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The Four Top

Savor the conversation. Join a roundtable of nationally prominent pundits as they discuss today’s hot-button topics in food and beverage culture. Hosted by Katherine Cole.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Ep. 43: Jim Meehan | Jeffrey Morgenthaler | Jacob Grier

Do you act cordially at bars? Today's high-end temples to mixology aren't places for crude behavior, say our three cocktail craftsmen. Next, how are the best bars in the world designed for efficient flow and optimum pleasure? And finally, why are bars ...


30 Apr 2018

Rank #1

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Ep. 14: Grocery-Store Checkout Talk | The Death Of The Dinner Party | The Average Home Cook

Ep. 14: Grocery-Store Checkout Talk | The Death Of The Dinner Party | The Average Home Cook by Oregon Public Broadcasting


13 Mar 2017

Rank #2

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Ep. 2: Meaningless Food Terms | Flavor Bombs | Bycatch Curious

In our second episode, we kvetch about B.S. food terminology, learn why inherent flavor will save our lives and cast our net around bycatch, the best new thing in seafood.


26 Sep 2016

Rank #3

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Ep. 36: Molly Wizenberg | Paul Clarke | Matthew Amster-Burton

Episode 36, recorded live at PodCon in Seattle, is a freewheeling look at beverage trends for 2018. We kick things off by reminiscing about the faddish beverages of decades past that are ready for revivals this year. Next, we predict the drinks that will die this year. Finally, our three pundits share their personal desert-island drink picks.


16 Jan 2018

Rank #4

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Ep. 32: Jeff Alworth | Erin James | Jeff Smith

Why is cider the fastest-growing segment in the American drinks industry? Next, what's the deal with professional beverage tasting? And finally, craft beverage producers are constantly being solicited for donations.


20 Nov 2017

Rank #5

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Ep. 62: Erin DeJesus | Juan Diego Ramirez | Heather Arndt Anderson

What does the term "American Food" mean today? How should we reframe our conversations about Mexican, and Mexican-American, cuisines? And is the American family dinner imperiled?


1 Jul 2019

Rank #6

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Ep. 42: Cheryl Wakerhauser | Danielle Centoni | Kyra Bussanich

Modern French pastry is a spellbinding art form, combining eye-popping colors with surprising textures, shapes and flavors. We discuss this exciting movement with a pro. Next, boutiques selling nothing but macarons are the latest trend in sweet treats....


16 Apr 2018

Rank #7

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Ep. 31: Christopher Kimball | Matthew Card | Carrie Welch

With food media increasingly fragmented, why are some brands staging live IRL events? Next, do you sous vide at home? And finally, what are food entertainment personalities really like when the cameras turn off? We discuss on Episode 31 of The Four Top, online from Nov. 6.


6 Nov 2017

Rank #8

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Ep. 13: Food Network Champion Tells All | Laptop Squatters And Cafés | Why Kids Should Cook

What’s really happening behind the scenes at the Food Network? Are so-called “laptop squatters” bad for business or good for café culture? And could a cooking class improve your child’s test scores?


27 Feb 2017

Rank #9

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Ep. 17: Ab-Fab Lady Food Bloggers | The Language Of Flavor | Online Wine Clubs

If you're addicted to sites like Goop and The Pioneer Woman, you know how addictive it can be to follow the impossibly perfect lives of lady food bloggers. But do we honestly enjoy these sites, or are we hate-reading them? For our second course, we cha...


24 Apr 2017

Rank #10

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Ep. 37: Connie Blumhardt | Kenneth Olson | Jordan Michelman

Episode 37 is all about coffee. First, our experts teach us to ride the "Third Wave" movement. Next, what's a microroaster? How about a nanoroaster? And finally, we taste and talk about Guinness Stout's caffeinated counterpart. Episode 37 of The Four Top is online from Jan. 29.


29 Jan 2018

Rank #11

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Ep. 34: Bronwen Percival | Francis Percival | Christian Debenedetti

"Raw" cheeses are demonized... but could they be less harmful for you than raw fruits and vegetables? How are home brewers leading the backyard biologist movement? And those who work in artisanal food industries are asking themselves: Is the conversa...


18 Dec 2017

Rank #12

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Ep. 29: Diners Gone Wild | Food Cart Backlash | Marijuana on Menus?

How rude can restaurant patrons be? Very. Next, food cart vendors and restaurateurs are battling. What role should city legislators play in this war? And marijuana can't be served in dining establishments—yet—so how are chefs working around the laws to...


9 Oct 2017

Rank #13

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Ep. 44: Karen Karbo | Katie Pratt | Alex Prud'homme

What made the love story of Julia and Paul Child so unique? Next, what would photographer Paul Child think of today's Instagram-food-photo craze? And finally, we discuss how we can all live life to the fullest à la the Childs.


15 May 2018

Rank #14

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Ep. 33: Jami Curl | Michelle Lopez | Kyra Bussanich

How did our guests build businesses selling candy, cupcakes and chronicles to adults? Next, what’s the magic formula for making a visual splash with a food startup? And finally, there’s a sense of tension in the American food scene, with raw veggies an...


5 Dec 2017

Rank #15

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Ep. 51: Rebecca Hopkins | Cathy Huyghe | Hannah Wallace

Could a career in the food or beverage industry be harmful for workers' mental health? How do wine professionals stay healthy in a fairly unhealthy line of work? And why is a bar one of the most stressful places to work?


4 Sep 2018

Rank #16

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Ep. 26: When Critics Go Viral | Food Journalism 2.0 | Reservations Re: No Reservations

When you get three food writers and critics in a room together, you get Episode 26 of "The Four Top," in which our panelists unpack the dining reviews that explode on social media, the new state of food journalism, and why some restaurants don't take reservations.


28 Aug 2017

Rank #17

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Ep. 20: The Evolution Of Grocery Stores | Does Cured Meat Kill? | Serious TV Chef

From corner store to Costco, the grocery has changed over time. What's the future of food retail, and how do today's supermarkets deceive their customers? Next, the World Health Organization has warned us not to eat processed meat. Does that mean we have to give up artisanal salumi? And finally, a couple of new culinary shows are taking the genre in a more serious direction. Our panel ponders these questions in episode 20 of "The Four Top."


5 Jun 2017

Rank #18

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Ep. 3: Recipe Theft | Born-Again Chefs | Tipping … Over?

In our third episode, we explore the nefarious realm of recipe theft, discuss the recent trend of born-again chefs ditching bacon and embracing health food and debate the end of tipping as we know it.


10 Oct 2016

Rank #19

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Ep. 22: Kombucha Madness | Unraveling The Mystery Of Q | Get Your Politics Out Of My Food

How can we explain the kombucha craze, and why are some people going to prison for selling it? What’s the mysterious Taiwanese concept known simply as ‘Q’? And get your politics out of my food, will you?


4 Jul 2017

Rank #20