Posted by | Ray Cornelius

New York City’s favorite celebrity chef Roblé Ali returned to BRAVO this week for another season of culinary capers in the hit reality-series Chef Roblé  & Co.  The 29-year-old, who has cooked for the likes of President Obama, Vanessa Williams and the late Michael Jackson, recently talked to NPR about the demands of hi-end clients, planning a successful summer soiree and the one person that influenced his career the most.

Check out a few excerpts from the interview below:

On whether the pickiest, most high-maintenance clients are those trying to prove they have money…

“I never really thought about it that way, but yeah. Some people are just egomaniacs, and they need to feel like people are walking on eggshells around them. … They get off on making people do ridiculous things.

“[Starting out] I would take that kind of stuff, but now I’m like, ‘You know what? Go find another caterer because I’m not gonna do anything that sacrifices the quality of anything else.”

On a fail-safe summer recipe…

“If I’m ever cooking out, I like to make sure that there’s plenty of drinks. I’m not talking about alcoholic drinks. I’m talking about other types of drinks to keep people hydrated and for the kids, things like that. And one thing that I do that’s always a winner, is cucumber lemonade. It’s four ingredients: It’s water, lemon juice, cucumber, sugar. It’s amazing [and] super easy to make.”

On staging big parties…

“You wanna make the most of your space. You wanna spread things out. … Let’s say you have a buffet set up. … Don’t set up your alcohol within like, 10 feet of there. If you’re gonna set up a little bar, have it far away. You don’t want people to congregate too much in certain areas. You don’t want to create roadblocks or traffic jams.”

On being inspired by his grandfather Jesse Harris, a professional chef…

“I definitely observed him cooking a lot, and he put the idea in my mind of, ‘Hey, a guy cooking professionally is cool.’ My grandfather was like, the coolest dude you’ve ever met. Like, he was just so fly … the way he dressed, the car he drove … and he also cooks. So I’m like, ‘Hey, I wanna be like him.’ But I never thought I would be — I didn’t grow up thinking I’d be a chef. I didn’t figure that out until I graduated high school.”

Click here to read the rest of the interview and click here to see a sneak peek of next week’s show. It features Roblé’s staff attempting to help internet celebrity, B. Scott with a model casting call.

Chef Roblé & Co.  airs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. EST on BRAVO.