It was a rap fan’s paradise at Hill Country Brooklyn, 345 Adams Street, on Wednesday, February 24, as Grammy-award winning rapper, cookbook author and TV personality Coolio popped into the barbecue joint to share some recipes, laughs and a surprise performance.
The event was part of special series that takes place at the restaurant/bar where celebrity guests come down to serve as pitmaster for the night and participate in a discussion and audience Q&A.
“This is our fourth installment of the Brisket Sessions here at Hill Country,” said Hill Country’s Corporate Chef Charles Grund Jr. “We’ve had Seth Meyers here before, we’ve had Jake Silverstein, editor and chief at The New York Times Magazine, and, this evening, we are honored to have Coolio and Stephanie Smith, former Page Six writer at The New York Post, former Yahoo Food editor and author of 300 Sandwiches, so [we] welcome [them].”
Smith asked Coolio about his favorite recipes, where his inspiration for cooking comes from and how he went from rapper to chef.
“My mother made me do all the stuff in the kitchen that she didn’t want to do,” said Coolio of his late mother, who he credits with giving him a passion for cooking. “[She] said if you want to eat and learn how to cook, you’re going to need to be a part of the cooking process. I started cooking seriously [when] my mother passed away.”
“I started asking people in my family, ‘how did my mother make this?’ and ‘how did my mother make that?’ he continued. “I just started doing it and from that process, I figured out that I had a refined palate.”
From that refined palate came his cookbook success and the recipe for his “Damn Hot Veggie Chili,” which he stepped behind the meat counter to serve to attendees at the event.
“I cook with love and I cook with skill,” said Coolio who penned the cookbook called Cookin’ with Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price in 2009. “The thing about a recipe is, it’s a recipe. You follow a recipe and it’s going to come out the same every time if you do things the same.”
The night ended with a book-signing and photo opportunity followed by a three-song performance.
The proceeds from the night’s cookbook sales went toward the Jarez Music Foundation – an organization started by his cousin, saxophone player and smooth jazz recording artist Jarez Posey – that supplies musical equipment to inner-city kids.