You may be aware of him through his music or his relentless battles on Youtube – or you may have washed his dishes up in one of the many restaurants he has worked at over the years. A man born from to Cypriot – Turkish parents, Yusuf Mouharrem in the kitchen, Press 1 on the mic, we caught up with him recently to talk about our favourite thing, food.
Being of Cypriot-Turkish heritage, what were your earliest memories of food and what were some of your favourite dishes your parents would whip up?
Earliest memories are being about 6 at school, it was story time so we all sat tired, waiting for the day to end in the corner of the classroom. The teacher was holding up picture cards of different fruits and asking us what they were – she holds up a picture of a watermelon, I put my hand up, stand and proudly proclaim that it was a Kapuz (the Turkish word for watermelon). The entire class erupt and burst into laughter like a pack of thirsty hyenas. Fucking cunts. I’d never heard of no watermelon.
Mum and dad always had cafes and still do to this day – my favourite food growing up was Hellim (Halloumi’s Turkish, slightly firmer and cooler cousin) served with said watermelon and fresh bread. A staple breakfast through the summer months.
You’ve been juggling food and rap careers for a while now. What can you tell us about the highs and lows of the chefing game?
The highs include the great food you get to try, the brilliant people from different cultures and when your working in a place where the service is running seamlessly, everyone from the sous to the porter are on job and it feels like some poetry in motion, 3 pointer, swoosh sounding harmony. On the other hand I’d had to endure a lot of being spoken to a like a dog, a lot of huge egos and ridiculous working hours. I loved it, but not enough to warrant the work it takes to truly become a great chef. Also the amount of cocaine floating around in this industry is second only to the media – my Roman features ain’t built like that.
After working with all manner of cuisines throughout your cooking career, what kind of food would you say interests you most?
Thai. I love Asian cuisine, it’s all about balance in sweet, sour and spice. I worked in one place where for two weeks I solely made salad dressings. Trust, mans pomelo salad is a beast as a result.
Have you got any favourite food bars in music?
“She grew a bush like a baby plant / Still I ate it, just think of it as bucatin’ and razor clams.” – Action Bronson
Quick Fire Round:
Rendang or Laksa? Rendang. When I eat meat, slow cooked rendang with star anise, cinnamon sticks and coconut rice was the one.
Calamari or Battered Cod?Calamari.
San Pellegrino or Arizona Iced Tea? Arizona Iced Tea. San Pellegrino is overrated.
Food Bar Round:
I dug out these bars from waaaay back when Don’t Flop Battles were still being filmed in a dodgy underpass somewhere in Norwich…can you complete these bars from your battle with Cruger?
“You’re from Turkey, you look like a turkey with plucked feathers/ You’re called Press1…” ‘But haven’t pressed one record’. Big up Cruger. Especially because I still haven’t pressed an actual record. My new project ‘Super MC’ (EP) drops on CD and all digital stores on 15/09/17 though :p
Press 1’s “Fasulye”
Fasulye, Bulgar with cracked vermicelli and Salad (String Bean Stew, Bulgur Wheat with cracked vermicelli and salad).
- 1 x String Beans
- 2 x cans of Chopped Tomatoes
- 2 x Onions
- 2 x cloves of Garlic
- 2 x Carrot
- Vegetable Stock
- 2 tsp x Ground Smoked Paprika
- Bulgar Wheat
- Cracked Vermicelli
- Cherry Tomatoes
- 2 x Red Onion
Soak the string beans in salted water for at least 12 hours. Chop the onions, cloves of garlic and carrot finely and fry on a low heat in a big stew pot. After 8 minutes of frying, your house should be smelling peng already – add the 2 tins of chopped tomatoes and the ground paprika. Lightly simmer then add 2 pints of vegetable stock. Drain the string beans you’ve already soaked and add them to the mix. You want this to reduce by a about a quarter so keep the heat real low, cover and leave for about 3 hours.
In the mean time start work on your rice substitute in the bulgur wheat and cracked vermicelli. Add 2 cups of bulgur to 2 cups of boiling water. Add the cracked vermicelli and turn the heat down, season with salt, cover and simmer for 12 minutes or until all the water has gone. You should be left with something nice and fluffy, with the same consistency of a good cous cous.
The salad is straight forward and one you’ll come across a lot if you’ve ever visited Turkey or North Cyprus. Slice the cherry tomatoes into two, slice the onions finely (wash to separate the slices and remove the ‘musk’). Pick the parsley and roughly chop. Add all ingredients together in a salad bowl, toss and dress with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Serve this dish with a dollop of natural yoghurt, fresh bread and a couple of pickled chillies. For my meat lovers add a couple of lamb chops. Enjoy.