Anne Lee Huffman is a record industry vet and DJ turned vegetarian chef.
What was the food highlight of your year?
Asia! I love to travel, and in the past year I was fortunate enough to go to Thailand in March and just spent the New Year in Tokyo. Each country’s cuisine is very different, but I love them equally. Thailand’s rich savory flavors are so satisfying. And spicy! I did a whole culinary tour in Thailand, learning Thai cuisine in both classroom settings, as well as from real Thai people in the comfort of their own homes. It was truly a unique experience! On the flipside, Japanese cuisine is the master of simplistic (yet adventurous), beautiful artfully presented food. I had the opportunity to dine at Daigo, a 2 Michelin star ‘Shojin Ryori’ (Gourmet Vegetarian Zen Buddhist Temple Cuisine) restaurant where the food is so thought out and unique. They presented 12 courses over the course of about 3 hours, served in a traditional tea house style private room by women dressed in Geisha garb. It was absolutely stunning!
What was the music highlight of your year?
I went to a few festivals this year that were great. FYF here in LA, which a friend of mine puts on is one of the best local LA festivals, no doubt. I also made it to Primavera Sound in Barcelona where I got to see a rare performance from The Knife, quite the spectacle! This is where I also got to see one if my best friends’ band, Poolside, play their first huge festival show, which was great to be able to be a part of. But the most stand-out performance was probably seeing the UK’s Disclosure at Coachella last spring. At the time, I didn’t even really know who the band was, but I went along with a friend and was blown away! The live performances with guest vocalists Jessie Ware and Sam Smith were on point - energetic, in tune with the crowd, and a frickin’ blast! I fell in love without even knowing any of the songs yet. I know the band has gotten tons of attention since then, getting played on Serius XMU a lot, selling out 2 nights in a row at the Fonda here in LA… but at that time, their name didn’t really mean much. No one (including myself) really knew who they were. So it was an amazing surprise, and a really great show.
Was there a moment when food and music came together in a memorable way?
This is a tough one, mainly because it’s not something that happens for me that often. I guess the most memorable collision of these two would have to have been when I was asked to cater a brunch event put on by some friends that normally throw late night warehouse type parties. They recently decided to do a winter solstice brunch instead of the usual all-nighter, and I made the food. The guests were all local DJs and other artists - friends that are all well known in the music scene here in LA. They just sort of took turns DJing while around 40 of the best people I know chowed down on my food. So, even though this isn’t something where I personally got to experience food, it was still a food experience for me. I guess that happens a lot in this biz – us Chefs are the ones that make the food experiences for others. There is another similar event in February that I’m catering that should be amazing too - its put on by SUP’ Magazine - “A Day in Topanga” - sort of a chill invite-only winter picnic vibe at a private location in Topanga Canyon here in LA, and Daniel Bachman will be performing live. He is a more folk/psychedelic artist, so a totally different vibe, but still a great intersection of food and music. Should be really amazing!