The 3 Albums Behind The Tastes Of ‘Miradoro’ Chef Jeff Van Geest


Definitive Records asks interesting Vancouverites to think hard and select the three albums that anchor their musical tastes. Today we hear from Jeff Van Geest. You might remember him as the owner/chef of the much missed and pioneering Aurora Bistro on Main Street (closed in 2008). For several years now he’s been the executive chef at Miradoro, the multiple award-winning Mediterranean eatery attached to beautiful Tinhorn Creek Vineyards just south of Oliver, BC. Though we may have lost him to the Okanagan Valley, Jeff made such a huge impact on Vancouver’s dining scene that he’s a natural for this column. Those who remember the restaurant well will recall that his influence extended well beyond the plate. The soundtrack at Aurora Bistro was well ahead of its time. It didn’t toe the fancy music for fine dining line, preferring to play good tunes for good times instead (and loudly). The restaurant even booked the occasional live act. Crazy, right? It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that his three selections are super solid. Lend him an ear…

The Clash – London Calling | LISTEN
“The Clash’s third studio album was the one that saw them move away from strict punk music, instead bringing the punk aesthetic and philosophy to a wider range of musical styles from ska, to rockabilly and reggae. I remember hearing this album for the very first time in grade 9. One of the cool art class girls in an older grade was listening to her Walkman. I asked her what she was listening to and she put her headphones on my head. It was London Calling, and it was like nothing I had ever heard before. It changed everything for me. It opened a whole world of outsider music to me. The combination of tight playing (Topper Headon – the human fucking metronome!) of the band with the angst and tension of Joe Strummer’s vocals makes for one of the most important listens in the Rock n’ Roll canon. This is my desert island record. I never get bored of it. ‘Raise a toast to Saint Joe Strummer. I think he might have been our only decent teacher’ — The Hold Steady”

A Tribe Called Quest – Low End Theory | LISTEN
“This album has played on every Walkman, discman, car stereo, kitchen system, ipod & turntable I have owned since it came out, and usually at high volume. Low End Theory came out the year I graduated High School and it became a big part of the soundtrack of me navigating the rocky waters of my young adult life. Unlike myself, it has aged so well, and continues to be a major part of my music listening. The smooth jazz samples (as well as live studio recording of Ron Carter playing bass), sick hip hop beats and tight production – along with Q-tip and Phife Dawg’s rhymes – make for one of the greatest hip hop albums ever made. Some of the lines still blow my mind to this day. Tip and Phife told real stories that had a grit to them, while always coming from a place of love and respect. They would rhyme with swagger one verse and then be completely self-deprecating the next. These contradictions created an approachability that helped this suburban white Canadian kid connect to the place they were coming from. RIP Phife Dawg.”

Jesus & Mary Chain – Psycho Candy | LISTEN
“The Jesus and Mary Chain is the embodiment of Rock n’ Roll cool. Everything they did was to be different. Nobody before or since sounds like them. They took sweet, beautiful 50’s and 60’s bubble gum pop melodies and fed it through a filter of walls of guitar feedback and added a big dose of reverb. I don’t know what it is that drew me to this album. It was so beautiful and so jagged at the same time. It was the anti-pop record in a time of huge pop stars. Whatever its appeal, it has stuck with me. It’s the perfect driving album. It’s a glorious morning prep in the kitchen by yourself album.”


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