Eat to the Beat: Andrew Carmellini

Award-winning chef Andrew Carmellini talks ultimate appetizers, Biggie lyrics, and some strange food pairings.

Andrew Carmellini, the award-winning chef and owner of The Dutch and Locanda Verde in New York, serves up his thoughts on snacks, grub, and rock & roll.

What do chefs and rock stars have in common?

We are both nocturnal creatures that are internally tortured, and express anger and frustration through our craft.

First times: what’s the first record you bought? First meal you cooked?

The first record I bought myself was Van Halen’s 1984. I played it 100,000 times. The first meal I cooked is not such a vivid memory: it was probably something like pie with my mom.

Let’s talk starters: what’s your ultimate side one, track one, and what’s your ultimate appetizer?

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill…damn that is a smooth first side. “Airbag” by Radiohead is also awesome, simply awesome. Can you tell I miss the 90’s? The ultimate appetizer depends on the party: foie gras and black truffles if it’s fancy, toasted bread with whipped ricotta, herbs and olive oil if it’s casual.

Let’s talk seduction: what’s your go-to soundtrack for getting it on, and what’s your go-to meal for getting a lady in the mood?

Again, it depends on the party, but I would say Coltrane’s Ballads and any good spread made with love would do the trick.

Food and music pairings – can you pair a dish with:

Iron Maiden

Something really, really British, like kidney pie or champ.


Swedish meatballs?? I don’t know, I think of Minneapolis when I think of Prince, and when I think of Minneapolis, I think of food like that.

Notorious B.I.G.

Sardines, because of those lyrics, “Born sinner, the opposite of a winner, remember when I used to eat sardines for dinner.” I would have made them nice for Biggie.


Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, from the “Dracula’s Wedding” jam.

If you could invite all of your favorite artists to a dinner party, who would you invite?

Frank Zappa, Biggie, Billy Corgan, Josh Homme, Dave Grohl, Bruce Dickinson, Pete Rock, Henyrk Gorecki…this list could get long and very geeky so I’ll stop there…

What would you cook?

I think I would go simple American cookout-style here. I don’t think that group would do well with anything super-fancy. The fewer rules the better.

Who is the one artist out there now that you want to see live?

I haven’t seen MF Doom yet.

What sort of music is good for eating?

It depends on what you’re eating and what’s going on around you. If you’re eating at The Dutch late night, I’ve got a burger on the menu and Pharrell or Blackaliscious on the speakers: if it’s dinner time on the earlier side, it’s more like Escolar with yellow-eyed pea chili and something sweeter and a touch more mellow, like some Rolling Stones or Broken Bells.

And what’s the one restaurant that you haven’t eaten at that you’re looking forward to?

I wouldn’t mind checking out Noma in Copenhagen. Maybe I’ll try and go this summer.

What is your rock & roll fantasy?

That rock would return in some grand fashion. It’s so fractured now.

If you had access to a time machine and could have a meal anywhere, any time, what would it be?

Alain Chapel’s place. I never got a chance to eat there when he was alive.