Choice Cuts: Chef Hilary Mace shares her Top 5 songs for the kitchen

Introducing Choice Cuts, our new feature that combines food and music. Everybody loves food and music. Both can be a feast for the senses. But how else do they intersect? Chefs have been called the new rock stars for years now. Food is served on plates and records are pressed on plates. Musicians have tuning forks and chefs have, well, forks. You get the idea. Australian novelist Gregory David Roberts once said “Food is music to the body, music food to the heart.” We couldn’t agree more. There have even been studies linking sound frequencies to taste sensations. So grab your ear buds and ready your taste buds. 

For Hilary Mace – the chef and owner of The Scarlet Runner the Lancaster-based catering company that also hosts a monthly pop-up dinner – music and food go hand in hand.

Hilary Mace at The Scarlet RunnerMace fell in love with food after spending a few years studying art and music in Copenhagen and traveling around tasting new foods in Europe. Later, she moved to New York City to study the culinary arts. She eventually found her way to Burlington, Vermont, where food and music intersected in the form of a catering job for the band Phish.

“They would hire me to come up and cook dinners at their barn where they would bring in record execs from New York,” says Mace. “They let me have complete creative freedom when coming up with a menu for them. The meetings would start out low key as the first couple of courses were served. By dessert everyone would be pretty hammered and they would start jamming and make up songs about me and my servers.”

Anyone who has ever worked in a kitchen knows just how much good music can keep the mood light while the tickets come flying in and the dishes go flying out.

“My other dream job is to be a DJ,” says Mace. “Music has always been a part of my life. I started playing the cello when I was 5 and gained an appreciation for all kinds of music.”

We know Mace has amazing taste when it comes to the dinner table so we decided to see what she would serve up on the turntable.


Hey – Pixies

“If it is a stressful day and I am feeling anxious I go to The Pixies or Kendrick Lamar for a pick me up.”

The Creator – Pete Rock and CL Smooth

“I like to encourage people to try something new – and I love watching people’s faces light up when they eat something they love. Makes me wanna turn up ‘The Creator’ and dance.”

Ca Plane Pour Mo i – Plastic Bertrand

“In one restaurant we all listed our top fives (mine always changed) and someone was always disputing another persons pick.”

Youth and Lust – Cold Cave

“There has been a boombox or an Ipod or a laptop or a Bose in every kitchen I have worked in. I love discovering new music and working in a kitchen is a great platform for that.”

Rock Steady – Aretha Franklin

“There are hours spent prepping for service or an event and music always sets the vibe of the day.”


What songs get you pumped to get in the kitchen and create? Do you have any favorite food-related songs? Tell us what they are.



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Mike Andrelczyk is a features editor for Fly Magazine. He is a graduate of Penn State University and currently lives with his wife Stacey in Strasburg. Interests include tennis, playing bad guitar, poetry (poems have appeared in Modern Haiku, The Inquisitive Eater and other journals) and oneirology – the study of dreams – mostly in the form of afternoon naps. His name appears in the title screen of Major League 2.

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