By Lisa Sands
Conversation for food and drink enthusiasts that starts where the pretty Instagram picture ends. Hosted by Lisa Sands, a Cleveland-based local food advocate and food and travel writer. CLE Foodcast serves up a deep dive into the local food ecosystem with developing food biz news, interesting interviews, and plenty of recommendations for must-try food experiences.
EP # 64: Let's Explore Curcurbits (that's a fancy word for squash) with Jimmy Myers of Front 9 Farm!
Farmer Jimmy Myers and his wife Casondra run Front 9 Farm in Lodi. I see Jimmy often at the Countryside Farmers Market where his stand is a frequent stop for me. I interviewed Jimmy at the market's annual Squash Showcase...a day when vendors bring lots of varieties for shoppers to purchase. They grow 40 herbaceous vegetables, 30 different types of herbs and 25 fruiting crops and they raise broiler chickens, egg-laying chickens, and turkeys. We tend to think about the "main" squashes at this time of year...pumpkin and butternut and, perhaps, acorn. But there really are so many types of squash and we dive into a few of them in this episode. Squash also has an interesting history and it was critical to indigenous populations here in the Americas for eating and other uses. I'll be sharing some images of squashes on the CLE Foodcast Instagram! Follow me there for more details and pics of my food adventures and, hopefully, some useful information for all you local food enthusiasts!
November 17, 2022
EP #63 Michael Killik Should Be Dead (But, He's Not, and His Hot Sauce is Going Nationwide)
Sometimes we meet people that we are inexplicably drawn to, for one reason or another. For me, Michael Killik is one of those people. Killik quotes Chuck D from Public Enemy, sometimes speaks in colorful language (you've been warned) and has the word "Juggernaut" tattooed on his belly. But he's also a dad of four daughters, a doting grandfather, a proud veteran, and a mid-life entrepreneur. Michael makes Killik Hot Sauce that is fermented and naturally low in sodium (an important part of the story). He discovered a love for hot sauce while stationed in Abilene, Texas. But he didn't pursue a business until many years later after living life hard and nearly losing his life - twice. There are several over-arching messages in this episode. You'll come to your own conclusions, but I am reminded of the following simple, yet profound thoughts. Life is short. It's never too late. And you can't judge a book by its cover. This episode is sponsored by Douglas Katz and the Katz group of restaurants, Cooking' Genie, and Ohio Wines.
November 10, 2022
EP #62 The Dirt on Local Farming
We recorded this important conversation live from PurpleBrown Farm Store in Peninsula. Last year, farmer Sasha Miller opened her store to sell products from her own farm, located in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and those of many other local farms and makers. On the occasion of the store's 1-year anniversary, CLE Foodcast convened three female farmers to discuss the local food ecosystem, what the life of a small Ohio farmer is really like, and how we all win when local agriculture thrives. My guests: Sasha Miller of PurpleBrown Farm and Farm Store, Lizette Barton of Barton Farms and Gardens and Alexis Dragovich of Mud Run Farm. Each came to farming differently, but they share the same values, goals and hopes for a healthy, sustainable future for our planet. In this conversation we dig deep into their daily lives and practices, issues around quality and price, the things they do to foster a healthy local food web and how we can help them to be successful (while eating better and closer to the land). This episode is supported by Chef Douglas Katz, Cookin' Genie and the Kimpton Schofield Hotel.
November 02, 2022
EP #61 Talking Clark Bars and Dextrose Shortages with Cleveland's Candy King, Tom Scheiman of B.A. Sweetie Candy Company
When you hear the word "Candyman" do you think of the Sammy Davis Junior hit from the 70's OR that freakishly scary horror movie set in Chicago? Hey, it's a fair question! Well, it's probably better if you think of the guy who owns the LARGEST candy store in North America, and probably, the world. And that's Tom Scheiman of the B.A. Sweetie Company. He bought the original small company 40 years ago and has also purchased iconic brands like Humphrey, Campbell's and, most recently, Olympia to grow and preserve Cleveland's candy and confection history. While candy is in the spotlight Halloween through Easter, Sweetie's massive complex is an all-year destination with an ice cream parlor and a miniature golf course...not to mention just about every kind of candy you could desire...from Jelly Belly beans to Pez to Zagnuts (which have been made since 1930 by Hershey's.) Sours, gummies...I even saw something called Toxic Waste which is "hazardously sour." Enjoy this Halloween-timed episode and take the fam to Tom's place and let everyone run wild...including yourself. This episode is supported by the Kimpton Schofield Hotel, Chef Douglas Katz and Cookin' Genie.
October 25, 2022
EP #60: Tiki Bar History & More with Tim Harnett of Tiki Underground
Cocktails are having a moment...and the more complex and crafted the better. We're so lucky to have some excellent bars and craft bartenders in Northeast Ohio. Tim Harnett is one of them. He has a particular area of expertise—he's a Tiki Ambassador for Tiki Underground, now located in Cuyahoga Falls, and an author of No Beard or Bowtie Required, Cocktails for the Craft-Curious. Tiki has an interesting history, influenced by the rum runners, prohibition and even wartime. Some aspects of it are viewed as controversial. Tim has a lot of respect for the cultures that inspired the creation of the tiki bar. He shares tiki origins, how he got hooked and gives us some ideas of all things contained in those super strong drinks. You'll want to check this place out for sure! This episode is sponsored by Chef Douglas Katz, The Kimpton Schofield Hotel, and Cookin' Genie.
October 13, 2022
EP #59 Step Aside Lola, Cordelia is in The House. My Conversation with Andrew Watts and Vinnie Cimino.
While the pandemic limped towards a final end, a quiet transformation was happening on East 4th street. Andrew Watts and Vinnie Cimino were reimagining the look and feel of the iconic address on East 4th Street—the one formerly occupied by the legendary Lola, the flagship owned by Michael Symon. Coming out of a pandemic to start a restaurant is hard...perhaps harder when you are stepping into a spot so identified with a beloved native son who is a famous TV chef and personality. But these guys were bold enough to do it. And it is spectacular and, intentionally and thoughtfully different. It was worth the wait. I talk to them about stepping into this space, the major renovations and the family influences that found their way into this sleek and modern restaurant that is friendly more than fussy or fancy. I think you'll enjoy hearing the backstory of how Cordelia—from the meaningful name to the "modern grandma-inspired "menu—came to be. This episode is presented with support from Chef Douglas Katz and Cookin Genie.
