John: I’m John Dowling from Model Citizens Magazine and I’m here today with DJ Chef aka Marc Weiss who is the only entertainer who simultaneously cooks & DJ’s for events & private parties & is a Food Network Cutthroat Kitchen Champion. How are you?
DJ Chef: Hey! Yes & I’m going to be competing on Food Network again on Supermarket Stakeout in the Spring 2021! I’m great, how it going, John?
John: That’s awesome can’t wait to watch. For the sake of our readers and your fans, can you kindly tell them all what your God-given name is?
DJ Chef: (laughter) Marc….Marc Weiss.
John: How did you get the name DJ Chef?
DJ Chef: It’s because of the two things that I love to do – cook & DJ! To give you the quick version of my story, when I was fifteen, I was enthralled with music. My mom was a bit of a hippie and I used to raid her album collection and I got into the Beatles and Stones at 8 years old. When I hot me teens hip-hop music had just started. I got obsessed with this new music which was all about turntables, rapping, and scratching. So I got a pair of turntables for the holidays, luckily at the time my grandfather was in the electronics business and had access to all kinds of electronics and he was able to know about it & get the whole DJ set up with everything I needed. At that time there really were not many DJs so I started dragging all my equipment to house parties and taught myself how to DJ & rock a party on the fly. I was the neighborhood DJ!
John: I have been to many of the parties where you were performing and they have been so much fun.
DJ Chef: Thank you. I went on to be the resident DJ a local hangout on the weekends. I created one of the first dance parties in the West End of Long Beach. Now all the bars have good DJs and dance parties, but I think I might have been the first one. It was all classic rock down there and the old-timers hated me because I brought in a dance party crowd. It was always a good turnout.
While that was going on I got a random part-time job to make some extra money with a caterer. I worked as a prep cook and subsequently became a good cook. The owner tried to give me some direction by suggesting I go to culinary school & get a career for myself. She really tried to guide me. Sometimes I came in late because I was out the night before DJ’ing, maybe I was looking a little tired and she was seeing this and she was trying to coach me and point me in the right direction. I decided 1 day I needed a change, it must have sunk it and I showed up at New York Restaurant School in NYC. I didn’t research it or know what chefs make. I had no idea about the industry, I just showed up and got right into it. I took a help wanted flyer off of the job board at the school and got a job right away downtown at this place called the Time Café. When I got there I found, low and behold, it turned out to be “The Hotspot”. Celebrities everywhere, I met the Beastie Boys, Run DMC, John Kennedy Jr., Madonna had a set table in there. At that point, I was all-in…. I went on to be the sous chef for celebrity chefs Bobby Flay, Matthew Kenney, John Tesar & worked throughout the NYC fine-dining scene.
Ultimately though, it burned me out. So I got a job as a corporate chef and what was cool about that was that it gave me some structure. I ran kitchens for big companies like Pfizer, McCann Erickson & Cablevision and it gave me nights & weekends free. Many of the executives loved my food & were asking me to do their private parties on the weekends and that got me motivated again. However, after doing a few, I found them to be a little boring. I thought these parties needed a little music to liven them up. So I started DJ’ing while I was cooking the dinner and teaching and getting them involved with the evening. I put up a website with photos of the logo and boom -The Food Network called me……they said hey DJ Chef we like what you’re doing and want to feature you on a new show called “What’s Hot!, What’s Cool!”, which was a news show featuring the hottest trends in food. They came to a party of mine and filmed it. Then it aired & I got the Food Network “stamp of approval”. Suddenly, I was getting booked for parties & events & on all different TV shows. I co-hosted an MTV Spring Break special with Lindsay Lohan, an episode of The Party Planner with David Tutera on HGTV. I was frequently on TV morning news shows. I was also featured on MSNBC’s “The Entertainment Hot List” & performed on Fuse TV’s one-year anniversary party special.
I decided to come up with specific formats for different parties like adult birthdays for 40th, 50th, etc / bachelorette parties & bridal showers/kids parties with a dancer to make it interactive for the kids and a format for large scale events, tradeshows & festivals.
John: I’ve been to a number of your parties which have been great. Didn’t you do PIX News Jill Nicolini‘s 30th birthday party?
DJ Chef: Yes, I did her 30th birthday.
John: That was amazing, it really rocked.
DJ Chef: Definitely! They were dancing on the tables, it was wild, The PIX 11 news crew wqas there.
John: Yes, dancing on the tables was where it all began.
DJ Chef: What was funny was that a bridal magazine called me to ask if I would do something for a bachelorette party. I had no idea what a bachelorette party was, so they kind of spelled it out for me and they printed an article and that resulted in me doing more of those types of parties. It just kept snowballing, and now is my most popular private party! I’m in the Hamptons/ Montauk / North Fork a lot. Someone called me “King of The Hamptons” recently. I love it out there, the houses are amazing the parties are super fun & they become repeat clients & refer to friends. I just won The Knot Best Bachelorette for 2021!
John: Have things changed with the pandemic?
DJ Chef: Yes, large scale events in venues are pretty much done, but luckily I have become known as the in home party specialist, so I’ve actually been busy helping people do all their celebrations in home!
John: I know you also do a lot of charity events. I do a lot of philanthropy and I notice that you put in a lot of time.
DJ Chef: Yes. I do a number of LI charity events like the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women luncheon at Crest Hallow CC & one for Northwell Heath n February. I work with Marty Lyons Foundation, they grant wishes for terminally ill kids. They raise money to make these dreams come true. It’s really amazing what they accomplish. It is rewarding to see the difference they make with these kids. I have been working with the foundation for a few years now. I also work with the Knicks John Starks and his foundation. He does three events a year, bowling, a casino night, and a golf outing. His foundation gives scholarships to underprivileged kids and I am proud to work with them as well. I actually do a number of celebrity/athletes golf outings in the summer.
I help a number of local community charity events each year. It’s so important to support your local community. During the pandemic, so many kids were missing their birthday parties. My town came together and every day we lined up at the recreation center and started doing a large birthday drive-by throughout the community. I rigged up my truck with a monitor and microphone, lights, & I played the music. we had a whole map of the town and I had all the kid’s names and was giving them shout-outs on the microphone. It was a big deal to them and I’m happy I was able to make it special for them in that crazy time.
John: I know you’ve been involved in all of those events. I keep my eyes open when I go around and shoot at all these events and donate my time and I pay attention to who is giving back and who is there, who is supporting. A nomination as a Model Citizen does not come lightly and for you, it is very well deserved. I’m honored to be able to tell your story and share it because it is quite a unique one
DJ Chef: Thank you and I really appreciate it. I went with my passion and it’s funny to me that it all worked out. Anything I ever did was about passion for music and for cooking. I’m happy that I can do these charity events and private events, make a living at it, and help my community at the same time.
John: Check out DJ Chef at his website DJCHEF.com & follow him on social media his handle on all platforms is @djchefrocks
Categories: DJ Chef