Britney Spears likes California sushi rolls, Christina Aguilera eats ham and cheese sandwiches without crusts, and MCA, the Beastie Boys' Buddhist member, is a "meat and potatoes guy".

The inside word on what they like comes from Cheryl Beere, an Auckland chef who spends her days catering to the culinary caprices of some of the world's biggest stars.

Ms Beere, 39, is back in her hometown as chef to the Beastie Boys, one of the main acts at the Big Day Out tomorrow.

She has been cooking since September for MCA, Mike D (a vegan macrobiotic), four other band members and their families.

It has been a refreshing experience working with the Beasties, who she says are "real people", unlike the "Mickey Mouse Club" of Spears, Aguilera and Justin Timberlake.

"Britney was just weird," Ms Beere said of her first pop-star client. "She has no association with people."

Spears did not know Ms Beere's name even though she asked for California sushi rolls and edamame beans every day.

The "molly-coddled" Aguilera and Timberlake were little different, barely acknowledging her, while Hollywood action movie star Steven Seagal was "a horrible man", Ms Beere said.

So working with the Beastie Boys, despite what their name might suggest, has been very pleasant.

She does most of her cooking at gigs, using a portable kitchen with ovens and grills set up backstage.

The job has little glamour. "It's working 16-hour days. We're sleeping on buses."

Ms Beere opened the Atomic Cafe in Ponsonby Rd in 1992, then studied vegan and macrobiotic food in the United States.