Israel 1.jpg
Photo by Leslie Kelly
Israel Berube got his start cooking at Sbarro's Pizza at a mall in Anchorage.
Israel Berube is a crumpet cook by


Crumpet Shop Cook Dances, Sings In The Kitchen

Israel 1.jpg
Photo by Leslie Kelly
Israel Berube got his start cooking at Sbarro's Pizza at a mall in Anchorage.
Israel Berube is a crumpet cook by day, psychedelic hip hop artist by night, but his musical side comes out in the kitchen. Customers might catch him dancing to his mix while mixing batter and flipping those beauties on the griddle at the landmark Crumpet Shop. He performs under the stage name marXman.45. Check out his upcoming shows at Read more about his start in the culinary arts in part one of this week's Grillaxin.

SW: What's the most challenging thing about cooking crumpets?

Israel: Like everything in my life, it's about balance. There's such a fine level of balance when it comes to making crumpets and that changes every day. Every day it's going to be different, but it's an exact balance that I cannot deviate from or I'll make a crumpet that's too wet or too dry or too big and fluffy. It changes with the environment, with the flour, with me. If I'm tired, something that feels heavy to me is going to feel real heavy to me, know what I mean. I'm doing a lot of things on feel. Like this batter feels right.

SW: How long did it take you to get the feel of the crumpet batter?

Israel: Well, I'm still working on it to this very second. Some days are harder than others. After about five months, I felt comfortable enough to where I could say oh, it might need a little of this or a little of that. Where I'm starting to feel the crumpets a little bit better, to where I'm getting an understanding of what kind of creature they are. Because they are such a creature, you know.

SW: Do you start with a mother?

Israel: (Laughs.) Yeah, her name is Nancy. (Nancy McFaul, the owner of The Crumpet Shop.) No, it's just flour, water, baking powder and a little salt and lots of love. The love part of it is about being present, having lots of fun. That's my main goal.

SW: You are obviously having a good time.

Israel: Fun and concentration are another part of my balance. If I'm able to have fun and do a good job and get the job done in the same amount of time, I'm going to have as much fun as I possibly can in those confines. I'm going to play my music, do my thing, dance around a little bit. Smile. Say, oh man, I love making these crumpets. This might be the best one I've ever made. No, this is the best one. And have fun with it. It's encouraged here. At first, they were like whoa. What are you doing up there? You're dancing around. But then they see the crumpets are getting done 10 minutes faster when I'm dancing around.

SW: You're a musician, too, right? What kind of music do you do?

Israel: Because we're in Seattle, I would call it psychedelic grunge hop. I've been working on music my entire life. I'm a lyricist. I compose. I mix. I master. I throw shows. I do a little bit of everything, the roadie, the mascot. I actually moved up here from San Diego to pursue more music and make our circle bigger and I've gotten that like 100 times over. We do shows all over the place. We just did a show in Randall, Washington. In the woods, a festival called Photosynthesis. That was fun. I do a lot of shows at Lo Fi. I just did a show at Motor the other night. It's trippy stuff.

SW: That's late-night stuff. How do you get up the next morning?

Israel: Yeah, sleep is valuable. Sometimes if I'm staying up until 3 in the morning to do a show, I'll get a couple of hours a sleep and then I come to work. I work at the Crumpet Shop so I have an endless supply of tea. I make it through those six hours. Not as much dancing on those days. Just more focusing. Get 'er done and go home and take a nap.

SW: What's your favorite kind of tea?

Israel: My favorite started out as the Crumpet Shop blend, but I think my favorite now is the Keemon. It's a black tea.

SW: What's your ideal way to have a crumpet?

Israel: I would say after a good three hours of hard work, my favorite crumpet would have to be cream cheese, green eggs, green peppers and cucumbers, which I call The Hulk. I get all my green stuff that way.

Check back tomorrow for Israel's recipe for Cowboy SandWitch.

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