EP #14: "Squares and Rectangles" and Why the West Side Market Matters with Tom McIntyre of Kate's Fish
Tom McIntyre is proud to be a fishmonger. The second generation owner of Kate's Fish at the West Side Market often takes some heat for using a loud voice and some "Fighting Irish" tenacity to sound the alarm on the conditions of the 100+ year-old West Side Market. Tom and the Kate's Fish Team should be celebrating the 20th year of business but instead they are trying to salvage a future at the venerable but terribly vulnerable landmark public market. In addition to discussing Tom's hopes for the market's future, we talk about how the West Side Market is a cultural epicenter, the origins and history of Kate's Fish, and what we consumers are getting wrong about seafood. Hint: It has to do with squares and rectangles.
28 Jul 2021
EP #13: The Cleveland Pie Fest - A Sweet Collaboration (That Began on Twitter)
Pie-loving Cleveland DJ (and educational philanthropist) connects with an accomplished pie maker (and pie blogger) on Twitter. A debate ensues. Crumble or flaky top crust? Others weigh in. Ideas flow. Ice cream is added (of course). A grass-roots fundraiser is born. Jimmy Malone is a longtime supporter of College Now Greater Cleveland, an organization that helps kids with guidance and resources to pursue college. His namesake scholarship program now supports more than 60 students annually. Emily Thome is the founder and blogger at Pie-Eyed Love. Together, with other engaged citizens and support from Mason's Creamery, the Cleveland Pie Festival will raise money for Jimmy's program and promote the mission of College Now. Sometimes you just want to hear a fun, light-hearted story about a people doing good things in the world. This is it.
21 Jul 2021
EP #12: The French Evolution—New Beginnings Happen at Brandon Chrostowski's Edwins
For the past 14 years, Brandon Chrostowski has been in the life changing business. EDWINS Leadership Institute and Restaurant was founded in 2007 with the belief that every human being, regardless of their past, has a right to a fair and equal future. The program gives formerly incarcerated adults a foundation in the culinary and hospitality industry, teaching skills in the culinary arts, empowering willing minds through passion for hospitality management, and providing life skills training to support their transition back to home.Edwins, recognized as one of the midwest's best French restaurants, has been the proving ground for these students since 2013. EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute graduates nearly 100 students a year. After finishing the program or after release from prison graduates have gained employment in Cleveland’s finest restaurants and are sought after by other restaurateurs. More than 95% of graduates find employment and fewer than 1% go back to a life of crime.I talk to Brandon about the Edwins training philosophy, the institute's expansion which now includes a butcher shop, bakery, and a business incubator, and the annual fundraiser event, La Bastille. We also talk about the nuances of exceptional service and hospitality, the landscape for restaurants coming out of the pandemic, and why people love that Edwins burger.
13 Jul 2021
EP #11: It's Not Too Late—Pat Bennett's Later-in-life Entrepreneurial Journey
Starting a business takes courage, wisdom and lots of time. People in their 50s or 60s typically have all of those things. Pat Bennett had several careers and raised a son to adulthood before thinking about becoming an entrepreneur. The successful founder of Pat's Granola shares how she turned a family recipe into a small batch artisan snack food that's sold online and in Northeast Ohio stores. Pat's story will resonate with anyone who wants to develop a product and give food entrepreneurship a go—regardless of age or experience. Whether you make cupcakes or barbecue sauce, there are local resources to help you get your business up and running. In this episode Pat talks about what inspires her, the things she had to learn to make her product on a larger scale and how she builds relationships through social media and other avenues. Look for Pat's granola around town where local foods are sold and learn more at patsgranola.com. This episode is part of our WONDER(FUL) WOMEN SERIES, where I speak to badass businesswomen who farm, cook, and make great food and give back to our community. Sponsored by YELLOW HOUSE CHEESE.
7 Jul 2021
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EP #10: After the Farm & the Table—Daniel Brown Wants Your Food Waste
Since 2014 a team of scrappy (pun intended) environmentally-minded superheroes has been gathering food waste from restaurants and homes and turning it into a nutrient-dense soil that can grow more food. Daniel Brown is a co-founder of Rust Belt Riders and Tilth Soils and in our interview he reminds us that there is no "away" when it comes to waste—our trash will always find a home in someone else's neighborhood. With 40% of all food in the U.S. heading to landfills, while plenty of people are food insecure, Daniel urges us to consider not only where our food comes from and how we handle it, but where it goes when we are done with it. His hope is that we start to normalize the act of composting and that collecting our food scraps will become as commonplace as recycling. Rust Belt Riders provides an easy, convenient and clean option for commercial enterprises and those of us who can't (or don't want to) compost at home. And, even better, they are using that food waste to make living soils that can be used to grow more food. We discuss why people don't compost when it is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to help our planet and climate, what the Rust Belt Riders team needs to make an impact on a larger scale, and how they can make finished, usable compost way faster than I can at home.
