Interview: Maja Trstenjak (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Interesting thing today in world of heavy metal that everybody is talking about is new book, better to say cookbook written by Annick Giroux who has gathered recepies from the world’s greatest heavy metal bands and put them in her work “Hellbend for Cooking”.
VENIA: First of all I would like to ask you to introduce your book to our readers, which are most famous metallers you have gathered recepies from, so they could find what is it about from the first hand.
ANNICK: Greetings, readers of Venia mag! My book, Hellbent for Cooking, is a 224-page deluxe full-color cookbook, featuring 101 illustrated recipes from more than 30 countries! All the recipes in the book were handed down to me by killer metal bands, including Devastation from Croatia, as well as Schmier from Destruction, Chris Reifert from Autopsy, Jeff Becerra from Possessed, Hellhammer from Mayhem, Andreas Kisser from Sepultura, the mother of Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy, Lips from Anvil, etc. I hand picked all bands myself to make sure they were the finest in metal.
VENIA: When have you fallen in love with cooking, where did you learn to cook, and do you remember the first food you have cooked all by yourself?
ANNICK: As a child, I would often help my mother and grandmother when they were making food and desserts… mixing ingredients, grating cheese, measuring things… I often experimented on my own at a very young age, which most of the time resulted in disasters! For example, I would mix brown sugar with butter in the microwave to put on toasts… haha, or put eggs in vinegar (I thought it would cook them for some reason?? They turned into rubber “balls”!) When I was old enough to read, I remember trying to make a cake called . My parents were very impressed even though the cake didn’t really taste was it was supposed to taste!! Haha. Funnily enough, a recipe for that cake is to be found in Hellbent for Cooking!
VENIA: How was the book accepted among heavy metal audience?
ANNICK: At the beginning, there were many people that thought the book was going to be a total gimmick, and a money making scheme. Of course, most people were quite excited to see the results, as well! When the news got posted on Blabbermouth (the CNN of metal news), a lot of people had good things to say, which is a rare thing on that website. Haha. In November 2009, when the book came out, it received incredible reviews and it was accepted extremely positively. Now, many metalheads around the world are learning how to cook (or learning new recipes), and they love it! Some people even take photos of their finished meals and send them to me. haha!
VENIA: Was it hard for you, as an alternative writer, to get your book published?
ANNICK: It was actually very easy as Ian Christe, the publisher, asked me directly if I wanted to work with him. It happened because the concept was quite unusual and he enjoyed what I had done in the past!
VENIA: Food and heavy metal, how did you get a vision to put those two things together?
ANNICK: Haha, quite an unusual combo, I know! Well, the vision appeared to me in 2007. I was going record shopping and at the same time, I was going to look for used cookbooks. The idea then appeared in my head. why don’t I ask my favorite metal bands about their favorite recipes and do a cookbook out of it? Already the name “Hellbent for Cooking” came up to mind. I thought it was a funny idea, and when I came back home I started e-mailing bands to see if they wanted to contribute.
VENIA: How did you manage to gather all those recipes from all those famous rockstars?
ANNICK: I contacted them sending them e-mails, myspace messages or writing to their fanclub. Haha. I sent out about 400 individually written messages!
VENIA: How did you come up with the name “Hellbent for Cooking”?
ANNICK: Good question! I am a big big big fan of Judas Priest, and I think I had “Hell Bent for Leather” stuck in my head. I just replaced leather by cooking, and voila!
VENIA: Which is your personal favourite recipe from the book?
ANNICK: I think it has to be the FARIKAL, which is a Norwegian lamb and cabbage stew. It is absolutely fantastic and takes about 5 minutes to prepare (2 hours to cook). I already really enjoyed the Istian Manestra. I should make some soon again hahaha
VENIA: Which food do you like to prepare the most in general?
ANNICK: I love doing burgers and chillis! I am saving up a lot my money these days, so I cannot spend a lot of money on food, and these two are very cheap to make. Burgers are so versatile, you can make them with so many different types of meat, tofu and even beans! You can also add all sorts of different ingredients, and have them taste different every time. For chillis, they are great because you can make a HUGE portion and freeze the rest. You can put all your leftovers in it, and most of the time it is a hearty but healthy meal. Of course I prepare all sorts of other food, but these are the ones I do most often.
VENIA: Which rockstar do you think is the best cook among the ones in your book?
ANNICK: Hmm, that is a tough one. it seems like Schmier of Destruction must be a good contestant, because he is a professional baker and used to own his own pizza restaurant! Another good cook would be Shaxul of Arphaxat (ex-Deathspell Omega) from France. He created his own recipe by himself and it was extremely tasty. On top of it, he’s French and you know how much they like their food!!
VENIA: Since you like heavy metal, is the music sometimes inspiration for the food you make?
ANNICK: Maybe it affects the length of how fast I cook vegetables, or how slow the food cooks, but it doesn’t really effect what type of food I make. I do of course listen to plenty of metal when I cook!
VENIA: Which bands you listen to mostly?
ANNICK: I am a big fan of traditional heavy metal and doom metal. My favourite bands are Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Saint Vitus, Paul Chain, Motörhead, Pagan Altar, Venom, etc. but I also love tons of other styles, like Black Metal, Speed/Thrash, ancient Death Metal and more.
VENIA: I assume you have seen many of those bands live so far, which one of them has made biggest influence on you, so what is your greatest concert experience?
ANNICK: Wow, that’s actually a really tough question. I think the best shows of bands that are featured in Hellbent for Cooking were Anvil in 2003 (that literally changed my life!), as well as Pagan Altar in 2008, Pentagram and Saint Vitus – both of them in 2009. I feel very very lucky to have witnessed all those bands.
VENIA: How important do you think heavy metal is on today’s scene?
ANNICK: Metal music is extremely popular all around the world, and has the most dedicated fans of any genre of music. It is also very important because it creates a great artistic medium for nonconformists.
VENIA: And for the end, tell some advice for Croatian heavy metal cooks.
ANNICK: Do not forget to have fun while cooking – take your time, open a cold beer, put on your favourite record and enjoy yourself!! Death to false meals!
VENIA: Thank you for your time.
ANNICK: You are more than welcomed. It was an honor to be featured in Venia Mag! Cheers!
Follow Annick: www.twitter.com/morbidchef