A thought occurred to me last week when I was in Charleston, S.C., while dining downtown at a very special restaurant named R Kitchen.
R Kitchen was made by chefs, for chefs. We the diners were little more than observers: We got to eat the delicious food, but we were not given a choice of what to eat — that was up to the chefs.
Each five-course meal at R Kitchen is dreamed up to run for one day only, meaning every time you visit, there might be a completely different style of cooking offered. The idea is that good chefs have strong personal opinions on what is good food, and the chefs at R Kitchen are instructed to make food they would personally like to eat. The owner, a chef, hired a creative, all-star cast to make these decisions, and the restaurant’s reviews reflect their effectiveness. The chefs know best.
At the end of the wonderful evening, having discussed the five courses in depth with the chefs themselves, I was full of memories of hanging out in Boulder with my own chef friends in younger days. Back then, after a certain high-end restaurant closed for the evening, many of the chefs and servers would convene at my friend’s house to passionately talk about the latest trends in cooking, new restaurants, and grapes and wine.
These memories made me realize something. I have never, ever, ever seen one of my chef friends eat fast food. Not once, ever.
On the flip side, my chef friends were so talented that certain food items I would normally not allow into my mouth would be happily consumed without thought — if one of them prepared it. I’m talking about eggplants, tripe, mushrooms and onions. I know it’s a little childish, but I always disliked those things until my chef friends prepared them for me.
Where I’m getting with this is that we all have our interests and passions in life, and many people choose interests that revolve around input from one of the senses. And invariably over time, opinions and tastes form, which can change a person’s choice of what they present to their senses.
If I were to play a Green Day track on my father’s (who is an accomplished conductor and composer) home stereo, he’d likely run into the room screaming at me to turn off the “trash.” Why is it trash to him? As he would say, besides the lyrics being immature and banal, the fact that they repeat the same chords over and over shows a simplicity of thought that is, at this point in his musical study, offensive.
Along the same lines, I’ve found that as I spin deeper and deeper into the vortex of the audiophile pursuit, and as my listening systems improve, I only want to play music that is really well recorded. Over time, my hobby has changed me.
I want to pull off an audio R Kitchen. Next week, I’ll dial up a menu of my five favorite well-recorded albums.