Everybody knows Patti LaBelle is a musical icon. But in recent years, the Philadelphia native has come to be known for her food as much as for her music.
Wednesday night during an event with WHYY members, LaBelle, led by interviewer Dyana Williams, traced her musical roots and her evolution as an author.
“I just love to cook and make people happy,” LaBelle said.
In her fourth cookbook, “Desserts LaBelle,” she shares her favorite recipes for cakes, pies, and other sweets, including the sweet potato pie the internet made famous.
In 2015, James Wright, an Instagram singer, bought one of LaBelle’s sweet potato pies and recorded himself singing about how good his “Patti pie” was. The video went viral with 20 million views, and Walmart could not keep enough pies in stock. The desserts went for as much as $12,000 on Ebay.
“Twelve thousand dollars for a pie?” LaBelle marveled. “I just wanted $3.48!”
Since his video, Wright has become an internet star. He’s also appeared on talk shows and with LaBelle in concert and on her program on the Cooking Channel.
“James is my good friend,” LaBelle said. “Plus he can sing his face off.”
LaBelle also announced the May 5 release of “Bel Hommage,” her first music in 10 years. The jazz album features standards by such artists as Shirley Horn, James Moody, and Gloria Lynne.