The Jew And The Carrot

Q & A: Matisyahu Talks Veganism and Cholent

By Miriam Krule

  • Print
  • Share Share

You likely know Matisyahu (born Matthew Paul Miller) as the Hasidic musician who blends classical Jewish themes with reggae sound, but what you may not know is that he’s also a loyal and strictly kosher vegan both at home and when he’s on tour. The reggae star known for such songs as the 2010 Olympic anthem “One Day” tweeted in April “[I’m] kosher plus I went vegan” in response to a fan’s tweet.

Beau Grealy

The Jew and the Carrot recently caught up with Matisyahu while on his world tour where he can be found cooking vegan cholent up to three times a week. He shared with us his must have foods, what inspired him to go vegan, and the best meal he’s ever eaten.

Miriam Krule: You’ve been on tour since July. How has keeping kosher affected what you eat while you’re on the road?

Matisyahu: Since I started touring in 2003, I’ve always kept kosher, so I don’t know any other way. But last February I became vegan and that has changed everything. Basically I typically don’t depend any more on others for my food. I have to cook myself and therefore I am much more grateful and conscious of what I am eating.

What food do you bring with you on tour?

My diet consists of quinoa, miso, almond milk, kashi cereal, flax seed oil, oatmeal, veggies, fruit, juice, veggie burgers, etc. I guess the thing I was really into on the last tour was quinoa with flax seed oil and tamari.

Do you have a standard meal or ritual before performances?

My only ritual before shows in terms of eating is not to eat for three hours before a show or else I’ll be burping in the middle of phrases on stage. That and ginger tea about 30 min before show time.

What city has had the best/worst food?

Not sure, LA and NY have vegan/kosher options, which is nice.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?

I was in Portland a few years ago and a friend was trying to find us a kosher restaurant, he couldn’t but walked into a vegan place and it turns out the chef was a fan. He went shopping, came and cooked on our bus and served us like a five course vegan meal in our hotel room that was unbelievable.

How often do you cook your own meals?

I’m just starting to cook so for now it’s very basic but I’ve been cooking pretty much every day. I’m a very impatient cook, I like to cook everything on high heat and clean while I cook so it’s pretty chaotic and usually comes out wrong but I’m working on it.

Earlier this year you tweeted that you’d gone vegan. What inspired that decision?

Yes, I read a book called Eating Animals [by Jonathan Safran Foer]. I recommend everyone read this book. It’s important to know what you put in your body.

Have you introduced any tour-mates to any traditional Jewish food?

Yeah, my drummer Joe is huge foodie and chef and was way into the cholent. I think he made a pretty rockin’ one a couple weeks ago.

Are you a big cholent eater? Do you have a secret ingredient?

I love cholent. I get all my proteins and it’s easy and fun to make. On tour I make it about three times a week. I put it together in the AM, let it cook all day and then eat it after my show. Secret ingredient is chipotle.

What is the most unusual thing in your kitchen?

A mouse.

Do you have a guilty food pleasure?

Today I had a vegan brownie sundae, yum. With sprinkles.

Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Vegan, Cholent, Kosher, Matisyahu

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Find us on Facebook!
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.