Action Bronson has become something of a legend in the food world. A chef who became a rap artist after a broken leg kept him out of the kitchen, Bronson (born Ariyan Arslani) is now noted for both his rap skills and his culinary expertise. And with a food show and a cookbook under his belt, Bronson is more famous than ever. What goes on behind the scenes when the cameras aren’t rolling? You might be surprised.
He’s not a snob when it comes to kitchen appliances
While some chefs prefer to use top-of-the-line appliances to cook their masterpieces, Bronson is OK with keeping it simple. “Microwaves are very useful things,” he told Thrasher in response to a comment about whether or not “using a microwave was a no-no in fancy restaurants.”
According to Bronson, a microwave has a lot of benefits as long as you know how to use it properly. “If you want to heat a sauce up very quickly, put it in the microwave,” said the down-to-earth chef. “If you want to melt chocolate very quickly, put in the microwave. If you want to melt butter very quickly, put it in the microwave…sometimes microwaved meatballs are banging.”
He swears like a sailor
In case you couldn’t tell from the name of his online cooking show for Vice called F***, That’s Delicious, Bronson has something of a foul month. His interviews are filled with profanity, something that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise when you consider that the man is also a professional rapper. Bronson is all about keeping it real, and for him that means not censoring his thoughts.
Not everyone is OK with Bronson’s explicit words, but the rapping chef doesn’t care. In response to those who criticize his music, Bronson told Crack, “I’m not really saying anything that outlandish … I mean maybe. But what’s outlandish, what’s outrageous at this point?”
His fashion sense is all about comfort
While he might have achieved celebrity status, Bronson refuses to conform to stereotypes. Far from being high-maintenance, his sense of style emphasizes comfort over everything else. “I only wear things I like to wear,” he told Complex. “You’ll never see me in a weird street brand, or somebody gives me a shirt and I just wear it to wear it…Unless you’re throwing me a significant amount of money to wear a shirt, I’m not wearing it. I like Carhartt. They don’t give me any money. They probably will never give me money. But I’ll always wear it because this is what I’ve been wearing my whole life, so f*** it.”
He used to be a graffiti artist
A New York City native, Bronson ran with graffiti artists when he was younger, calling himself an “original Smart Crew member from Queens.” Today, that graffiti crew has turned into a collective of artists that is helping to get graffiti recognized as a legitimate form of art.
Bronson’s graffiti days are behind him, though, he told Complex. “I don’t do graffiti anymore,” he said. “I just draw alligators. I just observe. I love to read the streets.”
Cooking is in his blood
Bronson is not the first in his family to have a passion for cooking. He started learning about the business in his father’s Mediterranean restaurant, but learned the basics of cooking from his mother and grandmother. “I started cooking at a real young age,” he told GQ. ” I was always helping my mother and my grandmother in the kitchen rolling out dough, helping with the flour, you know, measurements and stuff like that. It just got me acclimated to doing things early.”
His dream is to perform on a food truck
With so many interests and talents, it can be hard for an artist of Bronson’s caliber to feel satisfied unless he’s pursuing his passions. He told Pitchfork about what his dream job would look like — and it’s not what you might think. The venture would feature a food truck with a stage where he could “pull up, do a show, sell s***.”
“I’d be cooking, but I’d have a staff, and while I’m rapping, they could cook,” he said. “It’s a…gold mine.”
He’s tight with Mario Batali
The celebrity chef has a special connection with cooking legend Mario Batali. The star wrote the foreword for Bronson’s cookbook F***, That’s Delicious. “He’s one of my favorite human beings” said Bronson. “I’ve been watching him since I was a kid. I hate how people on the internet always call me their spirit animal, but I feel like Batali is my spirit animal. He’s a wild man, he loves food, loves art and culture, and is just an all-around great man.”
Bronson said he’s learned a lot from his idol. “The knowledge bestowed upon me from his unbelievable,” he said. For his part, Bronson says he showed Batali “that you can come from anywhere and have an appreciation for anything.”
His crassness has gotten him into hot water
Bronson’s brashness has gotten him into trouble on more than one occasion. In 2012, Instagram users were horrified after he called a transgender woman “it.” The scandal led to him shutting down his Instagram account, although Bronson did take to Twitter to apologize saying that he loves everyone and is supportive of people doing what they want with their lives.
In 2015, another controversy erupted after a petition asked to have him removed from the list of performers at Toronto’s NXNE music festival. According to the petition, Bronson “glorifies gang-raping and murdering women” in his music. In 2016, the rapper was removed from the concert lineup at an event held at George Washington University after students protested that he “is transphobic and promotes rape.”
He says his two passions are connected
While some people might think that Bronson’s love for music and his love for food are two completely unrelated things, he disagrees. “Music and food go hand in hand,” Bronson told The Guardian. “The dish in the middle of the table is like the song you put on for everyone to start grooving to. It’s the language of the world, a way of bringing people together.”
He doesn’t mind posing for pictures with fans
He might be a mega-talented celebrity, but Bronson still makes time for his fans. He doesn’t mind being approached for a photo with one of his admirers, telling Crack that “it’s great because that just means that you’re doing the right thing, and the fact that people take the time out to recognize what I do, you gotta be thankful.
Bronson’s respect for his fans keeps him grounded. “I don’t know what people expect, honestly,” he said. “But you know, they see me out, they feel they already know me, like I’m the man, I’m cool. And I like to keep it that way.”
He turned down a deal with Sony
Bronson is determined to do things on his own terms. According to an interview with Billboard, he turned down a contract with Sony. The big-name label met with Bronson in what the rapper called “one of the most awkward meetings ever.” Instead, he decided to sign with Vice so that he can do what he loves. “Vice is more up my alley,” he said. “They do fun s*** that means something. I took a little less money but it worked out in the long run.”
He’ll eat almost anything
The notorious foodie will eat just about anything and told the New York Post that he has “a stomach of steel.” There is, however, one notable exception to his fearless eating habits — Bronson refuses to eat mackerel.
“You want to know my Achilles’ heel?” he asked Rolling Stone. “My Achilles’ heel is mackerel. I…despise mackerel. I really don’t like cooked fish in general. I don’t like when fish is cooked. I like it raw.” Bronson says his hatred for the fish is because it’s “very oily and rank.”