Why Do DJs Make Such Good Cooks?

DJ cook

So why do DJs make such good cooks? (No jokes about 'they both use mixers', please.)

So why do DJs make such good cooks? When Native Instruments had a DJ cooking demo at the Amsterdam Dance Event this year (video at end), the interest was huge. Whoever came up with that publicity stunt obviously shares my opinion that there's something in this. Actually, it's been the same way for years. It's something I've always observed among DJs I know. We seem to all have a reverence for food and music. (By the way, I love to cook too - it's my "second" passion).

For me, maybe it's taking hard to find ingredients and producing something new with them. Maybe it's getting the timing just right. Maybe it's doing what you want, but making sure other people like it too. Or it could just be something to do with good, old-fashioned showing off!

Quentin Harris, to give one famous DJ example, says: "Most of my colleagues are really good cooks. If you ever get the opportunity to have them cook for you, David Morales and Frankie Knuckles are amazing cooks! The correlation I think is the mixing process, of knowing how to add just the right amount of this, or that and trying to make something you’ve been eating for the past ten years interesting again."

I really don't know, but I do know it's true (I bet more than a fair share of DJs reading this are having a hand in the cooking this festive season). So If you're a DJ and you're also a cook, and you've had this thought too, I'd love to hear what you think. There has to be some deep-seated reason why this occurs, and I reckon between us we can get to the truth of it...




Got any ideas about this? Please share your ideas on why DJing and cooking seem to go so well together in the comments below...

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  1. I think you are absolutely right. I think it has to do with our deep need to manipulate and control multiple things and bring them all together to create one masterpiece that we put out on a silver platter. By serving it we allow others to enjoy or dislike. Then we sit and wait yearning for approval from our peers as to the quality of the creation.

    • Javi Garcia says:

      Good cooks? I must say I can't cook to save my life. I have not cooked a real meal in my life lucky I got a wonderful woman who is also a great cook. But I do remember when I was young I used to see my mom do it and I would want to help sometime, when she was not looking I would add a lil of my own spices. And I remember thinking I want to be a cook when I grow up. Well that never happen and I'm a DJ now. Very interesting article must share

  2. Everything said in the article is true- it is about the mixing process and "spicing up" the ingredients- but for me its also the process- the cooking of a long dinner- the addition of each ingredient changing the mix and finally you have a brilliant dinner. Its the same with a mix- the journey, the feeling you get when you play those last few songs and conclude a long mix.

  3. foldabledisco says:

    I cook because I have to eat, play music because I like to do it.
    I'm not a really bad cook, but I don't take the time for it because I want to produce and play music. Maybe I'm not that good dj either, but I have fun! That's what counts.

  4. Irony, kitchen worker here.

  5. I still remember the 5zig compilation by Freude Am Tanzen. The whole compilation had that topic: cooking. This videos are so lovely! Ny favorite recipe has to be the Salt & Pepper soup (Hilarious!).

    I also cook, and I have to say that both are really alike. I do both and cooking as an art. Job, but art.

  6. Well bugger me. You just aptly described Yours Truly. Never knew it's a thing.

  7. Heh, I've worked in food service off and on for 15 years. Spot on mate, spot on!

  8. I have a 20' BBQ concession trailer out in the drive way. I can cook about 400# of BBQ in one shot. So I can see the similarity in cooking and dj'ing. I think we like to serve yummy stuff to the masses at its most basic level.

  9. paul lorrimore says:

    Hi, seems odd but its something I had noticed also.
    I have been a professional chef for 15 years and a DJ, both paid & for pleasure, for about the same time.
    Two of the chefs I used to work with also DJ regularly and quite a few DJ's I met on the circuit were chefs.
    I think its a creativity thing, its taking the same ingredients, time frame and tools as everyone else can access and coming out with something that is both individual and exciting.

  10. cooking, djing & photography are my holy trinity! I think there's nothing i like to do more

  11. it is all about the flow... a professional cook falls into however busy it is and keeps it floating, a dj understands the spot in the night and the crowd on the floor. when you are production cooking it is all about the audience, when they are in the 70's and taking a dream vacation, the hot and sour soup should not be so hot, but when they are young and only living once crank up the heat. know the audience and perform.

    i started in food, moved to graphic design and decided to go back to the kitchen because there is something really beautiful about it when it clicks.

