You probably think that you just love food. Oh, a slice of fresh baked apple pie? Love it! Foot-long sandwiches? Crazy for them. A naughty little smear of butter? Don’t mind if I do.
You might even feel that your love of food goes above and beyond that of the typical basic bruncher. That you’re an advanced lover of food. We thought that too. But then we came across Tokyo Niyeli—aka Chef Showtime—and we came to understand what it means to make love to, and out of, food. Before we explain further, it’s best to just watch this video.
Like the food-obsessed lovechild of R. Kelly, the Lonely Island, and Haddaway, Tokyo’s approach to sexual healing is hinged on uncovering the subtle eroticism of things like spreading butter on a biscuit, or sprinkling cinnamon on an apple pie. With equal degrees of charm, dirtiness, and creativity, Tokyo managed to make us blush at the thought of falafel. He’s here to teach you how to spice up some Top Ramen, sure, but also to provoke salivation through a series of shirtless gyrations to the soundtrack of “Get it all up in your shrimp.” He’s in the shower, wearing sunglasses, crooning about meatballs; he has written an entire auto-tuned dubstep song about how to customize microwaveable popcorn.
We had to know more about this masked (well, sunglasses-ed) master of the sexual recipe. So we tracked him down through Twitter and gave him a call.
As it turns out, you may have already heard Tokyo’s slow jams before. Though he goes by Tokyo Nayeli full-time now, he is the artist formerly known as David Broom. And if that still isn’t quite ringing a bell, he’s the guy from (first and superior edition of) The Real World: New Orleans who sang the eerily memorable “Come On Be My Baby Tonight.” We were very surprised to discover this connection, and very disappointed in ourselves for not instantly recognizing him. Maybe it was the element of surprise, or the aviators.
“I was a bratty kid, whatever,” he laughs, while explaining his past in the public eye. “I was living in New Orleans with the rest of my castmates. I’m one of those.” When he got off the show, he did years of publicity rounds and appearances with fellow Real Worlders as David Broom, but got pegged with the nickname Tokyo by one of his best friends, due to his love of anime. Now, he’s Tokyo full-time.
He currently lives in Chicago and continues to do music production and some work with MTV. The Chef Showtime persona is a new development, just conceived and launched within the last six months. “I’ve decided to put my musical skills—so to speak—and my love for cooking into a creative outlet. Because I’ve been with MTV for so long and I’ve been in the music industry, I know now that I don’t want to be an artist. I just want to enjoy music and [enact] whatever creativity is truly in me.” In this instance, that meant combining his passions for soulful singing, comfort food, and sexual innuendos.
Although he doesn’t have a formal culinary background, Tokyo is interested in sharing his personal recipes for the foods he loves, sans pretense. He started with a video about Top Ramen—”Poodles and Noodles“—because it reminded him of growing up in an inner-city background where that was all his family could afford.
Though he cites Bjork and Tori Amos as his personal favorite artists, he uses different musical styles as jumping points and then psychically vibes out their spirit food. “Being from Chicago, I love house music,” he tells me. “But being a producer, I’ll listen to the tracks that I’ve been making for years and think to myself, what goes well with this? The dubstep popcorn one, it just kind of spoke to me. Like, ‘Hey, this is all about popcorn.’ So I made the popcorn work.”
He also shoots, edits, writes, and soundtracks every video by himself, so it can take three days to make just one video. It’s the ultimate in YouTube DIY. But he’s hoping that as his number of videos and subscribers picks up, he’ll begin to get more requests or recipe submissions so that he can better interact with his audience.
As for the strong sexual angle to the videos, it just comes from within. But he has yet to make a video for the food that revs him up the most: chicken. “I love chicken. I mean the legs, the thighs—I mean, come on. I love me some baked chicken, roasted, maybe some barbecue and a little bit of sriracha. Sexy. Kicking it. Legs, thighs, and breasts, let’s not even get into it for real.”
The hunger is real.