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Music to their ears.
RATIONAL chefs’ secret “charts”.

The more than 1,000 chefs on the job for RATIONAL go through the same processes that every other cook in the world does: cooking, tasting, discarding, starting from scratch. But do they listen to the same music, too? We asked a few of them—not a representative sample, but interesting all the same. One other important note: the music described here is what they play in the kitchen, never during service. It was very important to them that we mention that.

The appetizers: AC/DC, Rage against the Machine.

RATIONAL cooks’ favorite AC/DC songs range from “Touch Too Much” to “Hell’s Bells” to “pretty much everything”. Apparently, things get rough and tough in their kitchens, and they like to spin their salads in time to power chords.

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The intermediate course: Metallica, Clash, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rammstein.

There’s a little more variety in this list, but the chefs still seem to be following a theme of “hard and loud” – though with a few mellow tunes in between, like “Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. Which isn’t to suggest that they’re running out of steam!

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The main course: Nirvana, Pearl Jam.

Their favorites during the main course are experimental, but still enjoyable – helping them stay grounded without getting bored. Their anxiety about whether their customers will enjoy the food soon fades, because the “music” of soft conversation and the clatter of cutlery on fine china send a message loud and clear: “This is delicious!”

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Dessert: Coldplay, Moloko, Charles Bradley, Paul Kalkbrenner, Staind.

Nearly finished now; dessert is served, and things quiet down in the kitchen. The music reflects the change in mood, too. It’s emotional now, almost yearning—no wonder, since it’s nearly time to go home. And with the amazing variety of food they’ve turned out, the chefs have earned a rest.

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The exotic variant: Indian kitchen music.

Of course, as an international organization, RATIONAL also has international chefs, and many of them like to listen to music from their home countries. Our colleague from India, for example, changes his kitchen playlist depending on what he’s cooking. When he’s preparing Indian dishes, he prefers Delhi Belly and Ik Junoon—both of which, incidentally, are perfectly suitable for Western ears. And when he’s making Western food, he listens to French songs with French recipes and reggae with... well, enough about that.

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What's cooking there?

Cooking without music? Impossible for our chefs. We have put it together for you, the right sound to keep the chefs cooking.

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