7 Reasons Why DJs Make Great Cooks

Phil Morse | Read time: 3 mins
Last updated 18 November, 2015


Traktor running a cookery school? Yup, it’s true. I was there. And so was Richie Hawtin…

Richie Hawtin cooked my supper for me the other night – and very nice it was too (thanks, Richie). No, he wasn’t round my place, it was at the Traktor Cookery School at the Amsterdam Dance Event, and Richie was one of many DJs to drop in and cook over the period of the festival. And once again it got me thinking: What is it about DJs and cookery?

I’ve known loads of DJs who are passionate about cooking, myself included – indeed, I wrote about it first three years ago. There are many parallels between playing a great DJ set and cooking a great meal, and I really don’t think it’s coincidence. Here are a few reasons why it might be…

  1. Both need top quality ingredients – Both DJs and cooks require top quality, carefully chosen ingredients. Shopping carefully in a market is similar to scouting around for the very best tunes, only accepting top quality, taking far more care than mere mortals…
  2. Both involve turning those good raw ingredients into something great – A pile of veg, some meat, some rice and beans don’t make a good chilli. And the latest top dance tunes, however well chosen, don’t make a good DJ set. Turning your ingredients into something that’s greater than the sum of its parts is an obsession of the best chefs… and the best DJs
  3. Both require an audience – You’re only playing at cookery or DJing if you do it at home, for yourself. Serious DJs and chefs do it in public, and live or die by what other people think of their results. There’s no hiding from it: Bums on seats (and feet on dancefloors) decide if you’re good or not. That’s why DJs like nothing better than cooking for all their friends, I think…
  4. Technology helps, but it won’t do the job for you – Modern DJ gear, like modern cooking equipment, can help you get the job done in all types of ways – but if you can’t cook, no flashy food processor will save your efforts, just like if you can’t find and play great music in the right order, no digital shortcuts will help your DJing… good cooks and DJs instinctively understand this
  5. Both professions have to please themselves AND their audiences – If you’ve seen the film “Chef”, you’ll know it starts with our hero leaving his job at a restaurant because he refuses to cook “the old favourites”, wanting to experiment and stay cutting edge. DJs, too, often feel torn between educating and entertaining. In both professions, getting this balance right while not selling your soul is the key to succeeding…
  6. Both rely on great timing – Once you’re happy keeping beats in sync, unconsciously knowing where you are in two, three, four tracks on your decks, you’ve got a skill that rubs off in cooking too, where timing is absolutely essential
  7. Both aren’t exactly healthy lifestyles… – Long hours, working late, too little sleep, the stress of performing night after night… and that’s just the chefs! Sobriety isn’t exactly a prerequisite for either profession, either. Maybe something about both DJing and cooking attracts the same kind of person?

Another personal reason I think DJs make good cooks is that they have lots of time in the week to practise! When I met my girlfriend, I ended up doing all the cooking on our household, as she was working 9 to 5 Monday to Friday, while I was DJs weekend nights, so I just kind of fell into it (and I still do all the cooking, actually, now we’re married with a young family – and I still love it, too).

But what do you think? Are you a DJ who loves to cook? Do you know DJs who like nothing better than rustling up a feast for their friends? Have you ever had any thoughts as to why this might be so? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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