Life, Death & Dinner
By Liza Schoenfein
Liza Schoenfein asks chefs and other food-passionate professionals what it is in their histories that most motivated them to do what they do in the food world.
Michael Solomonov—James Beard Award-winning chef
The acclaimed Israeli-born chef talks about his newest Philadelphia restaurant, Laser Wolf, and the intense, exciting, and sometimes painful path he followed to get where he is today.
April 15, 2020
Clay Restaurant's Gustavo Lopez, Andrea Needell Matteliano, Gabriela Davogustto
Clay is a beautiful, bustling neighborhood restaurant in Central Harlem with an innovative new-American, farm-to-table menu. Its chef, Gustavo Lopez, co-owns the place with his wife, Gabriela Davogustto, the restaurant's wine director, and Andrea Needell Matteliano, who is manager and bar director. Everything from the food to the beverages to the ambience reflect a carefully conceived vision and philosophy. The trio discusses how they developed and nurtured that vision to open Clay, how they function so well as a team, what most motivated each of them, and how they’re dealing with the restaurant's temporary closure during the coronavirus crisis.
April 05, 2020
Monica Von Thun Calderòn — Grandaisy Bakery
Monica Von Thun Calderòn opened Grandaisy Bakery with the mission of preserving the art of handcrafted bread and a commitment to hiring and nurturing the careers of a diverse staff from around the world. A week after laying off most of her precious team due to the Coronavirus, Monica discussed how she's adapting to the new reality and what she's doing to keep her business alive, while looking back at what motivated her to open Grandaisy with a business model built on investing in the people she employs.
March 30, 2020
Lauren Lynch — Opening Bars, and Closing During Corona
Lauren Lynch is co-owner of three popular bars in the Hamilton Heights section of Harlem. Two days after the city of New York ordered restaurants and bars to shut their doors, Lauren discussed what motivated her to open her pubs — and talked about how she's responding to the Corona-virus crisis, trying to meet the needs of her staff and her customers and keep her businesses alive.
March 21, 2020
Chef Ivan Orkin — From Lifelong Outsider to Respected Ramen Chef
Ivan Orkin is the chef and owner of two popular ramen restaurants in New York: Ivan Ramen and Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop. His first cookbook, "Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes From Toyko’s Most Unlikely Noodle Joint," told the very dramatic story of how a Jewish troublemaker from Long Island managed to become a respected ramen chef in Japan. He's just released a second book, "The Gaijin Cookbook: Japanese Recipes From a Chef, Father, Eater, and Lifelong Outsider." This one is all about Japanese home cooking — the stuff he makes for his wife and kids. I sat down with the chef on a rainy afternoon to talk about his new book, his delicious food, and his rather extraordinary life. Sound editing by Rex Jannot.
December 13, 2019
Adeena Sussman — The Flavors of Her Israeli Kitchen
Adeena Sussman's new cookbook, "Sababa" is a beautiful reflection of her new life in Israel. But what is "Sababa" — and what does the book and its delicious recipes have to say about a transplanted American's experience of a complex country, its food, and its people? Sound editing by Rex Jannot.
December 06, 2019
Chelsea Miller — A Badass Knife Chick in Brooklyn
Knife maker Chelsea Miller was raised in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, and lives and works in Brooklyn. Chelsea didn't come to New York to make knives; she came to be an actor. So how and why did she end up in a workshop containing heavy-duty machinery wearing thick gloves and goggles, and working with fire and power tools, steel and wood? That’s what we’re here to find out. Sound editing by Rex Jannot.
November 30, 2019