HAVING cooked for reggae artistes visiting Germany since 2003, Steffen Prase thought it would be appropriate to prepare a book on organic Jamaican cuisine. Moa Fire: Nutrition For The Soul, was released in April, 2011.
The 39-year-old Prasse was recently in Jamaica collaborating with local 'foodies' and gathering ideas from artistes for his second book, which he hopes will be released in 2014.
A qualified chef, Prasse is from near Munich and says he has worked in some of Germany's top hotels. He recalls being taken with the natural taste of Rastafarian foods on his first trip to Jamaica in 1999, and has since established himself as 'Da Sandwichmaker', providing meals for performers like Joseph Hill of Culture, Alborosie, Etana and Busy Signal whenever they play the German festival circuit.
"In the big hotels, a lot of the seasons are not healthy. They mash up the food with chemicals and that turns off some of the artistes. What I do is set up at the festivals, have my public announcement system and the artistes come over," Prase told the Jamaica Observer.
Alphonso Craig, the drummer in Sizzla's band, says eating on tour can be a nightmare, especially for Rastafarians.
"A lot of the time yuh have to do your own cooking 'cause finding the right things to eat is hard at times. Some time yuh come off the stage an' head straight to the bus 'cause yuh always on the move," he said.
Before the emergence of Jamaican communities resulted in clubs and restaurants in parts of North America and Europe, artistes like Bob Marley, Burning Spear and Jimmy Cliff employed a personal cook to prepare their meals while on tour.
Touring has become an expensive process in the last decade and a personal cook is no longer an option, which makes Steffen Prase an even more attractive proposition.
While his Jamaican clientele has grown, Prase has a strong home base. He has prepared mainly Jamaican-style vegetarian meals for German reggae acts like Ephraim Judah, Uwe Banton and Gentleman.
Judah and Banton are featured in Moa Fire, which also highlights the vibrant German reggae scene in major cities like Berlin, home to several restaurants that serve organic Jamaican food.
On his recent visit to Jamaica, Prase attended Rebel Salute to get a feel of that Rastafarian event which caters to a largely vegetarian audience. He also hooked up with neo-reggae artistes such as Raging Fyah, Nomaddz and Infinite, to get acquainted with their favourite dishes.
He expects some of these informal dining sessions to make it into his new book.