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Episode 54: Nigel Sielegar: Beautiful Design and Beautiful Desserts

Nigel Sielegar is an web designer who on a whim decided to open a stand at the Queens Night Market, selling traditional Indonesian coconut desserts with his cousin. Within one year of launch, Moon Man has created a line of carefully presented desserts, making them not only delicious, but visually appealing, an asset in today’s Instagram-heavy food culture. They have also received press from outlets including Culture Trip, Eater and the New York Times. NY Times food writer Ligaya Mishan named...


Episode 53: Loren Brill: Baking Up A Better-For-You Cookie

Loren Brill was a young college graduate working as a yoga instructor when her world was turned upside down: she had cancer, Hodgkin's Lymphoma to be exact. After she shock wore off, she sprung to action, determined to take better care of her body through food. She began to cut processed sugars, hydrogenated oils and common allergens from her diet -- but found she was unable to satisfy her sweet tooth with commercially available cookies and cookie dough. So why not make her own? After long...


Episode 51: Joseph Yoon: From Managing Musicians to Cooking with Bugs

Joseph Yoon started his career in music but decided to pursue his love of cooking and became a private chef and caterer. It was while catering an exhibition with an artist friend that he cooked with insects for the first time, and he hasn't looked back. As the Founder of Brooklyn Bugs, Joseph has become an advocate for eating insects and an expert in the diverse and flavorful works of edible bugs. Join us for a conversation (and tasting) of some of the world's most delicious insects!


Episode 50: Garrett Oliver: From Rock Band Manager to Iconic Brooklyn Brewer

Garrett Oliver is the Brewmaster of the iconic Brooklyn Brewery and a world-renowned expert on beer, but few people know that he started his career as an international rock band manager and music producer. Join us for a wide ranging and wildly off-topic conversation about the arc of his long and storied career, what makes a good beer, and how to look great in hats.


Episode 49: Kerry Brodie: From Nonprofit Communications to a Nonprofit Restaurant

Kerry Brodie started her career in nonprofit communications before deciding to pivot to pursue her love of cooking. While in culinary school, she realized she could use the skills she was learning to create a more sustainable, more welcoming environment for refugees newly arrived in the US. She launched Emma's Torch, a restaurant and culinary job skills training program for refugees and asylum seekers, as a popup in 2017, and opened as a full service restaurant in Brooklyn in the spring of...


Episode 48: Raquel Jacquez Sharp, Halima Marega & Isatou Sohona: Healthy Food Education from a Teacher and her Students

Raquel Jacquez Sharp is an educator and activist around healthy food and the Communication and Partnerships Manager at the Sylvia Center. Join Raquel and two of her students, Isatou and Halima (both 17) for a discussion on changing food habits among teenagers, and building food careers from a young age.


Episode 47: Julian Plyter: From Classical Music to Ice Cream Sandwiches

After working for several years in classical music, Julian decided to enroll in culinary school to pursue a lifelong passion for pastry and baking. He worked in some of NYC's best kitchens, eventually becoming Pastry Chef at the Crosby Street Hotel. In 2010, he decided to make another career change and become an entrepreneur, and leaving his full time job to launch Melt Bakery, making and selling ice cream sandwiches at outdoor markets in NYC. Since then, he and his partner have built Melt...


Episode 46: Yuan Ji: Bringing Beautiful Mezcal from Oaxaca to New York

Yuan Ji is a former anti-trust attorney whose love for Oaxaca (and its mezcal!) inspired her to launch Erstwhile Mezcal. She's partnering with master mezcaleros in Oaxaca whose families have been making mezcal for generations, and importing the results of their expertise to the US. Join us for a deep dive into the how mezcal is made, the differences between agave varietals and Yuan's personal story of exploration and entrepreneurship.


Episode 45: Matt Gallira & Jimmy Warren: Bringing Festival Fare to New Heights

So far on Why Food?, we've talked to many food entrepreneurs about taking the leap from their former careers into food and beverage -- but what if you’ve already launched a successful, growing food business when another steals your heart? In this episode, Big Mozz founder Matt Gallira tells us about when (and why) he decided to pivot from his tomato sauce business, Atlantic Ave Company, to focus on taking his hand-stretched mozzarella and deep-fried mozzarella stick tent at Smorgasburg...


Episode 44: Yana Gilbuena: Uniting the World Through Kamayan Dinners

50 Meals in 50 States. To most people, this seems a crazy idea; to Yana Gilbuena, a passionate Filipino chef who had just been laid off from her full-time furniture design job, it was just the kick she needed to start her new life in food. She packed up all her things and went on an epic road trip across the United States, cooking traditional kamayan feasts - hands-only Filipino dinners - for communities from small towns in North Dakota to metropolitan cities in California, and even to our...


