So if a musician composes music for ice cream trucks, isn't it kind of logical that his next project would be to get together a bunch of famous chefs and put their recipes to music? It makes sense to me.
Michael Hearst is the musician and his band is One Ring Zero, and the chefs are the likes of David Chang, Mario Batali and Michael Symon. And what came out of these machinations is a book and a CD called The Recipe Project.
Lynne Rossetto Kasper: So, how did you come up with this idea?
Michael Hearst: Joshua Kemp is my bandmate and co-composer. We've often collaborated with authors and done songs about planets and worked with dancers. I've always been interested in taking any set of words, even ones that aren't remotely poetic in the slightest, and trying to set them to music. So I said to Joshua, "What about trying to take recipes and do this?"
I should also point out that my brother-in-law, Chris Cosentino, is a chef. He was starting to become famous in his own right with Iron Chef and various Food Network shows, so we started with him.
Just to make things even more complicated, I thought I'd ask the chefs what style of music they liked and try to write the songs in that style. Chris loves hip hop -- The Beastie Boys, in particular. This is our attempt to sing his recipe for Brains and Eggs.
MH: Around the same time, I got to know Mario Batali's assistant, Pam, who was coming into a coffee shop near my house. I asked Pam what it would take to get a recipe from Mario Batali. She pointed at some cookies on a shelf and said "a few of those."
MH: The song we did for Isa Chandra Moskowitz is the complete opposite of what we did for Chris Cosentino. Isa is a vegan chef, and there are no brains in this recipe. She said she loved '90s girl rock, like Throwing Muses, Belly and The Breeders. So I reached out to Tanya Donnelly, who amazingly said she'd be willing to sing this. Tanya was in all three of those bands I just mentioned. Next thing I knew, I was recording Tanya singing words like peanut butter.
[Ed: The video below is neither Tanya Donnelly nor '90s girl rock but rather a live performance of the same recipe.]
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Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.