Food & Music

Chef Josh Galliano – Photo: Seán Collins

If Music Be The Food Of Love, Play On

Chefs Pair Music With Their Dishes

Commercial kitchens are the workplaces (and playgrounds) of some of the most inventive people around. And they boast some of the best food — and music — on the planet.

When your dinner reservation is still just a pencil mark in a ledger, long before the candle wicks burn, before the linen table cloths lose their creases and the cutlery lines up just so, your favorite restaurants fill up with great music. Rock ‘n’ roll, gut-bucket blues, country, funk, ska, and jazz make the food taste better because the chefs are listening.

So, we’ve asked some of our favorite chefs to share a recipe with us and to pair it with the music they dig the most. What’s the perfect tune, for example, when you’re elbow-deep in offal?

Music Inside Out is pleased to share the recipes and the music that goes with them. Let us know when you try a dish and we’ll pass the word on to the chef. Bon appétit and happy listening!

Pimiento Cheese

Chef Nathan Richard

Nathan Richard runs the charcuterie program at Restaurant R’evolution, the Cajun & Creole restaurant of Chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto in the French Quarter. Richard butchers and then works his magic on all those delicious parts. We can also report that Nathan introduced Gwen Thompkins to moonshine, but that’s a story for another website.

He gives us a staple of Southern hospitality: Pimiento Cheese, perfect for any cracker and a must for any (every?) party between now and… oh we dunno, the Super Bowl?

Pimiento Cracker
When crackers go to snack heaven, this is what it looks like.

1 1/2 cups Duke’s mayonnaise (can use any, but a true Southern chef only uses Duke’s)
1 (4-oz.) jar diced pimiento, drained
1 tbls of pickled relish
1 tsp. of creole mustard
1 tsp. La hot sauce
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 (8-oz.) block extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
1 (8-oz.) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

Stir together first 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in cheese. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week.

Nathan Richard
Chef Nathan Richard

Chef Nathan has picked the Who Dat Nation’s anthem, “Black and Gold” by K. Gates, “Down South” from Tom Petty, and Luke Bryan’s “Muckalee Creek Water.”

K. Gates — Black and Gold

Tom Petty — Down South

Luke Bryan — Muckalee Creek Water

Praline Bacon

Chef Josh Galliano

Chef Josh Galliano

Josh Galliano grew up in the River Parishes of Louisiana. Josh received the Grand Diplome at Le Cordon Bleu London, then honed his skills and palate at some great restaurants, including Commander’s Palace in New Orleans and New York’s Restaurant Daniel. Josh has found an appreciative food community in Saint Louis that has rewarded him with a loyal following. And he’s picked up accolades such as Food and Wine’s Best New Chef: Midwest and multiple James Beard-Best Chef nominations.

Servings depend on who’s eating it. Let’s say 4. For Galliano, it’d be 1.
1 lb thick sliced bacon
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup pecan pieces (or walnut pieces)

1. Preheat an oven to 350 F. On a baking sheet tray, place a piece of aluminum foil that fits the entire tray.
2. Evenly place the pieces of sliced bacon on the tray, and make sure that none of the bacon overlaps.
3. Cook the bacon for 10 minutes. You do not want the bacon to be fully cooked; instead, the bacon should be about half way cooked with a good amount of fat rendered.
4. Remove the bacon from the oven, and allow to cool to room temperature. Before the bacon fat solidifies, pour the fat off of the sheet tray and reserve for another use.
5. In a food processor, combine the brown sugar and the pecan pieces, then pulverize. Remove the mixture from the food processor and reserve in an airtight container.
6. Distribute the pecan/sugar mixture over the top of the bacon slices, making sure to cover the tops of the bacon completely. This is not sprinkling on the mixture, but more of a packing the mixture on to the bacon.
7. Return the bacon to the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your oven. You want the bacon to become crisp at this point, but not to have any of the nuts burn. Remove the bacon from the oven, and allow to cool for 3 minutes before transferring to a serving plate. Be careful, the bacon fat and the caramelized sugar can cause a severe burn at this point.