Episode 43: Dario Wolos: Serving Up Mexican Spirit from a Volkswagen

In the summer of 2005, Dario Wolos joked to his friends he would start a taco shop inside a Volkswagen, or "combi" as the locals called it. The name "Tacombi" was dreamt up, then promptly forgotten after several rounds of mezcal. He was still working in the finance department of an internet startup in London at the time, but something clicked after that night and shortly afterwards Dario quit his job and found himself back in Mexico, dipping into his life savings to buy a 1963 VW Kombi. He...


Episode 42: Carolina Santos-Neves: Doing Good with Good Food

Carolina Santos-Neves started in data entry at epicurious.com but found herself spending more and more time thinking about the elaborate meals she was cooking for her friends. After several years, she decided to take the leap and go to culinary school, and went on to help open two critically acclaimed restaurants. Join us for a conversation about her career and the evolution of her culinary philosophy emphasizing ingredient-forward cooking that considers health, seasonality, and social...


Episode 41: Chi Bui: Uniting Chocolate and Olive Oil with Sustainability

Chi Bui led many lives before her current one in chocolate. Her well-to-do Vietnamese family fled their home city of Hue after the war; her parents lost everything immigrating to the U.S., but ultimately resettled her and her five siblings in Philadelphia. Chi's mother ran a food truck for 20 years, a feat of labor and love from where Chi learned preserverance and leading by example. She went on to major in literature at the New School while fixing computers part-time -- which...


Episode 40: Kristin Canty: Fighting for the Right to Farm

When Kristin Canty's young son developed severe allergies, she found relief by feeding him raw milk. She couldn't have known that would start a lifelong mission of advocacy and activism through filmmaking and food. Her feature film, Farmaggedon, exposed the hypocrisy of the FDA and USDA's regulation of small farms and was distributed widely to great critical acclaim. She went on to become a farmer herself, raising livestock and growing produce to supply her restaurants Wood's Hill Table...


Episode 39: Meet Your Co-Hosts: Jenny Dorsey & Ethan Frisch

This episode, we're taking a fun approach to (re) introduce ourselves - by each taking half an hour to interview the other host! First up is Ethan Frisch, Founder of Burlap and Barrel. Ethan started in the food world as a pastry chef and activist ice cream maker before moving into humanitarian work overseas. In Kabul, he discovered he discovered fragrant fields of cumin and it planted a seed for his future. Now, he runs a single-origin spice company sourcing exceptional varieties from all...


Episode 38: Scott Norton: Bringing Personality and Charm to Condiments

Scott Norton began making ketchup in his college apartment almost 10 years ago. It was 4 years after Malcolm Gladwell wrote that Heinz could never be overthrown - but Scott didn’t buy it. So he and his Co-Founder, Mark, set out to disprove this theory with a product that was the complete opposite of any available on the market and Sir Kensington’s was born. Mark went on to work in finance, joining Lehman Brothers a month before the historic crash, and travel across Asia for a series on...


Episode 37: Michele Tanenbaum: Fusing Cookies with Design Aesthetic

Michele Tanenbaum was burnt out after spending decades in the fashion industry. She began to experiment with making sweet treats for both humans and canines as a gift for her friends - and quickly things blossomed into a full-blown cookie business. Now Lucky Bites - which is named after her terrier Lucky - is in its seventh year and reaching tens of thousands of avid fans online. Join us as we talk about how Michele's design eye has influenced her cookie business, navigating the world of...


Episode 36: Dianna Daoheung

Dianna Daoheung left a career in advertising because she wanted to work with her hands. She decided to challenge herself by enrolling in a culinary school's pastry program, where she found she loved the science behind bread baking. She took a job at the newly-opened Mile End Deli in Brooklyn, where she learned the fundamentals of Jewish cuisine and when Mile End's owners decided to open a bagel shop, Dianna was the natural choice to run it. Since then, she's overseen its significant...


Episode 35: Jeremy Lyman: Changing New York's Coffee Culture With Service

Jeremy Lyman began sketching floorplans of his future business at 16, but found himself only working on his "coffee project" during bad days at work. He wanted to fill a hole in the NYC market for a hospitality-driven coffee concept - except he didn't know anything about coffee. Serendipitously he met his Co-Founder Paul, and together Birch Coffee started with a trip to CoffeeFest 2008. Now, Birch Coffee has 9 locations across NYC and its own roastery in Long Island City. Join us as we...