New York City
DJ CHEF takes over the Hamptons
I had the opportunity to sit down with Marc Weiss aka DJ CHEF who is a nationally recognized culinary entertainer who takes the fun of cooking to a whole new level. He is a pioneer in the food/entertainment industry and has set out to remix American cooking by adding in fun, high energy entertainment to special events. For large scale events, DJ CHEF simultaneously cooks up his signature dishes and deejays the music which has made him the most sought out entertainer for food and wine festivals, trade shows, and corporate activations worldwide.
DJ CHEF “The Chef That Rocks!’ is the only entertainer who simultaneously cooks and deejays for special events worldwide. DJ CHEF recently flexed his culinary chops by winning Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen.
Social Lifestyle Magazine: Share with us your back story.
DJ CHEF: The short version is that I got a pair of turntables for my 15th birthday and taught myself how to DJ, then dragged them to house parties. Shortly after, people started paying me to DJ their celebrations. At 18, I got a job with a caterer during the day for some extra money and I learned how to cook. The owner suggested I go to culinary school numerous times, so a few years later, I enrolled in NY Restaurant in Manhattan. While in school, I got a job in Soho at Time Café, a big kitchen, and I learned all the different stations. I went on to learn from some of the top chefs in NYC fine dining including Bobby Flay, Matthew Kenney and John Tesar. The restaurant business was burning me out, so I took a job as a corporate chef with Sodexho-Marriott which gave me free weekends. I was asked to cook for private dinner parties by the executives and it just kept growing across Long Island. I thought the dinner parties were quite boring and what was missing was the music! I started DJing while cooking and adding in a little interactive teaching. From there, DJ CHEF was born.
Social Lifestyle Magazine: Congrats on all the recent awards. Tell us how you came to be the “King” of the Hamptons.
DJ CHEF: After a couple years of doing DJ CHEF parties, I appeared on some of the morning shows and received a substantial amount of press. I had a website up with all the photos, credits, and client reviews. I received a call from a wedding magazine, and they asked me if I hosted these parties for bachelorette parties suggesting that I would be perfect for it. I agreed, although I didn’t even really know what a bachelorette party was at the time! The journalist and I spelled out the whole party in the article and before I knew; I was doing bachelorettes parties all over. As I fine-tuned the presentation, I found myself in the Hamptons every weekend. I kept winning all the awards, received more press and the girls kept contacting me as they really love the party as one of their activities for the weekend. Additionally, I started doing birthday parties and charity events our there all year around. I truly love the Hamptons and North Fork. I stay with my family a couple of weekends in the summer, and I get to enjoy a little work and play. We love going to Dockers, lunch at Lobster Roll, 75 Main and Bobby Vans.
Social Lifestyle Magazine: Go through the DJ CHEF bachelorette experience with us.
DJ CHEF: The DJ CHEF Bachelorette Experience is a super fun interactive show where we incorporate the bride into the fun! MUSIC – I go through a bunch of different vibes you would obviously want to hear at a bachelorette party i.e., throwbacks, 90s, boy/girl band tunes, party hip hop, EDM and today’s hits. FOOD – Two course meal, girls have their own appetizers and drinks. LIGHTING – I have cool lights 😊 INTERACTIVE COOKING SHOW – I’ve created high energy, fun musical cooking routines of the dishes. I call the bride up intermittently throughout the party! PROPS – I have surprises 😊 So basically. there’s structure. There’s a beginning, a middle and an end that all makes sense. Bachelorette parties can easily get out of hand, so I found a way to be the conductor of fun and hit all these marks throughout the celebration that makes it memorable and makes the bride feel extra special.
Social Lifestyle Magazine: Tell us some of your favorite dishes that you like to cook.
DJ CHEF: I’m known for my “Hamptons Quesadillas” which are basically a medley of farm fresh veggies, slow cooked marinated chicken breast and a blend of superior cheeses. I create a cheese crust on the outside of the tortilla, so you get this extra texture that puts it over the top and then a drizzle of my Avocado Crema & Smokey Honey-Chipotle Sauce. Of course, my signature dessert, DJ CHEF’s Famous Chocolate-Banana Dream! Yum!
Social Lifestyle Magazine: You have certainly carved out a niche in the Hamptons. What makes that so special?
DJ CHEF: I have to say it was just meant to be. People go there to have fun. I’m all about the fun. I bring the food and music, we are in mansions, they have their favorite drinks, the sun is shining and it’s like a movie every time. That song Magic in the Hamptons…that’s what it is, a magic just happens.
Social Lifestyle Magazine: Have you cooked for anyone notable that our readers may know?
DJ CHEF: Yes. I’ve cooked for celebrities and athletes my entire career. Early on I cooked for JFK Jr, Russel Simmons, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Moss, Johnny Depp, and Johnny Cash. Recently, Jessica Alba, NY Jets Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Wesley Walker, NY Knicks John Starks, Charles Oakley, and Alan Houston. I cooked for Sean P. Diddy Combs’ and his family and friends at their home in East Hampton for a week.
Social Lifestyle Magazine: What do you envision this summer will be like in the Hamptons?
DJ CHEF: Craziness! People plan events in advance and so many people and brides have booked me since they’re staying local for their celebrations and events. One of the good things to come out of the pandemic!
Social Lifestyle Magazine: Have you started to see more weddings post covid?
DJ CHEF: YES. There has been an official “wedding boom” in the wedding industry. There was an article in the NY Times last week with that headline and saying good luck booking your vendors and venues. They are all getting booked up! Brides are booking their weddings based upon vendor availably. I also read that 2022 will have the most weddings since 1984. Roaring 20’s Part Deux.
Social Lifestyle Magazine: We hear that you won Cutthroat Kitchen on the Food Network. Tell us about that experience.
DJ CHEF: It was great. I love when my cooking skills get challenged. I worked in the busiest of kitchens, dysfunctional kitchens, worked with limited product, broken equipment, you name it so I’m ready for any sabotage you can throw at me. With this show, there has to be a strategy! There was one chef that was bragging that he was just on Chopped and that he has a French restaurant, etc. so I planted the seed with the other contestants that he needs to be the one to go first. I think it worked because they sent some of their sabotages his way, which could have been thrown at me. I think I just made better decisions based on timing as well. In the final round, they gave us huge live crabs to make a crab cake in 20 minutes. As a restaurant chef, you just know that there isn’t enough time to cook, cool, pick the meat, make the crab cakes and accompaniments. I won a sabotage of California rolls, instead of giving it to my challenger, as you normally would, I kept it. I used the cooked crab in them to make a crab cake and had time to make a delicious chipotle aioli to enhance the flavor. The other chef hardly got crab on the plate.
Social Lifestyle Magazine: We know you’re very philanthropic and get involved with many charity events. Can you tell us some of the charities that you work with?
DJ CHEF: Yes, I work with the AHA annually for their Go Red for Women events, Serving up Smiles for Encourage Kids Foundation NYC, Christie Brinkley’s Blue Moon BBQ East Hampton, Marty Lyons Foundation, Flood Sisters Kidney Foundation in Sag Harbor, and the Healthy Guru Southampton Wellness Event.
Social Lifestyle Magazine: Thank you for this great interview.
DJ CHEF: It was my pleasure.
@djchefrocks on all socials.
Image by: Mychal Watts/ Getty Images