In the decade since he rocketed to reality cooking stardom, chef Rock Harper has run high-profile local restaurants, spearheaded short-lived solo projects (RIP, Fat Shorty’s), shared life experiences with aspiring culinary professionals, and lent a helping hand to charitable organizations.
Some might take a well-deserved break after all that.
Harper insists he’s just getting started.
“I’ve always loved entertaining through food,” Harper said of his penchant for connecting with people. He intends to capitalize on that ability with two new entertainment ventures: a personal podcast dubbed “The Chef Rock Xperiment,” and a late-night talk show called “Shift Drink.”
“Think of it as a Bill Maher, Real Talk-type show — but without that Milo guy,” is how Harper, who pounced on the opportunity to throw shade at embattled cultural commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, described the self-styled programming he intends to launch March 4.
Harper wants to invite the whole world into the often highly opinionated discussions hospitality professionals routinely engage in after hours. “We just have a couple of drinks and we talk about issues,” he explained.
Rather than limit himself to only chatting about food (which he said he still loves to do), Harper recently issued an open casting call on social media in the hopes of recruiting folks willing to weigh in on a variety of topics (politics, music, current events).
The plan is to live stream each episode on the web (Harper mentioned Facebook and Instragram as potential delivery vehicles) and record them for rebroadcast at a later date (via YouTube or possibly Vimeo). Harper’s got a studio all lined up at National Harbor, but continues sifting through applications to participate in the inaugural panel.
Interested parties should know that in order to tap into the spirit of the original, back-of-the-house bull sessions, Harper plans to shoot the monthly show at 1 a.m. “It’s just like having Industry Night,” he suggested.
He’s keeping the podcast to himself for now — “I’m mostly just banking episodes,” he shared — but expects to eventually make that content available on Soundcloud or iTunes (if not both).
Harper’s still wrapping his head around a third project which sounds like the greatest departure from his earlier accomplishments. “I do have a lip sync battle that I’m working on,” he said.
Getting all that off the ground will not, however, distract Harper from his first love: cooking. He said a new pop-up project slated for Penn Quarter (think: Southern food) should come online this spring.