Josh writes: Since praline bacon makes me think of holidays around the River Parishes, I went with music that I grew up with because my Dad was always listening to great music. He grew up in New Orleans and played drums with a lot of the classic artists of New Orleans, and that was the music we listened to as kids. There isn’t really a reason behind any one of the songs, but there are moods about them that all spell out get-togethers and having fun.
The Meters — Fire on the Bayou
Fire on the Bayou
Archie Bell and the Drells — Tighten Up
Tighten Up
Earl King — Trick Bag
Trick Bag
Jesse Hill — Ooh Ooh Pah Doo
Ooh Ooh Pah Doo

photo (9)
Southern-Style Cranberry Hot Sauce
Chef Alex McCrery of Tilit Chef Goods

Chef Alex McCrery
Chef Alex McCrery

Alex McCrery has been a professional cook, a chef, a career food slinger, and an artiste for 17 years. He says he got his start washing dishes and frying taco shells in a Mexican joint in his hometown of Covington, Louisiana. Since then, he’s been around: Kansas City, New York City, and the Caribbean. He’s worked at the legendary Commander’s Palace, Charlie Palmer’s Aureole, and Antonucci. But the biggest honor, he says, has been cooking at the James Beard House.

Nowadays, McCrery is the brains (and sometimes apron model) behind Tilit Chef Goods, a one-stop shop for aprons, hats, and bandanas. ‘Cause you can’t make pretty food if you look all a mess.

photo (8)

He’s shared a great take on a staple of Louisiana tables and purses everywhere: hot sauce.
12 oz. Cranberries (1 bag)
4 Cups Water
1/4 Cup Agave Nectar
1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1 lb. Red Jalapenos or other hot peppers
2 Shallots peeled
12 Garlic cloves
Simmer cranberries with water, agave, vinegar and salt for 45 minutes over med-low heat. Roast whole peppers (tops removed) with garlic and shallots wrapped in tin foil at 400 degrees for one hour. Chill everything together overnight. Blend until smooth the next day.

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band — Easy Come Easy Go
Easy Come Easy Go
Nate Dogg — I Got Love
I Got Love
The Black Keys — Never Gonna Give You Up
Never Gonna Give You Up
Coca-Cola Fried Chicken
Chef Ryan Trimm of Sweet Grass

Ryan Trimm has been all over the place. Born in Pittsburgh, he spent his childhood in Southern California, then his high school years in Memphis, where he now works. He went to Ole Miss and then went to Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina. He found a job working under Chef Frank Lee at Slightly North of Broad. It was Ryan’s time at S.N.O.B. that he credits to honing his culinary skills. Trimm returned to Memphis in 2005 and worked at the Grove Grill as Chef de Cuisine. He and Glenn Hays opened Sweet Grass in 2010.

He shares a recipe for the ultimate family supper entrée: fried chicken.

Trust us, you want to click on this chicken and make the delicious picture bigger
Trust us, you want to click on this chicken and make the delicious picture bigger

6 C Coca~Cola (4 cans)
2 T Salt
6 Cloves of Garlic (smashed)
8 Dashes of Tabasco
Quarter 1 whole bird and submerge in the brine. Allow to sit on brine over night.
Day Two
Heat your oil to 350

Remove chicken from brine, rinse and pat dry. Dredge the chicken through seasoned flour.
Seasoned Flour
8 C All Purpose Flour
2 T Cayenne Pepper
2 T Old Bay
2 T Black Pepper
2 T Salt

Chef Ryan Trimm
Chef Ryan Trimm

Then place the chicken quarters in a mixture of

6 C buttermilk and
2 eggs

Run the chicken through a bowl of regular All-purpose flour again.

Lightly place the chicken in the fryer and fry until beautifully golden brown. I usually serve with fresh kale and Tabasco vinaigrette.
Taj Mahal — Lovin’ In My Baby’s Eyes
Lovin’ In My Baby’s Eye’s
Dire Straits — Southbound Again
Southbound Again
The Band — Atlantic City
Atlantic City
Credence Clearwater Revival — Long As I Can See The Light
Long As I Can See The Light
JJ Cale — Cocaine

photo 3

Red Boudin
Chef Jeremy Conner of Village Cafe/POUR

Jeremy Conner is the Executive Chef at Village Cafe in Lafayette, in the heart of Acadiana. He’s also a hell of a writer.

Chef Jeremy Conner
Chef Jeremy Conner

“I recently had the opportunity to participate in a classic Cajun Boucherie. More specifically, I was on the Boudin station. We made white and red Boudin, the red using the blood of the slaughtered hog whisked with salt to prevent coagulation. It was an education as Mr. Johnson and Mr. Norbert, two men known around Acadiana for their Boudin, were on hand to show me how it’s done. They have almost 100 years combined experience making Boudin, and it was an honor to learn from them.”