October 05, 2022
EP #58: Boss ChicknBeer is NOT your Average Chicken Joint
Heather Doeberling and Emily Moes have been friends since the Dick's Last Resort Days (man, remember that place?) and they combined their powers for good to create Boss Chick'N Beer, a fried chicken (and more) joint that happens to cater really well to vegans and gluten-free eaters. Fresh off their Scene Magazine Best Of Cleveland win for BEST WINGS, you can hear the story of how these magical wings came into existence. Hint: It was kind of a dare. Heather is known for her business prowess and pretty intense streak of perfectionism. She's a trend-watcher and she has a sixth sense about what people want. Emily is the branding expert and the people person. They both recognize that their people, and creating a fun and rewarding workplace for them, is their secret sauce. Speaking of sauce...they have many tasty sauces...but their wings don't have sauce. Hear why in this episode. This episode is presented with support from Chef Douglas Katz.
September 22, 2022
#57 The Illusive Ohio Pawpaw with Chris Chmiel of the Ohio Pawpaw Festival
You either know the pawpaw or you respond with "I'm sorry, what did you just say?" The hard-to-find native Ohio fruit isn't common at all, and that's kind of sad! Pawpaws ripen quickly once picked (or once they fall hard to the ground) and have a very short shelf life making it impossible to get them to a typical grocery store. My guest Chris Chmiel knows more about them than just about anyone! Pawpaws have found their way into some small patches across northeast Ohio and even in some backyards. Mostly they grow in cooler climates, so the Midwest and Middle-eastern states are typically where these trees thrive. The fruit was important to indigenous Native American communities as well and they can be found near Ohio's Indian mounds. If you are lucky, you know where to find a pawpaw patch. You can grow them, but they take a while to establish and bear fruit. Pawpaws are delicious...that is if you can get your hands on them. But the Ohio Pawpaw Festival is a place where you can do that. Chris grows pawpaws, and processes the custard-like pulp so that people can purchase it to make products from beer to jam to ice cream. He also started the festival, so he really likes pawpaws! This podcast is supported by Chef Douglas Katz and the Katz group of restaurants and in partnership with Ohio Wines. *Here's another great piece on Ohio's pawpaws. If you want to see a video of me cutting into and eating a pawpaw, visit my CLE Foodcast Instagram story highlights.
September 15, 2022
Ep #56 Yum Village is the Place for Flavorful Fusion Food
Carasai Ihentuge has opened Yum Village to bring the flavors and foods of his homeland to us. An Afro-Caribbean fusion restaurant, Yum Village blends West African foods, particularly from Nigeria, with favorites from the Caribbean. Carasai attended John Carroll University and is attracted to the vibrant environment of college towns, so an opportunity to open a restaurant on the diverse campus of CSU was appealing. His brother is a chef in Detroit, his hometown, where the original concept was launched. Yum Village makes ordering easy - think a "Chipotle-style" bowl meal but with oxtail, curry goat, plantains and jollof rice. There's plenty for vegetarians too, and everything is non GMO, and all meat is halal-certified. It's mostly healthy, spicy and flavorful, and REALLY filling—especially if you order the fufu. (You'll have to listen!).
September 07, 2022
EP #55 Modern Farming in the Old-School Style with Mark Trapp
Mark Trapp isn't as well-known as his draft horses Doc and Dan and he's OK with that. On the surface, he's a quiet guy. But Mark has a lot to say about his approach to farming which is responsive to the current moment and also an homage to the old way of doing things. Mark's farm is in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and he lives there with his wife Emily and three children. This engineer-turned-farmer talks to me about what it is like to have a farm in full view of the public, why those animals seem to be grazing in new places every day, and how he feels confident in his abilities while, at the same time, realizing that there is so much he doesn't know. This episode is presented with support from Chef Douglas Katz and the Katz Group of Restaurants.
September 01, 2022
EP #54. Food is a Basic Human Right: Kristin Warzocha of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank
"Food is a basic human right and in a country like ours everyone could, and should, have access to it." Kristin Warzocha is the CEO of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank which has some huge developments happening in the next calendar year, including a move to a brand new, massive distribution center this fall. The needs of our community are great, and increasing, and Kristin shares how the food bank is rising to the challenge. In this episode we talk about the reasons for the increased demand, what kinds of people seek out the food bank services and when, and all of the different ways the staff at the food bank reach out and serve those experiencing food insecurity. It is my hope that you listen and commit to engage with the Greater Cleveland Foodbank this fall through volunteering, donating, or advocating.
August 17, 2022
EP #53 Revolutionary Food Engagement at Spice Field Kitchen, with Steve Baker
The moment you meet Steve Baker you know he was born to teach. He's the COO and lead educator at Spice Field Kitchen, the nonprofit arm of Spice Hospitality Group, the innovative company that brought us memorable and engaging concepts including Spice in Gordon Square, Keep The Change Kitchen, Plated Landscape dinners and, coming soon, Boom's Pizza. Owner Ben Bebenroth and his family live on Spice Acres in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and use this real life natural ecosystem to teach local agriculture to kids (and others) through Spice Field Kitchen, a 501(c)3 organization cultivating connection between nutrient-dense foods, sustainable agricultural practices and health and wellness. Steve creates engaging experiences with the land through immersive tours on the farm and in an outdoor classroom adjacent to a bountiful learning garden. Online, there are even more resources that educate and celebrate Ohio agriculture including Local Lessons for Growing Minds, an engaging curriculum to connect students with the source of healthy, nutrient-dense food. I talk to Steve about the farm tour experience, how kids react to immersion in nature and why lessons like this have huge impact the way kids think about their food choices.
August 09, 2022
EP #52 La Dolce Vita, Little Italy's Best Corner for 33 Years, with Terry Tarantino
Terry Tarantino loves tomatoes, cooking for people, and Cleveland. He's been running his Little Italy hotspot for 33 years and in that time he's seen the neighborhood change more than once. We talk about his love of the city, Italy and why he walks around his restaurant serving pasta out of a bowl. His tomato salad is legendary. His cacio e pepe is a favorite among loyal customers. I loved hearing about his early years and what he did before he decided to open a restaurant and why he always looks like he's boarding a flight for Miami. This guy is the real deal and it comes through in this episode.
July 27, 2022
EP #51 Ballpark Food with Chef Vishu Nath
A few years ago Vishu Nath was leading the kitchen at Urban Farmer, a restaurant concept at the snazzy new Westin Downtown Cleveland that was known for its local sourcing, quality steaks, to-die-for charcuterie and a killer brunch. Now, he leads the food service operations for Delaware North at Progressive Field where he's focused on providing variety and quality to 10,000 guests or more each game day and making sure the venue's special events, suites and team catering are running smoothly. He enjoys the change and really likes crafting some of the new ballpark food concepts that fans crave, like the popular BBQ pork and Mac and cheese waffle cone. We talk about some of the new foods this year and just how many hot dogs he has ordered so far and he hints to some of the things they are working to introduce next season. If you are a fan of ballpark food, I also share what some of America's other popular ballparks are serving their fans.
