Over the last three years, Ray and Juell Roberts made dinner for Prince six nights a week when he was home at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota. And they told almost no one but their parents. The owners of Peoples Organic, which has seven area locations (including two drive-thrus and a bakery), revealed their role—as well as their shock and grief—in a heartfelt interview with City Pages.
The pair loved working for Prince and said he was fun to be around. A major perk was that they could hear him practice in his recording studio, which was near the kitchen, where Prince kept his fridge tidy and presentable.
So, what did he eat? While it was widely reported that Prince maintained a vegan diet, Ray and Juell said that he was vegetarian while they were cooking for him. Ray had made him a kale salad and a roasted red pepper bisque for dinner on the night he died, but Prince never ate it.
The chefs did have to abide by some rules, other than no-meat: For instance, Prince hated mushrooms, feta cheese and onions (though they did manage to get him to eat onions by chopping them very finely to avoid the "textural thing" that Prince had with the ingredient). The star tried the raw-foods diet for a month and gave up on it, but the chefs—in a funny anecdote—explain how they didn't get wind that he'd decided to quit the raw diet until he complained that his soup was too cold.
Ray said the star often communicated about his likes and dislikes in code: "He'd leave a single pepper on a plate, and that meant: no more peppers," the chef told City Pages. "A less observant person would have missed the signs." Prince didn't shy away from praising the pair when he loved the food.
Some of the foods he liked most included edamame dumplings, corn tortillas, minestrone, spicy food and Indian cuisine.
Diet-wise, the biggest surprise has to be Prince's lust for sweets. Ray admitted that sometimes Prince would make a whole meal out of his desserts, noting that chocolate macadamia nut cookies, sea salt caramel cake, chocolate mousse and sour cream apple coffee cake were particular favorites. But he practiced portion control; sometimes a bite of each was all he'd need.
We're grateful that the Roberts shared their story—including the surprising way they got the Prince cooking gig—and now we can put Peoples Organic on our growing list of places to visit to celebrate his life.
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