BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
In a roundabout way, 2 Chainz and Trisha Yearwood are responsible for the creation of the Musically Mastered Menu series.
While brainstorming ideas for fundraisers, the young team at the VH1 Save the Music Foundation remembered seeing Yearwood and 2 Chainz on a morning talk show, hawking their new cookbooks.
“We were like, there’s something here,” said Trell Thomas, director of communications for Save the Music. “We wanted to come up with something that combined music and food. You go into a restaurant and you don’t necessarily notice the music playing, but if it wasn’t, you’d be like, where’s the music?”
On Wednesday, the VH1 Save the Music Foundation will hold its eighth Musically Mastered Menu – the first in Atlanta – with the proceeds earmarked for area schools including Atlanta Public Schools, City Schools Decatur and Rockdale County School District. For the 2017-18 school year, the foundation will provide one Keys + Kids piano grant to a school in the Clayton County district.
But the Save the Music crew wants to make sure you’re having fun while you’re helping to preserve the arts.
Atlanta chef Jennifer Hill Booker and upstart pop singer Hailey Knox will combine their respective talents for a dinner and performance at Westside Cultural Arts Center.
But before the sit-down meal, Booker and Knox will hang in the kitchen and interview each other about food and music for a video for the VH1 Save the Music: Musically Mastered Menu YouTube channel.
Booker, a music fan who plays clarinet and flute (“Not well!” she said with a laugh), will employ her trademark Cajun/French cooking and likely pull recipes from her new cookbook, “Dinner Déjà vu: Southern Tonight, French Tomorrow.”
Deviled eggs, pimento cheese dip and a Southern cake parade are contenders for the final menu.
“This is a unique event in the sense we’re getting to combine two arts that people might not put together,” Booker said. “I think people will get it and say ‘Ahhhh.’”
Knox, meanwhile, joked that she will be content to watch Booker work her culinary magic from a distance.
“I’m a terrible cook, so I hope I don’t chop off a finger,” she said.
The 18-year-old from Putnam County, New York, who edged onto the music scene with a series of YouTube performances followed by 2016’s single “Awkward,” said she was excited to support the cause.
“Growing up, music in school was my escape and what I loved to do,” she said. “In school we had talent shows and in second grade, my teacher had a piano in his classroom and I sometimes think, what if I didn’t do that talent show?”
For her performance, Knox will use her loop pedal (a la Ed Sheeran) and perform songs from her EP, “A Little Awkward.”
While this marks Atlanta’s foray into the Musically Mastered Menu realm, gatherings have taken place in cities including Austin, Nashville and New Orleans. Thomas said one reason Atlanta was chosen was because of its robust food scene.
“It seemed like 2017 was a beautiful time to wave the flag and remind people that Save the Music is very much a priority in Atlanta,” he said.
Musically Mastered Menu Atlanta
With chef Jennifer Hill Booker and singer Hailey Knox. 7 p.m. April 26. $50-$75 (21 and older). Westside Cultural Arts Center, 760 10th St. N.W., Atlanta. 678-218-3740, ON.VH1.COM/MMMAtlanta. Follow the AJC Music Scene on Facebook and Twitter.