Ahmir Thompson, otherwise known to the world as “Questlove”, needs no introduction. Especially in his hometown of Philly. So I’ll skip the otherwise-obligatory intro paragraph explaining his many accomplishments, entertainment resume, and general importance to Philadelphia as a center for the arts and (most recently) food because it has become something of a mandatory knowledge for Philadelphians. Much like asking what a Wawa is, any remotely savvy fan of entertainment from Philly would raise their eyebrows in confusion (and anger) if you were to ask who he was.
In short, Anthony Bourdain said it best in the forward of Quest’s new book, Something To Food About, explaining his resume as a Philly-raised Renaissance man. I’ll just let him do it:
“Whoever called James Brown “the hardest working man in show business” could not have anticipated Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. Bandleader, percussionist, musician, producer, founder and drummer for the Grammy award-winning band the Roots, constantly working DJ, writer, and teacher, he makes even the Godfather of Soul look as if he might, in retrospect, have been underemployed.”
- Anthony Bourdain
In his efforts to add yet another bullet-point to his resume as world traveling musician and entertainer, Quest has published a new book entitled Something To Food About – essays and conversations between him and some of the country’s most creative chefs – which he’ll be discussing with fellow Philly legend and NPR host, Terry Gross, for a live taping of her landmark program, Fresh Air.¹ Much like the Roots, Terry’s work in Philadelphia has immeasurable importance and is by far the perfect person to sit down to a conversation with Questlove in front of a live audience in Philly.
So far, Quest’s new book has been an awesome read for a media-savant-turned-food-nerd like me (and I’m not at all embarrassed to say that I’m only half way through it). As a musician, he manages to successfully link the common thought process between chefs and artists alike for conversations that go much deeper than the cliche topic points often associated with chef interviews. The conversations he has with acclaimed chefs like Philly’s Michael Solomonov (from Zahav, Abe Fisher, Federal Donuts, and Dizengoff) are savvy and incredibly valuable for those looking to learn about cooking outside the box and the impact food has on our society. If book clubs were ever organized by foodies and chefs instead of wine-tasting house wives in the suburbs, this book would be a welcomed and mandatory read.
Fresh Air Live with Questlove and Terry Gross is this Sunday, April 24th, 3 PM at the Harrison Auditorium on Upenn’s campus. Tickets range from $53 to $160 (including a VIP selection which gets you into the pre-event to mingle with Quest and Terry before the show) and can be purchased at the link above. Be sure to tag any photos/videos from it on the hashtag #PhillyFoodporn.