Event manager Diane Larche asked me at the last second to be a “celebrity taster” at the 21st annual Real Men Cook event Sunday, which provided funds for several charities including the Ruben Studdard Foundation. That meant a Ruben Studdard appearance, which made it an easy yes for me.
The event, held on Father’s Day, draws thousands to the Georgia Railroad Depot. Other participants include Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), Sam Crenshaw of WXIA-TV, Jovita Moore and John Bachman of WSB-TV, Chef Jamika from “Next Food Network Star,” Jason Ellis from “Hell’s Kitchen” and Roger Bobb, supervising producer at Tyler Perry Studios.
I haven’t seen Ruben since the fall of 2008, before he started his vegan diet. He has since lost 100 pounds. He didn’t have time to actually cook, unfortunately, but arrived in time to sing a couple of songs (”I Surrender All,” “I Need An Angel”), sounding great as always, then set aside a couple of minutes to talk backstage. I also met his wife Surata Zuri McCants, who he met a few years ago at a Wal-Mart CD signing I also attended off Howell Mill Road.
I told him I was disappointed his tour with Clay Aiken didn’t hit Atlanta, but he said he hopes to have a second leg in the fall that does include the city.
I would have liked a bit more time with Ruben but this wasn’t an idyllic set up for that.
His charity foundation provides monies to support arts in education.
And here he is singing gloriously, “I Surrender All”: