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The TASTE Podcast

If you're a fan of smart and cool and weird and lively conversations about food and culture, this is the place. We interview the most interesting characters in the world of food, media, and cookbooks and release episodes several times a month. The program is co-hosted by TASTE editors Anna Hezel and Matt Rodbard, and is sometimes recorded live at Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, NY. Visit TASTE online: tastecooking.com

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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53: Carla Lalli Music

The sudden and rather intense rise of Carla Lalli Music and her test kitchen crew at Bon Appétit to legit food-world celebs has been simply amazing to watch from the sidelines. Lalli Music is the longtime food director at the publication and stars in many of the YouTube videos BA puts out each month. On this highly entertaining episode of the podcast, Lalli Music talks about what’s in the special sauce for viral-video glory. And, oh yeah, she has written one of the year’s best cookbooks: Where Cooking Begins. It’s an argument for better and happier shopping, which ultimately leads to better cooking. This may seem a little abstract, but it all makes too much sense.Also on the episode, contributor Max Falkowitz answers a reader’s burning food question: Do spices actually expire?


16 Apr 2019

Rank #1

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2: Alison Roman

Alison Roman wants to change the way you think about granola (it doesn’t have to be sweet), dinner parties (they don’t have to be fancy), and boiled potatoes (there should be a stockpile in the refrigerator at all times). We talked to Alison about her new cookbook, Dining In, and what it’s like to cook and entertain in small spaces.Also, Smitten Kitchen founder Deb Perelman answers a reader question: Which touristy food places are worth going to in New York City?


6 Jun 2018

Rank #2

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11: Peter Meehan

For years, Peter Meehan was a mystery. As the New York Times’s "$25 and Under" columnist in the early 2000’s, he dined anonymously everywhere from Roberta’s to Momofuku Noodle Bar to hidden gems like Uminoie in the East Village. As an author of cookbooks and while helping run the show at Lucky Peach magazine (RIP), he avoided cameras out of some combination of annoyance and muscle memory. We caught up with him to discuss his upcoming barbecue cookbook, the terror of doing food TV, and the legacy (and life after) Lucky Peach.Later on the episode, we talked to Julia Sherman, the author of Salad for President, about the unexpected intersections between art and salad.


7 Aug 2018

Rank #3

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60: Aaron Franklin

So that thing about needing to rest your cooked petite filet for 20 minutes before slicing? The quest for cartoonish grill marks on your rib eye? Sous vide as the means to tenderloin glory? It’s all sorta false. Aaron Franklin has some strong opinions about all things steak (which he writes about in his new book, Franklin Steak), and we unpack many in this entertaining episode. Franklin, of waiting in a long line for barbecue in Austin, Texas, fame, also talks about the status of cutting that line and shares some thoughts on why a trip to Japan might just ruin him forever.Also on this episode, we had a great time speaking with some of the top minds in specialty coffee (jump to 21:34), including Christopher “Nicely” Abel Alameda (Menotti’s Coffee Stop), Kyle Glanville (Go Get Em Tiger), Bronwen Serna (Counter Culture Coffee), and Geoff Watts (Intelligentsia Coffee). Topics covered include farmer compensation, the pros and cons of espresso, the cost of a cup of coffee, and the rise of good coffee in Los Angeles, where this conversation was recorded at NeueHouse Hollywood.

1hr 6mins

28 May 2019

Rank #4

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10: David Lebovitz

There aren’t a lot of things on the Internet that have been around since 1999. But David Lebovitz’s blog, full of quips, stories, and recipes from his life in Paris, is one of them. On this episode, we talk to David about why soft serve really mostly exists as a vessel for sprinkles, why it’s so hard to take photos of chocolate, and the newest edition of his book about ice cream, The Perfect Scoop.Later in the show, we talk to Jessie Sheehan, author of The Vintage Baker, and Erin Patinkin of Ovenly about Jell-O, flourless chocolate cake, and some of the most absurd retro recipes they’ve encountered in their careers.


