The Eclectic Yet Definitive Records of Justin Cheung

Definitive Records asks interesting Vancouverites to scour their sonic-led memories to pull out the three albums anchoring their musical tastes.

In this edition, Justin Cheung, Chef & Co-Owner of Potluck Hawker Eatery shares the three very different, yet equally integral, albums defining his life and work experiences thus far…

Vince Guaraldi Trio | A Charlie Brown Christmas

A very very special time. After a long intense summer of cooking, we wind down into slower months to plan the upcoming seasons and focus on winter buyouts and private dinners. With the season slowing down, we spend more time with our families as well as our work family. It’s a time where we bond with our staff, share stories and home baked goods, and occasionally run outside and throw snowballs between services (weather permitting!) Everyone who’s worked in my kitchens have known that I’ll preemptively put the holiday tunes on, but it’s a way of celebrating the joyous time we spend together at the restaurant. At home, my 6 year old daughter, Eloise, looks forward to her happiest time of the year as well, and has taken after her father asking to put the tree up before any of her friends. This record was released in December 1965 and features classic pieces such as “Christmas Time is Here” and the Peanuts theme.

Sound Garden | Superunknown

One of the first CDs I owned through a music swap. This infamous Seattle grunge bands album was released on March 8, 1994 (my birthday!) The name of the album speaks for itself about life and the direction we’re pulled. Some things, especially in this industry, are impossible to control, which is challenging especially for a world where we live and die by anticipation and preparation. Superunknown was the breakthrough album for beloved Chris Cornell who lost his life not too long ago. The music was deep and intense, with tracks such as “The Day I Tried to Live”, “Black Hole Sun”, “Fell On Black Days”, and “My Wave”, which spoke through the struggle and persistence to get through any tough service. There is a sort of unknown and somewhat dark manner which resembles the life of Anthony Bourdain as well. That being said, Superunknown echoes the thrill and unexpectedness of the food and beverage hospitality itself.

Burton Cummings | Dream of a Child

Dream of a Child won a Juno award in 1978 for album of the year and was the first by a Canadian to achieve a triple platinum status. A somewhat strange selection of tracks from the former lead vocalist of Canadian rock band The Guess Who, this album brings me back down to earth, often listening to it after work and after a stressful day. Featuring some major hits such as “Break it to Them Gently” and “I Will Play a Rhapsody”. Some people say that the selection of songs was a bit peculiar or odd as it was his own produced material, but I find it to be classically random and speaking to the energy of the artist himself. The same can be said about the way I like to cook, which is sometimes a bit unexpected and spontaneous, but with a focus on quality.

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