Eat to the Beat: Graham Elliot

Chicago superchef Graham Elliot deconstructs the Caesar salad, throws back Slim Jims, and pairs food and music.

Graham Elliot, the award-winning chef/owner of Graham Elliot in Chicago, serves up his thoughts on snacks, grub and rock & roll.

What do chefs and rock stars have in common?

I’d say giant egos… but that’s too easy. We both enjoy sharing our art/craft with others, hate critics, and love sticking it to The Man.

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

First record was “Our House” by Madness that I bought when I was around 7 years old. First cooking memories were me making the cranberry sauce each year at Thanksgiving.

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

Sunny Day Real Estate’s “Seven” off the album Diary…doesn’t get better than that! Ultimate app is probably our Deconstructed Caesar Salad at Graham Elliot.

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?

James Brown, hands down…hey, that rhymed! Nothing else makes you wanna get down… I’m not into Marvin Gaye style love making, but actual banging, like The Hardest Working Man in Show Business. Now as far as food is concerned, I’d say you can’t go wrong with chocolate…warm, gooey, sticks to your fingers… you get the point…

On the road: what’s your ultimate road food and what are the best driving songs?

Food: Slim Jim’s and Cheez-its. For music it’s got to be “Born to Run” by Springsteen and the entire Journey catalog.

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

Johnny Cash

“Ring of Fire”
: all chili dish, charred, roasted and grilled.

Jimi Hendrix

“Are You Eggsperienced”
: tie-dyed poached egg with caviar.

Guns ‘n Roses

“Welcome to the Jungle”
: foraged vegetable plate.

Jane’s Addiction

“Summertime Rolls”
: corn and blueberry dish.

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

Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Eddie Vedder, Paul McCartney, Sufjan Stevens, Steve Perry, Rivers Cuomo, and on and on and on.

What would you cook?

Something spontaneous.??

What kind of music is good for cooking?

Guns n’ Roses or the Misfits when you’re in the weeds, the Smiths when you have time on your side.??

What is your rock & roll fantasy?

Cooking for Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam

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

Manresa…David Kinch is the Zen Buddha master chef.