31 Jul 2018

Rank #5

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15: Ruth Reichl

Is there an introduction needed here? Over her groundbreaking career, Ruth Reichl has served as the food editor of the Los Angeles Times, the restaurant critic of the New York Times, and the editor in chief of the legendary magazine Gourmet. She’s written juicy memoirs, mentored a generation of writers and editors, and still writes with regularity, curiosity, and a love for real journalism. She also whispers in beautiful character-count limits on Twitter if you haven’t checked that out.So what did we talk about? Reichl discusses editing the The Best American Food Writing 2018, grades the current New York Timesrestaurant critics, reflects on her time at the Los Angeles Times, when she would publish 60 pages a week and oversaw 20 full-time employees (food-media glory days!), discusses the terrible economic reality facing restaurants, and remembers her first cookbook, published in 1972. She also might surprise some with her take on journalism in the #MeToo era. Also on this episode, Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman answers the question: What’s an unpopular food that is due for a comeback?


3 Sep 2018

Rank #6

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41: Pete Wells

Listener, subscriber: This is a good one. Pete Wells is the longtime restaurant critic at the New York Times and a man of slight mystery and sound judgment—or bad taste, if you ask some of the chefs he’s goose-egged during his prodigious reviewing career. Before being named critic in 2011, he was an editor at Details and Food & Wine, and we talk about the process of writing the review week after week—and how he thinks like an editor with weekly writing.I also ask him: What should the next New York City mayor do to help improve safety and financial stability for the city’s restaurants? The situation is pretty apocalyptic, and his answers are really interesting. And Pete gives his hot takes on the dollar slice, barbecue, and Mexican food in New York. Oh yeah, about the illustration? There’s a story for that too.Also on the show, Anna interviews Charlene Johnson-Hadley, executive chef of the Brownsville Community Culinary Center, a culinary training program that educates and inspires participants to excel in the food-service industry.

1hr 3mins

5 Feb 2019

Rank #7

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4: Mark Bittman

We’ve followed the career of cookbook author and op-ed columnist Mark Bittman for nearly two decades, through his How to Cook Everything series and his writing in The New York Times and other publications. In this lively interview, Mark discusses how he started writing about food (it’s a great story), reading the comments (he doesn’t), and if the Amazon–Whole Foods hookup will end up on the right, or wrong, side of history.We also speak with our current TASTE Cook In Residence Therese Nelson. She tells us about the website she founded, Black Culinary History, as well as the stories she’s been working on for TASTE, including one on the legacy of George Washington Carver.


19 Jun 2018

Rank #8

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26: Dorie Greenspan

You may know her from her New York Times column, On Dessert, or you may know her from trying one of her unbelievably chocolaty, world-famous World Peace Cookies at a party that one time. But before Dorie Greenspan was famous for her cakes and shortbreads, she was an early pioneer of food television and a coconspirator (and coauthor) with Julia Child.On this episode, Anna catches up with Dorie to talk about her new book, Everyday Dorie, and ask about what she actually does cook every day. We also talk about why gooey, underbaked cookies’ days are numbered but lava cake is here to stay.Later on the show, Anna chats with Lisa Ludwinski, the owner of Detroit’s Sister Pie bakery and the author of the new cookbook Sister Pie. We talk about the evolving Detroit food scene, malted milk powder, and why making pie crust is easier than people think.


6 Nov 2018

Rank #9

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25: Jeremiah Stone & Fabian Von Hauske

Let’s get this out of the way first. Jeremiah Stone and Fabian Von Hauske are sweet dudes: extremely hardworking, generous, with lots and lots and lots of friends in the food world—in the United States, France, Mexico, and the darkest corners of the Noma fermentation lab (all spots the pair have worked in their short and ambitious careers). They own a trio of influential restaurants on New York’s Lower East Side: Contra, Wildair, and the newly reopened Una Pizza Napoletana. And they have just released their first cookbook, A Very Serious Cookbook (there’s a wink in there somewhere).On the show we dive into their story (how they met in a chat room that may or may not be branded America Online) and explore how they organized their very serious cookbook into very unique chapters. Plus, Jeremiah Stone in praise of Maryland blue crabs: “It’s in your blood when you grow up around Washington, D.C.”Also on the show, we talk with Sohui Kim, the chef behind Brooklyn's Insa and the Good Fork, as well as the author of the new book Korean Home Cooking. We chat about karaoke, kimchi, and why we should all eat more tomatoes for dessert.

