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Special Sauce with Ed Levine

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Serious Eats' podcast Special Sauce enables food lovers everywhere to eavesdrop on an intimate conversation about food and life between host and Serious Eats founder Ed Levine and his well-known/famous friends and acquaintances both in and out of the food culture.

Serious Eats' podcast Special Sauce enables food lovers everywhere to eavesdrop on an intimate conversation about food and life between host and Serious Eats founder Ed Levine and his well-known/famous friends and acquaintances both in and out of the food culture.
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Serious Eats' podcast Special Sauce enables food lovers everywhere to eavesdrop on an intimate conversation about food and life between host and Serious Eats founder Ed Levine and his well-known/famous friends and acquaintances both in and out of the food culture.




Special Sauce: Kenji on Freezing Chicken, Simone Tong on Making Mixian [2/2]

This week's episode of Special Sauce kicks off with our new culinary Q&A segment, "Ask Kenji." At the behest of listener Dave Shorr, Kenji lays down the law on the best way to freeze chicken. It’s a simple process that includes placing chicken pieces into a zipper-lock bag and pouring in a saltwater brine. Tune in to learn more about why- and be sure to read up on the benefits of freezing flat. Next, Little Tong Noodle Shop owner Simone Tong explains how she came to open a restaurant...


Special Sauce: Kenji on Cooking With Starch, Simone Tong on the Ingredient She Hates [1/2]

This week's Special Sauce kicks off with our new culinary Q&A segment, "Ask Kenji." This time around, Kenji schools us and serious eater Paul Anderson on the differences between cornstarch and flour when used as thickeners. Among them: Unlike flour, "cornstarch tends to break down when you hold it hot," Kenji says. "So you've been to a Chinese buffet, and they have the pot of hot and sour soup that's been sitting there all day, that's usually thickened with cornstarch, and as it sits in that...


Special Sauce 2.0: Kenji on Grilling Naan and Nicholas Morgenstern on Sundaes [2/2]

For the first segment of this episode of Special Sauce 2.0, Kenji takes a question from serious eater Phil on how to make naan in a Big Green Egg. It starts with our grilled naan recipe and ends with a 60- to 90-second bake on a pizza stone. Next, ice cream Jedi Master Nicholas Morgenstern, of Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream, talks about how he comes up with his notoriously inventive flavors, like Burnt Sage, Black Pepper Molasses, or the Banana Kalamansi ice cream he had me taste on...


Special Sauce: Introducing Special Sauce 2.0, with guest Nick Morgenstern [1/2]

This week Serious Eaters get to see the all-new Special Sauce format we've cooked up for the new season. Every episode of Special Sauce 2.0 will start off with "Ask Kenji," a brief section in which J. Kenji Lopez-Alt will answer a pressing question one of our readers has sent in. We're going to do one of these every week, so keep those questions coming. This week the question comes from Tucker Colvin, who asks Kenji which outdoor pizza oven Kenji recommends. After "Ask Kenji," each week...


Special Sauce: Author Tom Roston on Post-9/11 New York as Victim and Survivor [2/2]

Part two of my at times emotionally overwhelming interview with Tom Roston, author of The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World: The Twin Towers, Windows on the World, and the Rebirth of New York, focused on the employees of Windows on the World who were in the North Tower's iconic restaurant on September 11, 2001, all of whom tragically died that day. According to Roston, "there were immigrants from, I think it was over 25 nations.... People from Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria, Ecuador,...


Special Sauce: Tom Roston on the Untold Stories of Windows on the World [1/2]

No matter where you were when the two planes hit the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, you were profoundly affected by the events of that day. And if you, like me, were at all involved in the food culture at that moment, your thoughts quickly turned to Windows on the World, the glitzy restaurant on the 107th floor of the North Tower, where visitors could enjoy unparalleled views while sipping $5 drinks (at the adjoining Greatest Bar on Earth) or dropping serious coin for a celebratory...


Special Sauce: Soleil Ho on Representation in Food Media [2/2]

In part two of my thought-provoking interview with San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Soleil Ho, we dove right into how she thinks about restaurant criticism. Soleil explained, "I like to think of restaurants as texts in the same way that you read a book and then you extrapolate upon who wrote the book, when did they write it, why did they write it, what did the audience think at the time? What does it say about society at the time? What kind of snapshot is it? You're really reading...


Special Sauce: Soleil Ho on Her Journey From Quantum Physics to Racist Sandwich [1/2]

Like a great deal of food media in America, the world of restaurant criticism has a long history of hiring white writers and closing its doors to people of color. So it was exciting to see the San Francisco Chronicle break the mold last year when it hired Vietnamese-American food writer and co-host of The Racist Sandwich podcast, Soleil Ho, to be its lead restaurant critic. If that wasn't cool enough, Soleil also happens to be a fellow graduate of Grinnell College, the small progressive...


Special Sauce: Matt Rodbard and Max Falkowitz on What's Next in Food Media [2/2]

In part two of Ed Levine's conversation with Max Falkowitz and Matt Rodbard, the three discuss how Falkowitz and Rodbard got started in food media and how their careers evolved. Falkowitz begins by underlining how intimidating it was when he first started working at Serious Eats. "I can't really describe the terror upon walking into the office," he says- though, he observes, that fear was tempered by the frenetic publication schedule, which was both liberating and educational. "It was a...


