Gray Rollin sits on the front patio of Santa Rosa's Belly Left Coast Kitchen and Tap Room, where he's the executive chef and part owner. He greets lunch customers and chats with friends and every now and then, glances up at the TV over the bar, where talking heads yap on an ESPN show.

"I cooked for that guy," he says, casually nodding toward sportscaster Tony Kornheiser. "He can't have garlic and onions. No salt."

Good to know.

It isn't the last time Rollin pulls that TV trick today. Not that the 38-year-old former San Ramon and Los Gatos resident is bragging. It just happens that he cooks for a lot of famous people -- mostly rock stars.

"Touring is my bread and butter," he says.

Rollin just got back from Los Angeles, where he put together his mobile kitchen for an upcoming tour with Linkin Park, a regular gig. Over the past five years, he's toured with, cooked for or did both for Motley Crue, KISS, Prince, Justin Timberlake ("coolest guy ever," he says), the Black Eyed Peas, Sarah McLachlan, Lil Wayne, Katy Perry, Blink-182, Metallica, Godsmack, Buckcherry and Tori Amos, among others. This summer, he'll also cook for Oscar-winner Jared Leto and his band, 30 Seconds to Mars, which will open for Linkin Park.

"Prince is a vegan," he says. "Thirty minutes before his arrival, the buffet goes vegan. He doesn't want the smell of meat lingering." One of the perks of the job is seeing an artist's personality in ways fans just can't. "While he's playing, Prince says he wants all these stage lights (turned) purple. Where do you get purple lights at 1:30 in the morning?"

Rollin -- whose look and sense of style could get him mistaken for an extra member of Linkin Park -- grew up in San Ramon before moving to Los Gatos with his newly widowed father Grant Rollin, the former financial officer for the San Jose Sharks. He got the cooking bug in his early teens in San Ramon. "My mom was a horrible cook," he says, with a laugh. "I got tired of that. I'm good with my hands."

Rollin applied his skills in the kitchen, where he not only cooked for his family (including twin brother Garth), but his friends as well.

"I'd ride my bike to his house and he'd make us breakfast, then we'd ride to school," says Aaron Silverman, Rollin's longtime friend and manager, whose goal is to make Rollin "the next Guy Fieri" (Fieri is a friend of Rollin and owns a restaurant not far away). "He loved cooking for his buddies."

So Rollin's dad sent his teenage son to learn the ropes in the restaurants of East Coast family members for three summers. He went to Chico State, cooked in a few local places, and attended the California Culinary Institute. After some jobs in California and Hawaii, a friend hooked him up with someone who arranges tour chefs for musical acts. It wasn't long before Rollin -- whose first concert was a KISS show he attended with Silverman -- was cooking for the people he used to pay to see.

"Chef Gray's creations are far greater than the sum of their parts -- they are quintessential in maintaining the stable energy required by a performing artist," says Jim Digby, Linkin Park's production manager, who has also worked with Backstreet Boys and Stone Temple Pilots. "A well-fed artist is a happy artist, and chef Gray keeps Linkin Park happy."

Touring has taken Rollin to 50 countries, and he has the stories to prove it -- of shopping in an outdoor market in Malaysia with armed guards and in a bulletproof SUV in Mexico, after Linkin Park received death threats; of cooking in a 1,600-year-old house in Denmark; of hitting 120 mph in a convertible on Germany's autobahn, a maneuver that caused his groceries to fly away. His duties range from cooking individual meals for band members and putting their beverage of choice on stage right before they go on, to handing out backstage passes to attractive women -- on orders from Motley Crue's Tommy Lee.

"In some places, I'm the first one on stage, in front of 80,000 people," Rollin says. "And the crowd goes crazy. Every single time, the reaction literally pushes me back."

Rollin spends so much time on the road, he doesn't have much of a permanent residence. He has his own room at Silverman's Danville home, plus he also occasionally crashes at a co-worker's house in Petaluma. He isn't married, doesn't have kids (that he knows of -- after all, he does tour with rock stars) and isn't planning on settling down.

"At least until something else comes along," he says. His smile says that "something" doesn't need to happen anytime soon. At least not until he's the next Guy Fieri.

Contact Tony Hicks at Facebook. com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks or Twitter.com/insertfoot.