5/08/2012 03:28:00 PM

Questlove Talks Music and Fried Chicken at Google HQ

We got a special treat at Google HQ today – Roots drummer, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon fixture,  Twitterlebrity and culinary entrepreneur Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson stopped by to talk hip-hop and food and introduce us to his new Quest Loves Food catering company and signature Love’s Drumsticks.

How did this legendary drummer end up in the food biz? “I’ve made a career out of doing the exact opposite of what was expected of me,” he said during his Google talk. While traveling with The Roots and performing 200 concerts and 200 DJ gigs a year, he got to know the food truck scene in the Pacific Northwest, seeing people line up to get grilled cheese and chocolate-dipped ears of corn from the trucks lined up outside of the clubs he DJed at.

“I always wanted to have a soul food version of a Mister Softee truck that I would call ‘Soul on a Roll,’” he said. “But I could never execute any of my ideas because we were traveling so much.”

Scoring the gig as the house band on Jimmy Fallon meant gaining a little normalcy in his life, and as soon as he’d settled into “some semblance of an everyday routine,” Quest started to think about food again. “I wanted to try some new ideas, and of course doing something with drumsticks felt most natural.”

He put up a notice on Twitter that he was looking for a chef, and more than 900 people replied, sending resumes and videos. As soon as he’d squared away the chef, he got to work, holding focus groups and taste-testings and perfecting the brand. “I’m not about skipping the bank line and going to straight to Park Place and Boardwalk,” he said. “You have to start with the blogosphere, cook with other chefs, go to Google and other conglomerates and slowly build your way up.”

Recently, Quest Loves Food got just the right amount of buzz it needed when Momofuku chef David Chang challenged him to a fried chicken battle on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Quest lost (though he implied today that the battle was rigged), but Chang agreed to sell his fried chicken for one night only on Monday, May 20 at Momofuku Noodle Bar, with all proceeds going to the Food Bank of New York City. The restaurant will be taking reservations for the event – with a special reservation e-mail going on   www.momofukupresents.com at 10AM on May 11 – so if you want to try Love’s Drumsticks, make sure to check it out! (Chang better watch his back – when Questlove was asked to do some free association and David Chang’s name came up, he said the first thing that came to his mind was “revenge.”)

For more on Quest Loves Food, follow the company on Twitter, @cook4quest.

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