In Stockholm, it was the cookies—black sesame, wasabi and white chocolate, or maybe gluten-free dark chocolate coconut and almonds—that signaled Beyoncé’s dancers, crew, and her way back to Grant Bird.
Mr. Bird is an English pastry chef and one of the 14 culinary specialists on Beyoncé’s current Renaissance World Tour, which has also employed a vegan chef and three personal chefs for Queen B and her inner circle.
After catching Covid during rehearsals in Paris, Mr. Bird had to take a week’s break, leaving dessert duties for the 400 to 600 crew members to two replacement chefs. By then the crew had become accustomed to his lavish desserts, which often had dozens of different offerings at both lunch and dinner. The diluted dessert menu spoke of his absence.
So when the crew again saw his signature spread of hundreds of cookies in several varieties, they knew he was back. “It was brunch, and the whole dining room applauded,” said Mr. Bird, who has also cooked for Carrie Underwood, Justin Bieber, and Mötley Crüe. “They just thought, ‘He should come back.'” Because they only know of method.”
Yes, Beyoncé is one of the biggest stars in the world, but traveling with a cadre of chefs just isn’t a flexible person. Many traveling artists now take several professional chefs, not to mention entire mobile kitchens, on the road with them for the sake of efficiency, health, and morale.
While idiosyncrasies like Van Halen bans brown M&Ms Becoming a familiar tradition, the suspension of concerts during the Covid years has reset the industry, with an emphasis on wellness. Many tours now include a vegan chef, for example, and prioritize physical and mental well-being as well as reducing environmental impact.
“Before that, in the early 80’s and 90’s, it was a party thing – cocaine and whatever they wanted. “Now it’s just a business,” said Gray Rollin, a longtime chef at Linkin Park who has also cooked on tours for Prince, Madonna and Tori Amos. “We have one job to do, and that job is to put that talent on stage. Make sure the show goes flawlessly. And then do it again the next day.”
Joking about Linkin Park’s 2014 tour and Thirty Seconds to Mars, he added, “It was called Carnivore tourbut 14 of the 16 guys we cooked for were vegetarians.”
James Digby, a veteran tour director who just finished working on the European leg of Avril Lavigne’s tour, is familiar with these demands.
“You can’t get a non-vegetarian catering meal on a Paul McCartney tour. That’s a challenge. Because most of the ways I know are carnivorous,” said Mr. Digby. “If an artist is trying to change the world, one tour at a time, by saying that Everyone is vegan, my job is to echo that.”
No matter the kitchen, the production requirements are great. The industry standard for a major tour requires four meals on set-up and show-days: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a post-concert meal, often eaten on the bus.
“An army walks on its stomach, so you have to feed the troops,” Digby said. By troop, he meant the band, backup singers, dancers, stage builders, pyrotechnics crew, security guards, managers, bus drivers, and all the other people involved in the high-stakes business of live entertainment.
At Lizzo’s recent show at the Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert, California, lunch featured a smoothie station with a basket of vegetables ready for the blender. There were corn dogs, fried chicken nuggets, and vegan impossible chips, plus couscous, squash, carrots, and biscuits.
All prepared in the arena kitchen. Usually, though, Latitude 45the company responsible for the artists’ culinary operations private tourChefs in an elaborate mobile kitchen packed into specialized airline bags and reassembled in each new city.
Custom-designed kitchens, including cabinets, shelves, ovens, and workstations, have been constructed to maximize space and efficiency, said Chris Mitchell, owner of the company, and provide an elusive sense of “same” on the road.
He said, “Everything has a place, and it returns to the same place every day.” “If someone in the kitchen needs a stainless steel bowl—and without looking most of the time—they can just point and say, ‘Would you please give me a third bowl in that pile over there?'” “
HSG CateringThe company is headquartered in Chicago and is currently in operation eric church tour, It uses 53-foot mobile kitchens that have a walk-in freezer, large cooler, and an 80-gallon water heater. One unit is equipped with a meat smoker, wood-fired grill, convection ovens and a machine that can “send out 300 steaks in one go,” HSG president Bob Schneberger said.
While chefs sometimes accompany artists on private planes or in armored cars, police escorts, cooks and bakers on the road can also place them in makeshift generator-powered kitchens in fields or parking lots.
Mr. Mitchell says the job requires a certain kind of person who enjoys troubleshooting and is constantly on the go, and can afford to sleep on tour buses for months at a time. The conditions cultivate a sort of brotherhood—many of the chefs proudly wear T-shirts from previous tours.
There is also a big risk aspect, which is the aspect of testing the royal food at the party.
“A case of food poisoning, and you’ve been canceling shows for at least 48 hours,” said Mr Digby. With shows getting bigger and ticket prices ever higher, an incident like this can put millions of dollars at risk.
One thing that probably hasn’t changed much over time is the eclecticism of the artists, who definitely have their likes and dislikes.
“Gene Simmons used to like his turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and pickles on the side,” said Mr. Rollin, who cooked for Case bassist in 2008 and 2009. “But then he never touched lettuce, pickles, and tomato, never.” Jared Leto wants organic purple popcorn with every meal.
Travel can also make it difficult to obtain desired foods. In the 1990s, Digby said, Marilyn Manson insisted on Kraft Mac and Cheese, so the boxes were shipped to England. “Guess what? Kraft manufactures different types of Kraft macaroni and cheese for English consumers.”
Mr. Bird, who cooked for K-pop group Blackpink in Chicago last summer, said the group brought a separate truck just to transport their favorite brands of instant ramen. Like some other restaurateurs who have worked on K-pop tours, Mr. Bird was impressed by the focus on their culinary operations. “They have a lot of food stations and different things. I’ve never seen that before.”
For Beyoncé, Mr. Bird sends bowls of fruit and cookies to her dressing room. And though he couldn’t say for sure what the pop star’s favorite was, he noted: “As far as I know, the ones that are particularly eaten are Reese’s cupcakes”—a specialty Mr. Bird has a vanilla base with Belgian milk chocolate and pieces of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups tucked throughout.
In addition to the increased demand for his confectionery, Mr. Bird was touched to see his name on Online credits for renaissance tour.
said Mr. Bird, who is currently on tour with Country singer Sam Hunt. “But they never mentioned that they were traveling with us to deliver food.”
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