By Cait Rohan | October 26, 2016 | Food & Drink
Grammy-winner, author, philanthropist, and reggae royalty (yes, Bob Marley is his father), Ziggy Marley can add cookbook creator to his list of titles with the recently released Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook: Delicious Meals Made with Whole, Organic Ingredients from the Marley Kitchen. We caught up with Marley to hear how he put a healthier spin on Jamaican recipes, his personal favorites from the cookbook, and what city has the best food, in his opinion.
Ziggy Marley at an event in LA in 2015.
Congrats on your cookbook! What was the inspiration? Did your father, Bob Marley, inspire any recipes, or did you include any recipes from him in particular?
ZIGGY MARLEY: My father never really cooked, I cook though. Mostly the recipes are influenced by when I grew up in Jamaica and what I used to eat there, but it is informed by the evolution of my palate. So, I made healthier choices with some of the stuff than what I would have had in Jamaica, probably. I think like, ‘doing it this way is healthier,’ like maybe I wouldn’t fry it, I’d steam it instead. The foundation is Jamaican cuisine but with my own take on it. My friends and family [are] of course, Middle Eastern, some [are] Persian. I’ve got a lot of friends and family around; everything is in there that influences what we eat.
What is your personal favorite recipe in the book?
ZM: Because of my sweet tooth—the banana muffins and the mancakes. I don’t eat a lot of sweets but when I do, those are the sweets that I eat.
Coconut oatmeal recipe from the Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook from Toronto Star/Melissa Renwick.
What is an unexpected but really tasty ingredient that you use in your cookbook?
ZM: Tumeric is something that people don’t think of, but there is stuff in the cookbook that uses turmeric because my mother-in-law is Persian and uses turmeric. So there’s turmeric in it, and turmeric has benefits. There are things in the cookbook that add not only flavor but they have [health] benefits.
And what is your earliest memory surrounding food?
ZM: My earliest memory was growing up in Jamaica, bringing fresh eggs from our chickens every morning. Then, my great auntie would cook them for us, me in particular. I don’t know why this lady kind of liked me; I was the first-born son, so I think they gave me a little privilege because of that.
Ziggy Marley (RIGHT) and his family.
Talk to us a little bit about the premise behind your sixth solo studio album, which came out recently.
ZM: To get the message to the world—the message of love, message of awake-ness, a message of realization, that the voices that speak for the betterment of humanity are the majority of people in this world. What you’re seeing out there now, with the negativity, the war, and the division, that is the minority of the world—we just don’t want to believe that most people in the world are bad people. Most of the people in the world are good, great people and I just want to get the message out, I want to get the good news out. But, also we are the reason why we are in the situation that we’re in as a world.
You’re just winding down on tour. What’s one place that you would like to perform, but haven’t yet?
ZM: There are so [many] places I haven’t been to that I would love to go to. Russia, India, places in Africa....
That being said, your music has taken you around the world to a lot of different places. What’s the best city for food in the world?
ZM: Hmm, best city for food. Wow, I’ve had a lot of good food at a lot places. Portland’s actually a good city. They have a lot of food trucks out there in Portland and then they have this one restaurant, called Mother's Bistro. So Portland’s a pretty good place; [there’s] a very diverse selection out there.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MELISSA RENWICK/TORONTO STAR VIA GETTY IMAGES (RECIPE FROM COOKBOOK); BY PAUL ARCHULETA/FILMMAGIC (MARLEY)