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Chewing The Fat

Chicago Public Media

From WBEZ Chicago, Chewing the Fat is a weekly podcast with food journalists Louisa Chu and Monica Eng. Together they tackle cooking, dining, culture food policy, culinary characters and more.

From WBEZ Chicago, Chewing the Fat is a weekly podcast with food journalists Louisa Chu and Monica Eng. Together they tackle cooking, dining, culture food policy, culinary characters and more.
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Chicago, IL


From WBEZ Chicago, Chewing the Fat is a weekly podcast with food journalists Louisa Chu and Monica Eng. Together they tackle cooking, dining, culture food policy, culinary characters and more.






848 East Grand Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60611 (312) 948-4600


CTF Ep 54 Last Meal

Louisa Chu and Monica Eng dedicate this series finale of Chewing the Fat, Louisa's late dog & companion Kiba Chu, Monica talks pig roasts w/ Jack Hitt and Louisa turns carrots into roast pork-ishness. What? This may be their last CTF meal but find their new "Chewing" podcast at, Thank you!


The Art of Lebanese cooking with Maureen Abood

Is one simple mistake ruining your hummus? Just how much bulgur belongs tabouleh? Why is demand for Middle Eastern food sweeping unlikely parts of the U.S.? And why does Lebanese food rule the region? Learn the answers to this and more in our interview with award-winning food blogger, and author of “Rose Water and Orange Blossoms,” Maureen Abood.


BONUS White Heat 25, Legendary Chef Marco Pierre White (NEW interview)

A Chewing the Fat BONUS! In an all-new interview, hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng talk to legendary chef Marco Pierre White on the release of "White Heat 25," the 25th anniversary edition of the book that inspired Anthony Bourdain and generations of cooks. Chef White tells all about Gordon Ramsay, Hot Doug’s, and much more. (photo: Marco Pierre White by Bob Carlos Clarke for the book cover of "White Heat 25")


CTF Ep 52 Pleasure: Marco Pierre White, ortolan and eating with your hands

At what price pleasure? On the latest Chewing the Fat, it is the Pleasure episode. Hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng talk to the original so-called bad boy chef Marco Pierre White, about the pain that made him give up his three Michelin stars. And Paris-based correspondent for The New York Times Liz Alderman talks about her story on the attempt to revive the tradition of the ortolan, the tiny songbird eaten with a napkin over the diner’s head, to hide one’s face from God. Plus Maria Rodale...


CTF Ep 49 Ramen: Lucky Peach editor Peter Meehan, Slurping Turtle chef Takashi, and Ramenritto

Chewing the Fat slurps the fat on this Ramen episode. Co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng talk to Lucky Peach magazine editor and ramen expert Peter Meehan. And they visit Slurping Turtle, where Top Chef Master Takashi Yagihashi makes noodles inspired by his hometown in Japan. Then Louisa surprises Monica with hot and spicy instant ramen in a McDonald’s burrito, aka a public radio budget friendly Ramenrito, but Will She Eat It? Twitter: @ChuEngFat @louisachu @monicaeng (Photo by Louisa Chu...


CTF Ep 46: Drinks, the artistry of cocktails with barman-author Greg Seider, & some rare teas

Happy New Year from Chewing the Fat! Hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng talk health conscious cocktails with Manhattan Cricket Club owner Greg Seider, author of the new book "Alchemy in a Glass." And Louisa invites Rare Tea Cellar owner Rodrick Markus to mix his take on a classic 50 / 50 Martini for cocktail hater Monica... but Will She Drink It? Twitter: @ChuEngFat @louisachu @monicaeng (Photo by Louisa Chu | 50/50 Martini cocktails by Rare Tea Cellar owner Rodrick Markus)


CTF Ep 45: Alaska, holidays, bears in your garden and other cold-weather food gathering and eats

Chewing the Fat goes north to the future: Alaska! Hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng explore the final frontier of food. Louisa shares a visit to a tiny town CSA farmed by artist Terry Kennedy. Then they talk to Nic Mink, professor and founder of CSF (Community Supported Fishery) Sitka Salmon Shares. And Nerdette podcast co-host and Alaskan Greta Johnsen joins CTF for a surprise ingredient just in time for the holidays... but Will She Eat It? Twitter: @ChuEngFat @louisachu @monicaeng (Photo...


CTF Ep 44: Manners

This week on Chewing the Fat, let’s mind our Manners. Co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng hear how Michelin starred chef / partner Bruce Sherman of North Pond restaurant gives and takes complaints. Then Monica and Louisa dine with Chicago’s legendary Breakfast Queen, chef / author Ina Pinkney and restaurateur Dan Rosenthal who share their expert etiquette tips. Plus Vietnamese-American chef / partner Thai Dang of Embeya restaurant shares his most shocking manners moment. Plus Louisa and...


CTF Ep 43: Cook the Books with Dorie Greenspan and Gabrielle Hamilton

This week on Chewing the Fat, co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng Cook the Books, not literally, but literarily. Best selling author Dorie Greenspan joins them in studio to discuss her new book Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere. And chef / restaurateur / author Gabrielle Hamilton visits with her highly anticipated cookbook debut Prune. Then Louisa makes Monica Gabrielle’s signature bar snack Canned Sardines with Triscuits, Dijon Mustard, and Cornichons — but...


