Kelis is a collector of things: accolades, experiences, interests. As though being a feminist fixture in hip-hop and beacon of style didn't quite fill up her plate, she's accumulated a few other roles since releasing her iconic album Kaleidoscope in 1999, not limited to mother, entrepreneur, author, and chef (a ‘saucier’ to be specific).
“Food is the most universal language. Everyone says music is the international language and as someone who has been making music my entire adult life, it is... but I think it can only be trumped by food,” she says. “It's the one thing that brings us together. All of the most important and memorable events in our lives, usually if they're any good, they've got food and music involved.” As a professional chef who studied at Le Cordon Bleu and a multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated recording artist – we take this claim very seriously.
She’s also become somewhat of a global citizen, classifying herself as Harlem-raised, an LA-resident, and a Dubai-regular (finding herself in the region at least once a year).
"One of the things that really stuck out for me [at culinary school] was the idea of what fine dining meant. It was so different even just 10 years ago when I was studying,” Kelis says. “All of the chefs were very adamant that French was the only way. For me, my cultural heritage is so mixed and my mom was a chef so I had a hard time with that.”
Limitations have never really been her thing. When people first find out about Kelis’ extensive food career, they’re usually in total shock that adjacent to her hyper-successful path as a singer and songwriter, she’s also written a cookbook, hosted a show on the Cooking channel, and become a restauranteur.
The reason Kelis is in town is for the opening of The GALLIARD, a very glam new Turkish-Mediterranean restaurant in Address Downtown Hotel. Although she’s been to the region more times than she can count, the food scene is constantly evolving and acts as a source of inspiration for her own culinary career.
“The thing about Dubai that’s very interesting is the fact that because it's such a hub, such a central place for this part of the world, it ends up being a magnet for people who are doing new and interesting things from around the globe,” she says.