Managers, background dancers, stage designers . . . chefs? From Beyoncé to Lizzo, more and more musicians are now having a slew of culinary experts join them on tour.
It isn’t just a flex: Many singers have several cooks in their on-the-go kitchen to improve efficiency, health, and morale, according to The New York Times. In the wake of Covid lockdowns, when concerts were postponed or canceled altogether, the industry has prioritized both mental and physical wellness while on the road.
And everyone seems to be enjoying this new outlook. Grant Bird—one of 14 culinary professionals on Beyoncé’s current Renaissance World Tour—took a weeklong break after catching Covid during rehearsals in Paris. The crew had been used to his lavish desserts, and they had less to choose from during his recovery period.
Queen Bey’s entourage apparently missed Bird’s offerings because when they were available once again, “the whole dining room applauded,” Bird said. “They just thought, ‘He’s got to be back.’ Because they just knew from the style.” In the Instagram post below, the pastry chef shared a picture that appears to be a treat he prepared from one of Bey’s European tour stops.
In addition to being great for moral, taking control of your food can be financially wise, too, as any illness can have disastrous impacts on your bottom line.
“One case of food poisoning, and you’re canceling shows for at least 48 hours,” James Digby, a veteran in the entertainment business who just wrapped up the European leg of Avril Lavigne’s tour, said. “As shows become bigger spectacles and ticket prices soar ever higher, an incident like that can put millions of dollars at risk.”
Chefs also help meet the needs of artists themselves. Latitude 45—the company that manages culinary operations for Lizzo’s Special Tour—prepares meals in a mobile kitchen packed into specialized flight cases that are reassembled for each new city. For a recent show by the vegan singer in Palm Desert, Calif., the kitchen provided a juicing station with pre-made baskets of vegetables.
“Before, back in the early ’80s and ’90s, it was more of a party—cocaine and whatever they wanted. And now it’s just a business,” Gray Rollin, who has cooked for tours by Linkin Park, Prince, and Madonna. “We have one job to do, and that job is to put that talent onstage. Make sure that the show goes flawlessly. And then do it again the next day.”