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From Rapper to Chef, Lyrics Born Plays on

Dinner In Place - Lyrics Born with S4E6 Unagi Banh Boi

Lyrics Born, an Asian-American MC who blasted onto the hip-hop scene in the ‘90s, has found a new passion in cooking. Although acclaimed for his significant contribution to hip-hop (Lyrics Born’s album Later That Day was listed as one of Rolling Stone’s 200 Greatest Hip-Hop Albums of All Time), the pandemic birthed a new love for the musician – and as a result, his cooking show, Dinner in Place, recently wrapped its fourth season.

His web-based cooking series, which streams on YouTube, showcases easy, healthy, and delicious recipes that are ideal for time-strapped eaters looking for something that doesn’t take longer than 45 minutes to prepare. Pulling inspiration from his Japanese and Jewish background, Lyrics Born celebrates multiculturalism through his show, introducing viewers to new and unexpected flavor pairings. Additionally, this latest season of Dinner in Place is the first to welcome guest celebrity chefs, including Top Chef Masters champion Chris Cosentino, Gil Payumo of Señor Sisig, and Top Chef’s Nelson German.

We got to chat with the multi-hyphenate about his foray into cooking, the parallels between music and food, and the inspiration behind his dishes.

What made you want to start your own cooking show?

I was bored and hungry during the pandemic and all the restaurants were closed. I always loved cooking (and eating), so we delved deeper during that three year period. I never intended for it to develop into a “thing,” but after shooting and posting on IG stories once, the fan reaction made it clear that it had legs as a concept.

How has your background influenced the dishes you make on the show?

I fuse my cultural and travel experience into my recipes. Also, as a working father, it’s a must that we get these recipes done in about 45 minutes or less so that the viewer can do so as well. I don’t want you to be dazzled by my recipes, I want you to be able to make delicious, creative dishes at home yourself.

Why was it important for you to showcase time budget friendly recipes?

As human beings we are all busy juggling gigs, family, schedules, dietary preferences, and restrictions. Nobody, including myself, has the time (or sometimes the desire) to spend hours and hours in the kitchen figuring out some green beans. I recognize we need something creative and delicious on the table ASAP so we can get down to the biz of eating.

Has food always had a significant role in your life? 

It’s always been significant, but more so now that I understand the healing value it carries. Beyond the taste and nutritional value, which are extremely important, good food breaks down cultural barriers and creates dialogue in ways we don’t realize. I’ve never had a shitty conversation over a great meal.

Your recipes are largely inspired by your Japanese and Jewish background. What are some of your favorite flavors and fusion dishes from these cultures?

Soooooo many. The Judon, the murasaki sweet potato latkes, the everything bagel sushi roll. It’s endless.

Have you had a favorite dish from the show?

My favorite dish from season 4 has got to be the vegan everything bagel sushi roll. It’s so satisfying.

What parallels do you see between making music and making food?

It’s the same. I sit back and pull concepts and ideas from my imagination and then work them out in the kitchen in the same way I would songs in the studio. If I’m collaborating with another chef to co-create a recipe, it’s like working on a collab with another artist/producer/musician to create a tune.

This season you have guest chefs on the show. How has that been?

Amazing! They all come from different backgrounds and areas of expertise and taste, but have all been so generous with their time and talent. I’ve learned so much from them, it’s been fantastic.

Where do you see the show going in the future?

We’re at 2 million views across all platforms! We will be on a network shortly.


Amanda Mactas

Amanda Mactas is a NYC-based food, travel and lifestyle writer. She is currently the Food & Travel Editor at Bella Magazine and has written for publications such as PureWow, Wine4Food and The Daily Meal


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