Frank Orrall: May Music Box Guest Chef #2

May’s Culinarie Kit will be filled with interesting, delectable ingredients like usual, but will also carry the songs of spring! All of the recipes in this month’s box will be written by Guest Chefs who are foodie musicians. In this mini blog series, you’ll get to know each of them a little better. Sign up for May’s Culinarie Kit here.

Frank Orrall is an electronic and acoustic musician, vocalist, songwriter and a captivating frontperson to top it all off. He certainly keeps himself busy with legendary pop-funk powerhouse Poi Dog Pondering, his electronic project 8fatfat8, and as a percussionist for Thievery Corporation.

Despite such a busy schedule, Frank is as prolific in the kitchen as he is in the studio! Under the name Chef Franc, Orrall provides the entertainment and the edibles for fans’ and friends’ dinner parties. Culinarie Kit was lucky enough to snag him as a Guest Chef for this month!

Here’s a little more about Frank in his own words:

Culinarie Kit: What inspired your love for cooking?
Frank Orrall: I love a good dinner party. I love to sit down with friends over tasty food and nice wine, and talk and laugh, brainstorm and listen to music. I like what happens to conversation when people get lubricated and lifted by deliciousness. I like it when the guitars come out later in the evening.
We live in an amazing time for food. So many people doing interesting things with food. Produce is getting varied and plentiful. It’s inspiring.

CK: Do you have any professional cooking experience?
FO: No. I’ve worked almost every position in a restaurant (dishwasher, busboy, waiter, bar back, food prep etc.,) but never on the cook line. All my experience so far has been from watching people cook, experimenting with recipes, trying to re-create favorite dishes I’ve had at restaurants.

CK: What’s your favorite music to listen to when you’re in the kitchen?
FO: All kinds. But lately, Brazilian music for the most part. Big Band, 50’s and 60’s Jazz. Instrumental.

CK: What’s the best meal you’ve had on tour?
FO: We were in Bologna Italy, with a day off, on a Sunday. Many of the restaurants had closed. We asked the gentleman at the front desk of the family style hotel we were at, if there was a restaurant open in the area, he said “not really, I will make you something”. He sat us down at an outdoor table in the back yard of the hotel, brought out wine and water, and started to cook for us. Plate after plate of food. We didn’t order a thing. He just cooked what ever he had available in his kitchen and placed it on the table. It was beautiful. He just took charge. I love that he decided for us. We were in his hands. It was delicious. Simple and perfect.

CK: The worst?
FO: This past summer, on a Thievery Corporation tour, we played at the Wakarusa Music Festival in Arkansas. We got booked into some terrible “America’s Best Value Inn” in a depressing little town with nothing but a Taco Bell/KFC combo “restaurant” and a Love’s truck stop. That was it. I swore off fast food places a decade ago, so I was pretty much fucked. I went through the Love’s truck stop and tried to find something. Everything looked disgusting. And depressing: kids and grown-ups drinking giant sodas, eating microwave pizzas.
I asked if there was a grocery store around, they said yes, and gave me directions… walked the two miles to a grocery… which turned out to be a Wal-Mart(?!). There were no vegetables. No fruit. That was what they had for a grocery store. I bought some tortillas, Monterey Jack cheese, and tinned jalapeno peppers, walked back to the hotel, and made quesadillas in a microwave. That was a dark night of the soul, ruminating on how the USA is giving up the keys to corporate food, and letting them run things.

CK: Name your favorite dish to cook.
FO: I love to slow Braise/Roast OX Tails and Habanero. One of my girlfriend’s mom was from Jamaica, she made the best Ox Tails. I used to stand in the kitchen when she cooked them so I could learn. The meat is especially rich with all the marrow and natural gelatin.
CK: If it had a theme song, what would it be?
FO: Anything by Lee Scratch Perry or Wild Tchoupitoulas

CK: What’s the weirdest/most creative way you’ve eaten on the road?
FO: When you are on the road you are always having to come up with ways to get something tasty and non corporate. We would travel with a portable espresso machine and plug it into the outlet by the gas pumps at truck stops and make coffee right there, then get back on the road. We also often traveled with a grill, and would shop and pull over in some park and grill.
Sometimes when you are on the road a lot, you miss not being able to make your own food, so if I find a nice market, I will buy some nice cheese, bread olive oil, basil and wine, and just make a simple meal on the hotel balcony.

CK: If you could have anyone cater your next tour, who would it be?
FO: Chef John Manion (Chef of: El Che Bar / La Sirena Clandestina / MAS – he’s my favorite Chef)

CK: If you could cook dinner for anyone, who would it be?
FO: My Mom. She passed away when I was young. She was the Bon Vivant of the family; loved food and wine and music. Played guitar and was a dancer. I never got to cook for her. She would be really fun to cook for.

Want to get Frank’s recipe along with a box of unique, artisan ingredients? Use coupon code FRANK to reserve your Culinarie Kit before 5/12/17, receive the May Music Box, and save $5!

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