When 108 million people tuned in for Beyoncé’s 2013 Super Bowl halftime performance, they knew they were in for an amazing show. But did they know one of her band members also has her own kale chip company?
Bibi McGill is best known around the world as Beyoncé’s powerful lead guitarist. Around her hometown of Portland, though, she’s famous for Bibi Kale Chips, her very own organic, raw, vegan, gluten-free version of the healthy snack food.
So how does someone go from rocking sold-out stadiums to dehydrating organic kale? It started when she left her apartment in Los Angeles for a house in SE Portland.
“One of the reasons I moved to Portland is I wanted to start growing my own food,” says McGill. “So I built my raised garden beds and I had my first garden.”
Like many gardeners in the Pacific Northwest, McGill ended up with more kale than she could eat. At the time, kale chips were hard to come by in stores. She decided she’d make her own, but the recipes she found were bland and boring. Always one to take matters into her own hands, McGill created her own kale chip recipe.
“I just put a ton of everything I loved in it, not thinking anyone else was going to eat them except for me,” she adds.
She was wrong about that. Her friends and bandmates loved her recipe, and she had fun making the chips, too.
“It was so good — I couldn’t believe I made it,” she says of that first batch. “And it was crunchy and it was a chip, and it was healthy!”
“They looked liked something I couldn’t wait to eat,” says Mike Shand, private chef to Jay Z and Beyoncé, on the Bibi Kale Chips website. “And then I couldn’t stop eating them!”
With the same can-do spirit that landed her on stage during the Super Bowl, McGill resolved to book a commercial kitchen and start selling her kale chips. Six weeks and a signature logo later, Bibi Kale Chips was born. Today McGill sells her kale chips in several Portland stores and online.
To make her chips, McGill starts with organic kale. She adds a sauce of cashews, red peppers and spices, and she dries the chips in a food dehydrator for about eight hours. Though many kale chips are baked in the oven or fried, she prefers to dehydrate hers to keep the nutritional value of the ingredients intact.
“You don’t want to use heat that’s higher than 104 degrees, because anything higher than that you start to deplete the nutrients,” she says.
Though McGill has no plans to quit the music business for the kale business, she’s having fun with Bibi Kale Chips.
“They’re still the best chips in the world. They really are! They’re packed with flavor. And most kale chips are kind of boring and plain and healthy tasting, you know?”