July 20, 2022
EP #50: Tracing Akron's Food History with Author Judy Orr James
Welcome to Season 3, Episode 50! I talk with Judy Orr James, author of the new book Akron Recipes, History and Traditions from Sauerkraut Balls to Sweet Potato Pie. Judy worked in the local history and genealogy department of the Akron Summit County Library for years and she also loves local food. Using her specialized research skills, Judy traced the origins of some of Akron's popular and beloved family recipes—the dishes found around family tables and at church potlucks—to the people who kept the traditions alive. In this conversation we learn about Akron's official food (the sauerkraut ball), why the Irish settled in Akron, the importance of Italian social clubs and learn how to make Mama Price's Cabbage. Lovers of local history, the evolution of foodways and delicious food representing an array of cultures will love the book and this interview. This episode is presented with support from the Haymaker Farmers' Market and Chef Douglas Katz.
July 14, 2022
EP #49 Live from the Haymaker Farmers' Market in Kent!
Thanks to my sponsor Haymaker Farmers' Market, I am taking the show on the road to some places outside of Cuyahoga County. I spent a morning at this wonderful market—going strong for 30 years in the vibrant, welcoming, local-food-loving community of Kent, Ohio. In this episode I talk to Lizette Royer Barton of Barton Farms and Gardens (also the board president) about the longevity of the market and how they work to be inclusive. Andrew Pernetti of Western Reserve Heritage Seed Co. talks about his mission to grow plants from heirloom seeds. Danielle Morgan of Brockett Family Farm (and guest Gidget) share insight into life on a family farm. And I speak to Megan Massoli of Wren Box Farm who gives us an idea of how she and her husband got their small farm off the ground. Special thanks to the team at Haymaker Farmers' Market and Chef Douglas Katz for supporting this episode.
June 29, 2022
Ep #48 Really (Really) Good Artisan Cider with Matt Vodraska of Bent Ladder Cider
I am taking you on my journey as I discover artisan, small-batch hard cider. Before this episode I would have told you how m much I dislike hard cider. But so many people told me I just had to try a locally-made cider, specifically those made by Madd Vodraska at Bent Ladder Cider in Doylestown. I was really impressed with the cider, but also Matt's dedication. I sampled a few varieties and checked out a smidgen of the heirloom apple orchards and now I understand why this is so different than mass-produced ciders on the store shelves. Cider has been made for centuries and little has changed. In its pure form, it is quite delicious and a great alternative for people who get headaches from wine, who feel too full from beer, or who have gluten intolerance issues. This episode is sponsored by Chef Douglas Katz and the Haymaker Farmers' Market in Kent, Ohio, which is celebrating 30 years!
June 21, 2022
Ep #47 Reimagining East Cleveland with chef, activist & visionary Ismail Samad.
Ismail Samad has returned home with a vision to reimagine the possibilities of his hometown, East Cleveland. He's cooked for the economic elite of Martha's Vineyard, featured in Bon Appetit (May, 2022), and launched several successful enterprises that reflect is passion for activism, equity and sustainability. Through his nonprofit organization, Loiter, he's creating new opportunities for economic self-sufficiency for East Cleveland residents through food enterprises and more. A closed-loop food systems expert, Ismail gained notoriety through development of The Gleanery, his restaurant in Putney, Vermont, that aimed to eliminate waste and improve economic opportunities for local farmers. He helped launch Daily Table, a nonprofit community grocery store model in the Boston area. And, Ismail worked for many well-known restaurants in Cleveland and beyond. In our conversation we talk about the opportunity he sees in East Cleveland, the full scope of Loiter and all of its projects, and his plans to open a restaurant. This podcast is supported by Chef Douglas Katz and Ohio Wines.
June 15, 2022
EP #46: Let's Talk about the James Beard Awards, The Oscars of the Food World
We live in a fantastic food town, so you've likely seen that many of our local chefs—Bruell, Umansky, Small and Vedaa to name a few—have been nominated for James Beard Awards. A few of them, Michael Symon and Jonathan Sawyer even won the coveted Best Chef-Great Lakes (though neither are still personally working out of the city). What are these awards? Who was James Beard? And what does winning one do for the profile of a chef? In this conversation with Dawn Padmore, VP of Awards, and Tanya Holland, an accomplished chef and the Chef/Chair of the JBF Foundation we heard about the mission of the organization and what it aims to do beyond recognizing chefs for their excellence. You may be surprised that they have many dimensions and work on issues, advocacy and furthering the opportunities for culinary pros in all stages of their careers. This episode is presented with support from Chef Douglas Katz and Ohio Wines.
June 08, 2022
EP #45 Finding Sérénité: Chef Todd Whitman's Journey to Recovery through Cooking
Chef Todd Whitman is a graduate of the Edwins Culinary Leadership Institute, a place where formerly incarcerated people can find a second chance through the culinary arts. Now, as executive chef at the French fine dining restaurant Serenite in Medina, he leads other men and women through a similar program in partnership with the Recovery Center of Medina County. Todd is candid about his experiences before he became clean and sober. He's hopeful that telling his story will help others know that second chances are in reach for everyone and the culinary field is a rewarding path to success. In his voice you will hear gratitude and enthusiasm for life that is inspiring to all of us. Located a short walk off the square in Medina, Ohio, Serenite is a restaurant serving classic French cuisine, staffed by courageous men and women who are on the path to self-improvement.
May 13, 2022
Ep #44 Caribbean Fusion Food at Jose Melendez' Twisted Taino
I was unfamiliar with the Taino people and culture before Twisted Taino came on the scene. But I am sure glad I made the inquiry because now I have a mofongo obsession, and there is so much more to discover. This cuisine blends foods of Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, Colombia and even has some African food origins. It's delicious, flavorful and full of brightness and it will transport you to warmer places, at least mentally! That said, like most indigenous foods with deep roots there is usually a darker side and this is no exception. (Here's a terrific article on the indigenous culture I recommend.) Oh, and it is pronounced Tie-EE-noh. Jose Melendez shares his personal journey through food, the deep connections he has to his native Puerto Rico, and walks us through some of the foods at Twisted Taino in this episode. I bet you learn something and I know you will want to try the food, or plan a Caribbean vacation. This episode is made possible with support from Chef Douglas Katz, Perfectly Imperfect Produce and Ohio Wines.
