NY Philharmonic marries great music with fine food

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - If you want to hear one of the world’s leading orchestras and taste a menu created by a renowned chef, the New York Philharmonic may have the answer.

The New York Philharmonic are shown during a rehearsal before their concert at the Seoul Arts Centre in this February 28, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Beginning early next year the orchestra will host musical suppers -- post-concert meals with menus by chefs including Alain Ducasse, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Lidia Bastianich and Daniel Boulud.

Food critic Mimi Sheraton, who will act as the host at the suppers which are aimed at bringing the audience closer to the music, said to her knowledge it is the first time such small, informal suppers will be held to marry symphony music to gourmet food.

“There is, I feel, a sort of affinity between all things that signify the good life. People who look forward to music very often appreciate fine food and art,” Sheraton said in an interview.

“Chefs are the maestros of the kitchen, and there is a natural kinship between the aesthetics of great music and great food.”

All of the four Friday evening suppers from January to June will follow concerts at Lincoln Center. If the program is successful, the Philharmonic plans to repeat it later next year.

For $150 per person, plus the cost of the concert, about 90 guests will enjoy fine cuisine in Avery Fisher Hall. Each chef will be on hand to discuss the menu, along with Zarin Mehta, the president and executive director of the Philharmonic, and guest musicians who performed at the evening’s concert.

Sheraton believes bringing together four chefs who are at the top of their profession, with musicians and conductors who are at the top of theirs will make stimulating evenings.

“But we are not going to belabor the connection of food fitting the theme of the music,” she added.

But one chef, Bastianich who specializes in Italian cuisine, will prepare a menu for a meal following a concert conducted by Italian Riccardo Muti.

The musical suppers are the brainchild of Mehta, whom Sheraton said, would like to develop a friendly feeling between the public and the orchestra.

“That’s really what this is about,” she added.