John Legend, Chef Tom Colicchio and winemaker Susan Lueker of Simi Winery create a special evening at Craftsteak in New York City.
In creating dishes, it's not so much about the actual main ingredients, it's more about the things you put around it. I think about all those times in my life, and each one of those had wine associated with it. Even as a child, my grandmother was my mentor That's where she taught me how to play gospel music at church. [MUSIC] At a very young age I saw, probably from my mother, sort of what food does as far as making people happy and how you can connect to people with food. And I think even more importantly than the actual sensation you get from eating. It's what are those around the table. To me, that's the real joy. It can bring people together. It just creates a good atmosphere for a good time. Getting ready? Yeah. It should be fun. Yeah man, I'm excited. Menu's looking good. Good, good. Making some last minute changes here and there. But it all looks good. What are we having? We're actually going to start with And it's interesting, cuz usually hamachi you find raw. But we started poaching it in olive oil. Oh, yeah? What's amazing about it, it almost cooks up like pork belly. It's so rich and fatty. Mm. Nice. Oh, rich and fatty. Yeah, it's really great. I know from talking to musicians about the way they approach creating songs, it's very similar to the way I go about creating Food. The cues may be a little different for me, the cues are very visible. I have to see things. Walking through a green market, or even my walk ins, are seeing two ingredients next to each other that you wouldn't think about putting together. And all of the sudden, they're there, next to each other. And Oh wow, that could work. And I think it's a lot like riffing, I play guitar too, so it's, you're sitting all, playing and messing around, all of a sudden something comes out of it, and it's like oh, that sounds pretty good. [SOUND] So, tonight's meal's gonna be pretty hearty. The guinea hen, it starts to get rich with truffles and lentils, Yeah, I love all that. That's gonna be, I love all those tastes and smells. That's gonna be a nice, hearty one. The pork one, we've been working on variations of this dish for a while now. And, I think we have it down. When you say you're working on a variation of a dish, how does that start and how does that finish? Well, you know, we come up with an idea, Yeah. and when I put dishes together, the questions are what And how? Huh. For instance let's look at the port just for a second. You have [INAUDIBLE]. Well there are several way that you can work things in to the dish. Okay. We chose the stuffing. You can make a sausage out of it. And actually cook a sausage and have a piece of pork on the pice of sausage and. Yeah. But I want to do something more interesting and more orignal. I guess it's like arranging. Yeah. That's. Yeah yeah. Yeah it's like you got the song down. Yeah you just want to. What if Exactly. Arrange it so the colors are right and in the right place and arrive at the right time. Yeah. Uh-huh. And that's it. And then also, what that really does, is that becomes, the way you cook and the way you make those decisions, that becomes your signature. Yeah, that's you. That's you. What's interesting about, I think, food and music and a lot of creative endeavors, It's really, what you're doing is trying to make something fresh and familiar at the same time. With great chefs, they are able to do interesting twists on familiar dishes or interesting combinations of familiar tastes. That's a lot of what I'm doing, as well. [MUSIC] As a writer and as a performer, it's such a fun and cool thing for me to be able to take this thing that I've created, and be able to travel around the world. And perform it in front of people. So, I'm curious. How do you pick the wine for each of the courses? Well, the wines we picked tonight were ones that were very special, we're gonna have to submit our own. One person of our production, the Pinot Grigio is 350 cases. That's it. Very limited. Wow. Wine, it's such a unique Object to work with, every vintage is different, every varietal is different and you never know what the season is going to bring you. How many cases did you bring with you? I think we brought about 37. We brought a lot of wine. Our wines have the reputation as being more mellow, elegant, really what balances. So I see that being the kind of focus of the night is balance. [MUSIC] I'm just really thrilled that we can do this together. It's a busy life we all lead And friendships, a lot of times you don't foster them, and so it's kinda great that we can get together and do this and spend some time. And you know, I'm really looking forward to tonight, it's gonna be a lot of fun. [MUSIC]