At the Table with Jully Black

In case you don't already know, Jully Black is an freaking icon.

Not only is she an award-winning singer and songwriter, who just released an insanely addictive new single "Fever" on iTunes (download it first, then continue reading), she also happens to be ambassador of Pan Am Games and will be taking the stage at CIBC Pan Am Park (200 Princes' Blvd.) on Thursday, July 23 at 3:30pm for #PANAMANIA. It's a free show and open to the public.

Jully Black has cooked with Christine Cushing, wants to work with Gordon Ramsey and despite her insanely busy schedule, she sat down with us at one of her favourite restaurants, Silk Road, to talk food (she even shares her smoothie recipe!!) and her love of Canadian chefs.

Name: Jully Black

Occupation: Singer, Songwriter, CEO

Place of Residence: Markham, Ontario (nine minute drive from my Mom)

What’s the last thing you ate? Tastee’s Beef Patty, straight from the bakery near my house. It’s comfort food.

If you were left to your own devices to make something at home, what would it likely be? I make these noodles – Curry Noodles and Fish. I’m literally using Ichiban noodles, but I season it with curry powder, a little bit of Barbados pepper and I have some Jamaican scotch bonnet pepper, a little olive oil and then I put a little piece of tilapia on top. It’s quick – 15 minutes. It’s my own. I call it “Ghetto Gourmet” from when I was in college – you basically use what you have. And then I kept making it and now when people come over, they ask me to make it.

What will you ask a server to remove from your dish, or make sure it doesn’t have? Mayonnaise and tomato sauce.  (I can’t have pepper, dairy, and citrus for my voice).

When staying at a hotel, what are you raiding from the mini fridge? It used to be diet soda, but I cut that out two years ago.  If they had any ice wine from Niagara or Ameretto with 7-Up that I call "Sweet Seven (I took a bartending course and made up "Sweet Seven" there. I used to have "Juicy Jully Jams" at my house and I’d make them for everyone). 

Guilty pleasure: Ketchup chips. If they had AA for ketchup chips, I’d probably be there. I’d do the keynote. I have a problem. It used to be Doritos.

Drink of choice: Inniskillin Ice Wine (Yes, I am available to be your ambassador).

Favourite meal of the day and why: I’m a little different, because sometimes I have breakfast for dinner and dinner for breakfast. When I think back to being in college and moving out, dinner was whatever you had. I didn’t want my Mom to know I was struggling, so if it was eggs, I was making that into something special for dinner, a little cheese, green onion, thyme and a fresh crushed garlic clove.

Favourite cookbooks to use: I don’t use any. My Mom has an old Jamaican one – it’s been in my house since I was three. You can’t even see who wrote it, it’s so old. But Bonnie Stern has one that I like. I use a salad dressing one she has – rice vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, thyme and pepper.

Favourite cookbooks just to look at: The Bonnie Stern cookbook with family photos, not just recipes, in it.

Three items that are always in your fridge: Egg whites, 100% organic lemon juice, almond milk.

Top three Toronto restaurants: All Danforth - Silk RoadMezesMocha Mocha (they've got a wicked salad and blueberry pie!)

Favourite places to shop for ingredients in Toronto: Nicey’s Food Mart, a Chinese-Jamaican store.

Go-to dish ordered at a restaurant: Mediterranean salad because I know I’ll like the feta, olives and oregano.

Would you rather – Go to farmer’s market/nearest pub/food truck? Farmer’s market.

Describe your kitchen: Open concept, and always clean. It’s a modern version of my Mom’s kitchen – while hers has disorder, all of my spices have to be lined up and neat. I have granite countertop and wood cupboards.

Describe your cooking style: New school Caribbean soul.

Ideal food day: from the time you wake up until bed, what are you having? Get up, have 1 litre of water with lemon (I drink right bottles of water a day), make my shake (**recipe below). Snack of an apple, 2 oz. raw cashews. Lunch of Chipotle’s Steak Salad. I keep a week’s worth of my Mum’s homemade soup in the freezer, so I section it out on Sundays for the week. Dinner, if I go out to eat, I go to JOEY and get the BBQ Steak Salmon Bowl and I substitute rice for quinoa and get extra veg. If I’m still hungry at night, I have eight egg whites with some Barbados pepper.

Jully Black's Smoothie Recipe

1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries
1 cup almond milk
1 tbsp organic peanut butter
1 cup arugula
Diesel Cookies and Cream protein powder
optional - a little flax