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Check Please: Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? - Daily News Egypt

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Bite Me Cairo: Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?

David Blanks proves there has been more than one revolution in Cairo and that food really is the new rock and roll

Foodist at work - Photo by Nada Badawi
Foodist at work – Photo by Nada Badawi

Food is the new rock and roll. So says Ferran Adrià, arguably the most famous chef in the world. His erstwhile restaurant El Bulli, on the Costa Brava near Barcelona, used to have a waiting list of six years.

On a new blog of the same name, Food Is The New Rock, you will find food journalist Anthony Bourdain talking about blues guitarists, Paul McCartney singing about scrambled eggs, and podcasts where musicians talk about food, or food people talk about music, or, maybe, they say, “just a random person who likes food and music.”

Like who? I’d volunteer. I feel random most of the time.

It gets bigger—and it has gone live. Back when I used to go see bands like Aerosmith, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Rolling Stones and the like, the best you could hope for was a lukewarm hot dog and lukewarm beer. No longer.

Last month at the two-day Great GoogaMooga Festival in Brooklyn, the headliners were Daryl Hall and John Oates. That’s cool, but Woodstock it was not. The website listed the chefs as well as the bands and there was a separate schedule for food-related events such as the butchering of a pig. Back in the day Ozzie Osbourne used to bite the heads off of bats on stage, but this execution was performed by a celebrity chef. Food really is the new rock and roll.

There were also meet and greets with chefs like David Chang (momofuku ssäm bar) and writers like former NY Times food critic Ruth Reichl, and a wine tasting tent with on-call sommeliers and more than one hundred varieties of wine. As for those lukewarm hot dogs, they are a thing of the past. At today’s music festivals you can pair your 2006 Tablas Creek Rosé with duck hot dogs with pickled cabbage and black garlic, a soft-shell crab sandwich, a pork-belly shawarma taco, or a foie gras doughnut.

At this point you probably regret living in a city where the closest you can get to this sort of thing is cranking up your ‘80s mixed CD and driving to My Queen. Never fear. There has been more than one revolution in Cairo.

Sandwiches and Jams. Wake and Bake. These sound like alternative rock bands but they’re not, they are food and music happenings, the latest move in Cairo’s food awakening.

The most recent was Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? at Y Lounge (Trianon Boat, Corniche, Giza). In the eponymous 1967 film, Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy were shocked when their daughter brought a black man, Sydney Poitier, home to dinner. I think parents would be equally shocked by the Y Lounge. Instead of placing bottles of Black Label and buckets of ice on the table, instead of smoking cigars, noshing on Oriental mezze, and listening to Boney M, their sons and daughters are sipping white wine and savouring mussels à la crème. Which were excellent thanks to young and upcoming chef Alia Abdelrahman. Having won this year’s Sprite List competition for her culinary entrepreneurship in opening the trendy catering business Lou’s Food Corner, Abdelrahman delivered with an eclectic menu that while reminiscent of the recent Bobby Chinn event in which she also participated, was much better suited to this type of crowd. As performers Hussein Sherbini (Wetrobots) and Nadya Shanab played guitar and sang their originals, we enjoyed the mussels, Alia’s delicate salad, a perfectly pink and moist salmon fillet with Dijon and wasabi mash, and a saucy Thai shrimp curry with pineapple. It was a kicking show with a great atmosphere and great eats. Encore! Encore!

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