It’s a little-disputed fact that Paul Oakenfold lives at the top of the world’s best DJ lists. He even won DJ Magazine’s top honor back-to-back in ’99 and ’00 and lands the highest ranks of global lists to this day. The London-born DJ may be a jet-setting beat factory now, but before he ever hit the turntables he was chopping vegetables and making stocks in culinary school.
What’s better than being a world-famous DJ? A world-famous DJ who can throw down like crazy in the kitchen (and has a really solid cooking playlist). I asked about the details on having two very popular and useful skills at his disposal.
One thing chefs and DJs have in common is a love of the game, cause there’s usually no money in it. Any advice for our broke chefs and DJs on sticking it out?
It’s passion foremost, and with passion if you become really good, the money will come. My advice would be to stick at it and become the best you can.
So you had a formal culinary education at Le Cordon Bleu?
Yes, I passed my four-year program at Le Cordon Bleu in London. I’m a fully qualified French cuisine chef.
Ever seen any really bad kitchen injuries?
Nothing more than a couple of burns here and there. To be honest, when you’re working with experts in the kitchen there’s no cutting limbs off, no fingers or stuff like that.
What’s your current favorite food city in the world?
I really enjoy Buenos Aires for a bunch of reasons, but there are great restaurants and the meat’s really good. I also like the grills they have.
What was the last meal you made at home?
I made a traditional English roast dinner for friends: beef, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, vegetables and gravy.
Who was the last great chef you encountered?
I had a fantastic dinner party last week done by Govind Armstrong. The cheese board was unbelievable and he’s really good with meat. We had artichokes for an appetizer.
You helped bring up Goa as a global party city. Being from London where Indian food is plentiful, how do you find the cuisine down in the south?
It’s great. In India, I eat loads of curry. It’s strange, because growing up in London, curry’s a really big dish, very popular, actually the most popular dish now. Curry’s the national dish, beyond fish and chips, meat pies or anything like that. Then you go to India and it’s completely different, a LOT spicier.
You also established Las Vegas as a residency spot for top DJs. How has the dining in Vegas evolved in the last decade?
I find a lot of restaurants that are successful in different ways in America end up trying to open or do actually end up opening in Vegas — mainly more-established names. I tend to eat in those places. I like 9 Steakhouse at the Palms Casino.
You’re regularly ranked by music publications as the best DJ in the world, so you definitely have license to name the best chef. Who is it?
I really like what Jamie Oliver does. He’s just natural and he doesn’t really play by rules. He’s very adventurous in his presentation and what he does. But at the same time I really like Heston Blumenthal — that’s a completely different approach. I’d say both of them.
Hypothetical situation: You’re about to release a sandwich called the Pop Killer. What’s in it?
I’d have to see how these combinations work out but I’d start with avocado, cole slaw, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, cheese, ham, salt and pepper and little bit of mayo. That’s a Pop Killer.
[More DJs who love food: All coverage from our annual DJ Weeks]
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