Michael Madrigale | Chef Sommelier, Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud
About two years ago the music that we were playing at the restaurant started becoming a bit stale. The staff and I were going batty hearing Nouvelle Vague cheekily cover punk rock anthems and dusty numbers such as "You say tomato and I say tomahto." We complained and management arranged that a DJ come in and start developing a brand spanking new playlist to get things back on track. He was taking a bit too long delivering the iPod, so one night after cracking under the pressure of one of Boz Scagg's choice dittys, I decided to go rogue. I ran downstairs to grab my iPhone, made a playlist on the go and plugged the thing in. It was 6:00 clock so I started with some easy listening for the pre-theatre crowd. A little Steely Dan here, some George Benson there. At 7:30 the tuxedoed operagoers had collectively emptied out of the restaurant without any issue nor complaint regarding the music. It was now the prime time seating and I was ready. The playlist changed a bit. More current, more bouncy, more music to uncork bottles of Red Burgundy by. I saw heads nodding at table 42 when the Talking Heads "Take me to the River" came on. I saw Charlene do a little dip while running the Coq Au Vin to the tasting table in the back. Smiles abounded. I felt like DJ Jazzy Jeff of 64th street. I was thinking, hey, I should talk to DB and offer my services to set up the music for all of the restaurants, maybe even help with the new places overseas. Then, as I was talking about the pluses and minuses of whole cluster fermentation to a handsome two-top, there was the sound of a roaring Moog synthesizer and Prince... "DEARLY BELOVED, .WE'RE GATHERED HERE TODAY TO GET THROUGH THIS THING CALLED LIFE." So song just explodes through the dining room like it was 12-gauge shotgun. Guests turned around and covered their ears. The GM's face was beet red and he gave me the dirtiest look imaginable; he knew it was me. I scrambled to speakers and fumbling all over myself to pull the wire out of the iPhone. Back to the Boz Scaggs.