For Allison Hagendorf, Food Ain’t The New Rock
Fuse host has been dining with bands for a decade
You might know Allison Hagendorf as the host of Fuse’s weekly Top 20 Countdown and various other TV and radio shows that have her interviewing the world’s top pop music stars like Eminem, Drake and Justin Bieber. (Before signing up for hosting duties, she worked in the A&R department at Epic Records.)
But I know Allison as a mildly obsessive food fan, having spotted her at all the right parties and followed her entertaining Woman Versus Food Tumblr. I recently found out about her love of Brazilian steak houses, meat muffins and two Davids—Chang and Bouley.
You’ve been a big fan of restaurants and cooking for a while…
I’ve always loved food, but I got into it when I was doing A&R. My job was to take bands out on an expense account, and to scout, or woo, unsigned talent. So I started having all these extravagant dinners with bands. That’s when I went from food fan to foodie.
Give me some examples of crazy meals with bands.
Matt Pinfield was my mentor. We’d take Coheed and Cambria to El Quijote and I’d order, for myself, the skirt steak and crab-stuffed lobster tail. It was all so over the top and gluttonous and amazing. I remember taking this band Crossfade to Plataforma Churrascaria. Where do you take Southern rockers? A Brazilian steakhouse of course!
So what is it about bands and chefs. They’re like two peas in a…
I found that for musicians and chefs, there’s such a symbiotic relationship there. So many guys in bands either worked in food or kept food blogs as they traveled. And chefs are so hardcore into music. Sam Talbot is a friend of mine and is hardcore music fan. Willie Adler, the guitarist of Lamb of God, was once a sous chef.
Name some other musicians who are unequivocally into food.
Gym Class Heroes. My friend Eric is a hardcore foodie. (Food Republic interviewed him recently). I've dined with Perry and Etty Farrell a handful of times. We've become foodie friends and love ABC Kitchen in New York.
What about Bieber?
He doesn’t seem like he’s into such things. He’s all business. A lot of the times I interview artists and I ask, "What’s one thing fans would be interested to know about you?" I interviewed Akon and he said, “I’m a sick chef. I’m into cooking.” Neon Trees are super foodies, but most of them were vegan when I hung out with them in Austin at South By Southwest. They were on a mission to find the best vegan barbecue.
What are some of your favorite food cities?
Austin, Austin, Austin. All day, and all night. New York is my area of expertise. One of my favorite desserts on the planet is at Prime 112 in Miami. The peanut butter s’mores are orgasmic. There are blogs dedicated to that dessert. And I do love L.A. for sushi. Sushi Park is my favorite spot. Period.
Do you have any food rituals for before taping your shows?
Everyone makes fun of me because I have this whole eat hard, work out hard mantra. I’m a total meathead. I work out like a guy and I eat like a guy. I eat every two to three hours and I bring full-on meals with me to Fuse. Everybody cracks up. I cook these turkey meatloaf muffins. It sounds disgusting, but I literally always have turkey meatloaf on hand. I bring protein shakes too.
What was the best meal a guy has ever made for you?
I love restaurants and like being taken out. The most amazing restaurant a guy has taken me to is Bouley. It was one of the most unbelievable dining experiences, period. The fact that a man comes out with a two-tiered bread cart is not lost on me. And fragrances. You’re greeted by an apple orchard in the fall. That autumnal smell.
Who took you there?
Well, I’m difficult, so I take restaurants seriously. For my birthday my boyfriend knows I pick the spots. I sort of suggested Bouley and he made it happen. Bouley or bust. Or Momofuku Ko. David Chang is a genius and I'd love to meet him.
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