For me the love of food and music are deeply intertwined. A good meal can taste even better when enjoyed with the right song. A great track can make me want to eat a good meal. I even have songs in my head for each of my favourite foods. I enjoy singing them as a soundtrack to build my anticipation for whatever it is I am cooking. I admit this has led to a few awkward moments; I've been over the stove making a meal only to turn around and see a family member looking at me with a puzzled expression, "are you singing a song... about bacon?!" If you were to pass by the Thank Cluck stall at the right time you may well hear me mumbling a song about sweet, tangy, spicy Korean sauce.
As a child, however, I wasn't much of an eater and I was anything but adventurous. My mum loves to remind me of my Cauliflower cheese phase. A phase that only ended because in a desperate attempt to get my fix I once microwaved Dairylea and cauliflower together in a bowl. The resulting mess was so off putting I still heave any time I'm faced with an unwrapped Dairylea triangle. It's safe to say my love for food is something that developed over time.
Music on the other hand has been ever present in my life. My love for it is built around moments, influenced by what I was feeling, experiencing when I first heard a particular track. One of my most influential musical moments came when browsing through my cousin's music collection. I saw an album cover with artwork that immediately grabbed my attention: afros, pimp suit, spaceship, pyramids and hieroglyphics. That was enough to convince me to listen. I enjoyed it enough; that is until I reached the twelfth track, 'SpottieOttieDopaliscious'. 37 seconds into the track when the horns kicked in my world stopped and in that exact moment I fell totally and undeniably in love with Outkast. That one track brought the rest of their music into clear and sharp focus for me.
Nobody at school really understood. I could play the track for people but I just couldn't get them to have that moment. Luckily for me a few months later they released 'Ms Jackson' and suddenly more people got it. I didn't mind that it wasn't my effort that managed to convince people to listen to Outkast I was just happy that people had started doing it.
Unlike some music fans I'm not a miser who selfishly hoards all of their musical gems, like a squirrel building up a cache of acorns. The more new fans an artist I admire gets, the happier I am. I love music and find myself always doing my best to get people to listen to something new or to realise that something which may seem simple is better and more layered than they think.
This seems to have translated into the food that I cook. 18 months ago when the three of us started Thank Cluck, there were plenty of fried chicken options in London. But the fact that everyone casually referred to all of those options as dirty chicken spoke volumes about the quality of the food they expected to be served when they ate there. Fried chicken was something that London loved but didn't really have high expectations of. One of my aims was to raise that expectation. Serve people the food they know and love just better than they expected it to be.
For a long time when we started, I felt like that awkward girl in the playground trying to convince people to listen to that hip hop group from the American South who were so amazing. Fortunately with food I have the advantage of being able to allow people to taste and I get to see them become believers. I feel as if I'm creating that 'SpottieOttieDopalicious' moment for people.
Not that my reasons for starting Thank Cluck with friends were entirely noble, one of the main motivating factor for me was my own greed. I simply wanted to be able to fill my face with good fried chicken whenever I craved it. I missed the fried chicken I ate while I was in Korea, I missed the pairing of beer and chicken (ChiMaek) and the socialising that always went with it even more.
This is why we're looking forward to serving chicken for Dummy mag's AGM at London Fields Brewery this weekend (28/29th Sept). Creating new food moments for people, enjoying new music moments ourselves and being able to indulge in socialising centred on music, chicken and beer.
Dummy's AGM weekender will be live streaming at www.dummmag.com all weekend