  12. I saw this and realised my first job was at mcdonalds and i worked in the kitchen a lot and loved it and i changed to being a cook in a pizzeria/chicken restaurant and also love it. Maybe cooking an DJing just go together. Maybe cooks can be well known DJs too

  13. It really is about the combination of elements to create something unique and special. That also extends to cocktails as well. Not only will I cook you up a good meal, I'll get you loaded as well :)

  14. Hells yeah! I am making traditional Polish borscht soup for Christmas Eve this year !

  15. I cook better than i play music 😉

  16. This is ridiculously funny when you step back & look! I've been cooking for 17 years straight now...What a coincidence, or is it...!?

  17. And here I thought my cooking skills were more because of my father's restaurant career.

    I'm actually relaunching my food blog in early 2013.

  18. This is Soooo Spot on....I enjoyed the vid from ADE above. My friends and family call me an amazing cook (and former bartender... gave that up or rather turned it over, for obvious reasons... i.e. so I could DJ sober :-)... amongst other reasons). So I definitely pride myself on cooking... My forte is Vegan Cooking (the Trance of Food, LoL!). I enjoy creating masterpieces (and occasional train wrecks!) with natures bounty. The similarities: I think it involves this whole experimentation, connecting with your work and people, passion, and a desire to bring "taste" and experiential pleasure to a crowd (big or small like family in my case)... just substitute sound for "taste" for the DJ part.... I do not consider myself a master chef or DJ but making progress on both as my hobbies.

  19. HAHAHA!!!

    This hit the nail right on the head. Before my current job as an Estimator and Project manager i was a chef, a certified chef and i loved it. I loved the social aspect of cooking as well as being creative in coming up with my own dishes OR improving on someone elses dish. This is a lot like cooking. You can see what someone else has created and you have the ability to make it better! Cooking is a lot like DJing...while being a chef is like being a producer. You can spend hours fine tuning a recipe to make it perfect is like producing. While cooking it and making small changes on the fly is exactly like DJing. Its uncanny how the resemblance is the same!! There are dishes i have made where even if i tried as hard as i wanted i could never replicate it to the second, exactly like cooking!!! Thanks for this article it really opened my eyes!!!

  20. In my opinion this has something to do with passion, a special attitude towards life and details and our perfectionism we should have in our job. These abilities could easily been transferred to other areas: in this case cooking, in others work or family and so on.
    I am especially vegan, hobby DJ and starting to become more professional here. Thanks Phil for the great input here!

  21. Executive Chef here, didn't know it was a common thing, but in hindsight I can think of a lot of djs that love to cook. I think it's all about making a connection with your audience and trying to educate their palates that makes the two so similar.

  22. very true, didnt oakenfold hang up his headphones at one pointr aswell so he could persue his chef career more? im sure he did

  23. You know what's funny? Just like my starting DJing late in life, I started taking cooking more seriously right around the same time. I never thought about the relation between the two.

  24. That´s crazy but it does have a correlation indeed. I cook, albeit as a hobby - and my younger brother who DJs as a hobby is a professional chef and runs his restaurant.

    But the one that stands out is a friend who was a professional DJ resident in one of the best clubs here, I met him in Paris last summer when he was doing Le Cordon Bleu... he´s now a renowned chef here and also runs his restaurant.

    I believe it also happens to other forms of art, where you have ways to be creating mixing things and presenting/sharing your creations with friends and other people. But it does happen indeed!!!

  25. As my passion for music has increased, so has my love of cooking. I don't usually cook for myself, it's for others to enjoy with me. The same way I make food that I too would enjoy, I perform the same way. I make things that I enjoy, and hopefully others will too with similar tastes. (see what I did there? ;))

    I never thought it could relate, but now it makes sense.

    Funny that this article came up now. I cooked for my family for the first time because I felt I was finally ready to show off my cooking skills. That day before, I had announced to my family that I was finally gonna be doing music full-time.

