The Potash Twins Talk Takeout, Twinning and Tunes

Adeev and Ezra Potash love food almost as much as they love music. Almost. The twin trumpeters are starring in their third cooking show, Takeout Twins, and cementing their roles as foodies, on top of their reputation as world-touring musicians — having played with everyone from John Legend to Chance the Rapper, RuPaul and Diplo.

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Takeout Twins, which starts streaming via the Food Network Kitchen app, as well as on all Amazon devices, from September 2nd, follows on from Bravo’s Beats + Bites, and the Travel Channel’s Southern Road Trip with the Potash Twins. Executive-produced by their “food dad” chef, and longtime show collaborator, Andrew Zimmern, it sees the classically-trained 26-year-old jazz musicians head indoors, recreating some of their favorite takeout dishes eaten while on tour, at home. Once again, the Nebraska-born brothers are joined by notable guests, who, this time, take part over Zoom.

Beats + Bites was special because, in one instance, we got Wynton Marsalis and [Gramercy Tavern-founding chef] Tom Colicchio to drop everything to sit down and share a meal together. We wanted artists of this caliber to bond over their different worlds by showing the commonalties. That show was so much fun for us because it felt like a night out with our friends who’ve played major roles in our lives,” Ezra tells American Songwriter.

For the Takeout Twins, the brothers aren’t at the table anymore. In the show, which was filmed with Covid-19 protocol followed at Zimmern’s studio in Minneapolis, the bonding experiences happen in the kitchen, in a socially-distanced manner. “We got to jam with Sheila E over Pad Thai and teach Musiq Soulchild how to play trumpet after making homemade ranch dressing,” says Ezra.  

It’s a cooking show that pays tribute to the role food has played in the Potash Twins’ lives as touring musicians. “Whether it’s In-N-Out after a set with Diplo or cauliflower wings at Tom Tom after a show with John Legend, the musical celebration always leads to food moments that follow,” says Ezra.

While the twins do prefer to cook and make their own food, they have racked up a list of stand-out takeout options for when they’re short on time and on the road. “One of our favorite performances ever took place in Kunming, China,” says Ezra. “We performed on a CCTV competition show about twins, and in between tapings you could find us eating pickled chickens feet at sour east and west or deep fried squid at the nearest street food vendor. Honorable mention, that time Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon and Hugh Masekala introduced us to ‘Biltong,’ a South African beef jerky delicacy (Note: this South African writer will have you know it’s much better than jerky!)

When not performing at Lollapalooza or SXSW, the brothers can be found at foodie events like the James Beard Leadership Awards and the Toronto Food and Wine Festival. But, as Adeev explains, music will always be their first love. “The second I heard Miles Davis’s solo on Kind of Blue, I knew that I wanted to play trumpet, and I knew I wanted to share who I was through a series of notes and rhythms. When I’m on stage and I’m in the middle of my second chorus soloing through There Will Never Be Another You, the world is zoned out; the only thing that matters is the next note I play.”

He adds, though, the second the brothers walk off stage it’s “where’s the best Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings) in Shanghai?” The answer, according to the twins, is Din Tai Fung. Food also has personal ties for the brothers, as it does for many of their guests. “Our real curiosity began when our mom would return from her work trips all over the world, and our souvenirs weren’t key chains from Times Square; they were red bean mochi from Japan or Vichy water from France. From a young age, we became hooked on what the world had to offer, culinary-wise,” says Adeev.

As for what the brothers have to offer next, musically, stay tuned. There are still more collaborations, like last year’s single Snap!, which featured Robert Glasper and Grace Weber, to come, and likely another album to follow 2015’s The Potash Twins, which reached #9 on the iTunes Jazz chart.


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