Have a rock star cook your dinner (and serenade you after)
Oahu boy Frank Orrall was a linchpin of the Honolulu music scene back in the 1980s, then as the co-founder of Poi Dog Pondering he left for the Mainland, and the big time. (The band’s debut album was released with Columbia Records.) Today Orrall is still leader of a loose confederation of Poi Dog Pondering members (they played at this year’s South by Southwest festival), and travels the world with Thievery Corporation.
Now based in Chicago, the singer-songwriter-drummer-guitarist has developed another persona—Chef Franc. An excellent, self-taught cook, Orrall has a side gig as chef-musician for hire. Chicagoans secure his services for the night and Chef Franc comes over with all the ingredients, cooks in their kitchen, dines with them, plays the guitar and sings—and does the dishes too.
Orrall’s heart is still in Honolulu, and he just happens to be in town for a special solo show at the Doris Duke Theatre. As a bonus? Chef Franc is available through May 25.
On Sunday I experienced a Chef Franc night at a Kaimuki home. Orrall had bought most of his ingredients at the KCC Farmers’ Market the day before, and he cooked up grilled wild-caught salmon with a gingery sauce (perfectly paired with a Vouvray), shiso-spiked vegetarian gyoza (done by his friend), and his trademark shredded Brussels sprouts salad, rich with Parmesan and marcona almonds. We talked for two hours over the spread—conversation topics ranged from a life-changing experience at a Jimi Hendrix concert (with Sly and the Family Stone opening!) to a death-defying afternoon at Spitting Caves. Then Orrall played a Poi Dog tune, and the Seu Jorge sambified version of David Bowie’s Changes.
Wanna hire Chef Franc? For $300 and $40 per person, you get a full meal, wine pairing, and a mini solo concert in your home. “I ask people to tell me what they like, what they don’t like, whether they have any food allergies, and I go from there.” (I hosted a Chef Franc night in February, and I highly recommend his Spanish oxtail stew. My guests were begging to take leftovers home.) It is a one-of-a-kind food experience. Gives new meaning to the term “dinner and a show.”
Chef Franc: firstname.lastname@example.org, 312-493-4640.
Dining editor John Heckathorn is on vacation. While he's gone, we'll feature some of his "best hits," as well as new content from our guest blogger, Lesa Griffith, and other editors.