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Not With The Band: Matching Music And Food Is The New Trend?


Foodies rejoice















So apparently chef Kyle Hanley at the Detroit Golf Club, came up with a 10-course meal inspired by Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’ album.  Joseph Allerton, sommelier, food and beverage director at Michael Symon restaurant Roast, will even chose the wine and cocktails to go with the meal, which includes very refined and sophisticated things, such as ‘Pan seared lamb chops, crispy pig ear, blood orange reduction’ to go with ‘National Anthem’, or ‘Mapple sugar duck breast, pink peppercorn gastrique, orange juniper pearls, shredded con fit’ to go with ‘Optimistic’… I can’t even picture half of these dishes but we are talking about 5-star cuisine here, something I am very foreign to.

This is for one night only and the restaurant is only offering 36 tickets, but they are thinking about repeating the event, starting a series of monthly dinners paired with different famous albums.  And I say that Hanley, who has studied music before, is onto something! He declared to the Huffington Post that, when he listens to music, he ‘hears textures and colors’ which definitively makes sense to me. ‘Especially Radiohead, they are very textural. They are a very visceral band,’ he said. He wants the servers to be ‘think of themselves as stagehands at a performance so they don’t distract from the listening experience’, because, of course, the album will be played uninterrupted throughout the meal. I wonder whether they will manage to synchronize the meal with the music! Each song lasts a few minutes, which isn’t a lot of time to eat a plate! It’s a little laughable to think that people will only have 3:31 minutes to eat ‘shades of bouillabaisse’ during ‘In Limbo’ but will have more time (6:59 minutes) to enjoy their ‘mousse duo with blackberry pate de fruit’ during ‘Motion Picture Soundtrack’.

Joking apart, the idea is a good one (and nothing new) as science has proven that sound affects our taste. This experiment done on 40 people just proved that two groups of people rated the flavor of the same ice cream differently whether they were listening to the sound of sizzling bacon or the sound of farmyard chickens! Sure it wasn’t exactly music, just a very recognizable sound, but it proves that our taste buds are totally influenced by our auditory perception (just like our visual perception). They repeated the experience with oysters, and ‘the results revealed that the audience rated the oyster that they had consumed while listening to the ‘sound of the sea’ as tasting significantly more pleasant than the oyster that had been tasted while they listened to the farmyard noises instead’… no real surprise there! And seafood restaurants should take notes.

Of course Radiohead’s music is more sophisticated that the sound of seagulls and should not only be pig ear music,… this looks like a terrifying disk. Anyway, matching food and music could become an art, and there are already many attempts like those done on the Turntable Kitchen blog for example: they recently associated the last Angel Olsen with a bottle of deep red wine and buckwheat and sea salt cookie sundaes…

There’s even an app for this (you bet!) called Supper on Spotify, and it has currently a limited amount of recipes, proposing you 2 different playlists, one while you cook and one while you eat the dish… for example the ‘Brooklyn bowl mac and cheese’ features Radiohead, the Arcade Fire, Wilco, Pink Floyd, Weezer, My morning Jacket, Nirvana and the Flaming lips (something I should enjoy so?) while the pumpkin goat cheesecake with an oat crust has The Rolling Stones, the Black Keys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Violent Femmes, Weezer, Interpol,… sounds delicious too! I will let you check it out.

I am sure other apps will follow, but all this depends so much on your personal tastes and if you could go (like me) for a dripping ice cream Sunday desert with the Beatles, a Spanish quiche with Interpol, a paella with Gogol Bordello and a spicy pumpkin pie with Iggy Pop… it could go totally differently with somebody else. I see endless possibilities as long as you don’t do the faux pas to eat some meaty dish while listening to the Smiths! Keep that for Motorhead or Alice Cooper, okay? But, at the end, I am not sure I want to eat when listening to music, music is already a very satisfying experience, and I am really not a multitask person!

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