30 Jun 2021
EP #9: Balancing Profit and Values, a Conversation with Ben Bebenroth
Ben Bebenroth is a respected chef, restaurant owner, farmer and businessman who has reemerged from the pandemic with a new vision for his life and restaurant. After closing Spice, his flagship restaurant in Gordon Square, Ben took some time to reevaluate what he wanted out of life for himself, his family and his legion of customers and fans. In addition to being one of Cleveland's most beloved and respected chefs, his farm-to-table restaurant Spice, and his family farm Spice Acres, have been featured in national media including CBS This Morning, the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. It was, by all accounts, a success story. But as the needs and desires of the community changed, and the tenuous economics of restaurant operations became more pronounced, Ben knew he needed to make some pivotal changes. Ben offers insight into the thought processes that prompted a revolution in the way he does business, and shares the realities of running a truly authentic farm-to-table restaurant and catering company.
23 Jun 2021
EP #8: Juneteenth, Colombian Foods and Dinners for Two with Chef Eric Wells
Chef Eric Wells doesn't own a brick and mortar restaurant space and that's just fine with him. A flexible business model helped him stay busy throughout the 2020 pandemic. Chef Wells was the first African American graduate of ICASI in Chesterland, Ohio, in 2004. He's known for taking the road less traveled, guided by faith, family and a desire to leave an imprint. Skye LaRae's Culinary Services (I ask him about the name!) offers catering, cooking lessons, and very popular intimate dinners for two that recreate an intimate chef's table experience right in your home. I talk to Chef Wells about an upcoming Juneteenth dinner event at Edwin's Too, why people love his intimate in-home dinner services (maybe it is because he decorates and does the dishes?), and how he got his start in the business after making a career change. I caught up with him right after he and his wife returned from a culinary-focused vacation in Cartagena, Colombia. Chef Wells is one of the good guys in the business and we can all learn something from his steadfast work ethic and the enjoyment he derives from his work.
16 Jun 2021
EP #7: "Do it Now." Advice from Tricia McCune of CLE Foodies
Tricia McCune has a big personality, a hearty laugh and 45,000 followers. The creator of the wildly successful CLE Foodies Instagram account is known to many for her quirky, offbeat video posts about food. She and partner Ster-Fry are out most days of the week chronicling their adventures, making videos and sharing them on social media where people can't seem to get enough of the duo enjoying all kinds of food. Most of those followers have no idea that Tricia has battled three serious cancers. After beating cancer the first time, Tricia changed her outlook on life and decided to pursue her dreams. She created a robust and enthusiastic online food community, developed and operated the successful Wok n' Roll food truck and even managed to get on the Food Network. I talk to Tricia about the origins of CLE Foodies, what it is like to have 45,000 people watching you eat and how her serious, life-threatening illnesses gave her permission to be less serious about life and motivated her to make things happen. Please follow CLE Foodcast on Facebook and Instagram! DM me at either place with ideas for stories, issues or to tell me about cool people doing important things in food. CLE Foodcast is hosted by Lisa Sands, a Cleveland-based local food advocate, writer and communications strategist.
8 Jun 2021
EP #6 Part 2: Soil isn't Dirt and Other Important Things about Plants and Vegetables
This is a follow up interview with Ohio farmer, Lee Jones and chef Jamie Simpson. Farmer Lee Jones and food writer Kristin Donnelly have just released a 600+ page book that is the quintessential encyclopedia of vegetables. The Chefs Garden, A Modern Guide to Common and Unusual Vegetables with Recipes shares decades of knowledge about the most familiar vegetables and those that might be new to us like salsify, cardoons or oca. Jamie Simpson, The Chef Garden's executive chef, has devised recipes that honor the best qualities of each vegetable and stretch our understanding of what we can do with them. In this episode we talk about how the vegetables we eat have changed over the years, how the book is organized and how to use it, and Jamie's discovery of a brand new way to make vegetable stock, among other things. And I get schooled on the difference between soil and dirt.
3 Jun 2021
EP #6 Part 1: Turn Up (HA!) Your Vegetable Knowledge with The Chef's Garden's New Book
Farmer Lee Jones knows a thing or two about vegetables...and not just the ordinary ones like carrots, potatoes and peas. For more than 30 years his Huron, Ohio farm has been growing the most interesting, nutrient-dense, and beautiful vegetables for the prestigious restaurants around the country. Vegetables from The Chef's Garden are a staple ingredient for well-known chefs that include Daniel Boulud, Jose Andrés and Thomas Keller and are familiar to food TV celebs as well as northeast Ohio's culinary greats. Lucky for us, we can also access those same veggies at an old fashioned farmstead or in home delivery boxes. Farmer Lee Jones and food writer Kristin Donnelly have just released a 600+ page book that is the quintessential encyclopedia of vegetables. The Chefs Garden, A Modern Guide to Common and Unusual Vegetables with Recipes shares decades of knowledge about familiar vegetables and those that might be new to us like cardoons, salsify and oca. Chef-in-Residence Jamie Simpson has devised recipes that honor the best qualities of each vegetable and stretch our understanding of what we can do with them. In the first of two interviews we talk to Farmer Lee and Chef Jamie about why a plant-forward future is inevitable and necessary, how looking back in time is actually the key to our culinary future, and how asking more of our plants and vegetables is a key to a more sustainable food system.
2 Jun 2021