It’s fascinating how Van Halen keeps popping up in pop culture in the most random, unexpected ways. Then again, the band’s music deserves it, so we’re not too surprised when it happens!
The video below features the latest random Van Halen mention, which is awesome. Two world-class chefs from the the new series Mind of a Chef, Danny Bowien and Sean Brock, take a deep dive into the intersection between food and music, and end up discussing Van Halen when they recount their fondest musical memories and how music has impacted their most-celebrated cooking prowess.
The three-minute Van Halen mention even includes an animated video set to one of those classic Van Halen songs we all know and love.
Danny Bowien remembers the exact moment he first heard Van Halen.
The 2013 James Beard Award winner and co-founder of San Francisco’s Mission Chinese Food recalls the experience in Sonos‘ new Mind of a Chef episode, a Potluck Music Special that explores the relationship between music and food.
Discussing his strict religious upbringing, Bowien describes the time he secretly bought Van Halen’s Greatest Hits on compact disc, purchased with a gift certificate from his grandmother and bought along with two Christian albums to shield the so-called evil rock and roll from his parents’ careful watch. “I wasn’t allowed to listen to secular music, I was only allowed to listen to Christian music, which is horrible,” the chef says in the episode. On the ride home from the record store, Bowien quietly played the Van Halen disc in his headphones, and his life changed.
“The moment I put it on,” he says, “there was this crazy sensory experience. I was like that moment for me when I eat food. And I’m like ‘What did I just taste?’ Like the first time I had Szechuan food, I was like ‘How do I get more of this?’ Eddie Van Halen playing a solo it was challenging me in a way I was never challenged before. The moment I pushed play on that CD player, something clicked.”
That’s just one of the tales Bowien tells in the episode, which hits Netflix next year but is available to watch starting today on YouTube. The hour-long program enlists world class chefs like Anthony Bourdain, April Bloomfield, Sean Brock, and Inaki Aizpitarte and builds to a dinner party with Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem), El-P, Vince Staples, and Meredith Graves of Perfect Pussy.
The episode features music from Willie Nelson, Al Martino, the Cure, Kate Bush, and of course, Van Halen.
We’ve embedded the video to begin playing at the 3-minute VH segment:
We like how Sean Brock mentions playing Van Halen first, and then his story ties in with Danny Bowien’s Van Halen story.
Our course, die-hard fans like the VHND’s readers will notice that Danny’s talking about buying Best of Volume I, and pushing play and being blown away by the guitar solo. Track 1 of the Best of is “Eruption,” and everybody can relate how that blew this kid’s mind. However, the music in this episode’s animation is from “Loss of Control,” which isn’t even on Best of Volume I. But we’ve got no complaints! It’s really cool to watch some crazy, fast-paced animation to one of the mind blowing deep tracks from Women And Children First!
Can you imagine being a kid who hadn’t listened to any secular music at all, and “Eruption” is the first thing you hear? Geez, we were all blown away when we heard “Eruption” for the first time, but we were rock fans to begin with. Imagine if this was the first rock music you heard!
We wonder why he happened to pick Van Halen as his first musical purchase besides the Christian music his parents insisted he listen to? What made him pick Van Halen?
Anyway, this got us thinking about other Van Halen mentions and food. There were the hamburgers that played air guitar and danced to “Everybody Wants Some” in that John Cusack movie, Better Off Dead.
And there was that time Eddie Van Halen was captured in pop culture noting the symbiotic relationship between food and music – when he explained the “As If” riff to Charlie Sheen as being inspired by “Two Burritos and a Root Beer Float!”
Van Halen and fine dining are certainly two of life’s greatest pleasures. There’re apparent symbiotic relationship, as detailed by chef Bowien, definitely offers us some food for thought.