Special Sauce: Matt Rodbard and Max Falkowitz on Becoming Food Writers [1/2]

In the next two episodes of Special Sauce, we take a deep dive into the challenges and triumphs of building a career in food media. I invited former Serious Eats editor/current contributor Max Falkowitz, and founding TASTE editor Matt Rodbard to share their perspectives. As two people who have co-written cookbooks with chefs, been on staff as editors and writers at food publications, and freelanced extensively, I thought they’d offer unique insights into what it takes to become food writer....


Special Sauce: Lazarus Lynch on Writing Son of a Southern Chef [2/2]

In part two of Ed Levine's conversation with Lazarus Lynch, who goes by more titles than any 25-year-old has any reasonable expectation to have (cookbook author, performer, singer...the list is incredible!), they delve into how Lynch decided he wanted to write his book, Son of a Southern Chef: Cook with Soul. Lynch tells Ed that he came up with the title in his junior year in college, long before he even thought about what the book would contain, during a meeting in which a campus advisor...


Special Sauce: Lazarus Lynch on Cooking on Camera and Being Okay With Who You Are [1/2]

Singer, author (Son of a Southern Chef), and food personality Lazarus Lynch is not your typical cookbook writer or social media star. As an openly gay young Black man, Lynch is blazing his own trail in the food and media worlds, so I couldn't pass up the chance to talk to him for Special Sauce. Lynch started his food TV career in college, where he enlisted friends to hold cameras and other equipment for his cooking show in exchange for free food. "We put it on YouTube. I didn't think anyone...


Special Sauce: Alvin Cailan on What “American Food” Means in 2019 [2/2]

In part 2 of my extraordinary chat with chef-restaurateur-activist Alvin Cailan, we delved deeply into his socio-political motivations, but we still managed to fit in some laughs. Cailan says he's always been motivated to confound the pessimism he frequently encountered growing up, akin to what former President George W. Bush described as "the soft bigotry of low expectations." "I grew up in the early 1990s in the rebellious era of gangster rap and...the rise of the immigrant voice,"...


Special Sauce: Eggslut’s Alvin Cailan on Ruckus-Causing as a Career Path [1/2]

Every now and then on Special Sauce, I just hit it off with a guest, feeling immediately as if I've known them all my life. That's what happened when I talked with Eggslut founder, chef-restaurateur, and ruckus-causer Alvin Cailan. Cailan, who grew up in an LA suburb, got his first kitchen job while still in his teen years, washing dishes at a retreat house run by the Catholic Church. His very religious mother thought it would keep her wayward son out of trouble, and it worked- sort of. "[I...


Special Sauce Live, Ed Levine Edition: Serious Eats Lives! [2/2]

Welcome back for the second part of Special Sauce with Ed Levine, featuring Ed Levine! This week we pick up where we left off, with Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and Ed's longtime friend, serving as a special guest host, asking Ed about many of the events that are described in his memoir, Serious Eater: A Food Lover's Perilous Quest for Pizza and Redemption, which has been named one of the best cooking, food, and wine books of 2019 so far by Amazon. Meyer and Ed...


Special Sauce Live, Ed Levine Edition: A Serious Eater Is Born! [1/2]

At the end of every week, Ed Levine- a.k.a. Serious Eats founder, a.k.a. Serious Eats overlord, a.k.a. "missionary of the delicious," a.k.a. Ed "The Good Ones Eat Through the Pain" Levine- hosts intimate conversations with food lovers of all kinds, diving deep into the ways in which eating and sharing meals has shaped his guests' lives. For this and next week's episodes of Special Sauce, we turned the tables on Ed and had Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and Ed's longtime...


Special Sauce: Nik Sharma on the Kitchen as Laboratory [2/2]

This week, in part two of my conversation with chef and food writer Nik Sharma, we dug into the science-based approach to cooking that informs his terrific new cookbook, Seasons: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food. Given Nik’s background in medical research, it made sense to learn that he thinks of his kitchen as just another lab. All of us, he pointed out, experiment in one way or another in the kitchen, even if we’re just tweaking a family recipe. In his case, though, Nik explains that he “had...


Special Sauce: Nik Sharma on the Stories Told by Seasoning [1/2]

Cookbook author (Seasons: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food), blogger (A Brown Table), and newspaper columnist (A Brown Kitchen) Nik Sharma made the perfect Special Sauce guest. Why? He has a great, dramatic story, and he isn't afraid to tell it like it is (or was). Sharma grew up in India, and as a man who recognized that he was gay at a young age, he had a tough childhood. "At least back then, it wasn't talked about. I'm talking about in the late '80s, early '90s, when I kind of realized...


Special Sauce: Priya Krishna on Cooking and Being "Indian-ish" [2/2]

In part two of my delightful conversation with Priya Krishna, she delves into her book Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family in so many unexpected and revealing ways. "Indian-ish" is not just the name of the book; it also describes her mindset and worldview. "For my whole life I always felt Indian and American but not quite fitting into either of those molds," Krishna says. "It was like I was too American to be Indian and too Indian to be American. But I think that...


Priya Krishna on Special Sauce: How Indian-ish Came to Be [1/2]

I knew that Priya Krishna, author of Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics From a Modern American Family (I am predisposed to like any book with the word antics in the title), was smart and funny and focused, since I'd read her book. But I still wasn't prepared for the delightful, incisive, and revealing chat we had on this week's Special Sauce. Perhaps the most obvious question to ask was what "Indian-ish" means. Krishna explains that the concept was inspired by her mother and the book's...