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7:00 PM - 8:00 PM on Wednesday, September 7, 2022
Crawford Family Forum
1A Live with Jenn White

From cooking crack for drug operations around the country to cooking "food made with love” for celebrities like Jay-Z and Isaa Rae, chef Keith Corbin's (he/him) path to culinary stardom has been a winding one. His memoir, California Soul: An American Epic of Cooking and Survival has been praised as “a courageous book” by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and “the kind of real-life story that—unless you come from the bricks—you never really hear” by chef Roy Choi. On September 7, 1A host Jenn White (she/her) will talk to Corbin about his journey to the helm of a successful restaurant, via Watts, with stops at some of California’s most notorious maximum security prisons. Join us for this soulful conversation. Autographed copies of chef Keith Corbin's memoir will be available for purchase by Vroman's Bookstore.

1A is produced by WAMU 88.5, and distributed by NPR. It can be heard on over 430 stations, including 89.3 KPCC, Monday-Thursday at 7:00 p.m.

This event is part of KPCC’s Public Radio Palooza, a year-long celebration of all the ways public radio brings us together, featuring some of the most legendary and innovative creators in the public media landscape.

Jenn White is 1A’s host. A seasoned journalist and podcast host, she has worked in public radio since 1999. She joins us from Chicago’s WBEZ where she has held several on-air positions, as host of the station’s local two-hour midday show, Reset with Jenn White, and before that as host of The Morning Shift. She is also a familiar voice on several WBEZ podcasts, including Making Oprah, Making Obama and 16 Shots, which chronicled the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald and the trial of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. Before WBEZ, White was the local host of All Things Considered at Michigan Radio. White is also skilled as a public speaker and has moderated numerous on-air gubernatorial and mayoral debates. A native of Detroit and graduate of the University of Michigan, she’s spent the past few years in Chicago and is in the process of moving to Washington, D.C. with her husband and dog.

Chef Keith Corbin has been cooking his entire life. Born on the home turf of the notorious Grape Street Crips in 1980s Watts, Los Angeles, he got his start cooking crack at age thirteen, becoming so skilled that he was flown across the country to cook for drug operations in other cities. After his criminal enterprises caught up with him, though, Corbin spent years in California’s most notorious maximum security prisons—witnessing the resourcefulness of other inmates who made kimchi out of leftover vegetables and tamales from ground-up Fritos. He developed his own culinary palate and ingenuity, creating “spreads” out of the unbearable commissary ingredients and experimenting during his shifts in the prison kitchen.

After his release, Corbin got a job managing the kitchen at LocoL, an ambitious fast food restaurant spearheaded by celebrity chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson, designed to bring inexpensive, quality food and good jobs into underserved neighborhoods. But when Corbin was suddenly thrust into the spotlight, he struggled to live up to or accept the simplified “gangbanger redemption” portrayal of him in the media. As he battles private demons while achieving public success, Corbin traces the origins of his vision for “California soul food” and takes readers inside the worlds of gang hierarchy , drug dealing, prison politics, gentrification, and culinary achievement to tell the story of how he became head chef of Alta Adams, one of America’s best restaurants.

In order to ensure the health and safety of our guests, staff, and artists, event attendees must present a photo ID and proof of Covid vaccination (including booster) before entering the building. Masks are required while indoors during all events.

KPCC and LAist are committed to providing access and accommodation for individuals with disabilities at our events. To request accommodations, please email or call us at (626) 585-5222 at least 7 days in advance of the event.