Articles Comments



 (L)A picture of Mikey Dan and Bob Marley & (R)Michael ‘Mikey Dan” Whyte and his wife Joan.

WHEN he went on tour, it was not all music for Bob Marley. He was passionate about football and fitness, and he loved food.

Marley had two official cooks who travelled with him at different stages of his career. The first was Michael ‘Mikey Dan’ Whyte, who handled the reggae star’s culinary needs from 1973 to 76.

Now 62, Whyte is a committed member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel and lives in New York City. Recently, he spoke to the Sunday Observer about his relationship with the king of reggae.

“All this came about due to my close association with Alan ‘Skill’ Cole, who had just returned from playing football professionally in Brazil. Skill was disciplined and maintained a very structured regimen involving exercise and nutritious foods,” Whyte recalled. “I trained with him and prepared meals together regularly based on his recipes.”

His first assignment with Marley was not a tour. The singer was heading to visit his mother Cedella Booker in Delaware in late-1973 and wanted someone to prepare his meals.

Bob Marley & Allan "Skill" Cole

Bob Marley & Allan “Skill” Cole

“Because of my ability to make the kind of meals Bob liked, my passion for football which Bob always liked, and my travel readiness (green card holder) Alan recommended me,” said Dan.

Like many Rastafarians during the 1970s, Whyte noted that Marley followed a fairly strict diet.

“Bob was not a vegan. He liked fish, vegetables, grains, fruit juices, nut shakes, Irish Moss blends and various porridges, the type of food that helped him keep properly conditioned,” he explained. “I never saw him eating ice cream or commercial pastry. I know he liked Jamaican style puddings. A special food we introduced that he and the band liked was broad bean ital with coconut milk, ‘run down’ with vegetables,especially Brussells sprouts.”

Michael Whyte grew up in the east Kingston community of Rollington Town and attended Kingston College. He migrated to the United States in 1968 and became a member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel three years later.

Whyte said he first met Marley in 1972 in London. Marlen was then a member of The Wailers and hung out at the Four Aces Club, a popular spot for reggae artists.

Bob Marley

Bob Marley

After four years with Marley and his band, Dan quit the road in 1976 when the singer/songwriter was breaking through internationally. He left at the completion of the United States leg of the tour promoting the Rastaman Vibration album, to help start the New York leg of the Twelve Tribes organisation.

He said he and Marley remained close until his death from cancer in May 1981.

“Whenever he came to New York we linked; I even went to other states to check him. When he became ill he stayed for an extended time at (manager) Danny Sims’ penthouse in New York and a hospital in Manhattan,” Dan recalled. “During this time, I would visit with him as often as I could. The very last day I saw him was when he was leaving New York to go to Germany for treatment. I was with Alan and Roberta Flack. He had lost his hair due to cancer treatment but appeared strong in spirit.”

Whyte was succeeded as Bob Marley’s cook by Antonio ‘Gilly’ Gilbert.

Written by

Filed under: GUEST RUNDOWNS · Tags: , ,

%d bloggers like this: