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'Food is the New Rock' Brings Together Guitar Gods and Kitchen Stars

By Alan Neuhauser | February 25, 2013 11:12am

MIDTOWN — The man who launched the must-read lunch bible for Midtown office workers has found his voice — and he's broadcasting it across the globe.

Zach Brooks, creator of MidtownLunch.com, now helms the podcast "Food is the New Rock," which invites renowned chefs and food critics from New York to California to talk up their favorite songs and bands, and marquee musicians to wax poetic about food.

"It's something that these guys don't get to talk about a lot," Brooks told DNAinfo.com New York. "If you're Mike D [of the Beastie Boys], and you're constantly getting the same questions about music over and over again, to just sit down and shoot the s--t for half an hour about the restaurants you love and give recommendations, I think people really respond to that."

The series, now in its 33rd episode, started last June with an episode that brought together Momofuku chef and founder David Chang and food writer Peter Meehan, who also collaborated to launch the quarterly food journal Lucky Peach.

Since then, Brooks and his cohost, Chuck P, a DJ on Los Angeles' KCRW, have recorded 30-minute to hour-long interviews with stars ranging from Los Angeles indie-rock darlings Local Natives to Food Network personality and Top Chef contestant Chris Cosentino. In the most recent podcast Feb. 19, comedian and avid cook Cheech Marin and chef John Sedlar were interviewed, too.

The interviews are most often recorded at Bronson Island studio in Los Angeles — Brooks moved west with his wife and son in 2010 — but they "can basically be recorded anywhere," Brooks said.

Brooks said one of his favorite interviews, though, was with Queens rapper and former chef Arian Aslanni, better known as Action Bronson.

"A lot of his references in his lyrics are food references. I hate using the word 'foodie' — it's such an annoying word — but they show an understanding of good food and nice restaurants and being a chef rather than someone who just cooks food," Brooks said.

What's more, the conversation — one that was "a little smoky," Brooks said — got to the heart of the "Food is the New Rock" podcast.

"Just geeking out with Action Bronson about halal, street meat, which I've obviously written a lot about, was a personal dream come true," Brooks said.

"Food is the New Rock" is available for free on the podcast's website and via iTunes.