July 06, 2011
In the photo: Chef to the stars, Marlon Alexander, works his magic backstage at Rogers Bayfest, Wednesday. He prepared a seared salmon and veggies for the health-conscious members of KISS.

By TARA JEFFREY, The Observer

When you're setting the table for one of the world's biggest rock bands, you have to be prepared for anything.

Just ask Marlon Alexander, chef to the stars, including KISS, who rolled through Sarnia Wednesday night to satisfy some big appetites.

"You never know how many people you're feeding," said Alexander, under his makeshift kitchen tent backstage at Centennial Park. "It could just be the four guys, or it could be 25."

That number morphed to about 100 people when KISS and its massive production crew arrived in Sarnia.

With the help of local chef and veteran Bayfest cook Alastair Mackay, Alexander prepared some staples from the group's strict organic diet — a far cry from their flamboyant onstage persona.

"Everything is always very organic and very healthy, so we try to stick with lots of vegetables, and lots of fish," he said, while preparing wild seared salmon on a bed of white beans and veggies, topped with a dill vinaigrette, with fresh fruit juice.

Dessert included a wild berry crumb with mango and crystalized brown sugar.

In 2009, during KISS's first Bayfest visit, a massive continental breakfast was prepared for crew members, while the band members dined on steamed veggies, chicken and fish.

The job certainly has its perks, said Alexander, who also works for big names like Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Jay-Z. He just returned from a tour with Britney Spears.

"It's a lot of travel, but these guys are my main clients," he said of KISS members Gene Simmons, Eric Singer, Tommy Thayer and Paul Stanley.

"Sometimes I'll think I'll be going out of town for like, a month, and it turns into seven months.

"So it's always changing, and it keeps things fresh. I do love the job, and I still love the cooking."