“An ambience is defined as an atmosphere, or a surrounding influence: a tint.” — Brian Eno
“There is no such thing as silence.” — John Cage
Hello. We’re Snacky Tunes.
For over a decade, we’ve talked to the world’s best chefs (on our podcast from HRN) about music: the songs that inspire them, the playlists that animate their dining rooms, the bands they’ve performed in themselves. We even wrote a book about it.
Recently, beyond the precisely curated playlists and music inspirations, we’ve been interested in the elemental, discrete sounds that punctuate a chef’s day-to-day environment: the low hum of vendors haggling at the morning farmers markets, the call and response from the kitchen pass, the percussive knife chops as vegetable are prepared, the low-roaring hiss of freshly minced garlic hitting a hot, well-oiled pan, the pitch-perfect crescendo sizzling of a divinely seared steak.
In this audio column for FLOOD, we’ll explore the ambient soundtrack of a life in the kitchen. These field recordings, gathered by chefs from all over the globe, grant us intimate access to the lives of acclaimed culinarians.
To dive deeper into the subject, we recommend Kyle Chayka’s The Longing for Less.
Serving Sound 1.2 Daisy & Greg Ryan of Bell’s
When most people think of California wine country they almost immediately picture the northerly locales of Napa or Sonoma. Do that and you’ll never discover the delicious juice being bottled in the Santa Ynez Valley just two hours or so north of LA. You’ll also miss out on a meal at Bell’s in the tiny town of Los Alamos.
Trust us, you don’t want to do that.
Opened in 2017 by the husband-and-wife team of Chef Daisy and Greg Ryan, Bell’s dishes up fine French-inspired cooking—we always get the steak tartare with frites and the parsley butter-drenched snails for the table—in a place that looks like it was lifted from the Wild West set of Westworld. Lamb en Croûte in cowboy country might sound weird, but Bell’s proves that it definitely works as the restaurant has earned high praise from the likes of Esquire, Food & Wine, and the Michelin Guide.
Watch Greg’s intro video into the daily audio sounds of their place, then close your eyes and transport yourself into their audio world.
About Snacky Tunes
Broadcasting since 2009, the Snacky Tunes podcast has been a weekly exploration and conversation about the cultural convergence of music and food. Over the years, co-hosts and identical twins Greg Bresnitz and Darin Bresnitz, along with Snacky Tunes co-producer Khuong Phan, have interviewed acclaimed chefs, food writers, brewers, bakers, and restaurateurs, while also recording live in-studio sets from genre-spanning indie bands and musicians.
In addition to the podcast, they wrote a book about music’s influence on the culinary world (Snacky Tunes: Music is the Main Ingredient, Chefs and Their Music, Phaidon, 2020). And inspired by the book, they collaborated on a sustainable t-shirt series with EVERYBODY.WORLD, raising money for various Chef charities around the world.