photography by Elizabeth Lavin
Chef Jerome “Rome” Brown has cooked for celebrities, politicians, and dignitaries for nearly 11 years, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell, rapper Master P, Olympic medalist Nancy Kerrigan, Shaquille O’Neal, and Priscilla Presley. Brown recently moved from North Carolina to Dallas to be closer to Los Angeles, where he’ll soon film his own TV show, Cooking With Rome, scheduled to air sometime next year. An upcoming cookbook of the same name will feature favorite recipes of his famous friends. We asked him to dish on his celebrity clientele, his own style, and for whom he’d still like to cook.

Who likes what? “Shaq’s not the big eater that everyone thinks he is. He loved my pan-seared tilapia with mango salsa. Priscilla Presley liked my crab cakes with lima bean salsa. I made filet mignon on skewers for Star Jones. And for the King of Sweden [Carl Gustaf], I made a grilled quail in a beef consommé.”

Is there one dish everyone likes? “I take a crab cake, roll it in a ball, stuff it into a shrimp, dip the shrimp in raw pancake batter, and then deep-fry it. I serve it with a warm apricot or peach dipping sauce.”

What do you like? “If you give me an excellent sub or a good chili dog, I’m straight.”

A dream client? “Oprah? The White House? That’s pretty much it. I wouldn’t mind cooking for T.D. Jakes. I would like to do that.”