Fitz and the Tantrums' Noelle Scaggs: Singing the Praises of Food

This Los Angeles-based Nashville transplant is a rock star and foodie rolled into one

I’m sitting in a bar in New York, feeling a bit buzzed from the three mezcals I’ve knocked back as well as from the company I'm in. Am I really drinking with the Noelle Scaggs?

Now, I’m not big on social media, but I do flip through food-centric Instagram posts from time to time and often come across extraordinary posts by @adventureswithscaggs. These photos feature beautiful, creative dishes and genuinely interesting restaurants – not the kind one just name drops. When I first noticed "Scaggs," I realized I’d recently eaten at one of her featured spots (Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor) and became intrigued by a couple of others. I could tell that this person was someone who loved great food with soul, and when I happened to see Scaggs post about one of my favorite cheese shops, Formaggio Kitchen in Boston, I knew I had to DM the account. 

After sending the message, I dug around to see who the account belonged to, praying it wasn’t a PR agent or an industry shill. I was pleasantly shocked to find out the person behind the posts was Noelle Scaggs, one of the lead singers of the indie rock band Fitz and the Tantrums, a band I was already a fan of. I thought to myself: What can’t this woman do?!

Fast forward a few months: after resigning myself to the fate of a devotee sending neglected fanmail, an email from Scaggs popped up in my inbox. She was coming up to New York from Nashville on a food adventure and asked if I had any suggestions, so I quickly threw out a few names of unique places I thought she’d enjoy. We agreed to meet for a drink at one of my favorite spots, the Lower East Side spirits bar Copper & Oak.

Over Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, we discussed Scaggs’ passion for food. She comes from a food-loving family in Los Angeles; now that she lives in Nashville, she’s reveling in the fact that it has become a food destination. She mentioned that her bandmates are almost as food-obsessed as she is, but when they’re on tour, she’s still their go-to person for local hot spots. But she’s not only enthusiastic about trying new culinary delights; she's an advocate of the democratization of good cuisine and spreads the word about improving food quality for people across the economic spectrum whenever she can.

So how does Scaggs find time for her food photography, blogging, and posting while she’s rehearsing and touring with a successful rock band? She chalks up her work ethic to her love of what she does on both fronts. She’s looking to continue to grow her presence in the food world and is currently working on some top-secret projects, but no matter what she gets up to next, I know I for one can’t wait to see where the next adventure takes her.

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Follow Raymond's specialty food escapades on FacebookInstagram and his website. Additional reporting by Madeleine James.