The 20th Century cocktail from Scofflaw
That cocktail in the picture serves a purpose. Yes, we have something to toast today. We’re just one day away from the launch of “The Feed,” a new podcast I’m launching with Chicago chef Rick Bayless. Rick and I have been talking for months, if not years, lamenting the fact there isn’t really a radio show in the U.S. covering the food and drink scene the way we would like to. I know there’s a show on KCRW in L.A., and there’s also “The Splendid Table” out of Minnesota Public Radio, but neither of them are heard here (only online), and despite my having worked a decade at WBEZ-FM as the Food Contributor, there wasn’t any interest in developing a food show there. I’ll never forget sitting down in former CEO Torey Malatia’s office, after bringing home a James Beard Award for Best Radio Segment: Long Form with my then-producer Justin Kaufmann, and hearing him tell me that “there’s just not enough interest in Chicago for a show dedicated to food. You’d have to include the arts, theater, lots of other things,” he told me then. Well, I haven’t stopped trying to get that show on the air, and so after a long conversation with Rick about what we’d like to hear on the radio (or in a podcast), we decided to just do it ourselves, with some help from Matt Cunningham, a friend and former producer at WBEZ.
Since Rick and I travel quite a bit, it provides an opportunity for us to share what we’ve learned from experts around the world. Rick, for example, was just in Istanbul with a former Chicagoan who has moved there full-time and runs a culinary tour business; he spent the holidays in Oaxaca, eating Mexican ices; I’m off to Vancouver this weekend, and will be headed back to Japan in two weeks, so the amount of sound and original content we’ll be able to produce and edit is potentially huge.
The “show” will alternate between NPR-style reports and conversations; it will include a recipe segment, or rather, a challenge, where Rick and a colleague tackle an ingredient and try to show what people at home could do with it. The benefit of having your own camera is that I can also have these segments shot, so in addition to hearing them on the air, you’ll also be able to see the recipe segments in their entirety on both our YouTube channel, as well as our Facebook page. Incidentally, if you can’t see them for some reason, let us know on our Twitter feed. We’ll talk to celebrities and folks you wouldn’t expect to be passionate about food (Wilco’s drummer, Glenn Kotche, stops by the studio to talk to us tomorrow), and we’ll let you know what’s happening around the U.S. on the food scene.
So tomorrow’s show will have a lot of elements: updates from Food Editors and writers around North America about what’s hot in their respective cities, a regular drink interview with a highly-skilled bartender, even a food quiz, to test your knowledge; and at the end of it all, a “final bite” that will undoubtedly make your mouth water. That’s the great thing about sound. It can transport you, but also evoke a sense of place. I, for one, can’t wait to go down this path and see where it leads. I’ll be sure to send out links tomorrow on SoundCloud and iTunes.