May 04, 2022
EP #43 Real Farm Talk with Kristyn & Kevin Henslee of Yellow House Cheese & Meats
Being a farmer isn't for the faint of heart—or anyone who wants to get lots of sleep or take vacations. The farm life never really stops and the work doesn't end. Like other food businesses, the pandemic also affected farms that supply restaurants and local markets, requiring shifts in thinking and process to stay afloat. Kristyn and Kevin started as a sheep dairy so they could produce their award-winning artisan cheeses. Now they raise other animals and run an online farmers market with other local family farms. There are lots of buzzwords, opinions and headlines about farming but in this episode we get the perspective of two people entrenched in the life they love. They raise animals that will eventually be on our plates and they take it very seriously. Kevin and Kristyn love sharing their farm life on social media (check out their Instagram @yellowhousecheese) and they're proud to be a small family farm. I'm especially thrilled to bring this episode to you during the 10th anniversary week of Yellow House Cheese & Meats. This episode if made possible though support from Chef Douglas Katz and Perfectly Imperfect Produce. CLE Foodcast is proud to be an Ohio Wines Ambassador.
April 27, 2022
EP #42 Doug Trattner—Breaking Northeast Ohio Restaurant News for 20 Years
Doug Trattner fell into food writing after a short career as a public defender and never imagined being the go-to guy for food news in Northeast Ohio. He's covered food for most major Ohio outlets, but is best known for being the super sleuth of restaurant news for Cleveland Scene and a collaborator on seven cookbooks with Chef Michael Symon. I loved talking about his unconventional start and reflecting on how the food biz has changed during the years he has covered it. During the first few months of the pandemic a Scene Magazine crowdfund campaign ensured he would be one of the first correspondents to come back to chronicle the unprecedented times. We've come to rely on Doug for breaking food news, his take on where we should be eating, and also some behind-the-scenes views of our beloved food community. We talk about all of Doug's interests, including Barb the RV and gardening, and he shares some things he's looking forward to this upcoming year. Follow him on Instagram for good food (and more) content you'll enjoy! SPONSORS: This podcast is made possible with support from Chef Douglas Katz, Perfectly Imperfect Produce and Ohio Wines.
April 14, 2022
EP #41 Talking Spices, Seasonings and Flavors with Ramat Wiley of Adun Spice Co.
Let's face it, you probably have loads of spices and seasonings around your kitchen and pantry. And, the bad news is...you are probably not treating them well at all. We ALL make the mistake of keeping spices too long, not using them to their fullest potential, and maybe taking shortcuts when we buy them. Adun Spice Co. founder Ramat Wiley is an expert on flavors and all things spices. She loves them...no she really, REALLY loves them. She wants us to love them too. We talk about Ramat's interest in spices and get lots of advice on using them in our own kitchens. Her store is a sensory experience and she is full of knowledge. I personally use several of her custom spice blends but I am also learning how to grind my own whole spices with confidence, thanks to Ramat. This episode is sponsored by Chef Doug Katz and the Katz group of restaurants and perfectly Imperfect Produce. Shoutout to Ohio Wines, who made me an Ohio Wines Ambassador, so I can share lots of things with you about this growing industry.
April 06, 2022
EP #40 Saucisson's Melissa Khoury is Pleased to Meat You
It was really special to sit down with Melissa Khoury, owner of Saucisson, almost five years to the day they opened their doors. To add to the fun, it is my 40th podcast episode, so we felt very celebratory! After founding the business with partner Penny Barend Tagliarina and making Cleveland craft food history as "The Lady Butchers" Penny wanted to be back in a kitchen and has moved on to greener (well, desert pastures) in Phoenix. Melissa is excited about the next evolution of her craft butcher shop. Saucisson has always been more than a place to buy meat. It is the heart and soul of thoughtful food and community engagement. We talk about why you should know where your meat comes from and why knowing a butcher is a real advantage. Melissa talks about the duo's decision to "break up" and go separate professional ways, and her experiences of being a female in this male-dominated business. This episode is sponsored by the Doug Katz family of restaurants and Perfectly Imperfect Produce.
March 30, 2022
EP #39 Passing the torch. A conversation with Zack Bruell and his son Julian about running successful restaurants.
I sat down with Zack Bruell and his son Julian who preside over two of the most awarded and notable restaurants in Cleveland. We already know that running successful restaurants is really hard, but I wondered how the father-son dynamic played into this...are the two adversaries or allies? How does one "pass the torch" and when is it time to do that? L'Albatros and Parallax have thrived for years and they made it through the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking with Zack and Julian, it's clear that they credit each other, and their unique strengths and skills, for making that happen. I spoke to them about the way the business has changed over the years, what it takes to run a restaurant that is "perfect," and how they miss a bit of the old days, when ladies and gentlemen had a different approach to dining out at a restaurant. We also talk about how both Zack and Julian developed their high standards, and the personal cost to running successful restaurants.
March 18, 2022
EP #38 Talking Tahini with Dana Harary of SoCo (Seeds of Collaboration)
Most of us know that tahini is an ingredient in hummus (houmous), the healthy snacking staple and cornerstone of Middle Eastern restaurant menus. It is the thick, creamy "butter" that provides the nutty quality to hummus, baba ganoush and more. It's been around for centuries, and its prevalent in the cuisine of many cultures. Dana Harary imports tahini, the kind she grew up with as a child in Israel, and she believes that few of us are using tahini to its full potential. In her house, tahini is an ingredient used multiple times a day...as a spread, an add-in to dishes, and even a topping to ice cream. It is plant-based, packed with nutrition, and more versatile than you probably ever imagine. Her tahini is used by Chef Douglas Katz at Zhug for his legendary hummus dishes. (Seriously, try all three of them.) After hearing about this tahini, I knew I had to try it and meet Dana. I learned so much about tahini, and I know you will think about it differently after listening to this episode! Learn more about them at eatsoco.com. There are currently three varieties Thanks for the Katz Group of restaurants and Nine Spoons Soup for sponsoring this episode.
March 09, 2022
EP 37: Salt, Small Plates, and Success: A Conversation with Jill Vedaa and Jessica Parkison
Everything tastes better with a little Salt. Your mind may have drifted to some Maldon or Pink Himalayan salt that's part of your cooking routine but I'm talking about Salt, the popular Lakewood restaurant that will soon celebrate a sixth anniversary. No small feat given the last couple of years. Chef Jill Vedaa, a 3X Beard Foundation Semifinalist for Best Chef-Great Lakes Region, and Jessica Parkison, a Level 1 Somm with life-long hospitality expertise, have created a cozy, small plates corner spot that is respected by industry insiders and enjoyed by all. We talk about drowning sorrows and fears in a bottle of tequila, creating a workplace built on respect and community, and the origins of their partnership. The duo also talks with me about being women in a male-dominated industry and they way they're working to change restaurant culture for themselves and their staff.
