Overhead Table Shot, Saveur Suppers
The full spread. Matt Taylor-Gross

Even without music, song comes from all corners of the kitchen: Knives rocking back and forth on cutting boards, pots and pans shifting on the stove—wooden spoons being rapped on the edges and food sizzling within—from drawers opening and closing and from plates clanking down from cupboards. But then there is the actual soundtrack. The oldies but goodies and the proverbial new stuff you kids are listening to.

There’s always music in the SAVEUR office. By day, our test kitchen controls the speakers. And by night, when chefs from across the country and the world come to cook dinner for our SAVEUR Suppers, our associate director of communications Stefanie McNamara builds a playlist for the occasion. She makes it a point to ask the visiting chefs what music they like to cook to, and she’ll include other artists from their city. Because music is as much a representation of place as food. So when Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace was here, we listened to the Rebirth Brass Band and Dr. John. When Chris Shepherd, executive chef at Underbelly in Houston, cooked in the kitchen, the mood (Beyonce and Lyle Lovett) and the food (charred cabbage and short ribs) were all Texas.

With the right soundtrack, good meals become great and great dinners become epic. So take our 2015 playlist into the kitchen the next time you cook, and leave it playing when you sit down to eat. Start dinner off on the right foot and have a singing new year.