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Music in the Kitchen

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Today, we find out what some of New York’s hottest chefs listen to while they cook. And, New York Times food writer Jeff Gordinier and chef Jesse Schenker of the West Village restaurant Recette explain the role that music plays in menus, dining areas, and even hiring. Plus, we ask you for your kitchen and dining room soundtracks.


Jeff Gordinier and Jesse Schenker

Comments [30]

Jeff from Gowanus - Brooklyn

I listen to everything and anything. Much like on my daily walks (fast jogs?) I like to mix it up.
Can anyone tell me the Miles Davis piece that was very briefly played during the show? Thanks.

Apr. 27 2012 03:57 PM
Geoff from Yonkers

Hey John,
As a late eater, I'm often cooking pasta at around 10PM, and listening to, yes, you and your music du jour (unless it has anything to do with Hip Hop or Rap, or whatever it's called, which isn't really music anyway.)

Apr. 26 2012 11:05 PM
Mike from Brooklyn

I cook Cajun, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, East Coast Seafood and I grill using a George Forman Grill. I am into roots folk music Cajun, Bluegrass, Old Timey, Celtic, Instrumental and Irish and Scots Gaelic Song ( I am conversational in Irish Gaelic) so I usually listen to this music as I cook. Particularly Cajun when I cook Cajun.

Apr. 26 2012 10:58 PM

I'm actually cooking right now-making my daughter's lunch for preschool tomorrow, and I'm listening to Soundcheck. I always have NPR on and have probably listened to every On Being show (formerly Speaking of Faith) 10 times. I have it on repeat and literally hours will go by while I listen to that program. My husband, who is a professional chef cooking in SoHo as I type, loves jazz and will crank that up every time he cooks. If I do listen to music while cooking it tends to be either classical or my old 80s standbys-Depeche Mode, New Order, etc which drives my husband crazy.

Apr. 26 2012 10:33 PM
Wayne Johnson Ph.D. from Bk

As a vegetarian,I find most restaurants to be places of sorrow. The chefs are presiding over the bodies of animals who wanted to live as much as we do: Sentient creatures who died for our taste buds. So the most appropriate music for me would be more funereal than celebrative.

Apr. 26 2012 02:40 PM
Mary from Montclair

Try sprinkling some Toots Theilesman recordings into your recipes!

Apr. 26 2012 02:39 PM
April Joy from Jersey City

Reggae all the way!! Nothing makes me feel more relaxed and happy then cooking and Roots Reggae! I end up cooking to the beat.
Good Vibrations!!

Apr. 26 2012 02:36 PM

So glad a caller mentioned mexican and south american music. This is what the people who cook virtually all our food actually listen to.

But these workers are invisible to the NYT and the food press.

Apr. 26 2012 02:35 PM

Primal tats and Rancid, dude...


Apr. 26 2012 02:35 PM
Mary P from downtown

1972 upstate NY college
shared house out in the country
lots of snow
my first cooked-by-me dinners for friends

that music still brings back the smell taste and feeling of that time

Astral Weeks (1968)
Moondance (1970)
His Band and the Street Choir (1970)
Tupelo Honey (1971)

Apr. 26 2012 02:33 PM
M.H.R. from Jersey City, NJ

Like one of your last callers, my husband and I will often listen to "All Things Considered" or "Marketplace" while cooking.

When we listen to music - just like the food we are choosing to cook - it very much depends on our mood that day.

Sometimes we choose exactly what we want to hear from our itunes library, but sometimes we like to be surprised and have found the PANDORA app to be helpful. Keeps things surprising and sometimes we even find ourselves bursting into dance mid-cooking. Luckily we have not burned anything in the process... :)

Apr. 26 2012 02:33 PM
p. claire pertalion from internet, montauk

via internet, i am a massage therapist....which is different than cooking but what i want to listen to when i work, is totally different than my clients.


i much prefer soul, r & b, rock, jazz....anything but that new age crap.

Apr. 26 2012 02:32 PM
rachel from new york, new york

i love scootin' around in my tiny new york kitchen to Bonnie Raitt. Her ''Nick of Time" album gets my mise en place in the pot and cooking in no time.