March 02, 2022
February 18, 2022
February 18, 2022
EP #36 Building a Social Enterprise, with Evan Delahanty of Peaceful Fruits
This episode is the closest thing to "How I Built This with Guy Raz" I'll probably ever get. I sat down with Evan Delahanty of Peaceful Fruits, a Barberton-based company making delicious whole fruit snacks he calls "candy for a new generation." After a two-year Peace Corps assignment in Suriname (that's in South America, guys) he started to think a lot about creating a business that reflected his passion for culture, sustainability and inclusion. There are many dimensions to Peaceful Fruits...and he shares them with us, including his Shark Tank appearance. This conversation is a good one for anyone thinking of entrepreneurship. It's full of honest talk and good lessons that will help any budding enrtrepreneur who expects the path to be easy or linear. We talk about candy, not knowing what to do with your life and how we all want to make the world a better place. Thanks to my sponsors Chef Douglas Katz and the Katz Group of Restaurants, Zhug, Chimi and Amba. And, Nine Spoons Soup, a local company making delicious soups from a grandmother's recipes.
February 16, 2022
EP #35 Kurent Events in Cleveland. Cleveland Kurentovanje Celebrates Slovenian Culture + Food
Cleveland is home to a large population of people with Slovenian Heritage and the place to learn more about this culture is at Cleveland Kurentovanje, an annual festival in the Superior-St. Clair neighborhood. Kurentovanje is sometimes called Slovenian Mardi Gras. It celebrates the coming end of a long winter and the arrival of Lent and springtime with food, drink, parades and the arrival of the Kurenti, mythical creatures who scare away winter with elaborate costumes and noise-making. We take a deep dive into this event with two organizers of the festival. Nicole Kusold-Matheo and Kathryn Zitko share the details of the 10th annual event, it's origins in Ptuj, Slovenia, and recount memories of their grandparents and the traditions of their culture. We also talk about places where you can find Slovenian food and wines, how the resourcefulness of the Slovenian immigrants is coming back into our collective consciousness, and why we should all be making "lucky soup." The Cleveland Kurentovanje takes place Feb. 26 and also offers a week of online events. Learn more at clevelandkurentovanje.com.
February 12, 2022
EP #34 Artisan Producer Michael Januska's Perfect Pairing
Everyone knows that cheese and mustard go together. So it made perfect sense for artisan cheese purveyor Michael Januska to develop a product line of mustards to go with his curated collection of cheeses. Since opening Old Brooklyn Cheese in 2016 he's made a number of pivots and changes to manage his business through the pandemic and to grow it for the future. I talked to Michael at his Old Brooklyn location about his recent (his 4th) Good Food Award, how he changed his focus from making cheese to affinage, which means aging and finishing cheeses, and how he started making mustards, including the famous "Cleveland Caviar" whole grain mustard that Michael Symon loves. Just as we posted this episode, Michael started making his mustards available on tap!
February 01, 2022
EP #33 Tripping through the Wonderlab with Kirsten and Karl Sutaria, Creators of Doozy Pots Plant-based Gelato
Fun to say, delicious to eat. Meet the husband and wife team behind Doozy Pots, a revolutionary plant-based gelato. Kirsten parlayed her food science and product development background into her own venture with Karl, an attorney. Growing up, Kirsten lived near the Vermont-based Ben & Jerry's and eventually worked for them and parent company, Unilever. Together they developed a delicious, creamy ice cream-like dessert right here in Cleveland Ohio, in the secret lair of their Wonderlab. Now, their product is finding its way into grocery stores locally and on the west coast. I talk to the duo about how Doozy Pots came to fruition, what it is like to taste test many iterations of a product and why they are committed to plant-based product development and eating. You've got to get to know Kirsten and Karl as they make huge waves in the industry— even recognized as the best dessert/confectionary by the World Plant Based Food Awards! And, we find out about that crazy, whimsical name!
January 20, 2022
EP #32 Have an Unwavering Belief in Yourself: Chef April Thompson's Secret to Success
I seriously thought about calling this episode "Chef April Thompson Kicks Ass." While that is 100% true, it still wouldn't capture the entirety of her drive and personality. April reveals the unconventional approach that got her a start in the business of becoming a personal chef to athletes (and some other famous people). She's much more than a cook...she is a partner in the nutritional health and well-being of elite athletes. She learned early on to work hard, to rely on herself, and to always believe in her worth. While her professional trajectory is interesting, it was her joie de vivre that captured my attention. April works hard, plays hard and relaxes hard. We talk about her company, Wild Thymez, her intense work ethic and how she developed her self-confidence. Listen up and I guarantee you’ll learn something! SPONSORS: CLE Foodcast is made possible by Chef Douglas Katz. This episode is sponsored by Perfectly Imperfect Produce.
January 12, 2022
EP #31 The Happy Dog—More than a Corner Bar— with Sean Watterson
So many of us have visited the Happy Dog to catch a local band or to grab a basket of tots and one of their signature hot dogs (which you can get with dozens of different toppings from ketchup to kimchi). The classic throwback tavern revived in 2008 by by Sean Watterson and his best pal Sean Kilbane really is more than a bar. It's a nostalgic homage to Cleveland's history, a crossroads of culture and class, a haven for indie music and, when the City Club bell rings, a place where big, important ideas are exchanged. This humble place that serves hot dogs, shots and beers has been covered by The New York Times more than once, and is on every tourist's "must do" list. This episode isn't so much about food (stick with me here) but here in the rock and roll city, food and music are intertwined at places like the Happy Dog. Though shuttered for 15 months, a lot was going on behind the scenes. Watterson shares his pivotal role in the Save our Stages movement and we retrace the origins of The Happy Dog we know and love today. With appreciation to Chef Douglas Katz and Perfectly Imperfect Produce for support. Visit perfectlyimperfectproduce.com to save 20% off your order with CLEFOODCAST.
January 05, 2022
EP #30 Looking back at 2021 with some NEO Foodies
Cheers to the end of 2021! I gathered two members of the administration team behind the monster Facebook group NEO Foodies to look back at the year in food. Join us for a casual chat, recorded at Zhug in Cleveland Heights, and you'll learn about the origins of the group and what they aim to offer our local food community, and we'll share our thoughts on how 2021 changed the food scene. I also ask Kay Ryan Dale and Missy Schroeder what its like to manage a group with 13 thousand members. Also discussed in this episode— closures, new openings, pivots and shifts of some well known food businesses, how we changed our ideas about dining out, and more. SPONSORS: CLE Foodcast is made possible by Chef Douglas Katz. This episode is sponsored by Perfectly Imperfect Produce.
