Photo by Adam Lowe

Rock Star Chef

With the rise of the chef-lebrity, watchers of pop culture have posited that chefs and food personalities are the new rock stars. It’s easy to believe if you’ve ever seen Gina OIUOIUIO mobbed on the sidewalk in New York City, seen the ladies twitter when Anthony Bourdain is in the room for a book signing, or seen the crush of autograph seekers pawing at Morimoto as he walks down a busy Manhattan streets. It’s the kind of mad rubber necking that is usually reserved for the kings and queens of the stage.

We here at Stock & Barrel got to thinking – what if we merged the two? Asked local luminaries of the culinary scene to dress as their favorite rock star? Mind blown. This is the first in the series.

With Paddy Wagon food truck’s whole law enforcement theme going, it only makes sense that one siren would fall for another.

“I first saw Damn the Witch Siren during Femme Fest in 2014,” said Zach “The Sheriff” James, sitting outside Paddy Wagon head quarters. “And then I started seeing them all over the place … I like their whole production of the experience and I’m a big production guy, I like the visual impact of their art and their performance.”

I’m trying not to poke the Sheriff in the eye with my nervous finger as I layer glitter on each lid. We talk about music, and how it provides a soundtrack for every part of our lives.

“Well, when I’m working in the kitchen, music is a big part of everything that I do –  every aspect of the business – when we’re in service I like a really high energy music and Damn the Witch Siren provides that for me, it gets me amped about cooking food and serving … They are experimental and I try to do the same thing with the cuisine that I offer.”

As we discuss whether or not to cut the bangs shorter on the fire-engine red wig, I ask what food on the Paddy Wagon menu most represents Bobbi Kitten and Z Wolf, “I would say the portabella pineapple tacos because they have lots of familiar flavors with an exotic twist.”

For James’ birthday party a few weeks ago, Damn the Witch Siren filled the warehouse space with its special sauce of hiccup-pop, witchy chords, and dark dance.

“For me, music creates an atmosphere to the entire mood and morale of the crew that I’m working with, it provides a soundtrack for – whether it’s working on the line, or doing the books, or turning a wrench underneath the truck, there’s always a type of sound that helps motivate me and describes the emotions I’m going through moving forward in the process of owning a business,” he explained, skeptically looking at his tube of brightest red lipstick.

The rock star-food truck connection is obvious to James, “Well, I think food trucks have a lot in common with rock stars. For one, we have our followings, we gig instead of playing in one place all the time, we [the food scene] kinda work together a lot more than other businesses, which I look at like the local music scene, especially here in Columbus, where we all kinda want to prop each other up.”

And if Paddy Wagon had a theme song?

Nick McKenzie, a company deputy, pipes in: “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson

James laughs, nods, “I like it, we’ll go with that one.” And he gets up to go check his make-up and put on a hot pink Lycra shirt. “I think this is a dress on Bobbi.”

As the weather warms, find Paddy Wagon Food Trucks all over town. To get the lowdown, visit Damn the Witch Siren plays a Bernie Sanders fundraiser April 30th at Woodlands Tavern; for more info on the music and future dates, visit Both, of course, have facebook pages.