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Taylor Hicks Talks Food & "State Plate"

Deep fried cheese curds. Taylor Hicks told me that’s the one thing I must try when I’m in Green Bay, Wisconsin this weekend.

“Without a doubt, hands down,” he said.

What the heck does Taylor Hicks know about deep fried cheese curds? After all, isn’t he the Season Five American Idol winner? The man behind the Soul Patrol movement? Of course he is, but today this self-professed foodie is also an owner in Saw’s Juke Joint, a barbecue and blues bar in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. He’s also living out another one of his dreams, which is to host a food show.

While he is currently touring the country, he’s been filming episodes of State Plate, the show in which Hicks visits farms, ranches, markets, festivals, and other locales to uncover the stories and legends behind the state’s unique food traditions.

During the first season of State Plate, which premieres on INSP on Oct. 21 at 9 p.m., Hicks visits Arizona, Illinois, Maine, Florida, Texas, Louisiana and, of course, Wisconsin.

“When I was in Wisconsin, we went straight to Saxon Creamery and it was amazing,” he said. “We go to the origin of where these foods are made — whether it’s the dairy cow, or whether it’s the fields. It’s truly a farm-to-table concept. But you can’t go to Wisconsin and not eat deep fried cheese curds.”

Hicks credits ‘Big Momma,’ his great grandmother, with starting his love of food and says he’s spent a lot of time watching the Food Network.

For this article, I decided to have some fun with the soul man and ask him some fun questions about food:

Have you ever cooked for a date? What did you make, and how did the date go?

Southern style spaghetti and extremely well, other than the fact that we were so full we really didn’t get to talk to each other that much.

I’m Italian. What is southern style spaghetti?

It’s sweet. There is a secret ingredient that goes into southern style spaghetti that also goes into southern sweet tea, as well.

What country would you like to visit just to taste the food?

It’s got to be Italy.

Amen to that.

Amen.

What would you like your last meal to be?

I would probably say turkey and dressing.

What food looks disgusting, but tastes delicious?

Patty melts.

Cake or pie?

Cake.

Milk chocolate or dark chocolate?

Milk chocolate.

Ice cream cone or snow cone?

Ice cream cone.

Spicy or mild?

Spicy.

Salty or sweet?

Both.

Hamburger or Taco?

Hamburger.

At a movie, candy or popcorn?

Popcorn.

I hoped you’re going to tell me layered with butter.

Yeah. I get butter. Truffle butter.

Iced coffee or hot coffee?

Neither, sweet tea.

Favorite pizza topping?

Black olives.

Favorite ice cream flavor?

Neapolitan. I get them all.

What did you have for dinner last night?

Grilled Atlantic salmon.

When are we getting new music?

Spring of next year. I’m in the studio right now as we speak.

For more information on Taylor Hicks, visit his website http://taylorhicks.com/ and follow him on Twitter @TaylorHicks.

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