  26. I find this is also true, but I'm also good at snowboarding, wearing sunglasses and philandering. I'm not sure it's a shared genetic feature, I imagine it's just part of the DJing life that means you have time for other things or take pride in other things.

  27. DJ Demonick says:

    huh... I'm majoring in culinary arts... weird.

  28. Hi Phil, did you really hire that cook, put the mixer on his hand and shot the image? Or...? Really like to know the workflow behind this. :-)

  29. I am a good cook too

  30. IMO BS. There's people passionate about food and cooking in all walks of life.

    There's no scientific proof for this (or for my opinion), so everybody just believe what they want to. Just saying that humans like to make up correlations where there are none for the sake of storytelling and structuring the complex reality we live in.


  31. amazing...i am a passionate cook aswell,,indian vegeterian...lots of curry and hot chilli please...
    I do think its about the love to share...where food is for the body and music is food for the soul !!!

    happy holidays...

  32. I love to cook too, often making things up based on ideas... I sing, draw, write, rap, and make beats... I think cooking for me comes from the same creative space.

  33. If i think about enjoying music instead of DJing, which is a valid generalization because enjoying music is a prerequeste for DJing, I see a link with cooking. Its both about creating and enjoying something to stimulate a specific sense.

  34. I own a Shawarma food stand

  35. I've been DJing since I was 13 and I've been cooking since I was 8....I'm 30 and I'm in culinary school right now. There is something so comfortable for me being at a stove OR behind my tables that I can honestly say I never had really found with much else!!

  36. Totally agree. I am a very good cook chefing for years. I cook the best. Rice and peas

  37. Juan pablo says:

    I dj and i'm a great cook! It's all about mixing ingredientes, the right heat for each ingediente and start quith the best products. The similaritys are at all level. Did you know mathew jonson wanted to be a chef and tried to go to chef school? I also read that quentin harris is a great cook!

  38. Great article Phil! Crazy correlation and it totally applies in my life too! Happy holidays guys!

  39. riddimchef says:

    ~Hi the moniker says it all really, been a professional chef and dj for 35 yrs now and have met too many others who share these passions for it to be coincidence.I think it's about the pressure, the work flow, the captive audience and as someone else said presenting elements that are available to everyone in a unique and attractive way.
    The two even share the same lingo mixing, mashing. blending :)
    Seasons Greetings to all!!

  40. Warren Fitz says:

    Once again Phil you have blown me away! A brilliant article, its so true. I'm a chef by trade and bedroom DJ. Music and food go hand in hand. Its all about creativity... trying something new, re-inventing something old, mmmm I might try this or add a little bit of that, make it different, make it unique, simplicate, complicate, raise the bar... The whole time madly anticipating what your peers/friends/customers & colleagues think of your creation.

    Several years ago I worked on a small 35 metre cruise ship doing dive trips on the great barrier reef just of Cairnes. It was a tiny kitchen/galley about 2 x 3 metres, I had a 7 speakers and 2 subs in there!! By day and evening I was chef, later we would take out the main bench and the galley would turn into the crews personal tiny little club and I was the DJ. We would purposely keep the staterooms directly above and below the galley vacant as we started to get complaints from passengers about the "Crews" all night parties. I miss those days..
    I find it very difficult to concentrate in the kitchen without music, and lets face it you can't produce a decent set unless you've had your weeties!
    Once again Phil, great read. Please keep up your great work.
    Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all.

  41. I guess I fit this category too. I own Rhythm & Ribz BBQ Catering and DJ Services. This lets me explore my creativeness through DJing and cooking at many of the same events

  42. dj gettotek says:

    Couldn't agree more 27 years in foodservice 20 years as a dj and a culinary degree yeah I don't think I'll ever do anything else droppin entrees and beats that's where it's at.

  43. DJ Goldfingers says:

    Wow! Must be something to this. Maybe our passion for creating good music is just the same for creating good food. I thought my love for cooking was due to working for my grandmother's catering service. She's gone now, but her zest for cooking lives on. I feel like I am an artist, creating dishes that are pleasing to the eye and wonderful to the tongue.

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