The Feed Podcast

Chef, Restaurateur and TV Host Rick Bayless joins forces with James Beard Award-winning food journalist Steve Dolinsky, to bring the world of food and drink into your ears and have a little fun in the process.

The Podcasts

Pretty much everyone agrees that fried chicken is delicious. It doesn’t matter where you’re from; the combination of crispy skin and juicy meat, sometimes doused in hot sauce and served with pickles is a true Southern delicacy that is hard to resist. But what are the origins of this dish, and more importantly, why have cooks all over the U.S. started opening fried chicken joints?

On this week’s episode, four very different views on fried chicken, through the lens of different regions in America. We’ll dredge up some history, then take a deep-fried dive into what makes the perfect platter.

Paul Fehribach is the chef and owner of Big Jones in Chicago, a restaurant dedicated to preserving the traditional Southern foodways; he’s probably as close to what John T. Edge’s Southern Foodways Alliance would consider legitimate, mainly because he’s both a historian and preservationist, when it comes to cooking Southern food in Chicago.

Then, Jared Leonard, the chef and owner of The Budlong, where they specialize in Nashville Hot chicken joins us in-studio.  And on to Memphis style at Gus’. They now have several franchises outside of their native location, including one here in Chicago which Zach Goodman owns.  

And finally we head to North Carolina courtesy of Joe Scruggs. He’s the guy who started out with a food truck, called Roost Carolina Kitchen, and eventually opened a restaurant of the same name. He now has two locations in Chicago, and in Steve’s opinion, makes some of the city’s best fried bird.

Direct download: Fried_Chicken_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am CDT

On this week’s show, the driving force behind one of Chicago’s premier cocktail lounges stops by, to talk about a category of spirits you’ve probably never heard of before. Don’t worry, it’s nothing to be bitter about.

While studying Italian and Journalism at DePaul University here in Chicago, Eden Laurin began moonlighting as a bartender, and fell in love with it.  After graduating, she headed to Guatemala to volunteer, starting a school for children. She returned to Chicago and continued her non-profit work, but stayed close to the bar, hosting and serving at The Violet Hour, in Wicker Park. Her persistence paid off there, where she became one of their first female bartenders.

In 2009, Laurin helped launch the bar program at their sister restaurant – Big Star – while still pulling shifts behind the stick across the street at The Violet Hour. Eventually promoted to General Manager there, she started SHE, a cocktail consulting company made up exclusively of ladies. In 2015, Laurin was part of the team that garnered a James Beard award for Outstanding Bar Program. In her current role as Managing Partner, she oversees both the bar as well as their off-site cocktail catering. 

Direct download: amari_cocktails.mp3
Category:Beverages -- posted at: 1:00am CDT

Sure, you can stuff yourself silly with all manner of slow-smoked short rib, brisket and ribs in and around Austin, but there are elements to the food scene there that defy stereotypes, namely, the fact that the casual dining scene there right now is as solid as anywhere.

Austin has come a long way from the days of breakfast tacos and barbecue. Sure, you can still find both of those components all over the Texas capital, but you can also find some of the most thoughtful, delicious food, from chefs who’ve put in their time working all over the world.

Steve was just down in Austin a few weeks ago, and managed to catch up with the one guy responsible for documenting every notable place to eat there. Coming up on this week’s show, we’ll talk about Austin’s highs and lows with a local food critic Matthew Odam who has earned his stripes.

Direct download: Austin_Food_Tour.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am CDT

This time of year often dictates what home cooks and professional chefs work with in the kitchen. Right around Labor Day, the corn is high and abundant, and we’re seeing it on menus everywhere. So we thought, why not feature corn in this week’s challenge? We asked Jason Vincent, one of Chicago’s most seasonally-focused chefs to join us this week.  He is the Chef and Owner of Giant, which recently opened in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. We asked him to come up with something using corn as the star, plus five other easy-to-find ingredients, and get a main dish on the table in 15 minutes or less.

Direct download: Ingredient_Challenge_-_Corn.mp3
Category:Chef Competition -- posted at: 1:00am CDT

Labor Day is nearly here, and as you very well know, that means back yard barbecues, cook-outs and parades. If you want to end the summer right, how about throwing a full-fledged pig roast without a giant backyard?  On this week’s show, we’ve got the answers. Steve heads to Michigan to meet up with his friend Rick Cooper to take you step-by-step through the process, so you can become the pig roasting king of your neighborhood. We’ve got you covered, snout-to-tail.

Direct download: Pig_Roast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am CDT

This week, food lover’s trip to Italy, from the low to the high, including a stop at the world’s #1 restaurant, and of course, plenty of gelato. Steve Dolinsky just got back from a 8 day tour of Rome, Florence, Modena and Siena, with a crucial stop in the town of Panzano. That’s where Dario Cecchini plies his trade, as one of his nation’s most famous butchers. And I love that only in a place like Italy, is a butcher treated like a rock star.

Then, Steve visits other guy who is treated like a rock star in Italy is Massimo Bottura. The chef and driving force behind Osteria Francescana, in Modena, now sits atop the World’s 50 Best list, and whether you agree with that list or not, he is always talked about as one of the best chefs on the planet; even being featured in Episode One of Season One of Chef’s Table. Steve had a chance to dine at Mr. Bottura’s restaurant to learn a bit more about some of Tuscany’s most beloved dishes.

Direct download: Italy_with_Gusto.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am CDT

We conclude our three-part series, Lessons Learned by asking what it takes to finding, hiring and retaining talented staff members.

Union Square Café set the standard for not only good food in New York at the time, but more importantly, great service. The mantra of “being on the same side” of the customer and offering “enlightened hospitality” seemed thoroughly ground-breaking back then.  But today, it’s clear that how you treat your employees directly translates to how they will treat your guests.

Since that first restaurant, Union Square Hospitality Group has gone on to open Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, The Modern, Maialino and Porchlight, among others in New York City. They also launched a little company called Shake Shack, and more recently, Green River here in Chicago. They also run Hospitality Quotient, which we’re going to get into with our guest today. He is Richard Coraine, the Chief Development Officer for U-S-H-G, and the man responsible for much of what the company does in relation to talent acquisition and retention.

Direct download: Lessons_Learned_-_Finding_Training_Retaining_Talent.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 1:00am CDT

This time of year, farmer’s markets are bursting with produce. We have local berries, local greens, herbs and of course, local squash. Green and yellow zucchini are probably the most obvious, and we were thinking, why not challenge a local chef to see what they would come up with, using summer squash as the main ingredient? So, Rick Bayless asks the co-owner and co-chef of Chicago’s Honey Butter Fried Chicken, Christine Cikowski, to play along this week.

Direct download: Ingredient_Challenge_-_Summer_Squash.mp3
Category:Chef Competition -- posted at: 1:00am CDT

There are so many restaurants around the country that tout their agrarian credentials, and many also name-check their farmers, giving due credit to the people responsible for supplying their kitchens with all manner of fruits, vegetables and proteins. At Blue Hill at Stone Barns, in New York State, they don’t need to tell you about all of the farmers, because the restaurant is the farm.

Direct download: Blue_Hill_Entire.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am CDT

In our second episode of a three part series on restaurant lessons. This month, Steve and Rick tackle the issue of contracts, exit agreements and consulting arrangements incase a partnership goes south. First they speak local chef Michael Sheerin about walking into a position after a chef exited abruptly.  Then, Freddie Sanchez shares his story of investing in business, then abruptly being relieved of his duties.  And finally, attorney Lawrence Feller gives advice on how to protect yourself in a partnership. 

Direct download: The_Feed_-_Contracts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am CDT