Apr. 26 2012 02:32 PM
Frank Grimaldi from East Village

I rarely cook for myself but when I do, I play "Painted From Memory." It gives me that warm home feeling.

Apr. 26 2012 02:30 PM
David from GTrosse Pointe Park

Phil Collins never wrote a bad song?!?!?!?! Really?!?!?! I hope the food you make is more interesting than the stew-stew-stewio,abbacabba grabba cabba gabba dabba.

Apr. 26 2012 02:27 PM
Beth Schachter from Upper West Side

It might be fun for the chef who includes cello in his dinner presentation to invite a group of people who are known sound-taste synesthetes (people who taste sound). Their feedback on the experience might bring a whole new dimension to the production.

Apr. 26 2012 02:27 PM
p. claire pertalion from internet, montauk

via internet, i am a massage therapist....which is different than cooking but what i want to listen to when i work, is totally different than my clients.


i much prefer soul, r & b, rock, jazz....anything but that new age crap.

Apr. 26 2012 02:26 PM
Lisa from Long Island/Montauk

In the kitchen of the restaurant my husband and I own in Montauk, the chefs (including my daughter and son), listen to a huge range of music from new and old rock, hip-hop, even Johnny Cash, Mumford & Sons, and more. They sing at the top of their lungs when their favorites come on, especially Louie Prima singing "Pennies from Heaven," even though no one is over thirty. They are an enthusiastic bunch.

Apr. 26 2012 02:23 PM

Re: springy cellos "ripening" those tomatoes, etc.: could you speculate a little about the science of all this?

Apr. 26 2012 02:22 PM

Do we really need any additional data to prove the fact that the current restaurant kitchen kulture is and has been thoroughly and completely cliche.



Apr. 26 2012 02:21 PM
C Krouse

Like Jane from Brooklyn, NPR is with me in the kitchen whenever I prepare a meal. Listening to NPR inspires me to make intelligent, well-informed and articulate meals.The combination can't be beat!

Apr. 26 2012 02:20 PM
Siouxie from Bronx

Why are you limiting this show to chefs? Because cooking and chefs are so trendy right now? Frankly, from what I'm hearing, chef's don't bring anything distinctive to the musical table. They play what they like? Really, wow.

People of all sorts of professions play music while they work: painters, secretaries, sales people, construction workers, janitors and on and on.

Apr. 26 2012 02:17 PM
Stew from Manahattan from Mahattan

I'm a 27 year old Alabama transplant, cook and musician. The bands Jesse says drives his kitchen also drive me on an equally deep level - they're all my favorites. Can't wait to try Recette. You' see me - I'll be bangin my head. Any suggestions as to what pairs well with Aenema?

Apr. 26 2012 02:17 PM
Vinny_G from Upper West Side NYC

Memo To Cook, Kitchen Staff,,,,, WEAR HEADPHONES!!!!

Apr. 26 2012 02:17 PM
Sonali from Brooklyn

Rodrigo y Gabriela all the way! The rather frenetic pace of the music and the evolution and dynamism of their songs is amazing accompaniment to prepping a meal - from the first chop to final plating.

Of course, I switch to something more calming while eating. . .

Apr. 26 2012 02:16 PM
gio from Brooklyn

When I am cooking recipes from my family home that my mother made for us I always play Dylan's Blood on the Tracks because that is the music my late brother loved and I feel like I am channeling him and presenting my food to him. Eating was a great pleasure to him.

Apr. 26 2012 02:16 PM
kim belk from Brooklyn

I used to work for chef that would play the soundtrack to Donnie Darko over and over again, and when he was really annoyed with the servers he would put mad mad world on repeat.

Apr. 26 2012 02:15 PM
Ruth from Brooklyn

When I was a brunch cook, I too also listened to NPR. Funny. I am a huge hard rock and classic rock fan, but ironically when I am cooking, I prefer to listen to oldies and jazz standards.

Apr. 26 2012 02:15 PM
Rich from NJ

Pink Floyd "Echos" and "Dark Side of the Moon" album are popular in our kitchen.

Apr. 26 2012 02:15 PM
Jane from Brooklyn

What am I listening to in the kitchen? Duh! NPR!

Apr. 26 2012 02:02 PM

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