Food gets a soundtrack of WYEP's Pairings | On The Side | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Food gets a soundtrack of WYEP's Pairings

A radio deejay and a local chef match songs with meals

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When you think of pairings that go with food, you probably think of wine or maybe side dishes, but not music.

But during WYEP-FM's Pairings feature, two local minds — morning host Cindy Howes and chef Bill Fuller — meld the experience of dining and listening.

"When you listen to a piece of music," explains Fuller, "there are different levels you engage with it on. There's the immediate feeling — whether this makes you feel happy, sad, whatever. Sometimes that feeling will then evoke feelings about food."

Fuller knows food: He is the corporate chef for the Big Burrito Group, the company behind restaurants like Kaya, Eleven and Mad Mex. But he's also a music fan, and his habit of tweeting Howes about what food might go well with songs she plays led to the weekly Pairings segment, which airs at 7:30 a.m. Fridays, at 91.3 FM. For the feature, Howes picks a song for Fuller to match with a meal, and he picks a dish in need of a tune.

But Pairings is more fun than just picking a salsa tune to go with burritos. Fuller likes to create a backstory: "Once, she gave me The Dandy Warhols' ‘We Used to Be Friends.' It's this sad song; it reminded me of driving around at night. [So] I started with some vodka poured in an energy drink, and tacos. I pictured a kid driving around at night in a green Dodge Neon."

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