CTF Ep 42: Vegging In w/ Mark Bittman, Yotam Ottolenghi and Karen Page

After years of vegging out we think it's time to Veg In on this fresh episode of Chewing the Fat. Co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng talk to veggie-loving chef and cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi; Vegetarian Flavor Bible author Karen Page on her veg conversion; plus New York Times food writer and opinion guy Mark Bittman explains why he's a Vegan Before 6pm. Twitter: @ChuEngFat @louisachu @monicaeng (Photo by Louisa Chu / Vegetarian chili with sour cream by Mare Swallow at Soup & Bread &...


CTF Season 4 Teaser: Staying Fit with Yotam Ottolenghi

In this preview appetizer for Season 4 chef and cookbook writer Yotam Ottolenghi tells us how he stays so fit and what (non-vegetarian!) dinner he makes when he’s rushed for time at home. Listen as co-hosts Louisa and Monica compete shamelessly for the chef’s attention.


CTF Bonus! Bronzeville’s Gourmet Hot Dogs

Cliff Rome worked for Wolfgang Puck and Mario Batali, but when he returned to Chicago he wanted to do something to employ people in his community who looked like him. So he’s started a mini catering and restaurant empire in historic Bronzeville on Chicago’s South Side. Monica Eng of Chewing the Fat talks to him here.


CTF Ep 40: Chef Battle; & Top Chefs and a top brewmaster re-invent themselves

What happens when two Top Chefs and an American cider pioneer re-invent themselves? Chewing the Fat co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng get a taste on this week’s "re-invention" episode and Season Three finale! They talk to Virtue Cider founder Greg Hall. And Parachute restaurant chef and owner Beverly Kim. Plus Maddy’s Dumpling House chef and owner Chrissy Camba. All live at the 7th annual WBEZ Chicago Chef Battle. Kendall College! Twitter: @ChuEngFat @louisachu @monicaeng (Photo by Louisa...


CTF Ep 39: Mythbusting the Fat

Can fat make you sick? One listener listener letter inspires this week’s Chewing the Fat episode of MYTHBUSTING THE FAT. Co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng talk to Nina Teicholz, author of the New York Times best-seller The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet. And for a dissenting opinion, Tufts University Professor of Medicine Alice Lichtenstein advises Monica to let go of her lard. Plus Louisa and Monica invite tech entrepreneur and chef Kimbal Musk to...


CTF Ep 38: Food as Medicine: Organic gardening DJ, a wonder spice & food instead of meds

Chewing the Fat co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng go off their meds in this week’s Food as Medicine episode. Monica talks to hip hop artist and OG, as in organic gardener, DJ Cavem, and author of "Turmeric: Great Recipes Featuring the Wonder Spice that Fights Inflammation and Protects Against Disease," Colleen Sen. Sen then challenges Louisa to taste raw turmeric, but Will She Eat It? Plus modern day medicine woman Dr. Geeta Maker-Clark pays a house call, bearing roasted broccoli and raw...


CTF Ep 37: Community, Gardens, and Farms (Pets or plates? And who's winning in urban farming?)

Pets or plates? And who's winning in urban farming? Chewing the Fat co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng dig in on this week’s Community, Gardens, and Farms episode. Monica visits rural farmer Kim Snyder at Faith’s Farm and her free-range rabbits, some destined for plates, and others as surprise pets. Louisa crashes an urban end of summer picnic at the Global Garden Refugee Training Farm in the diverse neighborhood of Albany Park in Chicago. Show Notes: Twitter:...


CTF RAW: Jeff Leach on food and our microbiome

Jeff Leach is trying to catch the healthiest gut in the world. The founder of the Human Food Project will embark on a series of different diets to see how they effect his gut microbiota. Here he talks to Monica Eng of WBEZ's Chewing the Fat about what we know and don't know about the human gut.


CTF Ep 36: Fermento: Why we love to eat bacteria

Fermentation is the new pickling! So say food fetishists. Chewing the Fat co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng explore the ancient and bubbling world in this week’s Fermento episode. They talk to FermUp podcaster Branden Byers, author of The Everyday Fermentation Handbook: A Real-Life Guide to Fermenting Food without Losing Your Mind or Your Microbes. And Louisa and Monica invite their WBEZ colleague and reporter Lauren Chooljian to taste fermented veggie kefirs and homemade kraut chi, but...


CTF Ep 35: Raw Dairy

Got milk? Raw mare’s milk? Chewing the Fat co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng got it, for this week’s Raw Dairy episode. But Will They Drink It? And they get an insider update from Greg O’Neill, American Cheese Society Chair and owner of Pastoral Artisan Cheese in Chicago. Then Andy Hatch explains why he won’t be making his award-winning Vacherin Mont d’Or inspired Rush Creek Reserve cheese this year. Plus Louisa gets into a heated but unpasteurized discussion on Monica’s raw milk story....


CTF Ep 34: Super Markets

Yes, there’s destination dining, but destination markets? Chewing the Fat co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng shop the aisles in this week’s Super Markets episode. Monica goes behind the scenes at ALDI US HQ. And they visit Louisa’s own local small but super market, The Dill Pickle, surprisingly Chicago’s only food co-op to date. Plus they talk favorite markets worldwide with expert Robyn Eckhardt, the blogger behind Eating Asia, on location in Turkey researching her upcoming book. Plus the...