June is Music + Food Month on Tasting Table.
Anyone who follows Dieselboy (aka Damian Higgins) on Instagram knows that the drum and bass DJ/producer's feed is more than just clips of raucous turntablism and worldwide party people. Higgins is also quite the epicurean, as evidenced by the meals he documents eating and cooking at home and on the road, often alongside well-known chefs, food writers and photographers.
"My earliest memory of food is poring over the contents of my mother's bright orange Betty Crocker cookbook," Higgins says. He admits that most of his adolescence was spent eating low-budget, often microwaveable food, but he experienced a culinary awakening after spending a weekend with his relatives and immersing himself in their Taste of Home recipe compendium.
"The food and the recipes looked enticing, and it motivated me to try my hand at cooking," Higgins says. "That quickly snowballed into me collecting cookbooks, watching hours and hours of food television, getting subscriptions to every food magazine, poring over food blogs and eating at the best restaurants I could find. Once I get inspired by something, I put 100 percent of myself into it, and I was intent on learning everything I could about food and how to become a great cook," he says.
Since then, Higgins has connected with some of the industry's best chefs—many of whom had been listening to his music for years. Last year, he and Alex Stupak collaborated on a special dinner with Matt McCallister at FT33 in Dallas. Higgins and Bryce Shuman of Betony in New York recently created a hot dog for New York cocktail den PDT. And this past March, Higgins did a Metal as F*ck dinner with Jonathon Sawyer (Trentina/The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland) and David Posey (formerly of Blackbird in Chicago). He and Michael Solomonov of Zahav in Philadelphia will also be collaborating on a dinner this fall.
Corn panna cotta form FT33's guest chef dinner featuring DJ Dieselboy
When he's on the road, headlining electronic music festivals, Higgins seeks out the best places to eat in each city. Here are a few of his favorite restaurants:
Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles
"Super-consistent and delicious Italian food. I go every time I'm in L.A. Don't skimp on dessert!"
Favorite dish: "Bianco di Napoli pomodoro pizza with tomato, Sicilian oregano and olive oil."
Woodberry Kitchen, Baltimore
"One of my favorite restaurants in the country. American food cooked with a deft touch and a lot of love."
Favorite dish: "The C.M.P.—fresh cream ice cream, hot fudge, toasted marshmallow, wet peanuts."
Niche, St. Louis
"The tasting menu is ridiculous. Super clever and creative. Gerard Craft is a beast in the kitchen."
Favorite dish: "Tea service: rendered bacon fat, oak tea, buckwheat English muffin, homemade cheese, honey."
"The Nashville outpost of this Southern-driven Sean Brock restaurant is killing it, thanks to chef Brian Baxter."
Favorite dish: "The 'order ahead' fried chicken, cooked in five different fats and dredged in three flours—it's off the charts!"
Empellón al Pastor, New York
"Alex Stupak's casual spot features amazing tacos and strong tequila and mezcal drinks. Love it."
Favorite dish: "Red chile pork tacos with two salsas is one of the most delicious tacos I've ever tasted. A++."
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