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Music As A Secret Ingredient

By Marcus Samuelsson | April 25, 2012

Photo: Francois Martinier

Do you like to rock out in the kitchen while you cook? I certainly do!

The New York Times posted today how many cooks in top restaurants use music, not only to rock out with in the kitchen, but also as inspiration for their cuisine. I personally love listening to my friend Jason (Timbuktu), the Swedish rapper and reggae artist, and definitely David Bowie, since I look for music that is not just one noted. Since cooking isn’t about a single note, what I’m listening to while I cook has to be the same way. It also doesn’t have to be about just one song, but instead music  that really connects with me and makes me think of where I was at the time when it came out. For instance, when I hear Pearl Jam I automatically think of Sweden, and when I hear Nirvana it brings me back to France when I was getting ready to come to New York.

I also love listening to hip hop, jazz, West African, and Ethiopian music when I’m in the kitchen at home. But just because I like to jam to Mos Def in my kitchen, doesn’t necessarily mean that I should play that at Red Rooster. Music is still very vital to Red Rooster Harlem and Ginny’s Supper Club, but here we want to evoke a totally different feeling and experience when customers hear music playing. Since we’re in Harlem, I want to evoke that feeling of jazz and soul and all of the historical(and up and coming) musicians that make this neighborhood so great. Coming to eat the Rooster shouldn’t just be about eating the food, but also about experiencing the community and the space. Patrons should also expect to hear different music played at different hours with different moods. Just like food isn’t one note, neither should dining be. One can sort of think of it as music being the secret ingredient to our food!

Check out the NY Times video of a few chefs and what they listen to in the kitchen…

Photo: Fremsoi

For more food stories, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

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