Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Serving Supper with a Song ; These Two Divas Will Cook Your Dinner and Season It with a Few Arias

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Serving Supper with a Song ; These Two Divas Will Cook Your Dinner and Season It with a Few Arias

Article excerpt

What happens when two budding singers bow out of conventional opera careers but yearn for freedom, creativity, and fun? Leora Perlman and Meredith Greenberg left opera on anything but a low note. They took to the kitchen.

Ms. Perlman and Ms. Greenberg, both classically trained in New York, had performed on the operatic stage and with orchestras in the United States.

But they weren't completely happy, Greenberg says in a joint phone interview from New York.

Perlman and Greenberg first met at a summer music festival in Santa Fe, N.M., in 1994. One year, after traveling back to Santa Fe with their voice teacher, the women decided to earn a little cash by selling Italian ices and singing arias under an umbrella in an art-gallery district.

While getting great tips in the process, it became evident: Food and music were the ideal combination.

That was when they came to some conclusions about their bohemian life. "An opera career takes a long time to blossom," says Perlman. "You move a lot and there is always a director, a conductor, or a manager who tells you where to go or imposes artistic limitations."

The enthusiastic duo felt they needed a freeing experience. "Being in a show is a release, an escape but also a disguise," explains Perlman. "You leave the stage at the end [of the performance], missing interaction with the audience." The two were looking for a way to sustain that interaction.

A year ago, Perlman and Greenberg began cooking and performing in people's homes as caterers. "We like it when adrenaline is pumping," says Perlman. Their catering company, Divas' Delite, was born. They cook as a team before introducing themselves to guests with music from Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro," for example, and continue singing throughout the serving.

Food and music come naturally to them. Perlman is the daughter of acclaimed violinist Itzhak Perlman. She was raised in a Jewish family where food was always something "cultural." She used to watch her mother preparing the traditional Friday meal of kosher poultry, and started cooking when she was just a youngster.

In fact, the women have an "insatiable desire to cook and sing at the same time." The kitchen is where they confess to spending 75 percent of their time.

Divas' Delite became their "little baby," a company that lets them share their love of food and music. Their clients generally hire them to celebrate a special occasion such as a birthday or graduation.

The marathon starts about three hours before the guests arrive. Beforehand, they and their clients will have decided what to serve from the Puccini, Bizet, or Callas menus that they adapt to the clients' requests. The dishes are ones they love to eat, that have a good match of ingredients to tease the palate.

They draw inspiration from Japanese and Vietnamese to Italian, Jewish, and American cuisines. …

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