Stories / Foundation News

Letter from the President: If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On!

Susan Ungaro

Susan Ungaro

April 09, 2014


David H. Kock Theater, home to the 2014 James Beard Awards

Shakespeare had it right! For centuries the musical arts and the culinary arts have been linked. And a great chef, like a talented musician, plays all the right notes.

Long before he became television’s first foodie, James Beard pursued a career in music. After studying opera in London, he came to New York with the dream of making it at the Metropolitan Opera or on Broadway. But like many struggling actors, he ended up paying the rent through a career in food. And aren’t we all better for it?

Many of the chefs we know and love had earlier careers as musicians, or have been influenced by music in some way. Our dining experiences are enhanced by custom-made playlists, and chefs have achieved what many have called “rock star” status. This year the James Beard Awards theme is “Sounds of the City,” and it celebrates this enduring relationship between music and food. After the medals are handed out, the gala reception at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater will feature chefs from some of America’s beloved musical cities creating dishes inspired by their favorite sounds, whether it’s a local musical act, a special song, or an impactful musician.

I hope you’ll join us for what promises to be one of our most exciting Awards yet. Tickets are available at If you can’t make it, you can always watch the ceremony live on our website.