Pharrell Williams makes music in St John’s restaurant scene
MIAMI – Grammy-winning singer Pharrell Williams may have been fired from three different McDonald’s as a teenager, but that didn’t stop him from opening one of the hottest restaurants in St John.
The singer and his father Pharao Williams – a self-taught chef known for his sweet and flavorful nono sauce – hosted a soul food brunch as part of the recent South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Growing up, family dinners were the heart of the Williams home, a place to “hear what’s exciting about your parents’ job.”
“Cooking is a reflection of your parents, your energy, your love. Food is a link and a meeting point, ”said Pharrell Williams.
At home, Pharaoh Williams was always in the kitchen, as were his grandmothers. Favorite dishes included his father’s chicken and pork, and fried catfish with a special sauce that Pharrell said was tasty rather than spicy.
“His spices were what always made my father and my two grandmothers cook,” he said.
Plates of catfish with a cornmeal crust, chow chow, juicy BBQ chicken and ribs, cheddar semolina and French toast with candied oranges and amaretto whipped cream were served at the sold-out brunch for USD 150 per ticket in the upscale Swan Restaurant in St John’s design district.
Back in the kitchen, a team of chefs hurried to prepare Pharaoh Williams’ menu, pulled mini sweet potato cookies out of the oven and crusted plenty of catfish. Grammy-winning DJ Khaled and former Breaking Bad co-stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul were among the guests who enjoyed dining on a tropical jungle-style terrace.
Pharrell Williams was happy to leave his fast-food days behind and opened the Swan Restaurant and his swanky Moroccan-style Bar Bevy upstairs in 2018 with South Beach nightlife guru and LIV club owner David Grutman. The restaurant was a hotbed for celebrities, especially during the Super Bowl and the last few Art Basel weeks, when everyone from Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West to Leonardo DiCaprio and Bono enjoyed themselves.
Grutman and Pharrell Williams teamed up with Chef Jean Imbert from Top Chef Europe for their restaurant, while Williams also works on a range of groceries for his father.
But the “happy” singer is aware of his role in the restaurant business – he happily stays out of the kitchen.
“I didn’t cook then. I’m not cooking now, ”he laughed, adding,“ I love food. “
He has a deep appreciation for the art of cooking and compares it to “the same way I work in music. They put different sounds and things together, ”he said.
“Ingredients are like instruments. How you use them and who uses them. That distinguishes one song from the next, one style from the next. “
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