December 30, 2021
EP #29 Lidia's Living Room: Growing up at Rudy's Strudel with Lidia Trempe
It seems like everyone knows about Rudy's Strudel. From Fat Tuesday and Dyngus Day parties to LeBron James pierogis, this 3rd generation bakery is the vibrant heartbeat of Polish Village. Under Lidia Trempe's ownership, Rudy's has honored its immigrant roots and adapted to the times, and it has also weathered its share of storms. I spent the morning watching Lidia and her team work, hearing her seamlessly transition from Ukranian to English (with a little Polish mixed in) as customers come into her "living room," the place where she and her brother grew up and where she learned the craft of European bakery items. Lidia says it is a "privilege" to be part of her customers' lives— the happy moments and the sad ones too. In this episode we talk about the weight of her role in her family and her community, her holiday memories, and what she hopes for her own kids.
December 15, 2021
EP #28 Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Olive Oil, with Jennifer Thornton
Jennifer Thornton just returned from France where she hung out with a woman known as the "Queen of Olive Oil," who happens to be a friends of hers. She has been a friend of mine for a while, but even I had no idea about the depth of her olive oil knowledge until now! Jennifer is known locally as the creator and owner of Buttercream & Olive Oil, a culinary company that is dedicated to using local, seasonal, and organic ingredients, with a particular affinity for French foods and cooking style and all kinds of things she learned while living in Paris and the South of France over five years. She's known for classes on French macarons, pastries and croissants but it is her Olive Oil Discovery class that piqued my interest in talking with her. When in France she spent time harvesting olives and learned about how pure French olive oil was made. Then she traveled Europe as an olive oil judge! We talk about this exquisite ingredient and all of the things we should know as consumers. We also get a little science-y...but I promise, you will love it! Learn more about Jennifer at Buttercream & Olive Oil and give her social channels a follow.
December 02, 2021
EP 27 Talking Holiday Local Love with Special Guests
Tis the season to buy. And buy. And buy. Right about now you are running around getting last minute meal preparations ready and checking gifts off your list. With a economy still in recovery and millions of dollars of imported stuff stuck on container ships, we wanted to have a light and useful conversation on local gifting. I invited Pat Bennett of Pat's Granola, and Jennine Kessler of the CLE Market to join me to talk about what it is like to be a local maker right now, and to share some gift ideas for this holiday season that are made right here. We share some things we love, places where you can find unique local items, and we also talk about why giving experiences might be the best option of all. This is more of a conversation among friends than one of my typical interviews. Best enjoyed while you are chopping up onions and celery for stuffing or sitting in the massive line at the drive thru to get your jumbo iced coffee.
November 23, 2021
EP #26 Challah-day Happiness with Meghann Hennen
Fueled by a feeling of disconnectedness, Meghann Hennen filled empty time by baking challah bread for virtual Shabbat during the pandemic. A preschool teacher, dancer, and artist, Meg really missed being with people, especially as she celebrated her faith. Through trial and error, Meghann developed a real talent for making challah though she had never baked before. Soon, she was baking close to 30 loaves each week for a growing number of fans, many of whom found her via social media. Using social media, Meg chronicles her challah-making and showcases her most interesting varieties—from "everything" to pizza, to lemon curd and tomato balsamic. In our talk, Meg shares how all of her interests braid together, much like the braids in a loaf of challah. Listeners will be inspired by Meg's curiosity, her generous spirit, and her enthusiasm for just about everything. Order one of her delicious loaves at Challah@Meg.
November 18, 2021
EP #25 The Cheerful Resilience of Chef Douglas Katz
Chef Douglas Katz is a nice guy. Everyone says so. And, honestly, it's true. What you will hear in this conversation is that Doug cares about people just as much as he does about the food he serves in his ever-evolving portfolio of restaurants. Doug was a high school theatre geek who has always enjoyed cooking—he even catered events with his friends! He's always thrived being part of a team and orchestrating experiences for others to enjoy. Now he draws on his many interests, including extensive world travel, to create exciting menus and environments in his restaurants. In this conversation, we FINALLY learn how to pronounce Zhug, and hear how Doug has developed the interesting menus at his restaurants, how he's shown resilience in the face of change, and what we can expect from his next new restaurant, Amba. We talk about Covid (just a little), dive into Doug's multipotentialite tendencies (listen to this great Ted Talk on it), and what he thinks about cultural appropriation in the culinary field. Heard in this episode: Seeds of Collaboration tahini, #EatforCLE, Billy Ritter pottery. More about Douglas Katz restaurants at ChefDouglasKatz.com.
November 03, 2021
EP #24: If You Biscuit, They Will Come; Shawnda Moye Builds a Biscuit Empire
Shawnda Moye thought Cleveland needed a place to get really good biscuits. So, she did what she had to do. She traveled the South sampling all kinds of biscuits. She worked part time in bakeries and cafes, even after a full day of work in her day job, and she apprenticed with local business owners she admired. Now, Shawnda's successful pop up venture, The Roaming Biscuit, has a bona fide home base. She opened The Bake Shop & Cafe in a stately old building repurposed as Tyler Village, an innovative maker community. Before the episode I finally had the first of Shawnda's biscuits and it won't be my last. We talk about her journey as an entrepreneur, the qualities of a good biscuit, and we even get some breaking biscuit news about what Shawnda and her team of biscuit slingers are doing next. Follow both The Roaming Biscuit and The Bake Shop & Cafe on Instagram for pop up and other information.
October 26, 2021
EP #23: Building a Hospitality Company that's Hospitable to Employees, with Scott Kuhn and Chris Hodgson
Scott Kuhn and Chris Hodgson worked diligently to protect and maintain their company, The Driftwood Group, through the challenges of the last 12 months. Navigating through great uncertainty didn't stop them from planning for the future, in fact, the duo made the bold move to purchase Landerhaven, one of Northeast Ohio's premier event venues, making them one of the area's largest hospitality employers. The pair recently announced that they are looking to hire 450 employees over the next few months, but they also shared their vision to build a hospitality company that's reflective of the times. Scott and Chris have redoubled their commitment to employee satisfaction and living wages, and also mental health support, child care assistance, flexibility and on-the-job training. I caught up with the team in person from Landerhaven and we spoke about how their own experiences in the industry informed their current vision, why it's a good time to take a leap into the culinary and hospitality field, and why their business partnership works so well.
