Every week, we turn to a trusted tastemaker and get them Talking Taste in all its forms. From favorite meals to must-have music for eating, drinking, and making things happen, we want to know what makes creators and influencers tick—don’t you?

For our taste-driven playlists and more great food-inspired music, follow us on Spotify .


Illustration by Paige Vickers

During a Fashion Culture Design conference , the former Condé Nast editorial director turned restauranteur James Truman, described food & dining as one of the “industries that Steve Jobs couldn’t kill because people still need to eat. That ritual of eating, I think when you’re so dispersed in your mind so much of the time and you’re connected with people who you’re not connected with, the actual sitting down to eat becomes actually more magical and more meaningful in a digital age.”

The art and culture of food is our bread and butter here at Taste Talks, so we couldn’t wait to chat with James Truman about his new vegetarian restaurant Nix and his impeccable cultural taste.

Name: James Truman

Age: 58

Occupation: Nix

What you’d do if you weren’t doing your day job: Running a circus

One food or drink you couldn’t live without: John Fraser’s [Nix’s Michelin-star chef] magic way with vegetables, starting with carrots.

What do you have great taste in? Trousers

What do you have bad taste in? Socks, I’ve been told.

Who, to you, is an influential tastemaker, and why? Pina Bausch , for inventing her own art form, that only she could execute.

How do you expand and refine your sense of Taste? The trick is to not just seek out what attracts you, as attraction is a highly conditioned, limiting filter. Back in the days when there were record stores, I’d make a point of buying a CD I thought I wanted, plus another five that I thought I didn’t. The discoveries that I made that way far outweighed the mistakes. Same goes with books, movies, art and restaurants.

What is the best-tasting thing you’ve ever eaten? My first taste of real Italian pizza, in Italy.

What does taste mean to you? As a mathematical equation, taste is the sum total of the five senses, multiplied by the square root of one’s personal experience.

As we know, different occasions require different music. Here’s is a mix of some of James’ choices for cooking and entertaining. For outdoor grilling he favors Manu Chao & Cesaria Evora, for improvising a new dish, The xx and Jamie xx, for picnics Amadou & Mariam. James even gets us through late night! His picks? T Rex and early Kinks for grilled cheese at 2a.m., and if you’re still up at 3 a.m.—Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.