A chef for many seasons

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Chef Sepehr Sadrzadeh’s career is not limited to the kitchen.

By Sarah Stortz

sarah-stortz@uiowa.edu

Although Sepehr Sadrzadeh, the new executive chef of Atlas World Grill, regularly drops fire in the kitchen, and he also drops fire on SoundCloud.

Also known by his stage name “Chef PZ,” Sadrzadeh said he was exposed to hip-hop music at a young age through the radio.

“I grew up in an immigrant family so I didn’t have much exposure to American culture,” he said. “What I really picked up on when I was listening to the radio was whenever someone was rapping, I was really into it.”

Sadrzadeh said the musical form was new to him, because Western culture was looked down upon in Iran.

Growing up in Bellevue, Washington, he attended Bellevue High School, which is well-known for its academic integrity. Sadrzadeh said the demanding class schedule was too much for him, but he found solitude in one course.

“[Cooking] was the only passion I had for a career ever,” he said. “We’ve had these classes where you could go and cook for two to three hours per day in a commercial kitchen.”

Before landing his position at Atlas World Grill, he was a chef at Pullman Bar and Diner.

Cory Kent, the owner of Atlas World Grill, said he is excited about Sadrzadeh taking over the position.

“He has a wealth of knowledge and is very talented in the kitchen,” Kent said. “We want someone like that to help lead this restaurant.”

Although Sadrzadeh said his career is demanding, he still finds time to work on his rap music on the side.

“I’ve always found that if you have a passion for something, you can make time,” he said.

Doug Sands, the founder of Restaurant Clients Magnet, a company that profiles culinary figures in the area, said he was intrigued when he heard Sadrzadeh’s story.

Sands met him though a business networking event called “1 Million Cups.”

“When I met at him, he mentioned a little bit about his rapping. I checked out his Facebook page, and I saw ‘Origins Story,’ one of his music videos, and it just intrigued me so much,” Sands said. “It’s got the historical aspect of who he is but also who his culture is. That was very interesting to see so I wanted to know more about him.”

Sands said he became of fan of Chef PZ because he implements Middle Eastern culture into his work.

“Being both a chef and a rapper is such a cool thing to do. You’re following two passions at the same time and exploring both of those. It’s something very inspiring to see.” Sands said. “As a musician, he’s very creative in what he does. You can see that he’s got the technical part of being a musician down, but he also combines the wider culture into his work.”

Sadrzadeh said his next album, *First Generations*, will be released in October and feature 12 tracks.

Sadrzadeh and musical partner Tyrell Thornton played together at Mission Creek Festival in 2016.

“We’re trying to get exposure as much as we can,” Sadrzadeh said. “So when this album comes, it can go out to a lot of people.”

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