Journalist Michael Ruhlman, author of The Soul of a Chef, takes us behind the scenes of the Culinary Institute of America's grueling Certified Master Chef exam. It's the Iron Man challenge of the food world and not for the faint of heart.
Jay McInerney, the acerbically witty author of that blockbuster novel of sin and debauchery, Bright Lights, Big City, has turned his considerable talents to the subject of wine. An unabashed oenophile who calls himself a "grape nut," Jay's irreverent wine columns for House & Garden magazine have been culled for his latest book, Bacchus & Me. Fasten your seat belts and tune in for a serendipitous and highly-informed romp through the world of wine.
It's our annual holiday show, and we've assembled a team of experts on cooking, entertaining, and gift giving. Sally Schneider, author of A New Way to Cook, has entertaining wrapped up with three easy menus and recipes guaranteed to wow your guests. Sally's food tastes great, it's stylish, it's healthy—it's how we want to eat now.
Diana Kennedy, the British woman who introduced America to authentic Mexican cooking and started our love affair with the chile pepper, joins us this week to share the Mexico she knows so well. Diana's latest book,The Essential Cuisines of Mexico, is a treasure. So is her recipe for tortillas filled with mushrooms Empanadas De Hongos.
It's our annual Thanksgiving show and we're celebrating with one of America's most beloved authors: poet, novelist, and screenwriter Jim Harrison. You may remember him from Legends of the Fall. We'll be talking with Jim about food and its role in our lives, a subject he covers with passion and wit in his book, The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand.
This week we'll meet the family responsible for the modern-day espresso machine. Dr. Ernesto Illy, head of the family's coffee dynasty in Italy, explains Italy's coffee culture and tells us what a really fine cup of espresso should taste like.
We're traveling and eating in Spain this week with journalist Anya Von Bremzen. Anya says Spain is the most exciting place in Europe to eat these days. The chefs there are rethinking the very foundations of food and a culinary revolution is happening. Along the way we'll stop off in Bilbao to visit the new Guggenheim Museum, the site of an architectural revolution.
This week we meet Bob Giraldi, producer and director of the new film Dinner Rush. This movie, about a night in a happening New York City restaurant of the moment, captures the frantic trendiness and atrocious pressure that drives so many places these days. It's no warm and fuzzy Babette's Feast. Bob leaves us with his mother Minnie's recipe for Baked Ziti with Ricotta, perfect for Sunday dinner.
This week it's high drama and intrigue from the candy aisle as our guest, Joel Glenn Brenner, former Washington Post reporter and author of The Emperors of Chocolate, takes us into the highly secretive and cutthroat world of America's corporate candy giants, Mars, Inc. and Hershey Foods. It's a revealing expose that may leave you looking at Kit-Kat's and M & M's in a different light.
Do you ever wonder whom Lynne, Julia Child, and other pros in the food business turn to when they're stumped with a culinary question? They call our guest, food scientist Shirley Corriher, author of CookWise. Shirley's unique ability to translate complex food chemistry into simple language, combined with her natural warmth and sense of humor, make her a favorite with our listeners. Try her wonderful recipe for Mixed Greens with Walnuts—it's no ordinary salad.
We say, forget martinis—what we want now is a summery American vermouth, perfectly chilled, straight up and just right for lazy-day sipping. California winemaker Andrew Quady, one of the country's vermouth pioneers, introduces us to Vya Extra-Dry Vermouth, a fresh and vibrant wine, delicious solo or paired with spicy-sweet foods.
It's a bargain hunter's guide to the Napa Valley wine country this week with valley insider Antonia Allegra, author of Napa Valley: The Ultimate Winery Guide. Antonia assures us we don't have to cash in the IRA and take out a bank loan to visit this pricey destination. She takes us where the locals go for superb budget dining, to a winery offering free classes, and shares her sources for good wines at reasonable prices. Would you believe bottles for less than $7? Tune in and we'll tell you where to find them.
If you know the food scene in Washington State, you know about the wildly popular Herbfarm Restaurant. You also know that getting a reservation there is all about the luck of the draw. They open their phone lines only twice a year for bookings and within hours every space for the next six months is filled! The reason is executive chef Jerry Traunfeld's cooking. Chef Traunfeld, author of The Herbfarm Cookbook, unveils some new tricks for getting maximum flavor from herbs and flowers, some of which you've probably never heard of. His recipe for Lemon Verbena Sorbet showcases the herbal spin this talented chef gives his food.
The hot chef of the moment, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, tells us how he got there, while Chef Anthony Bourdain has tales of horrors in the restaurant kitchen (DON'T ORDER FISH ON MONDAYS!). The Sterns are tracking down stuffed quahogs, tea merchant Bill Waddington talks iced tea, and cheesemonger Steve Jenkins takes us back to France for one of his all-time favorites—gaparon.
