In Your Ear: Kevin Sbraga

As part of Tell Me More's occasional series "In Your Ear," restaurateur and Top Chef winner Kevin Sbraga shares some of his favorite songs. They include titles from R&B crooner John Legend and hip-hop icons Wu-Tang Clan.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host: Now it's time for the feature we call In Your Ear, that's where we ask some of our guests about the music they're listening to these days. Today we find out what tunes get Chef Kevin Sbraga fired up. He won Bravo TV's "Top Chef: D.C." competition last year. The self-proclaimed Barack Obama of the cooking game opened his own restaurant this month in Philadelphia. It's called Sbraga. We asked him to reflect on the three songs that helped him get through those long days in the kitchen.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WAKE UP")

KEVIN SBRAGA: Hey there, this is Kevin Sbraga, winner of "Top Chef," and this is what's playing in my ear, "Wake Up" by John Legend.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WAKE UP")

JOHN LEGEND: (Singing) Wake up everybody, no more sleeping in bed. No more backward thinking, time for thinking ahead. The world has changed so very much...

SBRAGA: While listening to John Legend, I mean first of all, he's a creative genius, his music is brilliant. The song has so much soul and it just touches my heart and I love listening to it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WAKE UP")

LEGEND: (Singing) Oh, wake everybody. No more sleeping in bed. Oh, wake up everybody. Yeah, I need a little help. Can't do it alone. Oh, I need a little help, y'all. Come on. Come on.

SBRAGA: If I'm in the kitchen listening to music, most likely before service I'm listening to "Protect Ya Neck" by Wu-Tang Clan.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PROTECT YA NECK")

WU-TANG CLAN: (Rapping) Wu-Tang Clan coming at you. Watch your step man. Watch your step kid. Watch your step kid. Watch your step kid. Watch your step kid.

SBRAGA: That's one of those songs that reminds me of high school, 1993-94, and the song was so raw and we hadn't heard any music like that before from anyone and that gets me fired up.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PROTECT YA NECK")

CLAN: (Rapping) But he don't know the meaning of dope when he's looking for a suit and tie rap that's cleaner than a bar of soap. And I'm the dirtiest thing in sight. Matter of fact bring out the girls and let's have a mud fight.

SBRAGA: And then after service it would be something, you know by Deluge, "Worship."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WORSHIP")

DELUGE: (Singing) Take this offering that I bring. Humbly I fall on my knees to proclaim you're everything.

SBRAGA: It's a song that I - it's a Christian song I'm - just really brings me back down to earth and just something to relax me and call me down after service.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WORSHIP")

DELUGE: (Singing) Here I am worshiping you.

MARTIN: That was Kevin Sbraga, winner of Bravo TV's "Top Chef: D.C," telling us what's playing in his ear.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WORSHIP")

DELUGE: (Singing) I'm bowing down in spirit and truth with lifted hands worshiping you. Take this offering that I bring. Humbly I fall on my knees...

MARTIN: And that's our program for today. And to tell us more, please go to npr.org and find us under the Programs tab. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at TELL ME MORE/NPR. I'm Michel Martin and you've been listening to TELL ME MORE from NPR News and the African-American Public Radio Consortium. Let's talk more tomorrow.

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