Eat to the Beat: Tim Love

Where rock-star chefs talk about their taste in tunes.

Tim Love, the chef/owner of Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, the Love Shack burger joints and the White Elephant Saloon – all in Ft. Worth, Texas – serves up his thoughts on snacks, grub and rock & roll.

What do chefs and rock stars have in common?

I think the pressures are similar. As a chef, some days you wake up and you don’t feel like running a service, but you have to, just like some days musicians wake up and they don’t feel like playing in front of 100,000 people. They’ve still got go out there and perform. So it’s a lot of stress combined with creativity, and at the end of the day there’s a release. That’s why chefs and rock stars both party so hard.

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

The first record I bought was probably Kiss Alive! My brothers always listened to Kiss, so when I was nine or ten I went out and bought it on vinyl. I still have it. The first real meal I cooked was at a restaurant called Tootsie’s Grill and Spirits, and I made this chicken parmesan dish that I thought was awesome. Of course later on I realized how easy it was to cook chicken parm, but at that point I thought I was a badass.

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

Side one,track one. . . golly man, that’s a tough one. Probably something from Johnny Cash, like “I Walk the Line.” The appetizer would have to some sort of spicy seafood to get the palate really crazy.

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?

For music, definitely John Legend; with his music, the beat and groove are really seductive, And Alicia Keys, is the same. There’s some real soul behind it. As far as food, I’d do some sort of funky wild game, like a crown of rabbit with braised lentils. Something that has a really rich flavor yet it’s kind of wild. It’s kind of adventurous, and kind of a gamble.

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

I cure my own charcuterie, so I like to take some that for the road. And being from Texas, I’m all for roadside barbecue. The place can’t be too clean though, that means the barbecue is definitely gonna suck. It’s gotta be made out of wood and need a little work, and if you walk in and people don’t greet you when you walk in the door, you’re in the wrong spot for barbecue.

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

Elvis Presley: Aside from the obvious peanut butter and banana sandwich, I’d go with something funky and groovy, like pork with a huckleberry jam and scalloped potatoes. Meat and potatoes with a sweet spin on it.

Jane’s Addiction: Rattlesnake sausage would be the appetizer, and then a wild game dish like pheasant roulade with truffled mac & cheese, cuz they’re so hyper all the time. Perry Farrell’s the most hyper motherfucker I know.

Willie Nelson: That’s easy: slow-roasted brisket, some kick-ass beans, and some killer Dutch oven cornbread.

Bob Dylan: That’s hard. It’s gotta be something kind of weird and hard to understand, like Brussels sprouts ice cream. Kind of hot and cold at the same time.

Michael Jackson: It was to be something that stands the test of time, so I’d go with skirt steak. Because back in the day it was a butchers cut of meat, then it became the meat for fajitas, then it got too expensive so now it’s being used as a center-of-the-plate meat. Which is kind of like what Michael Jackson’s done through time.

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

I would definitely invite Kings of Leon. I’d invite George Strait, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Elton John and Bob Marley. I gotta have a couple of chicks in there, so I’d invite Madonna, because she’s pretty entertaining, and Alicia Keys. Between Willie Nelson, Bob Marley and the Kings of Leon, I don’t know who’d smoke the most pot, but it’d probably be the Kings!

What would you cook?

I’d do a really elaborate barbecue. I’d roast a whole pig, grill some large tomahawk rib eyes, make four or five really great salads with stuff like roasted beets and fresh ricotta, squash, asparagus, corn on the cob, some badass mashed potatoes, some killer mac & cheese, and grilled pickles. And I’d make four or five specialty cocktails from the ingredients I grow in my garden: strawberries, lemons and limes. I the think the best dinner parties are the ones that happen outside, so I’d cook everything out in front of everybody.

What makes certain music suited for cooking?

My wife calls it kitchen music. I’ll start singing songs and she’s like, “How do you even know that song?” I’m like, “It’s kitchen music!’ It’s hardcore shit and it’s two beats faster than anything else, and two clicks louder. Everything from Mexican music to old-school Blind Melon to new-school Kings of Leon to Willie Nelson.

What about for eating?

For eating we do mostly Texas country music, so Pat Green, Jack Ingram, Kurt South, a band called The Crop Dusters, which are really great. And of course we play a lot of Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash.

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

I’ve seen a ton of people, but I haven’t seen John Legend. I’d love to see him.

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

I’d love to go to Fergus Henderson’s new hotel restaurant, St. John. I had dinner with Fergus in Barbados last year, and he was talking about it. I’d love to eat dinner with him at the bar at 1am. That’d be awesome.

What is your rock & roll fantasy?

I’d want to see Johnny Cash in an old honky tonk with like 250 people, where he plays a four-hour set. Back when he was in his twenties, touring with Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis.

And your food fantasy?

I think it would be pretty damn cool to have had Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims to see if there was really turkey and corn and all that shit.