“A lot of chefs are rebels and punk rockers at heart, and this carries over to music,” says Josh Kopelman, organizer of “Battle of the Chef Bands,” a charity concert taking place January 27 at the Belly Up Tavern.
- Monday, January 27, 2014, 6 p.m.
Belly Up Tavern,
143 S. Cedros Avenue,
Now in its fourth year, the battle as it stands has evolved since Kopelman first organized it in 2010.
“The first year, the musicians just played ‘Rock Band’ onstage,” he says. “Now, it’s mostly real bands and some karaoke bands.”
Matt Gordon, the chef and owner of Urban Solace Restaurant in North Park, Solace and the Moonlight Lounge in Encinitas, and Sea & Smoke in Del Mar, deserves some credit for making it into an event with real musicians and real music.
That first year, Gordon, a guitar player who played in a band in the San Francisco area for a few years before going into the restaurant business, secretly grabbed two restaurant friends who also played to work out a rendition of the Cult’s “Love Removal Machine” to close the show.
“That first year, no one knew we’d be doing real music,” he says. “After we performed, other chefs and people in the restaurant industry said, ‘Hey, I play music, too.’”
An all-chef battle of the bands might sound off-putting, but Gordon says there’s a lot of synergy between the music industry and the food world.
“There’s a lot of similarities between chefs and musicians. We didn’t want to be lawyers, accountants, or doctors,” he explains. “Plus, for many aspiring musicians, the restaurant business is an easy way to make money while we’re trying to make a break.”
About a dozen restaurant rock groups are expected to perform, including Boulevar Descarga, a Latin-jazz group made up of the members of Romesco, a Mexican-themed bistro in Bonita; D.P.I., a punk band whose members work at Hodad’s when not touring; and Godhammered, a death-metal band featuring Kevin Templeton, the head chef at Barleymash in the Gaslamp.
Kopelman, the publisher of San Diego’s Dining Out magazine, is especially excited about Godhammered.
“They’re really good, and the Belly Up never books death-metal, so it should be interesting,” he says.
Ticket prices for this year’s event includes food from many of the participating restaurants.
“There will be more food than you can shake a Strat at,” Kopelman said.