Rihanna‘s personal chef, Debbie Solomon, has been cooking for the singer for more than four years now, but Solomon says catering to the singer’s tastes hasn’t always been easy.
During the first few weeks on the job, the chef was thrown right into the pop star’s hectic lifestyle. “First was Super Bowl at her house. Deep end,” she tells Bon Appetit‘s healthyish. “Then her 25th birthday party in Hawaii. Then tour. I didn’t know what the f— I was doing.”
Solomon landed the high-profile gig after an anonymous caller requested she drop a few samples of her dishes off at Sony Studios. She started with a curried chicken with rice, peas, and plantains; then lamb shank; and finally, she whipped up some pasta carbonara, all before finding out who she was cooking for. Since then, Rihanna’s first and only chef learned to master the mix of Barbadian, Jamaican and Guyanese food she prefers—with a little help from Rihanna’s mom along the way.
Her diet is wider than you might imagine. “Every protein that you can think of that [Rihanna] eats,” plus vegetables, pasta and rice, are delivered to wherever they’re staying, says Solomon, who also travels with a variety of spices while on they’re on the road together.
While not picky, Solomon says Rihanna is “a moody eater.”
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“[With previous clients] I would send in a menu on a Sunday or Monday and they would pick for the week, and then I’d be able to shop and prep, but this is nothing like that,” she says. “We don’t know what we’re gonna want to eat tomorrow, so why even pick today?”