Patti LaBelle Dishes on Her New Cooking Show
Whether she’s holding a microphone or whipping up one of her infamous dishes, living legend Patti LaBelle shines just as bright in the kitchen as she does on stage. Straight off the success of her Patti LaBelle Pies, cookbooks, and cooking specials, the singer debuted her cooking show Patti LaBelle’s Place earlier this month on the Cooking Channel.
The six episode series is packed with superstar guests, including Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Erica Campbell, Kirk Franklin, and Naturi Naughton as Ms. LaBelle invites them into the kitchen for some serious cooking and light-hearted conversation.
But the star has a warning for viewers: “You can’t watch the show while you are hungry, because the way that food looks, it’ll draw you right in and then you’ll go eat up the whole kitchen!”
With Christmas and New Year’s right around the corner, JET caught up with the Grammy Award winning singer to dish on her new cooking series, holiday menu planning, and what’s on the horizon for 2017.
JET: How did Patti LaBelle’s Place come about?
Patti LaBelle: I’ve been cooking for a long time and we’ve had cooking shows in our mind for a while, and offers to do them but it was never the right offer. Finally, it was the right time and the right place and that’s how it was born. I have been cooking all my life so I was bound to do a cooking show. We’ve done six episodes so far and plan to do even more. God is so good!
JET: You have a good mixture of guests on the show this season, including Gayle King, Carla Hall, Estelle, and Lance Gross. How do you pick your guests for the show?
Patti LaBelle: I just call up my friends. It’s like 50 Cent said online after the show, he said he told Mariah Carey and some others to come on and do my show. So it’s really word of mouth that helps also.
JET: What is your favorite dish to cook?
Patti LaBelle: Oh there’s so many. My ‘Over the Rainbow Macaroni and Cheese’ that has the eight cheeses, potato salad, meatballs and sausage spaghetti, Japanese food–really just anything I can think of. I don’t just have one favorite. I just love to cook.
JET: Are you singing all of your hits while you are in the kitchen cooking?
Patti LaBelle: (laughs) No, and not in the shower either.
JET: What do you think it is about food that just really unites people especially during the holidays?
Patti LaBelle: You know how a good song would be a mood changer? Or like a good show would be a mood changer to the audience? A good meal is a mood changer for most people. It’s really because most people can’t cook or don’t like to cook. So, when they get a good meal, they are like well we are all in this together, happy, and grubbing at the same time.
JET: What is on the menu at Ms. Patti LaBelle’s house for Christmas?
Patti LaBelle: Oh everything! Fried chicken, ham, ribs, fried turkey, a regular turkey, macaroni and cheese, kale greens with smoked turkey. I cook a lot of food but I’m diabetic and can’t eat it all. I make sure my guests have everything they might want like brisket, all of my desserts, really just so many things. Those are just the basics.
JET: That sounds like an amazing menu! What is your advice for those that may need some help with menu planning or cooking for the holidays?
Patti LaBelle: You better get my cookbook! (laughs). If you get my cookbook, then you can learn some quick and easy recipes and just follow the steps exactly. I promise you that your food will come out just like mine. It’s been proven before.
JET: Ms. Patti, you are going to have everybody uploading their dishes from your cookbook on Instagram!
Patti LaBelle: (laughs) Well, if you aren’t a great cook and you don’t have the time to deal with the fresh foods, get some frozen veggies and butter them up and let your family and friends think you made it. They won’t know it only took you about 10 minutes. The same with the pies, you don’t always have to make the pie crust, you can buy it. That goes for the peaches that I use with my peach cobblers; since peaches are out of season right now, you can use frozen or canned peaches.
JET: Do you also have your menu planned for New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day?
Patti LaBelle: I do! Chitterlings, black eyed peas, greens, and cornbread or some kind of bread. I love to do that on New Year’s Eve. It’s fun.
JET: What can we expect from you in 2017?
Patti LaBelle: I have a cookbook coming out in April about desserts. I’m coming up with more things, not just sweets, but some savory items as well to be sold in stores. I have cobblers and no-sugar added items at Walmart that are available now. The no-sugar added sweet potato pie tastes just as good!
I also have an album coming out in April with some jazz songs. I’ll be appearing on VH1’s new series Daytime Divas as well. I’m just working and staying busy.
Check out Patti LaBelle’s Place for more information and recipes.