Rank #1: Episode 5: Rick Bayless
Meet Rick Bayless, an award winning American chef and restauranteur who specializes in traditional Mexican cuisine with modern interpretations. He is perhaps best known for his PBS series Mexico: One Plate at a Time. Bayless was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, into a family of restaurateurs and grocers specializing in the local barbecue. Having begun his culinary training as a youth, he broadened his interests to include regional Mexican cooking as an undergraduate student of Spanish and Latin American culture. After finishing his undergraduate education at the University of Oklahoma, he did doctoral work in Anthropological Linguistics at the University of Michigan and, from 1980 to 1986, lived in Mexico with his wife, Deann, writing his first book Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking From The Heart of Mexico. On his Evolutionaries profile, listeners come to know Rick for his passion surrounding Mexican culture – particularly the importance of celebration and partying through the context of cuisine. This program was sponsored by Bonnie Plants.
Jun 05 2013
Rank #2: Episode 4: Florence Fabricant
Meet Florence Fabricant, known to some as “Flo Fab”. Florence Fabricant is a nationally renowned food writer and columnist who contributes regularly and frequently to the New York Times dining section. She is the author of 11 cookbooks, including, most recently, a book written with The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). Florence’s other books include The New York Restaurant Cookbook; The Great Potato Book; Venetian Taste; Florence Fabricant’s Pleasures of the Table; New Home Cooking; The New York Times Dessert Cookbook; The New York Times Seafood Cookbook; and Elizabeth’s Berry’s Great Bean Book (with Elizabeth Berry). She is familiar to regular readers of the New York Times, who have come to look forward to her articles on food and the people who make it. She also contributes to the paper’s wine column. Florence can make or break a food business in this city – and the country at large for that matter. On Evolutionaries, find out how she found food writing, how she maintains such high standards and why it’s still hard to turn down a pitch even after all these years. This program was sponsored by Fairway Market.
May 22 2013
Rank #3: Episode 15: Alice Waters
Tune in and hear the life story of perhaps the most important woman in the history of North American food, Alice Waters.
Oct 29 2013
Rank #4: Episode 18: Kermit Lynch
Forty years ago Kermit Lynch seemed like an unlikely wine hero. A struggling musician with a fledgling handbag business no one, least of all himself, would have predicted his groundbreaking future as a wine importer and retailer in Berkley California. The American wine-drinking landscape has been forever changed by his work. Kermit is the recipient of two James Beard Awards and was knighted by the French government with their prestigious “Legion d’Honneur”. In 1988, Kermit wrote “Adventures on the Wine Route”, which many consider to be the best wine book on the business. Tune in to Evolutionaries to hear his story, in his words. This program has been sponsored by S. Wallace Edwards and Sons
“Of all the unsulfured wines I’ve imported, only one of them was 100% consistent.”
Kermit Lynch on Evolutionaries
Jan 15 2014
Rank #5: Episode 30: Ruth Reichl
In a world filled with food writers who take themselves far too seriously, Ruth Reichl continues to be a breath of fresh air. Her creative take on storytelling and restaurant reviews turned food writing upside down. She’s authored a trilogy of best-selling memoirs, a novel and a cookbook. She was the last editor in chief of the now defunct Gourmet magazine. Before that she was the restaurant critic of both The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, where she was also named food editor. As co-owner of The Swallow Restaurant from 1974 to 1977, she played a part in the culinary revolution that took place in Berkeley, California. In the years that followed, she served as restaurant critic for New West and California magazines. Hear Ruth tell her story in this special “Evolutionaries” radio documentary.
Jun 02 2015
Rank #6: Episode 23: Tom Colicchio
Chef Tom Colicchio might be most recognized by the public as the head judge on Bravo’s hit reality cooking series “Top Chef.”, but his culinary accomplishments go far beyond food television. Hear his life story on Evolutionaries.
