Cooking With Mantra
What were your food influences when you were growing up and what kind of food did you eat at home or with your family?
I was surrounded by all kinds of different foods growing up. My folks used to cook foods of all sorts, my mum especially was quite creative in the kitchen. She was always cooking mean curries and Asian dishes. I grew up in a really multicultural area too, so I was always exposed to food from around the world, particularly Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern food. It was awesome
What dish or cuisine do you most like to eat on tour and why?
When I’m on the road I like to keep it as healthy as possible. Because you’re travelling so much and performing all the time your diet is really important. That said, it can be really difficult sometimes. When you finish a gig at 2am in a small regional town and you haven’t had dinner yet, your healthy eating options can be somewhat limited! The safest bet on the road for me is usually Asian spots, like Japanese or Thai, as they’re generally light and pretty nutritious. And fruit. Always carry lots of fruit on the tour bus.
What type of food do you hate, and what is the most disgusting thing you’ve ever eaten? Tell us the story.
I’m not sure if I really HATE any particular food, I’m a far less fussy eater than I used to be. I’ve eaten some pretty weird stuff though. In China I tried all sorts of crazy shit. Chicken hearts, duck intestines, ox tongue. I think the grossest thing I ate over there was the swim bladder of a fish. It didn’t really have any flavour, but the texture was kinda like an overcooked baby octopus covered in snot.
What type of food do you make sure to avoid before a gig or going on stage?
I’ve had some bad food experiences before gigs actually. In Wollongong I ate a chicken burger and it was so hot that I burned my mouth and found it really hard to rap during my set. But the worst was eating a dodgy curry and ending up bolting to the bathroom 10 minutes before me and my band had to play. I was stuck in a toilet with a door that didn’t lock, at a grimy Melbourne pub, and I was supposed to be on stage. The band literally had to start without me and I had to walk on sheepishly during the first song, still unsure if my bowels were going to make it through the entire show.
Imagine for a second you can request anything on your rider at a gig. What food do you put on it?
Either really good Japanese, or dumplings. Though neither of these are things I would necessarily trust if they were being supplied by some of the venues I’ve played in around the country! Plus, if I could ask for ANYTHING, I’d probably ask for lobster, cooked in champagne, served with truffles and caviar.
What has been your biggest cooking disaster to date?
I’ve had a couple of incidents. One was pouring too much red wine into a pan that was too hot and melting the top of my range hood thingy. Not to mention getting specks of exploded wine ALL over EVERY wall in the kitchen. I also put a boiling hot saucepan on top of a plastic chopping board and forgot about it. They’re still stuck together to this day. It actually looks kinda cool. I can’t use them for cooking anymore so maybe I should put them in a modern art gallery somewhere…
When you tour overseas, what food from home do you miss the most?
There’s a café that I go to in my home suburb of Brunswick called La Paloma and they make the perfect roll. Pastrami, cheese, avacado, cucumber, tomato, basil and home-made mayo on the best bread you can imagine. I’ve never tried crack, but I’m sure this roll is more addictive.
This is your last day on earth, what is your final meal?
I reckon if it was my last day on earth I would be after something of sentimental value. My mum makes the most incredible roast lamb, and it can warm my soul no matter what might be happening in my life. So I reckon my last meal would have to be roast lamb, with mad crispy potatoes and roast veggies, plus my mama’s PHAT gravy. Boom. I can die happy.
CATCH MANTRA AT SPRUNG HIP HOP FESTIVAL 2012 - Saturday 10th November – RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane QLD
Tickets on sale through Oztix, www.oztix.com.au
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 x cloves garlic, sliced
1 whole leg of lamb, about 2 to 3kg
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 20 minutes
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