David Castillo created Jukebox Castle to present events like "Seven Deadly Sins."
David Castillo is an opera singer, artist and the creative director at Jukebox Castle
, a new multidisciplinary food, theater and arts collective. The inaugural event titled "Seven Deadly Sins" is Jan. 6 at Loyola University. It combines classical and modern music and a seven-course tasting menu with dishes by chefs Tenney Flynn, Phillip Lopez, Will Avelar and others, as well as a seven-course menu of sweets. Castillo, a Loyola graduate, spoke with Gambit
about the idea behind the production.
Gambit: What gave you the idea to combine food and theater?
I’ve been living in L.A. for the past five years and I really miss New Orleans and the food. The idea (for Jukebox Castle) is built around seven things: food, music, drink, dance, festivity, community and visual arts. I realized that those things were also what make New Orleans so unique and so important and I wanted to create an event that incorporated everything. I’m kind of obsessed with Chef’s Table and I love food television. Watching those shows, the one thing I noticed is that they all focus on the theater of the restaurant and the theatricality of how everything is presented and how it is experienced by the customer. I kept finding that the creative process of chefs and culinary artists and visual artists are all very similar, but it’s just a different channel of artistry. The gears quickened and I thought about creating an event where every sense is activated — a multi-sensory immersive experience.
When I go to a theater or when I go to a restaurant, what hits me is when someone tells a really strong story. Talking to chefs and watching them, I found it’s really important that they also tell a story. It’s a very intimate experience when you eat – and how (the chefs) want to provoke how you feel when you eat the food.
How did the chefs you worked with perceive a project like this?
We have seven savory chefs and seven pastry chefs interpreting (the seven deadly sins) for this event. When I approached them about it, they thought it was really interesting way to interpret art and an important way to experience the culinary arts. They picked their sin, and just watching them brainstorm was pretty cool. I was just interested in watching the creative juices burning. For instance, for sloth, as you experience the first scene, chef Tenney Flynn wanted the audience to use as little muscle and as little effort as possible (while they eat).
What’s your personal connection to food in New Orleans?
Really, (it comes from) my whole family. Just growing up (here), naturally everyone is a foodie. My mom, specifically, is big in the food scene here. My grandpa, he loves to fish. It was always really memorable when I was growing up I would help him scale the fish outside and then afterwards we’d barbecue the whole thing. We’d cook it so it just falls off the bone. My grandma on my dad’s side — for every holiday family function she always makes these pralines. I think they’re the best pralines in the world. They’re perfectly crunchy. Being born in New Orleans (you’re) able to have some of the best food of the world at your fingertips: it’s so special and unique, and it’s such an important part of the culture.