1hr 9mins

30 Oct 2018

Rank #10

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14: Brooks Headley

Brooks Headley does not take vacations, read Yelp reviews, or make his burgers with beef. The chef-owner of New York City’s Superiority Burger and author of the new Superiority Burger Cookbook joined us for the latest episode to talk about vegetarian cooking, from fake meats to savory zucchini sludges that are cooked for hours. We talked about the advantages and disadvantages of cooking at a restaurant small enough to see the facial expressions of diners reacting to the food, and the inevitable occasional shock when an unsuspecting carnivore bites into a burger and finds there’s no meat inside.Also in this episode, we talked vegan cooking with Chloe Coscarelli, the author of Chloe Flavor.


28 Aug 2018

Rank #11

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35: Helen Rosner

Helen Rosner is a journalist, Twitter commentator, and the editorial force behind much of the New Yorker’s food coverage. This year, we were treated with her writing about iceberg lettuce, fermenting blueberries with René Redzepi, a visit to an MSG factory in Japan, and a method for preparing chicken that involves a hair dryer. I sat down with Helen to talk about her work, and to look back at some of the highlights of 2018 in food writing, cookbooks, and Twitter outrage.Also on this episode, Anna spoke to Josh Gee, the writer behind the food-focused newsletter Snack Cart. They caught up about some of the best restaurant reviews of the year, and speculated a little bit about how food writing might evolve in 2019.

1hr 5mins

28 Dec 2018

Rank #12

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23: Eric Ripert

Stay calm and…just act like Eric Ripert. Young cooks, are you listening? Ripert, a celebrated chef and TV personality, is a balancing force in this trash-fire age. And he’s also just a really good interview, as we find out. He joins the podcast to talk about communication. How one at the top of the kitchen chain needn’t yell to get his point across. “I don’t believe the pilots in the plane are having a screaming match,” he observes. True.We also discuss the Michelin stars at his restaurant, Le Bernardin, and how he finds out if he still has them. (He’s had the maximum three stars since the guide launched in New York City). And we talk about his love of Korean food and culture—from the late-night partying to the vegetarian temple style of cooking that aligns with the Buddhist religion that is so important to the chef. He loves it all, and we remember a trip we took to Seoul a couple years back.Also on the program, we ask Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman which of her favorite NYC restaurant dishes has she been able to re-create at home.


16 Oct 2018

Rank #13

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45: Akira Akuto

I swear Akira Akuto and I only talked a little bit about the sandwich. What sandwich? The Sandwich. You can read about it in The New York Times: The Egg Salad Sandwich That Drew Eyes on Instagram. Sandwiches are beautiful; sandwiches are fine. But Akuto, a crazy-talented Los Angeles chef with New York City lineage, sure doesn’t want to make them all the time. In this wide-ranging interview, we talk about the opening of his new Echo Park restaurant, Konbi, and how he ditched the world of investment banking and got his start cooking in NYC at Momofuku and Franny’s. He also talks honestly about what it’s actually like to open a restaurant in L.A. these days.Also on today’s show, TASTE contributor Max Falkowitz answers a burning reader question: What exactly is uni? There’s a lot to…unpack here.


26 Feb 2019

Rank #14

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22: Julia Turshen

Just imagine: It’s the tail end of a dinner party you just cooked for, you’re dangerously full of food, and you realize you made about three times too much food. What are you going to do with that half-eaten plate of lukewarm crab toasts? If Julia Turshen had anything to say about it, you’re going to throw them in the refrigerator until tomorrow night, when you’re going to pulverize them to bits and turn them into buttery crab cakes for dinner.Turshen’s new book, Now & Again, thinks about leftovers not as inevitable detritus of entertaining, but as ingredients themselves that you can mix up and have fun with. On this episode, we talk about some of these party (and postparty) tricks, getting her start working with Gwyneth Paltrow, and why she decided to start Equity at the Table, a database of food professionals in the POC and LGBTQ community.Later on the episode, Matt talks to chef Daniel Holzman in their ongoing series, 100 Questions for My Friend the Chef. This time they’re talking about MSG and how to cook with it at home.