October 13, 2021
EP #22 Talking Meat & More with Trevor Clatterbuck
For this episode I took the show on the road to Ohio City Provisions, an all-local food store on Cleveland's near west side. Sitting within a few feet of the store's meat counter, with the in-house butchery in view, I spoke to Trevor Clatterbuck, the CWRU student who became a businessman, and then a self-taught farmer. He oversees Ohio City Provisions, the Fresh Fork Market farm buying club, and also runs Wholesome Valley Farm, about 75 miles away in Holmes County. We talk about how all of these entities work together, his interesting relationship with Amish farmers, the real costs of good food. Our conversation also covers sustainable and humane meat production. Please be aware, that this episode discusses "the circle of life" of a farmer who touches every aspect of his animals' lives. It is an episode which illuminates the connection between the food on our plates and its origins and why that matters.
September 29, 2021
EP #21: Let's Eat Ugly Food Together, A Conversation with Ashley Weingart
Every year, more than 1 billion pounds of food is wasted in the United States. In this episode, I speak with Ashley Weingart, the founder of Perfectly Imperfect Produce, a Northeast Ohio company that is rescuing produce from a variety of sources and giving it a second life in the form of home delivery boxes. The company also makes substantial donations to the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland. Call it what you want...ugly food, surplus or Grade B. It might look a little tired, or rough around the edges, but it is entirely edible. Order from Perfectly Imperfect Produce and might find yourself with unexpectedly perfect Ohio blueberries, amusing two-legged carrots or a batch of knobby potatoes. Or you could score the first whole pineapple you've ever cut into. Just like you can't judge a book by its cover or wine by its label (I might debate that point), you shouldn't judge your produce by the skin it's in.
September 22, 2021
EP #20: An Apple a Day, Every Day, for Ben Gammie of Quarry Hill Orchards
For my 20th episode and the start of a new season, CLE Foodcast took a road trip to Quarry Hill Orchards to interview third-generation fruit farmer Ben Gammie. Quarry Hill Orchards grows cherries, peaches, grapes and some might say Ohio's best apples. Ben knows a lot about apples—he grows 52 varieties. He's now board president of Ohio Apples, a statewide organization supporting independent apple growers. In this episode, recorded in the upper loft of their new Market Barn, Ben and I taste some apple varieties while talking farm dogs, family life on the farm and how farmers can use marketing and messaging to attract customers interested in local food and agritourism. If you love fall, and apples, you will enjoy hearing us crunch our way through a conversation!
September 15, 2021
EP #19: Restaurants Rebounding—How to be a Good Customer with Jen Picciano
Restaurants are still in recovery mode. Staff shortages, supply chain issues, rising costs and the emergence of new virus strain have created additional uncertainty. And just when we were all vaccinated and "going back to normal." I invited Jen Picciano, a broadcast journalist who covers the food and dining industry, to join me for a conversation on the state of restaurants. As food fans who know owners, chefs, servers and bartenders personally, we have a candid conversation about our own experiences, seasoned with input from people in the business. Our aim is to shed light on what's really going on and how enthusiastic diners can navigate the current situation. What should customers expect of their favorite restaurants? How can we be prepared for a few bumps in the road, like slow service or limited menus? And, as enthusiastic and supportive diners, how can we show compassion and restraint when something goes wrong?
August 27, 2021
EP #18: Garlic Love with Emma Visnic and Thaxton's Organic Garlic
Garlic is ubiquitous. Its spicy, pungent, and umami-stimulating qualities make it a versatile ingredient that can be used in everything from chicken soup to marinara sauce to stir-fry. So when the North Union Farmers Market team wanted to create a fundraiser festival around food, garlic was an easy choice. Now the Cleveland Garlic Festival opens for the 12th year with a full on smelly celebration of the vegetable (a member of the allium family). Fred and Chris Thaxton, or Thaxton's Organic Garlic have been at every festival. Former science teachers, they gave up careers in education for the hard work of planting and harvesting more than 20,000 garlic plants. Their garlic has taken them around the country and is used by many local chefs.
August 26, 2021
EP #17 - Old Germans and Midnight Snacks. Talkin' bout and Tasting Tomatoes at Countryside Farm Market
I did something crazy. I recorded a podcast live at the Countryside Farmers Market, one of my favorite places to buy seasonal, local produce. Podcast purists, you've been warned, this episode won't sound the same. You'll hear chefs talking. Kids screaming. Chris Miller singing and strumming his guitar. You'll catch a bit of train whistle too. It's doesn't sound perfect. But it was a perfect summer Saturday for the annual Tomato Tasting at the market. I talk tomatoes with Mindy Bartholomae, a retired farmer and longtime market vendor, who knows a lot about growing tomatoes. I also caught up with with Chef Vinnie Cimino in between food demos. With a name like that I was pretty sure he knew his way around a tomato.
August 18, 2021
EP #16: Grape Strides for Ohio's Wine Industry
Ohio wines are having a moment. There are now almost 400 wineries in the state. In fact, I learned that no matter where you are in Ohio you are only 30 minutes away from a winery. Christy Eckstein knows Ohio's Wine Industry from the inside out – from the farm to the table and grape to glass. As executive director of the Ohio Grape Industries Committee, she as her eye on the booming business of Ohio wines. Tony Kosicek is a third generation grape farmer and the owner of Kosicek Vineyards in Geneva, Ohio, where he is making some award-winning wines and creating a destination winery people enjoy year-round. Coastal Ohio was originally a stronghold for Welch's (yep, the jelly people) but over time farmers and wine enthusiasts realized that the state's terroir would work for some vinifera grapes, the kind that make European-style wines. Now, there are wines for every palate made here in Ohio at wineries that draw visitors in every season. For information on Kosicek Vineyards and other Ohio wines and wineries check out FindOhioWines.com.
August 12, 2021
EP #15: Pig Tales and Permaculture at PurpleBrown Farmstead—A Conversation with Sasha Miller
Sasha and Jimmy Miller were not raised on farms and they did not have much practical experience before they purchased an old farmstead within the boundaries of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Armed with an audacious vision and self-taught knowledge, in just five years they have transformed the land into a bountiful permaculture farm where they run a CSA program and farm store, raise chickens, ducks and pigs (and a couple of boys), and grow a variety of fruits and vegetables. As the Millers prepare to expand the farm in a new way, I talk to Sasha about growing a successful farm from scratch, how a farmstead like hers can impact a community through engagement and education, and why our choice to "buy local" matters. Hint: We also talk about chasing down loose pigs.
August 04, 2021
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.
July 28, 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.
July 21, 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.
July 13, 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.
July 07, 2021
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.
June 30, 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.
June 23, 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.
June 16, 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.
June 08, 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.
June 03, 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.
June 02, 2021
EP #5 Ohio Festivals—Melons, Pumpkins, Zucchini and Testicles (now do I have your attention?)
