Entertaining

Style File: Chris Taylor

The Grizzly Bear bassist and cookbook author shows off his favorite gear
Photo: Barbara Anastacio
Grizzly Bear

June is Music + Food Month on Tasting Table.

Music, cooking and travel are all big parts of Chris Taylor's life. And in all three, the Grizzly Bear bassist and producer gravitates more to substance over style. Take his record player, for example, a standard model he purchased 14 years ago upon moving to New York. "My life revolves around music, and I should be a record player fetishist. But I like how my player sounds. And it works perfectly," he says.

That same practicality prevails when choosing kitchen equipment ("I'm a big believer in basics"), which Taylor knows quite a bit about, having staged at London's St. John Bread and Wine, The Crimson Sparrow in Hudson, New York, and Noma just last year, with much time spent foraging ("That was really fun. But foraging is not chill; it's not like stopping to smell the flowers.").

  • Chinese Gongfu Teapot ($155)

    "On tour, I take a lot of tea and a teapot, and I'll make it for myself or for my bandmates and crew. I find it to be a really meditative routine. When I'm in a different country, I like to go around just looking for tea to add to my collection."

  • Technics SL-1210MK2 Turntable (prices vary)

    "I never, ever put together a playlist. I try to find a record that I can leave playing for at least one side and, ideally, flip over. I don't like listening to things on shuffle—it drives me crazy. I'm an album listener, if I can, and I have a record player that's pretty standard for DJs."

  • Mandoline Slicer ($52)

    "I've definitely cut more flesh off myself than I'd like to admit, but I love my mandoline. My sister gave it to me about four or five years ago, and she really nailed it."

  • Korin Knives (prices vary)

    "I have a Japanese knife that I got from Korin, which I think is definitely the place to get a chef's knife when you're in New York. I'm camping for a month right now, and I brought my smaller prep knife, because I don't want to mess around with a crappy knife in the wilderness."

  • Japanese-Style Bowls ($148)

    "I like when things don't match and have some personality. I pick up different cups and bowls when I travel, and I really freaked out in Japan in terms of souvenir shopping. I got a lot of tea bowls and teapots and small dishes for izakaya-type serving."

  • Rattan Paper Plate Holders ($5 for set of four)

    "If you have a large party, and you have to go the paper plate route, there's this woven holder. It keeps the plates from getting soggy and feels kind of nice, and doesn't feel like you're eating off of something disposable. I like them for the barbecue vibe."

  • Pinstripe Apron ($16)

    "My apron was given to me when I was at St. John Bread and Wine. Those guys remain my good friends. It's a handsome apron, and it's usually my go-to."

  • Sonos Wireless Speakers ($199 to $399)

    "These things work pretty well for backyard entertaining—you can just sync with your iPod. I like trying to get my friends to DJ. Of course, if anyone's doing a terrible job, I'll have to pull them, but usually they do just fine."

  • Plastic Deli Containers ($14 for a pack of 36)

    "I buy these in bulk and take them camping. They're just so good—smell doesn't get out of them; they're easy as hell to clean; if you want to take food over to your friend's house, you can just pack it and leave it there, because they're like 10 cents."

  • Billykirk Carryall ($352)

    "I keep everything in this carry-on bag when traveling, so if anyone stole it, they would totally steal my identity. It's big enough to fit in all my tea equipment, my passport, my laptop and my pens and paper."

  • MSR WhisperLite Stove ($80)

    "I've been camping my whole life. I get really into cooking some pretty nice meals and use this fuel-powered stove, which hooks up to a fuel canister that you can travel with internationally. A lot of other camp stoves have these proprietary fuel canisters you can't travel with, so this is really nice."

  • Snow Peak Cast-Iron Dutch Oven ($265)

    "This is a Japanese brand that makes small, fun camping equipment. The Dutch oven has two small cast-iron pans and folds up into itself. It's great for car camping."

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Earlier this year, Taylor showed off his cooking chops when he, along with photographer and former restaurant cook Ithai Schori, released Twenty Dinners (Clarkson Potter, $37.50), a gorgeously styled cookbook focused on entertaining with a distinctly cool attitude.

When he's not in the kitchen, Taylor's often on the road. Case in point: The musician spoke to us while taking a break from a monthlong motorcycle trip in the Southwest with his girlfriend (at the time, they were on their way to the Biosphere 2 research facility in Oracle, Arizona). Here are some of the multitalented and eclectic musician's favorite tools, kitchen and otherwise.

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