Flav serves up food at House of Flavor. (Snakemannn/Splash News)With a name like Flavor Flav, he should know a thing or two about seasoning. The Public Enemy "hype man" and reality star is set to open a brand new fried chicken establishment, Flavor Flav's House of Flavor, today in Las Vegas. In addition to his infamous fried chicken, Flav's menu also boasts sides like collard greens, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, biscuits, and what sounds like the greatest food invention ever: red velvet waffles. But Flav is putting his money where his mouth hasn't been yet — because he admits he hasn't even tasted his menu's star item (or a few of the other sides, actually). "This red velvet waffle has been making plenty of noise," he tells omg!. "I've spoken to people who have [eaten] the red velvet waffle and they said this thing is totally phenomenal, out of this world, man."
But the one item Flav can definitely claim as his own is his infamous fried chicken. What makes his better than his competition? "Well, first of all it's the seasonings that I use," Flav explains. "And second of all, it's the way that I fry my chicken. If you take Church's Chicken, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Popeyes' chicken, you gotta know their secret is the breading that's around the chicken. If you peel that breading off, you may taste some of the seasonings from the breading, but it's really like boiled meat. Now, the secret with my chicken is I season my chicken first real good, then I send it to straight to unflavored flour, and I let the seasonings from my chicken season the flour when it's fried, that way when you bite into my chicken, you get that double flavor explosion … Mine is double good, theirs is singly good."
Unlike other celebs who have slapped their names on restaurants — like Britney Spears, Sean "Diddy" Combs, and Eva Longoria — Flav will actually be rolling up his sleeves and helping to prepare and cook the food at House of Flavor. And don't be surprised if you place an order at the takeout-only spot and the rapper-reality star brings your food out to you. "I will also be taking pictures and signing autographs to people who come and purchase the food," says Flav. "And upon leaving the restaurant, they get a picture and a signed menu."
Cooking is in Flav's blood. Growing up, his family owned a soul food restaurant in his native Long Island, New York. He says he'd watch his mother and sisters in the kitchen and then go home and experiment with his own recipes. "Also, I went to cooking school and I got a degree in cheffing," he says. "I took up that trade because I wanted a good career and a future in cooking. I [also] wanted to be the first certified cook in the family. Back in those days, cooks made a lot of money!"
House of Flavor is not Flav's first foray into the restaurant business. Last year, he and business partner Nick Cimino opened a joint in Iowa called Flav's Fried Chicken, but just four months later, the venture folded. The failure of that restaurant taught Flav a great deal going into his new place, and he vows not to make the same mistake twice. "I learned in order to last in the food industry, you have to have consistency. That's number one. Number two, the business has to be run the right way. Without both, you will fail. And those were the two main things that [were] going on in Iowa." Flav adds that he left too much up to Cimino, who "made wrong decisions" when it came to hiring managers and cooks for the restaurant. "People's orders started getting messed up, the chicken was starting to come out too dark, people were complaining," reveals Flav. "Next thing you know the population lessened out. One thing led to another that made me shut that bad boy down because that was all representing my name. It took me 25 years to build up the name I have and it could have all come crumbling down within seconds. And I'm not trying to have that."
But even though Flav's Fried Chicken went under in Iowa, it isn't the end for the restaurant. In the next few weeks, Flav says he will be opening another one in Detroit, with more to follow all over the country. The menu at FFC is similar to House of Flavor — just minus that mouth-watering red velvet waffle. And yes, the "Flavor of Love" star is hoping to promote the venture with its own reality show. "I want to have me and some of my friends in the restaurant, snapping jokes," says Flav, who has been in talks with a few different TV producers already. "I just wanna keep people laughing. I wanna bring some good humor back to television."
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