Apr 02 2014
Rank #7: Episode 13: Alain Coumont
Alain Coumont is a Belgian chef and restaurateur, and founder of Le Pain Quotidien. Coumont is the son and grandson of grocers. His grandmother ran a hotel in front of the train station in Huy, Belgium. As a child in Belgium, Coumont spent countless hours perched on a chair, watching his grandmother make bread. Then, in 1977, after a voyage to the United States, where he was impressed by the success of Michel Guérard, he abandoned his classical studies and enrolled in the Hotel School of Namur in Belgium. After graduating, Coumont worked in a number of highly regarded restaurants including Michel Guérard, Georges Blanc, and Joel Robuchon. However, as a young chef in Brussels, Coumont could not find the right bread for his restaurant. Passionate about quality, he returned to his roots and opened a small bakery where he could knead flour, salt and water into the rustic loaves of his childhood. Today, Le Pain Quotidien has grown into an international chain operating in many countries around the globe. It sells organic bread and cakes in a homey, rustic style, focusing on their communal table and their simple, elegant boulangerie fare. Learn more from the founder of such an impactful chain in this week’s special episode of Evolutionaries! This program has been sponsored by GreatBrewers.com.
“In people’s minds bread was cheap. When bread regulation came, people came to see the “100 dollar” loaf. It helped the business and it was a fair price.” [14:10]
— Alain Coumont on Evolutionaries
Sep 25 2013
Rank #8: Episode 22: Nathan Myhrvold
Nathan Myhrvold is the former Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft, and co-founder of Intellectual Ventures. He tells us about his profound interest in cooking, and his difficult introduction into the world of becoming a chef. Nathan discusses the modernization of French cuisine, as well as the differences between modern cuisine and traditional fine dining. Then, he describes the development of his endeavors in writing Modernist Cuisine, and how digital photography proved to be an essential part of creating the ideal reading and learning environment for the reader. Finally, Nathan tells us about a few ‘radical’ ideas for improving wine that would absolutely shock most wine connoisseurs. This program has been sponsored by Hearst Ranch.
“Technologoy has consequences, some of them bad consequences, but so far we’ve been able to figure them out.” [20:00]
–Nathan Myhrvold on Evolutionaries
Mar 12 2014
Rank #9: Episode 25: Ariane Daguin
Ariane Daguin is the owner and co-founder of D’Artagnan – one of America’s largest specialty-meat-and-game distributors. D’Artagnan is one of the worlds most trusted manufacturer of pates, foie gras, all natural organic poultry and game. Ariane’s journey is a true American success story. The gascony born Daguin was born into a culinary family of great fame – but she longed for something different. She moved to New York with dreams of becoming a journalist. Her dreams were re-routed and in what seems like the blink of an eye, Ariane Daguin became one of the most important women that the American food world has ever known. This program was sponsored by Bonnie Plants.
Apr 30 2014
Rank #10: Episode 19: Lydia Shire
Lydia Shire is the enduring culinary talent behind some of Boston’s most celebrated restaurants. She’s universally acclaimed, having won a James Beard award for Best Chef Northeast, and the Women Chefs and Restauranteurs 2011 Golden Whisk Award. She’s known for her use of fat and offal, and her exuberant personality in the kitchen. Lydia grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts, and fell in love with food at a young age. This program has been sponsored by Hearst Ranch.
“If you want something in life badly, you’ll have to set yourself apart.” [3:30]
“At the end of the day, cooking is the fun part of our job, but managing people is difficult at times.” [8:45]
“I don’t suggest that you eat fat at every meal, but there are times when you just need fat.” [18:45]
Lydia Shire on Evolutionaries.
