Ode To Chelsea Music Festival: Gravity 350

Chelsea Music Festival is back at it again! For the past 6 years, the last 4 of which I’ve had the privilege to participate, Ken-David Masur has taken the lead in dominating the Chelsea neighborhood of lower Manhattan. His lovechild, the Chelsea Music Festival, is a marriage of the arts, fusing and celebrating culture and creativity from all spectrums. The celebration allows visitors to hear|taste|see and even smell! Not only do the culinary aromas permeate the musical notes that are wafted into the rafters but from my recollection, each year a signature scent designed exclusively for the festival perfumes each venue. Sensory stimulation!

Being a culinary artist, I am honored (and biased) to recognize how the food remains an integral attraction. No matter how gaping eyes have widened to grasp the strokes wrapped around a canvas or how low jaws have dropped in response to the tunes flowing through the air, the crowds respond most emphatically to the beat of their heart and the melody of their stomach, unsatisfied to eat just with their eyes. The culinary tables are swarmed at every opportunity. Audiences, performers, and staff alike have returned to the kitchen after service accepting even what we have deemed as scraps or leftovers. Everyone can relate to food. In fact food has been postulated as art, but beyond art, it caters to our essence- spirit, mind, and body.

11216833_955745391114125_8469684625790275925_nIn just a couple of hours now, Gravity 350 will launch, CMF’s 7th season. The gala and concert, hosted at Canoe Studios, New York, NY will feature the down-to-earth illustrations of Visual Artist-in-Residence, Lukas Birk and customized musical pieces performed on trumpet, piano, and an array of others. Of course, the performances will conclude with a reception prepared by Culinary Artist-in-Residence, Timothy McGrath (CIA ’76), who will serve five courses. The second course sensibly includes Sir Isaac Newton’s groundbreaking apple in Jellied hard cider with a confetti of apples

Cooks Gathering's Chef Timothy McGrath

Unfortunately, I won’t get to taste it this year. I’m not sure I’ll make it to the festival at all for the first time in five years. Newton is famously quoted, “The greater the distance between two object, the greater the attraction between the two.” (At least I thought he was; but I can’t find support for the claim. But for the sake of my rapid scribbling, just go with it.) I certainly hope this quote true. It is with gravity of heart that I announce my work will soon take me across the coasts to land in Japan. CMF, you will be far but not forgotten. I wish you all well this season and long for the day that I am selected as your Culinary Artist-in-Residence.


If you’ve experienced the wonder of Chelsea Music Festival, keep the tradition going. If you haven’t, wake up! For tickets and info (including the five course menu served tonight) head to chelseamuicfestival.org.

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