The fourth edition of The DJ Cookbook dinner series brought together two of New York’s greats to create a tantalizing experience for the senses. Chef Bryce Shuman of Michelin-starred Betony and DJ Dieselboy aka Damian Higgins joined forces in the heat of summer to conceptualize The Five Tastes; a multi course dinner that explored sour, bitter, salty, umami and sweet all in the most elegant of ways.
For those that don’t know, Bryce Shuman is an Eleven Madison Park alum with more than a gift for cooking. He is an altruistic soul involved with organizations like No Kid Hungry and often found collaborating with others to use food as a tool for discourse. Dieselboy, the face of American Drum N Bass is an important cultural icon for those who grew up in the 90’s listening to his seminal mix CD’s . Today, aside from touring you can find him eating, drinking and when possible collaborating with some of the best Chefs in the country.
To recap, the goal of the dinners is to pair a DJ and a Chef to collaborate, from inception, on the creation of a five course vegetarian menu with unique musical accompaniment. Unlike previous dinners Bryce and Damian already know each other well, and with the support of Betony were able to plan and prepare a dinner for 25 guests, which was executed at our home, Black Flamingo.
The meal was minimal in style yet colossal in flavor, and it was thanks to the concept that we tasted these contrast. The dinner began with five different canapés: a 16 day macerated carrot with tadka, finished with finger lime (sour), my favorite: the chicory bites filled with crème fraiche dipped in crunchy wheatberry (bitter), baby corn coated with cotija cheese and dusted with huitlacoche (salty), a beet and amaranth puff with sour cashew (umami) and an Australian black truffle marshmallow (sweet).
The main courses were as innovative as the canapés and followed the sour, bitter, salty, umami and sweet progression both to taste and sound. The biggest show of the night was Dieselboy and Bryce plating the strawberry, acorn and olive oil gazpacho with the help of liquid nitrogen. This course was accompanied by a playlist with sourly nostalgic tunes by artists like Beach House and Empire of the Sun.
The bitter main of the night was a bitter greens salad filled with locally foraged chamomile and dandelion among other wild herbs. Sonically we heard some sultry Mazzy Star and Daughter. Then, the salty dish was one of my favorites, a millet croquette in a yeast broth. It not only had a great crunch, but the rich and silky broth satiated our desires. Musically, it was paired with Fleetwood Mac and Ted Nugent, among others.
The umami main was a delicate wide noodle dish accompanied by squash blossoms, creamy sheep’s curd and more of those delicious Australian summer truffles. Nas, Gang Star and Jay-Z were some of the umami for our ears. The final, sweet dish was a sexy pretzel caramel bowl, which was accompanied by the seductive sounds of The Internet and Phantogram to name a few.
The evening finished with more wine and some beautiful chocolate truffles made by Betony’s pastry team who, following the tastes theme, delighted us with negroni, celery/peanut and beet /caramel truffles, to name a few of the flavors.
Thanks to Chefs Marc Howard and Jacquelyn Carnesi and the Betony team for making the time to collaborate and put together such an exquisite food event for music heads, without you none of this would have been possible.