Here’s the recipe for the red Boudin:
5# pork shoulder, chunked
1 whole pork liver, chunked
2 ea large yellow onions, large diced
4 ribs celery, large diced
3 ea green bell peppers, large diced
2 cloves garlic
1 pound green onions, sliced thick, greens only
8 ounces parsley leaves
8 – 10 cups cooked rice
pork blood, as needed, whisked with a liberal addition of salt to prevent coagulation
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white pepper
1 Tblsp onion powder
1 Tblsp kosher salt
hog casings, as needed, about 20 feet, rinsed and soaked

Boil the chunks of pork shoulder in enough water to just cover them until they are tender, about 45 minutes. Add the chunks of liver to the pot and make sure there is enough water to cover, adding more to make up for evaporation. Continue to boil until the liver is thoroughly cooked. Remove the chunks of meat and liver and reserve the cooking liquid. Allow the meat and liver to cool slightly then mix with the chunked onions, celery, and peppers, the garlic cloves, the green onions, and the parsley leaves in a mixing bowl.

Pass this mixture through a meat grinder with a 1/4″ die. Place ground mixture in a mixing bowl and add seasonings except for salt. Taste and adjust the spice level to your taste. Add the cooked rice to the meat mixture. You are looking for a mixture that has ever so slightly more rice than meat.

Mr. Johnson and Mr. Norbert
Mr. Johnson and Mr. Norbert

At this point you will add some of the stock left from cooking the meat and an equal amount of the blood. The amount to be added depends on many factors, but the end consistency is what’s important. The mixture should be bright red and very moist, but not wet. If you pick up some of the meat mixture with a slotted spoon, some blood/stock mixture should run through the spoon, but not a lot. At this point, take a spoonful of the mixture and cook it in a skillet. When it is done, taste it for saltiness. The blood, if whisked properly, contains a significant amount of salt, but probably not enough to adequately salt the entire mixture. Adjust as desired.

Place the rest of the mixture in a sausage stuffer and use the hog casings to stuff links. They can be short or long, but do not make rope sausage. The links will keep the amount of liquid consistent in each section of the sausage. Once all of the mixture is cased up, boil the links in the remaining stock from before until they are firm but not hard and they reach an internal temperature of 165.

Remove the links from the pot and serve immediately or refrigerate for up to a couple of days, heating thoroughly before eating.

photo 2

“The experience of making this recipe in its setting stirs several emotions. A boucherie in general is a compelling, ritualistic experience, and the blood boudin certainly represents the most taboo aspect. To pair with music: first, there is the brutality of the slaughter. Steel yourself as you might, there is no escaping it.”
Slayer – Raining Blood
Raining Blood

“Then, as all participants whisk off to perform their tasks, there is a bright sense of community. The animal is sacrificed for the sustenance and fellowship of the many.”
Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeroes – Home
“And finally, especially as a non-native Cajun, there is the sense of conjuring and consuming a vast and deep heritage. This transcends the experience of cooking or preparing food and offers the opportunity to observe the origin and nature of a culture. Through the boucherie, the cook can see the result of multiple sets of outcasts settling with others like them in one area and through the generations, evolving into the kind, welcoming, hospitable, and varied people of Cajun country today. ‘Bienvenue ! Y’all come on in…'”
Les Frères Balfa – Chère Bassette
Chère Bassette

Producer Seán Collins, Host Gwen Thompkins, and photographer Gregg Goldman during a high-level Music Inside Out meeting at La Petite Grocery
Producer Seán Collins, Host Gwen Thompkins, & photographer Gregg Goldman refusing to leave La Petite Grocery

Grilled Octopus with Lentils
Chef Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery

Chef Justin Devillier
Chef Justin Devillier

Born and raised in California, Justin Devillier moved to New Orleans in 2003 and cooked at Bacco, Stella, and Peristyle. While at Peristyle, he worked with Chef Anne Kearny-Sands and learned the intricacies of French cuisine.

Devillier joined the La Petite Grocery team in 2004 and became sous chef a year later. After Hurricane Katrina, he helped re-build the restaurant’s infrastructure by managing daily specials and training the new line cooks. In February 2007, he was promoted to executive chef and named a 2008 “Chef to Watch” by Louisiana Cookin’ magazine and the Times-Picayune.

He and his wife Mia Freiberger-Devillier bought the restaurant in 2010. A two-time James Beard Award finalist, Justin is a contestant in the current season of Top Chef: New Orleans.