Kristian Campana has been blogging about festivals for more than a decade, attending more than 500 community festivals, fairs, and events both large and small. As we head into Memorial Weekend 2021 I talk to Kristian about his hobby and some of the festivals that have announced plans to return this year. We also talk about how festivals here in America compare to those in other countries, the difference between a festival and a fair, and some must-try food at festivals around the area. Kristian maintains the website ohiofestivals.net which is a one-stop place to look up area festivals. Your favorite one is probably on there. Mentioned in this episode: Berea National Rib Cook Off, Columbus Italian Festival, Circleville Pumpkin Festival, Milan Melon Festival, Chardon Zucchini Festival, Harrod Pork Rind Festival, Lorain International Festival, Tiro Testicle Festival, St. Joseph Ox Roast Fair. While Memorial Day weekend is often considered the unofficial start of summer, may we all remember the reason for Memorial Day and pay homage to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country and our freedoms.
May 26, 2021
EP #4 Local is Relative: A Photographer's RV Journey Across the U.S.
Does Akron have the best burgers in the country? Listen to find out! Prompted by COVID-induced job uncertainty and the prospect of homeschooling two kids, Akron Ohio-based photographer Shane Wynn embarked on a journey of a lifetime. Shane, her husband filmmaker Josh Gippin, and their children Amelia and Malcom, left Akron in September of 2020 to travel the country exploring the food, culture and lifestyles of Americans from Maine to Malibu. Shane is an award-winning photographer who can take fabulous pictures of anything, but she enjoys shooting interesting local food and illuminating social justice issues that depict underrepresented or misunderstood communities. In this interview we capture just a sliver of her adventures and talk trailer life, cooking and eating local on the road, and interesting places they've set up camp like fairgrounds, an alpaca farm, and an RV park in Malibu with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Read more about the family's experiences and see some of Shane's travel photos in Akron Life or on Shane's two Instagram accounts. @Shane_anne_igans and @ShaneWynnPhotography. Mentioned in this episode: PawPaw Festival, Swenson's, Barberton Chicken, Mystic Pizza, In-N-Out Burger, Shane Wynn Photography, Joshua Tree Productions, Louie's Bar and Grill, Where The Wynns Take You on Patreon. Shane and I share a love for messy burgers, loud laughing and seeing the good in people. If I could have squeezed into her 21-ft trailer to go along for the ride, I would have. But, like you, I'll just have to wait for the upcoming docuseries and other projects that will develop from this life-changing adventure.
May 18, 2021
EP #3 The Little Deli that Could: Jeremy Umansky's Larder
In this episode I talk to Jeremy Umansky, chef and owner of Larder, about how he and his partners, Kenny Scott and Allie LaValle-Umansky managed to steward their popular neighborhood deli through the uncertainty of the past year. The tight-knit team had unknowingly created a model that was able to adapt quickly to the take-out environment and thrive while other concepts struggled. In just a few short years Larder has proved mighty for its size, drawing national attention from national media like Food & Wine and Eater, and two James Beard Award nominations. It is also a must stop for visiting culinary royalty like Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller (he's got the pics to prove it). Jeremy is a renown foraging and fermenting expert who has co-written a book on koji, the foundational technique behind his mouthwatering pastrami. Outside of the kitchen Jeremy uses his voice and keyboard to share and promote things he cares about. While you are likely to find him writing about why you should fry latkes in schmalz or how to safely forage mushrooms he has also written candidly about his journey to sobriety. We talked about making hard decisions, how the recent months both helped and hurt those struggling with addiction, and the kind of chef Jeremy wants to be. Mentioned in this episode: koji, pastrami, Rising Star Coffee, Saucy Brew Works. Please give CLE Foodcast a follow on Facebook and Instagram where we'll be sharing more food content and alerting you to new episodes.
May 11, 2021
EP #2 From Pigs to Pints: Penny Barend Tagliarina Changes Course
For a lot of us, 2020 was a year of introspection and course correction. While we probably won't look back on the year with great fondness, it's fair to say that once the initial shock wore off, COVID-19 ushered in a strange and sudden opportunity to rest, think and evaluate. Early this year, Penny Barend Tagliarina stepped away from Saucisson, the successful butcher shop she and partner Melissa Khoury founded. The lauded "Lady Butchers" will forever by synonymous with artisanal meats and whole animal butchery, Beard House dinners, Food Network competitions and a kicking off a neighborhood revival. Melissa continues to carry on the stellar reputation of the shop. Today, Penny is the director of culinary operations for Terrestrial Brewing Co. where she steps back into the kitchen to do something she missed—cooking for people. Right now she's launched a creative weekend brunch with more menu offerings and collaborations to come. Terrestrial Brewing, located in Battery Park, is known for a spectacular dog-friendly patio and innovative brews. Penny talks about how she kept busy when things shut down, how Saucisson was able to pivot, survive and thrive, and what she hopes to create at Terrestrial this summer. Give Terrestrial Brewing a follow on Instagram. Mentioned in this episode: Countryside Farm Market, The Chef's Garden, Saucisson, Perfectly Imperfect, Yellow House Cheese.
May 11, 2021
EP #1 Past the Pandemic: A Conversation with Crystal of Eat*Drink*Cleveland
Listen in as I ease in to my first podcast episode with my friend Crystal Angersola, the person behind the popular blog Eat, Drink, Cleveland. I met Crystal a decade ago when she attended a blogger event I was hosting and we immediately forged a friendship over our shared interests of food and travel. We talk about how we navigated the past year—particularly how we both tried to support local food businesses amidst all of the restrictions. We're discussing our favorite restaurants and chefs and how they coped with the pandemic, restaurants that shuttered, and those that reinvented in the name of survival. Other topics of note...takeout, pandemic food hacks and shortcuts, places and things we missed, and what we're looking forward to in the coming months. Find more about Crystal and follow her food & travel adventures on Instagram. Mentioned in this episode: Chef Douglas Katz, Chef Michael Nowak, Sauce the City Food Hall, Black Box Fix, Cloak & Dagger, Keep the Change Kitchen Collective, The Ohio Grape Industries Committee, M Cellars and Laurentia. Follow CLE Foodcast on Facebook and Instagram where I'll post good stuff you want to know about and alert you to future episodes.
May 11, 2021
TRAILER: CLE Foodcast Introduction
CLE Foodcast serves up food conversation with the people growing, cooking and sharing food here in Northeast Ohio and beyond. We start where the pretty instagram picture ends, digging deeper and getting to know members of our food community through their own words. Each Wednesday (or Thursday) we release a conversation with the people making delicious things happen and we're talking about important issues affecting our food ecosystem. We're on your favorite podcast app. Join me!
April 16, 2021