"Like most people, I love listening to music throughout the day, and when Ruxbin first opened, I curated the playlist from my personal collection," says Chicago chef Edward Kim. When he's cranking away at "funky miso soup" with fermented soybeans at his restaurants Mott Street or lamb saddle with fennel and figs at Ruxbin, here's what Kim is listening to.
"Lost Cause," by Beck
"This is the perfect rainy day song, when you're able to wallow happily in the fact that you're an introvert and feel good about enjoying a lazy afternoon. It's also part of a great album to convert those who say they hate country music."
"My Favorite Things," by John Coltrane
"The Sound of Music was one of the few movies that was on constant rotation when I was growing up, and I fondly remember rewinding the VHS and popping the video into the VCR. 'My Favorite Things' was probably one of my least favorite songs from the movie, but Coltrane takes something familiar and a little trite and transforms it into a song that's majestic and haunting. You can literally hear the raindrops falling on roses throughout the entire song, and it's no longer the wistful wishes of an obnoxious teenage girl. In Coltrane's hands, the song captures the beauty of a constantly deteriorating and imperfect world. I like listening to this type of music when I'm unwinding in the car ride home from a long day's work."
"Beyond the Sea," by Bobby Darin
"This is my wedding song and captures the big, romantic love that I hope to always have with my wife. This song is best listened to when I'm at home and my wife and I decide to be goofy and practice an impromptu version of our wedding dance with a little more booty shaking."
"Queen of the Night Aria," by Mozart
"I usually listen to classical music during prep, and The Magic Flute is my preferred opera to work to. This aria is my favorite, partially because it's so distinct and partially because it's a testament to how much we can push ourselves physically with practice, effort and craftsmanship, which I feel is a metaphor for what we do as cooks in the kitchen. When this song comes on, I like to tell the other cooks that it's my jam and, in complete failure, attempt to sing along."
"I Was Born (a Unicorn)," by The Unicorns
"Who doesn't wish they were born a unicorn? This is just a great song to rock out to at the end of the night. It reminds me of when I was in college trying to figure out what I wanted to do—unsure, feeling a little lost and knowing that this would be a great response to anyone asking what I wanted to be when I grew up."
"Animal (Peter Bjorn and John Remix)," by Miike Snow
"This song makes me want to just rock out and dance like a fool, and the lyrics capture the adrenaline high that you get from a great service, reminding us that food is visceral—we're just animals. At the end of the night, we should all have goofy smiles on our faces and dance with our friends, absent of self-consciousness, loving the short time that we have with one another."
"Kids," by MGMT
"One of the most horrifying and greatest music videos of all time. This is another song that is both strange and beautiful and amazingly fun to rock out to."
"Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits," by The Magnetic Fields
"This is my favorite band. It's too hard to choose just one song, but this one calls to the cheesy romantic in me."
"Holocene," by Bon Iver
"A beautiful song to chill out to. It makes me feel like I'm in a cabin in the forest when in fact I'm in the middle of a bustling city. A great day-off song."
"To Have and to Have Not," by Billy Bragg
"One of the greatest punk anthems of all time. This song captures my belief that all people, even those that don't fit society's definition of normal, are worth great value and shouldn't be judged by their covers. Although some may not be what other people want them to be, that doesn't mean they can't achieve great things."
"Man in the Mirror," by Michael Jackson
"I love Michael, and this song makes me want to be both a better man and to dance, or even to be a better man while dancing."
"Sir Duke," by Stevie Wonder
"Possibly my favorite Stevie Wonder song. I would challenge anyone to not have a smile on their face while this is blasting. This is perfect after a long, busy service, when we're busting out the soapy water to break down the kitchen and help our dish guys finish washing up."
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