Culinary Jam Session: The Top 10 Albums to Prep to
It’s Friday night and I know we are going to be busy. I pull into the parking lot, grab my bag, and head into the locker room. I’m still a little groggy, but manage to get suited up and into the kitchen. The reservation book is full of random scribbles and numbers. I notice a lot of various large parties throughout the already full book, and know it’s going to get crazy. I grab myself a soda and know that I am going to need to start getting myself amped up for this service. I pull my iPod out of my pocket and know exactly which album I need to hear to “set it off.” Track 1 starts and I’m in the zone.
Music has played a big part in my culinary career. We listen to music as we prep our stations and while we scrub everything down at the end of the night. We have music playing to get us hyped up on our way into work and to wind us down on the ride home. A kitchen without music would be sad place.
Below is my selection of the top ten albums to prep to:
10. “Ready to Die” The Notorious BIG
This is the album that gets put on when there are a lot of people in the kitchen and we need something to vibe to. When “Juicy” starts, it gets everybody into the groove and feeling good. Great soundtrack for making pasta.
9. “Pretty Hate Machine” Nine Inch Nails
This is one of those albums that is so solid from the first track. ‘Head Like a Hole” has lyrics cooks can relate to and all the aggression they need. It is one of the few albums that nobody bitches about when it gets played.
8. “Smash” The Offspring
Such a great album that most people probably don’t listen to. It is an album that no track gets skipped when it’s on. The anger displayed on “Bad Habit” is reason enough to play it in the kitchen.
7. “Master of Puppets” Metallica
It’s really hard for me to put a Metallica album on the list, considering how many horrible albums they put out after “And Justice for All,” but this album is just too damn good to leave off. Every kitchen plays it, and nobody can keep still during “Battery.” Still, the band should have died when Cliff did.
6. “Doolittle” Pixies
Not only should this album be on the rotation in any kitchen, it should be played at every bar too. It is so solid and just plain cool all the way through. “Mr. Grieves” has to be one of the best songs that most people have never heard.
5. “The Chronic” Dr. Dre
“Nuthin but a “G” Thang” is one of those iconic tracks that almost everyone knows and loves. It is, in my opinion, the greatest rap song of all time. Period. If you look around the kitchen when this album is on, every white guy is probably performing the signature gringo dance move. The head bob.
4. “Vulgar Display of Power” Pantera
Such a raw, hard and powerful album. “By Demons be Driven” is my favorite Pantera song of all time and it really makes me want to punch waiters in the face. It also has one of the “metalist” album covers of all time. While listening to Dimebag’s insane riffs you have to ask yourself one question. Why is he dead and Phil still alive?
3. “Rocket to Russia” Ramones
This is not usually on the radar of great Ramones albums, but it is so amazing and diverse. The first kitchen I worked in played this album 2 or 3 times a day and it never gets old. It is the essential album for chopping herbs and slicing garlic to the beats.
2. “Punk in Drublic” NOFX
I still remember when I was given this album when I was 12 years old and my life was forever changed. I have heard it from start to finish thousands of times and it still blows me away every time. Right from the start, “Linoleum” gets me amped up and ready to get things done. It is always the album I turn to when I need a “pick me up.”
1. “Reign in Blood” Slayer
This is not only the greatest thrash album ever made, but also the greatest energy album ever made. It has such aggression and power throughout. It should only be played when it can be turned up to maximum volume. You have probably two of the greatest metal guitar players of all time in the same band, and this album proves it. When I have my own restaurant someday, it will be a requirement before every service. Slayer makes the food taste better