Nadine White (The Voice) writes about Michael Springer—of Big Mike’s Calypso Kitchen, which is located in Croydon, south London. Springer, of Bajan descent, is one of nine chefs around the country showcasing their vocal skills on the adverts for Just Eat:
Millions of viewers across the country would have seen Michael Springer, the owner and chef of Croydon eatery Big Mike’s Calypso Kitchen, warbling away during The X Factor advertisement breaks.
Springer, or ‘Big Mike’, has been running his kitchen for just under three years, and recently relocated to The Jolly Farmers pub in Purley, south Croydon. Some of his most popular dishes include Caribbean fishcakes, BBQ Honey Chicken and Oxtail.
Mike is one of nine chefs or delivery drivers around the country showcasing their vocal skills on the adverts for Just Eat, as a result of the company’s sponsorship of the show.
All candidates auditioned through a selection process called ‘Chef Factor’, which followed a similar format to The X Factor.
Springer sent in his version of soca classic ‘Feeling Hot Hot Hot’ by The Merrymen. After sailing through to the second round, he was invited to London to record a performance in a studio, before accepting a place in the final line up. The Chef, who is a fan of the reality television show, can be seen singing ‘Get Down Tonight’ by KC & The Sunshine Band and ‘Place Your Hands’ by Reef.
He also dazzles with smooth sliding and rhythmic shuffling behind the studio kitchen surface, amidst ingredients such as scotch bonnet peppers, fresh thyme and succulent pieces of his famous jerk chicken; armed with a microphone-esque pair of silver tongs.
Mike laughed heartedly as he told us: “I love to dance but not to perspire, so I simply stick to stepping while cooking.” [. . .]
Mike told The Voice: “It’s a real honour for us to work with Just Eat, make the X Factor adverts and still champion Caribbean food. This is such a once in a lifetime opportunity so I really wanted to get it right. I was in absolute awe when I saw the studio. It is a dream come true for us.”
The Londoner, who’s of Bajan descent, thinks that cooking and music are closely related. “I believe that there are two places that you sing – the shower and in the kitchen. I have certain music that I use to bake with because I know that I am grinding, kneading and need to have that passion going in there.
“You cannot beat the happiness of combined cooking and singing. I like my music playing while I am in the kitchen – it’s my zone. “I love food and people. I always say it’s your personality that sets the table and love is the main ingredient in making food taste great.” [. . .]