12 Oct 2018

Rank #15

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40: Nicole Rucker

Nicole Rucker is a star baker and the co-owner of Los Angeles restaurant Fiona. She’s also competed in national pie-making competitions and will publish her first cookbook about fruit pastry in the fall. And she’s simply a pleasure to speak with: She’s honest, she’s articulate, and she’s got some amazingly honest thoughts about running a restaurant and the buildup to her recent review in the Los Angeles Times. “Tacos are a public service,” she says, wisely, of the city’s most iconic foodstuff, comparing it to the slice in NYC. “I’m not a taco head, because I grew up with it. They are like cereal to me.” So yes, tacos are discussed as well.Also on the show, Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman gives her advice on transforming a couple of cans of tuna into an exciting dinner. We challenged Deb Perelman, and she very much delivered.


29 Jan 2019

Rank #16

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52: Bill Addison

For near five years, journalist and former chef Bill Addison traveled America as Eater’s first, and only, roving restaurant critic. It was an epic and sometimes grueling run, one that I am sure will end up on the shelf of Kitchen Arts and Letters in memoir form in due time. Bill has since landed a new job in a city many consider to be the beating heart of American food culture today: Los Angeles!In this candid interview, Addison talks about his new gig as co-restaurant critic at the Los Angeles Times, where he and Patricia Escárcega have been tasked with replacing the legendary Jonathan Gold while also having a fresh take on the beat. We talk about Addison’s marching orders—the territory he will be covering and what defines L.A. proper—and some of the cuisines he will be targeting in a city of hundreds. Hint: Syrian home cooking has been getting a closer look as of late. I also ask him about the best restaurant he has visited in his short time as critic and the one pastry he cannot wait to bake in his new home kitchen.Also on the show I speak with Kim and Tyler Malek, the founders of beloved ice cream company Salt and Straw. We talk about their cool new cookbook and how they invent their hundreds of new flavors each year.


9 Apr 2019

Rank #17

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61: Priya Krishna

Holy smokes, Priya Krishna and her new book, Indian-ish, have had quite a spring. She appeared on Today, toured America, sold a few copies along the way, and maybe pissed off a few people along the way, too (never a bad thing). I catch up with Krishna, a journalist and frequent TASTE contributor, about a month after the book’s release, and we went over it all. We talk about her great saag feta recipe and why the technique known as chhonk (tempering) is key in Indian home cooking. Also, why you should buy some asafoetida today.In addition we talk about her recent TASTE stories diving into yogurt culture (ha!), budino, and sun-dried tomatoes. What a cool conversation we had. Also on the show, Max Falkowitz answers a reader question: What is the difference between ice cream and gelato?


4 Jun 2019

Rank #18

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5: Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons is a very cool human being. While many know her best from Top Chef, her career in food expands way beyond a judge’s table. She trained at culinary school and went on to assist legendary food writer and columnist Jeffrey Steingarten. She also worked the line in busy New York City restaurants and is the author of two books, including her latest, Bringing It Home. In this very candid conversation, Simmons shares her story—from living in Montreal and Israel to working in the kitchens of Daniel Boulud for three years. Also, Smitten Kitchen founder Deb Perelman answers a reader question: If you had to write a cookbook based on one ingredient, what would it be?


26 Jun 2018

Rank #19

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31: Anita Lo

The chef and cookbook author Anita Lo occupies a very special place in the hearts of many in the New York City restaurant world—chefs, journalists, civilians who merely dine at restaurants (that is, most people). Lo is a supreme talent, having run one of the city’s top restaurants—Annisa—for 17 years. She’s also a mentor to many in the industry. A leading light and an example of how to do things the right way. Stories of this journey, as well as some pretty cool recipes, are detailed in her new cookbook—Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One—disguised as a personal history. It's memoir light. During our interview at Books Are Magic, we talk about some of the recent controversies in the world of food, and her take on “the boys” and how there’s a clear double standard when it comes to business opportunities, etc. Lo also talks about the joy of cooking for one.Later we get to talk with Matt Startwell, managing partner at legendary New York City cookbook store Kitchen Arts & Letters. We tackle a number of fun topics: the shop's famous customers, like James Beard and Julia Child; the most requested books; books he thinks need to be published; and a rundown of the big books from the busy holiday season. Have you picked up a cookbook today?This episode is sponsored by Joule by ChefSteps.


4 Dec 2018

Rank #20