3 medium to large octopus tentacles (raw)
Salted water (3% salt)
2 bay leaves
1 lemon
1 tbs black peppercorns

photo: rcasha/Flickr
photo: rcasha/Flickr

Place all ingredients in a medium heavy bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for one hour. Turn off heat and let the octopus cool in the poaching liquid. Remove the octopus and discard all other ingredients. Dry the octopus with towels and store in the refrigerator until use.

For the lentils

1/2 cup of small diced carrots
1 Tbs Brunoise shallot
1 cup cooked lentils (drained of any cooking liquid)
1/2 tsp picked thyme leaves
1/2 tsp minced chives
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 lemon wedge

Sweat the shallot and carrot in a sauté pan for 3 minutes. Add the lentils and two spoonfulls of chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper. Add the fresh herbs and taste for seasoning. Adjust acid with a squeeze of lemon.

For the bacon jus

2 slices of smoked bacon
1 shallot Brunoise
3 chopped button mushrooms
1 thyme sprig
1/4 cup of red wine
1 cup of veal glace de viande
1 Tbs Butter

Render the bacon and drain off all the fat. Add the shallots and mushrooms to the bacon. Caramelize the aromatics for about ten minutes. Careful not to burn. Deglaze with red wine and add the thyme. Reduce to sec and add the veal glace. Reduce by 1/3 and strain through a chinoise. Return to pan and mount in the butter over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.

To complete

Char the Octopus on the grill until hot throughout. Place a spoonful of lentil mixture on the plate ad rest the octopus on top. Sauce with the bacon jus.


Otis Redding — These Arms of Mine
These Arms of Mine
Bob Dylan — Tangled Up in Blue
Tangled Up in Blue
Willie Nelson — Whiskey River
Whiskey River

banana fritters


Banana Fritters
Chef Susan Spicer of Bayona

Chef Susan Spicer
Chef Susan Spicer

Susan Spicer, the chef-owner of Bayona, has been cooking in New Orleans since 1979. This pioneer of the slow food movement was a 2010 inductee to the James Beard Who’s Who of Food and Beverages. Her latest project is a casual, family-style restaurant — MONDO — in her Lakeview neighborhood, where she has lived for 20 years.

She shares a sweet treat: Banana Fritters.

(makes 24 fritters)

“These seem to cry, “Brunch! Brunch!” How about a Sunday morning treat with a big cup of Café au Lait? Where’s my New York Times…?”

1½ cup flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs separated
2/3 cup milk
3 bananas, (1 pureed, 2 diced)
1 tablespoon corn oil
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
Cinnamon sugar (½ cup sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon)

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add the egg yolks and 1/3 cup of the milk, and stir to form a smooth paste. Stir in the remaining 1/3 cup milk and the corn oil. Add banana purée and dice, and mix until batter is smooth. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

Beat the egg whites and the salt with an electric mixer (or by hand) until they form stiff peaks. Fold the whites into the batter.

Fill a deep-fryer or a deep skillet with oil to a depth of 2 inches, and heat it to 375 F.
Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the oil and fry until well browned on both sides, 3-4 minutes. Drain fritters on paper towels and then roll in cinnamon sugar. Serve immediately.
The Rebels — Banana

Harry Belafonte — Banana Boat (Day-O)
Banana Boat (Day-O)

Ike & Tina Turner — It’s Gonna Work Our Fine
It’s Gonna Work Our Fine

Joe Turner — Boogie Woogie Country Girl
Boogie Woogie Country Girl
Love What’s On Your Coaster and It Will Love You Right Back
Host Gwen Thompkins of Music Inside Out

If I’m ever challenged to fight for — or maybe even die for — a spice, it would have to be well-worth my rotting carcass on the battlefield.

Dammit, it would have to be something more than fine.

Ginger, perhaps.

photo: mobil'homme/Flickr
photo: mobil’homme/Flickr

The first time I had a rye and ginger cocktail was at the the Lost Love Lounge in New Orleans. It looks good in a glass, it goes down easily and I like to think it has the power to do a great deal of good in the world.

One part rye
One (or two) parts extra strength ginger beer
One teaspoon simple syrup
A dash of cayenne
Serve with nice thick rocks of ice

I’ve made up half of the ingredients, but they work. All the proportions are to taste. For heaven’s sake, why aren’t you tasting by now?
Johnny Adams — There is Always One More Time
There is Always One More Time
Paul Simon (featuring Allen Toussaint) — Tenderness
Dr. John — Pretty Libby
Pretty Libby

Playlist and Recipes

You can download (.pdf) all the recipes and a complete playlist here. Our thanks to all the chefs for their contributions.