Feeding Mama Kicks
Keyboardist for the omnipresent cover band dishes
By Susan†Reilly †email@example.com
Gardner Berry is a keyboardist with the hugely popular cover band Mama Kicks and with Four Sticks, a Led Zeppelin tribute band. Berry grew up in Kingston, where his mother owned a donut shop.
He has lived in Manchester for 15 years and is a full-time musician. For the past 30 years Berry has been and on-again-off-again vegan-vegetarian. Here he talks about his thoughts on skipping beef.
Do you like to cook?
Yes, when I am not playing I often cook at home. On nights that I have a gig, I usually eat wherever I am playing.
How do you eat healthy when you eat out as much as you do?
I really try to eat light when we are playing. When I am not playing, I cook a lot of stirfrys with meat substitutes or lots of mixed vegetables. I like Ďfake ní cheeseí with peppers and onions, it is like a steak and cheese sub, or most of the chicken substitutes that are on the market. They really are very good.
Do you grab something to eat after a show?
I used to, and my friends do, but I donít now. It is just a really bad idea and mostly because of the type of food that is available at that hour, it is too greasy and I feel terrible later on.
Anyone influence the way you cook?
Yes, my mother, who was an excellent cook, and a former roommate who was a militant vegan. She turned me onto some great meat alternatives and showed me how to eat vegan.
How long have you been dabbling in vegan-vegetarianism?
About 30 years. In my late twenties I was out on the road a lot with a band and I was eating horribly, fast food and high-fat stuff all the time. I decided to change my eating habit and went strictly vegan.
Was it tough to follow a vegan diet while on the road?
Yes, extremely. My old roommate used to bring her own food when she came to see me play. Either that, or you would have to call ahead to see what was on the menu. It is exhausting living like that. It was also too extreme for my body and at 30, I had to have my gall bladder out because it seized up on me. After that, I began eating in moderation, with an emphasis on vegetarianism, but it isnít for everyone.
So moderation is key?
Yes, I am 57 and have an internal governor that lets me know when I need to do things differently. I am a one-cocktail man. I only drink Jack Daniels on the rocks, but recently I have started getting heartburn if I have more than two. So I really listen to what my body tells me now.
What are your favorite restaurants?
For sushi, Yuki and Tapei & Tokyo. Piccola Italia and Frattelloís have excellent vegetarian options and for special occasions, CR Sparks. I have a gift certificate to Hanover Street Chophouse, but I am waiting until a strong craving for beef hits me.
So you still eat beef occasionally?
Yes, sometimes. But I have to be honest, if I am home for the night watching TV and I eat a steak or a burger, I feel so slugged out that I canít get off the couch. I feel much better when I eat vegetarian.
Any recipes you can share with readers?
Nope. I inherited an instinct when it comes to food from my mother. I never follow a recipe and just put things together. Everything always comes out great, at least that is what people tell me. I just wing it in the kitchen, just like I do as a musician.