Americans are crazy for olive oil. It's had a major impact on our cooking, but buying and enjoying it can be complex and confusing. Why does one bottle cost $6 while another costs $60? Peggy Knickerbocker, author of Olive Oil: From Tree to Table, has traveled the Mediterranean researching how olive oil is made and what makes a quality oil. She answers that question and more, names her favorite California oils, and gives us her recipe for Tattooed Potatoes With Rosemary.
We're visiting the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to hear about the kitchen of the future coming from the scientists working on the Counter Intelligence Project. Are you ready for talking oven mitts that tell you when the roast is done, a kitchen counter that keeps track of your favorite recipes, or a coffee maker that knows you like extra milk in your latte?
We're going way beyond burgers and brats on the barbie this week with grilling guru Steven Raichlen, author of Barbecue! Bible Sauces, Rubs and Marinades, Bastes, Butters & Glazes. Steve roamed five continents to bring a global perspective to the flavor boosting recipes in his latest work. His Korean Barbecue Sauce is just one tasty example.
We're traveling this week and food, of course, is the highlight. Richard Sterling, author of the Vietnam and Spain guides for the new Lonely Planet World Food series, stops by with tales from a Saigon restaurant and advice on choosing a guidebook.
Mexican food authority and TV chef Rick Bayless, author of Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen, is back this week and he's talking salsa. It's the new ketchup these days and we're putting it on everything from tacos to take-out. With summer's bounty just around the corner, we asked Rick to explain a bit of salsa culture and give us some tips for making fresh and fabulous salsas at home. It's a snap, and Rick's recipe for Essential Roasted Tomatillo-Serrano Salsa will get you going.
This week it's a look at the culinary heritage of Israel, a place where nearly every era has left its mark. From biblical times to the new millennium, it's all still there, and you can see it, touch it, and taste it. Joan Nathan, an authority on Jewish food and the author of The Foods of Israel Today, takes us beyond recipes and into the life of this complicated country. Joan's quick and simple recipe for Israeli Carrot Salad is good to know when you need a tasty and colorful side dish in a hurry.
Remember that adage "tell me what you eat and I'll tell you who you are?" According to neurologist Alan Hirsch, M.D., Director of the Smell & Taste Treatment Research Foundation in Chicago and author of Dr. Hirsch's Guide to Scentsational Weight Loss, the notion might not be so far fetched. In his research on snack food, Dr. Hirsch discovered there are physiological reasons why our food preferences reveal our personality, so be discreet the next time you reach for a potato chip instead of a cheese curl. Someone could be watching.
Food and travel writer Anya von Bremzen takes us to Shanghai with an eater's guide to China's born-again boomtown. The city is reinventing itself these days and a cosmopolitan restaurant scene is emerging.
Reporter, author, and humorist Calvin Trillin gives us his unique take on European travel with kids and the state of eating in America. Trillin's beloved book Travels With Alice is the very funny account of his family's journeys abroad. Jane and Michael Stern flunked bull-riding school but did manage to file a report from the Hitching Post in California cowboy country, and minimalist cook Mark Bittman is back to talk dipping sauces.
If a snooty wine dealer has ever treated you badly, tune in this week for advice and anti-intimidation tactics you can use the next time it happens. Our guests, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, write The Wall Street Journal's "Tastings" column and are the authors of The Wall Street Journal Guide to Wines. They have definite opinions about what we should expect from a wine shop and tips for finding bargains.
Dan Leone tells us how to eat out and eat well for under $10 in San Francisco, a city known for restaurants with break-the-bank prices. He knows where you'll find the perfect bowl of noodles, or a turkey dinner at midnight, and leave with your credit card intact. Dan is the author of Eat This, San Francisco and the popular "Cheap Eats" column in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
After this week's show, you may decide to rethink your Valentine's Day dinner menu. We're looking at food and love with Dr. Alan Hirsch, a neurologist and psychiatrist who's researched the link between food aromas and arousal. Dr. Hirsch is the author of Scentsational Sex: The Secret of Using Aroma for Arousal and the forthcoming What Flavor is Your Personality? Forget the Chanel perfume and bring on some pumpkin pie!
Mexican food authority Rick Bayless, who latest book is Salsas That Cook, is with us this week and we're talking tequila. It's not just for margaritas anymore. In fact, Rick says lose the lime and salt and move on to a different tequila experience. He means those types (especially artisan-made ones) so classy and smooth you'll want to sip them neat. In a nod to tradition, though, Rick shares his recipe for Honest-to-Goodness Margaritas for a Crowd. These are the real thing pure, fresh, and tasting of good tequila.
We're taking a look at the politics of wine in America with our guest Bruce Cass, author of The Oxford Companion to the Wines of North America. Bruce says it's easier for a 13 year-old to buy a gun on the Internet than it is for an adult to purchase a bottle of wine.
This week it's the history of popcorn with Andrew Smith, author of Popped Culture: A Social History of Popcorn in America. It's been around for thousands of years and it's America's favorite snack food. Andrew debunks some popcorn myths and explains why it has such staying power. His recipe for Popcorn Canapés is one of the more unusual ones we've featured here at The Splendid Table.