Jan 29 2014
Rank #11: Episode 29: Mary Sue Milliken
Mary Sue Milliken is often credited with helping define Los Angeles’s culinary landscape. Along with her partner Susan Feniger, she opened City Restaurant, Border Grill and Ciudad – all critically acclaimed restaurants in the Los Angeles area. She’s published five cookbooks is seasoned TV personality. Mary Sue was a food star before there were many. She’s never been afraid to take risks and her journey began in St. Claire, Michigan. Join us on Evolutionaries and hear Mary Sue’s story. This program was brought to you by Edwards VA Ham
Sep 22 2014
Rank #12: Episode 8: Paul Saginaw
Paul Saginaw is the founding partner at Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, a gourmet food business group headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The original business and current flagship operation is Zingerman’s Delicatessen, which got its start with a small selection of great-tasting specialty foods, a host of traditional Jewish dishes and a relatively short sandwich menu. Today, Zingerman’s Delicatessen is an Ann Arbor institution, the source of great food and great experiences for thousands of visitors every year. The Deli serves up thousands of made-to-order sandwiches with ingredients like premium Black Angus corned beef and pastrami, free-range chicken and turkey, housemade chopped liver and chicken salad. The Deli also stocks an exceptional array of farmhouse cheeses, estate-bottled olive oils, varietal vinegars, smoked fish, salami, coffee, tea and much, much more. Thirty years later, what started as a little deli has grown into Zingerman’s Community of Businesses. In 1997, Monahan sold his share of the company to Saginaw to focus on his original business venture, Monahan’s Seafood Market. As Zingerman’s grew, it expanded its offerings to imported gourmet foods, making its own bread at Zingerman’s Bakehouse and creating dairy products at Zingerman’s Creamery. It opened a second restaurant, Zingerman’s Roadhouse, which focuses on regional American cuisine. The enterprise now owns several brand names, including the aforementioned enterprises in addition to Zingerman’s Mail Order, Zingerman’s Coffee Company, Zingerman’s Training, Inc., and Zingerman’s Catering. Zingerman’s sponsors several mail-order food clubs and occasional culinary study tours. Tune in on this special episode of Evolutionaries to hear Paul’s insight into effectively running a business partnership, and how strategizing his business plan eventually brought him success down the road. This program has been sponsored by Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
“We had a vision of this business and this type of organization. We wanted to invite everyone who we were working with to come in, and help run the business.” [11:30]
“Our attempt was that we were going to bring in the finest products. Service was going to differentiate us. People were willing to pay a premium for something that wowed you.” [13:10]
— Paul Saginaw on Evolutionaries
Jul 17 2013
Rank #13: Episode 26: Lidia Bastianich
Lidia Bastianich has two passions – family and food – and she’s managed to create an culinary empire using both. Lidia is the chef/owner of four acclaimed New York City restaurants — Felidia, Becco, Esca and Del Posto, as well as Lidia’s in Pittsburgh and Kansas City. Her cookbooks include Lidia Cooks From the Heart of Italy and Lidia’s Italy – both companion books to her Emmy-nominated television series, Lidia’s Italy, Lidia’s Family Table, Lidia’s Italian- American Kitchen, Lidia’s Italian Table and La Cucina di Lidia. Lidia came to the United States from Istria — when she was 12 years old with her parents and her brother Franco. She had wanted to become a doctor – but fate had other plans for her. This program has been sponsored by Bonnie Plants.
May 15 2014
Rank #14: Episode 20: John Besh
John Besh is a chef with a passion for preserving the rich cuisine of New Orleans. He was profoundly active in providing meals for thousands of people devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and in 2011 he established the John Besh Foundation, which provides scholarships, grants, and loans to those in the New Orleans area with the drive to ignite change in their communities. Today, John owns nine restaurants which celebrate the cuisine of southern Louisiana. This program has been sponsored by The International Culinary Center.
“Now you start to see chefs carry the banner of culture…I now have a responsibility to preserve the good stuff.” [19:30]
John Besh on Evolutionaries
Feb 12 2014
Rank #15: Episode 12: Jim Lahey
Jim Lahey studied sculpture before learning the art of bread baking in Italy. When he returned to New York City in 1994, he opened Sullivan St Bakery in Soho with little more than the wild yeast he hand-cultivated in Italy and a desire to bring the craft of small-batch bread baking to America. In October 2000, Lahey built the Sullivan St Bakery headquarters in Hell’s Kitchen, where he has become renowned not just for his bread, but for his Roman-style pizza, rustic Italian pastries and cookies. Lahey and his businesses have been featured in Vogue, Bon Appétit and The New York Times, and he has appeared on the Martha Stewart Show and NBC’s Today show. His innovative no-knead bread recipe that ignited a worldwide home-baking revolution was first published in an article by Mark Bittman in The New York Times in 2006. This article became the basis of Lahey’s first cookbook My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method, and now his just-released, My Pizza: The Easy No-Knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home. On this special episode of Evolutionaries, learn how Jim has become one of the most important and well known bread makers today! This program has been sponsored by Cain Vineyard & Winery.
“You need to have an understanding of the feel of the materials in order to get the right result. Even if its being done with machinery, you need to have a sense of how things are supposed to feel, i.e. the dough.” [14:10]
“I have noticed, that the bigger the bakery, the harder it is to get consistent results without machinery.” [17:20]
— Jim Lahey on Evolutionaries
Sep 11 2013