Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley)

Jenny Lewis has come a long way since this street-corner interview back in 2002! Her talent and hard work has led to a successful solo career, and now she performs to thousands in knock-out sequin gowns (dress for the job you want to have!). I was able to get this interview with Jenny because she was a friend of my brother, Liam Lynch, in Los Angeles. I was a big Rilo Kiley fan, so Liam made the introduction and Jenny said “yes” right away. I haven’t talked to her since, but I’ve been enjoying watching her star rising. 

When The Jenville Show first launched, I had to host videos myself and keep the file size as small as possible (no YouTube yet!), so the Quicktime player on the page was an adorable 240×180 pixels, shown here actual size. Those were the days!



About this Artist: Rilo Kiley consists of Jenny Lewis (keyboard, guitar, vocal), Blake Sennet (guitar, vocals), Pierre de Reeder (bass, guitar), and Jason Boesel (drums). They have been making charming and evocative rock music out of their home base in Los Angeles since 1998, and they spend an uncanny amount of time on the road. Jenny also sings and tours with The Postal Service.

About the interview

This was the very first interview I did for Cooking with Rockstars (then called “The Jenville Show”). The only quiet place we could find to shoot was a chilly street corner.






Cambridge, MA

Jeff Robbins

Jennifer Robbins


Jenny’s “Tastes Like Chicken” Tofu


  • 1 block firm tofu (15 ounce) (press tofu to drain excess water)
  • vegetable oil
  • soy sauce
  • nutritional yeast


  1. Cut tofu into cubes. Lightly oil a frying pan or skillet and place over high heat. Add tofu and saute until golden brown. Sprinkle lightly with soy sauce and saute briefly to further brown tofu. Remove from pan or skillet.
  2. Rinse and wipe skillet. Lightly oil and place over high heat…allow oil to get very hot. Add tofu and saute with spatula until browned. Sprinkle with soy sauce to taste.
  3. Sprinkle with yeast flakes to coat tofu cubes and saute for a few seconds…remove from heat and serve!

Mogis Gravy

Jenny says that her producer, Mike Mogis, taught her a lot about vegan cooking. Smother this gravy on brown rice, vegetables, “tastes like chicken!” tofu, or mashed potatoes.


  • 3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup vegan margarine (2 sticks)
  • 2 tablespoons vegan worcestershire sauce (see recipe)
  • 2 cups soy milk


  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt margarine. Stir in flour and yeast until blended….whisk constantly for four minutes. Whisking is important to avoid burning. Add soy milk gradually. 
  2. Combine soy sauce, water, and vegan worcestershire add to gravy gradually. Blend well. If too thin, continue cooking to thicken.

Vegan Worcestershire Sauce

Regular worcestershire sauce is not vegan, so shop carefully, or make your own using this recipe.


  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper


  1. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir thoroughly. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Simmer 1 minute. Cool.
  2. Store in the refrigerator. Makes about 3/4 cup.