Tasty Bites


Nemo Librizzi schools taste-makers on the ins and
outs of a good restaurant soundtrack.

I just got back from a day at Taste 3, Copia’s food, wine and art think tank of sorts. In the course of 2 days, the attendees—mostly made of food and wine professionals—are treated to an eclectic assortment of speakers, from a mushroom scientist to a food and travel photographer to Chef Jeff of Oprah acclaim. It’s a bit like fusion cuisine: Sometimes the ambitious mix has a synergy that leaves you thinking about things in a new and exciting way. And sometimes, it doesn’t and leaves you wondering what on earth just happened. But whenever a group of thinkers come together to think, it’s impossible not to be enlightened. Here are few things I took away.

1. Mushrooms are going to save the earth. No, seriously. From anti-viral medicines to toxic spill cleanups. Can’t say I really grasped half of his fungi babble, but it’s clear that Paul Stamets, the author of Mycelium Running, might be a genius. Go to fungi.com to see if you agree.

2. While mushrooms are doing their good deeds, we’re going to save ourselves from ruin by drinking red wine. But not just any red wine—not that 15 percent-alcohol-laden-cocktail of a California Cab so much—but more like food-friendly red wines from the South of France or wines rich in procyanidins. Roger Corder, a Professor of Experimental Therapeutics at the William Harvey Research Institute in London explained his theories on this. You can get his book, The Red Wine Diet (Avery), when it comes out in the fall. I believed him, and made sure to have a glass of red wine in celebration of long life when I got back home.

3. Food photography is more enticing and natural if you include a half-consumed glass of wine or leftover food on the plate. This was explained to us by food and travel photographer Andrea Fazzari, whose truly gorgeous portraits, landscapes and food images regularly appear in Gourmet. (If you haven’t noticed, Gourmet has recently become the go-to magazine for artful, birds-eye shots of half eaten dinners. Martha Stewart photographers may have introduced the blurry fork, but Gourmet has it on bread crumbs.)

4. Nemo Librizzi, a New York based artist/DJ (read his bio to get the real scoop) and the man one hires to set the mood with music at big-time restaurants such as Gramercy Tavern and Megu, pondered why he leans almost exclusively towards African-American music in the jazz and blues genre. The answer? It makes him feel good. Good feelings are good for digestion. I liked Librizzi’s style too. He made good use of a white belt (see above photo).

To learn what Jordan Mackay took away from this event (he attended both days), go to his new blog, Buzzed. Hear all about it.
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