Center for Documentary Studies: Ben Payton and Filet Mignon

inUncategorizedon August 6, 2013


The last piece from our collaboration with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University is an audio snippet captured by the students who worked with Mississippi blues man Ben Payton, who recently relocated to Hillsborough, NC to work with Music Maker.

“honey almond salmon”

Ben Payton fondly remembers a celebrity moment in Morocco, where he toured during his first career. Ben and Humphrey Bogart might just have a little something in common.

Listen to the audio clip here

Inspired by his story, Duke students Dillon Patel and Stephani Zakutansky and UNC student Hannah Nemer took Ben out for a celebratory lunch. They thought he might enjoy a steak, but Ben had a different filet in mind.


Ben: I’ll have the honey almond salmon.

Server: That’s our most popular dish.


[Server leaves]


Ben: I knew what I wanted when I walked in the door. [Chuckles]

Dillon: It’s a cultural thing for me. My grandparents have all been vegetarian at one point – for a couple months, a couple years.

Ben: Are you a vegetarian?

Dillon: No, never.


[Laughs around the table]


Stephani: Would you ever consider being vegetarian?

Ben: [Shakes his head] I tried it, but it didn’t work for me.

Stephani: If you had to give up salmon or beef, which would it be?

Ben: Probably beef.

Stephani: You like salmon more?

Ben: I love salmon. I love salmon.

Dillon: You can cook it, too?

Ben: Ya, man!

Stephani: How do you cook it?

Ben: It’s a trial and error thing, but I’ve finally figured it out. I take and season it very lightly, you know. I put it in and let it get about medium done. Then I take butter, and lemon…and man, it’ll just melt in your mouth. [Turns to Dillon] So, you like salmon?

Dillon: I eat salmon, but only when my mom cooks it at home.

Ben: You cook?

Dillon: No. My mom cooks everyday, though.

Stephani: You haven’t learned how to cook?


[Ben laughs]


Dillon: I don’t have a kitchen! I live in a dorm!

Ben: [In reference to his salmon] It’s not bad, but mine is better…

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