Cocktails, Savory Recipes and Good Jokes Between Friends Equal

Butter and brown cooking show recipes

Video Butter and brown cooking show recipes

It all started with a text message. A simple introduction is how the new cooking show Butter + Brown would eventually come to be.

Mutual friends encouraged web series host and writer Leslie Robinson and celebrity stylist and fashion writer Seth Brundle to meet, and while their chemistry wasn’t instantaneous, it didn’t take long for their shared passion for throwing into the kitchen to spark a unique and hilarious friendship with great potential for business collaboration.

With a little production help from their friend and colleague Issa Rae, Robinson and Brundle cooked up some magic on YouTube and their success on the viral video platform led them straight to their own comedy cooking show on Aspire TV that is about how to prepare delicious meals and tasty cocktails. Even better, their show is produced by none other than renowned food manufacturer Chef G. Garvin.

ESSENCE sat down with Howard and Morehouse graduates, who specialize in elevating everyday ingredients by turning them into extraordinary meals. They had a lot to say about Southern cuisine, the little chefs, and the people they’re dying to cook for (Ina Garten if you’re reading this, this is for you!)

How did your different college experiences influence your culinary styles?

Seth: It gave me exposure. [Before] going to Morehouse, my family didn’t travel much. Our idea of a vacation was to go from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. At Morehouse I really started to travel and expose myself. Not just different types of people, but different types of cuisine. My mom, I always give her credit for my palate because growing up she always exposed us to different things.

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Leslie: For me, it really was being exposed to eating out, dining. That was something that, growing up, I didn’t really do much because I come from a really big family. My mom and aunts all cooked all the time, so going to college, and especially living in D.C., where there are plenty of restaurants at your disposal, gave me a chance to really see what it was like to eat out and dine and that’s where my true love of food began. I definitely ate at home and loved all that, but, interestingly, my mother always told me that I would never know how to cook, because I was never one of those children who were under her in the kitchen. I always thought, just call me when I’m ready. She thought I was only going to live my life with takeout, but I ended up starting to love eating out food, and I wanted to go home and recreate what I had just tasted.

Who are your culinary inspirations?

Leslie: I really love Ina Garten and the fact that her whole show is all about going back to basics and elements, and it’s just about learning flavors. Once you know how to make something taste a certain way, you can do it with any kind of protein, any kind of vegetable, because now you’ve learned to build a flavor. If that’s a person I could have lunch and eat with and learn from her, I’d love to. She is the one I tuned in to all the time on Food Network.

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Seth: For me, I would definitely have to give credit to Ina as well, but I have to say Marcus Samuelsson, of course G. Garvin, who is our executive producer, and it’s an honor, and it’s still a bit surreal for both of us to have this opportunity to work with him, and to be mentored by him. He has already been through everything we are facing now. Michael Simon actually, if there was a quote, and it’s on my bio everywhere on the website and everywhere, but I always credit Michael Simon for changing my perspective on cooking. What essentially made me a great cook, he said, and I’m sure it wasn’t him who invented the quote, but it was, “learn a recipe, learn how to cook a dish, but if you learn a technique, you learn how to cook a thousand.” That completely changed my perception of myself as a cook and of cooking in general.

Leslie, how does being a mom influence or change your cooking style?

My daughter absorbs Chopped and Master Chef and all that stuff, and she says all the time, “I want to go to Master Chef, and that’s what I’m going to do.” When I prepare food at home, she sits at the table and says, ‘I’m going to judge this like Gordon Ramsey.’ She says, ‘I could use a pinch of salt,’ or something, but I’m also blessed that my son will eat. She’s a bit bougie. He was four years old and his favorite food was sushi. That’s not typical of most four-year-olds. My son is the girl who goes and orders the steak at a restaurant and says “please make sure it’s pink in the middle”. I can take her places and she can appreciate the food and I don’t burn out with having to order chicken fingers and lots of tomato sauce. I am also truly blessed to have a great husband who is truly understanding in everything I want to do. I’m not in a place where I have to give up my family to make my career, and I’m really blessed to have that opportunity.

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Who are you two dying to cook for?

Seth: Leslie and I want Ina to invite us to the Hamptons, so please, please, please! My answer is probably more cliché, but I’d love to cook, sit down and dine with the Obamas, but after they leave the White House. And I just want to invite you over to dinner and have a genuine conversation. Have a couple of glasses of bourbon, or wine, or whatever, and just ask them a bunch of questions about their White House experience, the bachelor’s degree, and what it’s been like to be President and First Lady. I’d love that.

Carmen: I want to cook for Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson. I think it would be a lot of fun to cook, and they would be fun. I think it would be a riot dinner, and it would be great to even record it, because I can only imagine the jokes that would come out of it.

Butter + Brown airs Thursdays at 11 AM on Aspire TV.

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