navigate some of Los Angeles's most intriguing circles. Instead of ripping on stage, they're tearing up the kitchen and stirring up some utterly delectable dishes for an über¬-exclusive clientele with a myriad of requests and appetites.
Sasha Perl-Raver is far and away the most rock 'n' roll chef on The Private Chefs of Beverly Hills, and she shared some of the best songs to cook to and more with ARTISTdirect.com in this exclusive piece.
What attracted you to "Private Chefs of Beverly Hills?"
When Food Network invites you to be part of their family, what else do you say other than, "Yes, please!"? I've been obsessed with cooking and food since I was a little kid; it's just been this odd preoccupation I've had for as long as I can remember. To be on Food Network, which I've been obsessed with since I was a teenager, is a dream come true.
Do you ever listen to music while you cook? What songs artists work the best?
I always listen to music when I make food and, if there's not music playing, I usually sing, which sometimes gets me in trouble when we're shooting because it's hard to clear music rights. I'm a firm believer that whatever you have going on emotionally when you're cooking ends up in the food. I try to have as much fun as possible because I think people can taste and feel it. It helps set the food mood which you ingest too.
Recently, I was cooking for a celebrity who was preparing for a film role where they need to be really jacked. I would head to the kitchen, put on my iPod and rock out. Ludacris is great to cook to, so is Jay-Z. I've had The Blueprint III on repeat for months now. AC/DC, Lil Wayne, my all time favorite, The Beastie Boys; that got a lot of play. When I was younger, I would put on the cast recording of Jelly's Last Jam and make Southern food. If I'm prepping something romantic, I'll go with Robin Thicke, Adele and Ray LaMontagne. I get songs stuck in my head really easily and they become my soundtrack. This season, whenever things would get stressful, the same song would pop into my head over and over; Florence and the Machine's "Cosmic Love." That tune is so epic.
What was the most intricate dish you had to make on the show?
Last season a client requested a very specific Tahitian Vanilla Cake, and it became one of the big scandals of the season. Some people loved it, some people hated it. Personally, I thought it was radical. However, it was a beast to put together. It started with three layers of Tahitian Vanilla White Cake. Then I had to make Tahitian Vanilla White Chocolate Mousse which was topped with fresh raspberries and sandwiched between each of the cake’s layers. Then came White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting to ice the whole thing before topping it was raspberries, edible gold and tropical cocktail umbrellas to tie in the island theme and make the cake whimsical. Some folks didn’t get the reference. This season, there were a few courses that took some years off of my life. One of them was in the premiere when we cooked for Lorenzo Lamas. I decided to make fresh Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms in a Chimichurri Broth—for like 50 people. That was a super bad call on my part. Gnocchi is so delicate, it goes from pillow-y to leaden very easily and it’s really labor intensive. Making it for five people; sure. For fifty? Never again.
Was there an instant chemistry between you and the other chefs?
We all clicked pretty immediately, but I have to admit I have a very special place in my heart for Brian, probably because I shot my first episode with him so I feel our bond runs even deeper. I knighted us "Team Awesome." From the moment we met, I felt like he was family. But all of the chefs are awesome.
What's your most surreal kitchen moment?
We cooked for Peter Brady, aka Christopher Knight, this season and everything about that felt like an awesome out of body experience. Like I was Alice having a fever dream. Meeting Lorenzo Lamas at the Ducati showroom was pretty surreal too. Renegade in a bike shop!?!? How cool is that?
Is there a rhythm inherent to cooking?
Hells to the yeah! It’s all about rhythm and timing. Cooking is kind of like improvisational jazz; it seems like a total free-for-all, but if you're on it and really great at what you do, you can make something beautiful. If not, it ends up being a painful experience for everyone involved.
What's your favorite moment on the show so far?
That's a hard question for me to answer. I don't enjoy watching the show actually. Not because it's not a good show but because when I see myself on TV all I can think is, "Oh GOD! Do I really sound like that? Does my face really look like that? Did I just do that?" It's like that thing that happens when you hear yourself on an answering machine, but so much worse. Having said that, I think my favorite moment was when Brooke and I cooked for Peter Brady and he kissed my cheek. I melted a little bit. Also when we were with Lorenzo, I was gushing about how much I loved Are You Hot or Not and he told me I could have been on the show. He didn’t say in what category, but I'm gonna take it as a compliment and run. He also called my food—I think it was, "a carnival of flavors." For the win!
What's the most rock 'n' roll dish you've ever had?