Interview with Chef Gabe Kennedy Interview with Chef Gabe Kennedy

From rap beats to roasted carrots, our friend Chef Gabe Kennedy is all about fresh, inspiring flavors. 

If you’ve encountered the Skratch Labs food trailer on the road in the past year, you likely heard rap beats and lyrics pouring from the windows, and had the chance to eat something delicious, fresh and inspired by one of our dear friends and culinary team members, Chef Gabe Kennedy. Raised in Boulder, he grew up in the Skratch Labs backyard so perhaps it isn’t surprising that his culinary philosophy - honed through his experiences at esteemed restaurants the world over, as a private chef for tastemakers, celebrities and athletes, and as winner of “The Taste” - is in line with our own; we believe that food intimately connects us to one another and more deeply to ourselves. Gabe's work is proof that food has the power not only to nourish, but to inspire so we sat him down to chat about his thoughts and history with food (and of course his infamous food raps! Here’s what he had to share with us:

When did you fall in love with being in the kitchen? How did you become a chef?

I fell in love with food from a young age. I quickly realized that food is the most intimate interaction we have with nature, and often with each other. The potential for impact is enormous, and being able to translate environment to something that for lack of a better description, becomes part of us. You are what you eat you know? More specifically, as a kid, I traveled with my parents. Being in a variety of places, such as Indonesia and not speaking the language, food became the primary way I would relate to people...at the age of 14 decided that I would get my first restaurant job after reading Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen confidential… I got a job at a local Italian joint and the rest is history.

Chef Gabe captures the 'grams of his delicious spread in a parking lot at Ride on Atlanta. 

Chef Gabe captures the 'grams of his delicious spread in a parking lot at Ride on Atlanta. 

 

Tell us one ingredient you love to work with.

I love honey! It has a rich depth in its sweetness, it is medicinal and of course, bees are essential to the environment, our food ecosystem and planet!

You rap about food and it's awesome. When did you write your first rap song?

I started learning how to play music when I was about 4 years old… I started making hip hop and singing when I was in high school as a form of release… the food music came came to fruition when I took a hip hop class at Cornell.

You've been cooking for athletes as part of our Skratch Labs team for nearly two years now; how is this different than other "cooking gigs?”

Not to say other cooking gigs are not fun, but working with Scratch is always a total blast! It is a big challenge logistically having to cook out of the trailer, but it adds a sense of adventure that is hard to find else where. City to city, town to town, market to market, everything is new and I really love that.

You've contributed to the menu creation for us at a few events, most recently Ride on Atlanta. What considerations do you make when cooking for cyclists as opposed to other enthusiastic eaters?

As far as cooking for athletes, it is a whole different animal. Ultimately we are striving to optimize their performance, and also provide them with the sustenance needed to ride great lengths, so there is a great deal of ‘scientific’ and flavor consideration when it comes to what we cook. The athletes tend to eat a lot as well, so the flavors must be something that one would crave, but never overload on. For example, at a restaurant with a multi-course tasting, I try to have very distinct, flavors, levels etc. where one or two bites is great, but you may not want to have two full plates. When I cook for cyclists, I am trying to get them to eat more, so the flavors must be different!

Can you draw (and photograph) your favorite meal for us?

 

You've been working on an avocado rap...can you share the lyrics? 

The first time I had you I didn't really want you but now I eat you every morning always down to flaunt you.
Perfect perfect pricey but you're worth it magic be inside when I cracked the wrinkled surface.
silky smooth and green beautiful you shine you glean.
healthy fat the perfect substitute for cream.
I eat you up for breakfast with a juicy ripe tomato, blend you up for dinner for a silky green Alfredo - you growing next to my favorite exotic fruit be the mango -  I love you could we just have this dance we call it tango. 
perfect plan texture insane. I wake up every morning avocado on my brain. 
no no I don't take my cado's slightly,  cooling my mouth if I'm eating something spicy, caught green handled avo stains on my white tee, and if you was a woman I would make you my wife. let's face it we started a cultural phenomenon the proof is in the toast so we really got it going on.
But sometimes you're hard, sometimes too soft, I got to be honest when you're Brown you turn me off. 
so let's pick through the imperfections runs parallel to life so let's start the reflection aztecs text say you're so good for my erection, biotin in my skin good for my complexion what's up. 
Yolo be the motto when we eating avocado. pricey pricey but you worth it. 

You made Charred Carrots at Ride on Atlanta that kept us swooning for days afterwards. Can you share the recipe (and what you'd do with the leftovers?) 

Of course! I would use those cold roasted carrots in a salad, as a side for grilled piece of meat or fish, or just eat it straight out of that glass tupperware!

Charred Maple Carrots w/Sumac Yogurt

Ingredients

  • Carrots - 2 lbs skin on and tops trimmed
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil - to coat about 3 tbsp
  • Maple Syrup - 3 tbsp

Spice Rub

  • Paprika - 2 tbsp
  • Smoked Paprika - 1 tbsp
  • Cumin - toasted and ground 2 tsp
  • Fennel Seed - toasted and ground 2 tsp
  • Celery Salt - 2 tsp
  • Black Pepper - 2 tsp
     

Sumac Yogurt

  • Non fat greek yogurt - 2 cups
  • Buttermilk (optional) - 1/2 cup
  • Lemon Juice - 1 tbsp
  • Sumac - 1 tbsp
  • Salt and Black pepper - to taste
  •  
  • Pistachios, mint and dill to garnish. About 1/4 cup of each. 


Instructions

Carrots - Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and preheat grill to medium high heat.  As it is heating up, wash and trim carrots. Toast spices and blend spice mixture. Add prepared carrots to the water and boil for about 4 min or until a knife can be pushed through with a bit of resistance. Remove carrots and shock in ice bath, or run under cool water. Let dry. Drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup. Then sprinkle spice mixture. Place carrots on grill and grill on all sides until charred, about 10 min.

Yogurt - Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. 

To Finish - place carrots on a serving platter and drizzle with yogurt, top with pistachio, mint and dill. 

Of course! I would use those cold roasted carrots in a salad, as a side for grilled piece of meat or fish, or just eat it straight out of that glass tupperware!

Chef Gabe takes a sunset spin along the California Coast after finishing service at Sea Otter Festival in Monterrey, California.

Chef Gabe takes a sunset spin along the California Coast after finishing service at Sea Otter Festival in Monterrey, California.