When Kelis Rogers - aka 38-year-old singer known mononymously as Kelis - took to the Palate stage on Friday at KAABOO Del Mar, she performed in a chef's coat. While the songwriter and author is perhaps best known for her 2003 hit song "Milkshake," these days, the Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef works more with measuring cups than microphones.
Using three tables with overhead mirrors, Rogers prepared a meal of tossed salad, smoked turkey, jerk sauce and mashed plantains.
"I've got some habañero here," she said at one point. "Do you like it spicy?" To which the audience responded with a resounding "Yes!"
The poised and easy-going host chatted with members of the audience as they asked her a wide variety of questions, and happily recalled recent explorations to culinary hotbeds like Morocco, Tijuana and the Amazon.
She also told of cooking with TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek in his kitchen while they were working on her last studio album, 2014's "Food," an album that also features San Diego drummer Jake Najor.
Another local, Josh Kopelman, publisher of Dining Out SD, hosted and facilitated the "set" and kept things moving. He also persuaded the celebrity chef to give away a copy of her recent cookbook: "Recipes from around the World: My Life on a Plate."
Rogers has plans to open a new farm-to-table restaurant in Malibu next year. But fans of her music shouldn't get discouraged just yet.
Kelis has featured on two singles so far this year: TCTS' "Do It Like Me" with Sage the Gemini and British producer Dan Black's "Farewell."