From a red-velvet crepe cake using beets to Afro-Caribbean cuisine and delicacies based out of Houston and Brooklyn, Kwame Onwuachi tells PEOPLE, "I'm client-based, at the end of the day"

By Jen Juneau
April 16, 2021 04:57 PM
Advertisement
Kwame Onwuachi
Kwame Onwuachi (top center) with Michelle and Barack Obama
| Credit: Kwame Onwuachi/Instagram; Official White House Photo

Kwame Onwuachi may have a history of being in the presence of some megastar celebs in his line of work, but the food always comes first.

On the latest episode of the PEOPLE Every Day podcast, the Top Chef star (once a contestant in 2015, and now a guest judge) chats with host Janine Rubenstein about his experiences cooking for some very high-profile clients, including Barack and Michelle Obama, Beyoncé and JAY-Z, Oprah Winfrey and Dave Chappelle.

"For the Obamas, they wanted something healthier, so we did a red-velvet crepe cake utilizing beets," recalls Onwuachi, 31.

"For Jay and Beyoncé, I did a menu based off of Brooklyn and Houston. For Dave Chappelle, I do Afro-Caribbean cuisine," he says.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human-interest stories.

Onwuachi is all about tailoring his eats exactly to the customer's tastes, telling PEOPLE, "I'm client-based, at the end of the day, so I make whatever you want me to make."

"We're not cooking for ourselves when we're in the kitchen — we're cooking for everybody else, and it's a reflection of who we are," he adds.

And while he's "able to sprinkle a little bit of spice here and there that really reflects who I am," Onwuachi's menus are "really a representation of whatever the client wants."

Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday — and listen to Kwame's episode, below!

RELATED VIDEO: See Oprah's Lavish Thanksgiving Spread!

Onwuachi also reacted to the "surreal" news about the upcoming film based on his memoir, Notes from a Young Black Chef, starring Lakeith Stanfield.

"Similar to me sitting [at] the judge's table, it won't hit me until I'm on set and seeing someone act out a scene of my life," he says of what he expects to be a "beautiful" experience.

Touching on the importance of "representation," the chef adds, "A book can reach so many people; a movie can reach even more. And people will see themselves reflected on the screen in ways that they could never imagine."

Check out more from Onwuachi's interview on PEOPLE Every Day, airing now on iHeartMediaApple podcastsSpotifyStitcher or wherever you listen to your podcasts.