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The Food Lens Podcast

The Food Lens Podcast

Author: The Food Lens

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Join Co-hosts Molly Ford, Co-Founder of The Food Lens, & Catherine Smart, Co-Founder of notjust.co as they look past the plate, chatting with chefs, tastemakers and restaurant industry insiders. They’ll be digging into business, passion projects, and food trends to see what’s shaping the New England restaurant scene. This season no tasty topic is off limits: from peeling back the politics of sustainable seafood, to farming data on customers, to high-end cannabis cuisine. We’re curious. We’re hungry. And we know you are too.
30 Episodes
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Since the Coronavirus halted her busy wine bar in its tracks, Lauren Friel has reshaped Rebel Rebel into a wine-retail business — one with online tastings and classes that have over-flowed Zoom rooms, and allowed her to hire back staff. Here’s how you can log in to the natural wine community, and why, more than ever, she wants you to vote. You guys, we’ve got hand sanitizer! Our friends at the personal care brand Curie — makers of aluminum-free deodorant that actually works, and smells amazing — now offer hand sanitizer, in fresh scents like Grapefruit Cassis and Orange Neroli. The best part? It moisturizes your hands, which is about the best form of self-care we can think of at the moment. Use promo code TFL20 at checkout or just follow this link: https://curiebod.com/discount/TFL Row to Go is Here! At their flagship restaurant in Fort Point, Boston and their Portsmouth, NH location. Pick up New England classics like the Warm Buttered Lobster Roll, Clam Chowder, or fried clams and oysters. Order online at row34.com and use promo code TFL15 for 15% off your order. 
Will Gilson was supposed to be launching several new concepts this year - while those plans may be on hold for the moment, he’s diversifying his offerings at Puritan & Co. and forging a way forward with technology, takeout, and a team eager to get (safely) back to work.  Looking for cooking inspiration? Will hooked us up with some easy (and delicious) recipes to help get through quarantine! –Spiced Grilled Zucchini Tacos with Cabbage Slaw & Chipotle Crema–Cod Chowder with Crispy Potatoes and Applewood Bacon–Corn and Tomato “Mason Jar” Salad–Roast Beef “3-Way” Slider Burgers
Aaron Cohen couldn’t have imagined how his scoop shop would be transformed by the Covid-19 crisis. He went from serving up scoops to the neighborhood, to solving the logistical challenges of socially distanced pint pickup, and running a popular merch store. The Somerville entrepreneur shares how he’s thinking about technology, marketing, and community connection.
Owner of Highland Kitchen and Highland Fried, Mark Romano says having his usually bustling restaurants come to a screeching halt feels a bit like when a Nascar driver hops off the track to drive home in his Subaru, at 35 miles per hour. The shutdown has been jarring, to say the least. Romano talks about getting his staff on unemployment, hopping back behind the line to launch takeout, and thinking about how busy bars will function when it’s time to reopen. 
Six weeks ago Tracy Chang didn’t expect to be spearheading a program serving 20,000 meals to frontline hospital workers — but that’s exactly what the chef-owner of Pagu (and new mother of a 4-month-old baby) is doing with the Off Their Plate initiative. Tracy shares her experience with transforming Pagu, how the organization is setting safety guidelines for foodservice during the COVID-19 crisis, and how she’s trying to plan for the future. 
Pammy’s was never supposed to get into the takeout game, but these days owners Pam and Chris Willis are running a successful to-go operation, despite enormous challenges. Pam shares what it’s like to homeschool her kids while reinventing her business, and how she keeps up self-care during the COVID-19 crisis.
The chef and partner of Toro, Coppa, and Little Donkey talks about how he’s managing the Covid-19 crisis here in Boston, and at his restaurants across the globe in Bangkok and Dubai. We also get an update on his work with Off Their Plate, putting some of his restaurant staff back to work feeding front line healthcare workers, and what it’s like to be a Newlywed during the lockdown.
The chef-owner of Blue Dragon and host of Simply Ming on PBS says he’s “cried 8,000 gallons of tears” for the economically vulnerable staff he’s had to lay-off. But over the last couple of weeks, in partnership with the Lee Initiative, he’s turned his restaurant into a food bank for restaurant workers.
How do you turn a passion project into a full-time career? Just ask Brian Samuels, Director of Photography for The Food Lens. We sat down with Brian to hear what it was like to start his site A Thought For Food during blogging’s heyday, and how he went from taking pictures of his plates for fun, to becoming one of Boston’s most well-known, and loved (yes we’re biased!) food photographers. Don’t worry, we made sure to get some advice for upping your Instagram game in the process.  In light of everyone being stuck at home due to Covid-19, we also asked Brian to share one of his best pantry-staple meals from the blog - Pasta Puttanesca. Click HERE for the recipe!   Weeknight dinner stress is cancelled! Catherine's company, not just co., helps you get a healthy, delicious meal done fast with their modern pantry staples, plus easy recipes for you on those evenings you aren't hitting the Boston restaurant scene. Use code TFL20 to receive 20% off your order.    Thank you to our season two sponsors, Winestyr and Image Unlimited Communications. 
When Lovin’ Spoonfuls Founder Ashley Stanley discovered how much good food was being thrown out at big grocery stores, she started by loading up her car, and carrying it to a local shelter. 10 years later, the non-profit rescues 75,000 pounds of food every week. We talk to Ashley about how she got into the business of bringing food to people who need it most, what makes her non-profit unique, and the personal challenges that led her to change her life, and help so many others in the process.   During the current coronavirus outbreak, communities served by Lovin’ Spoonfuls need our help more than ever. To donate, please go to https://lovin-spoonfuls.networkforgood.com/projects/9629-lovin-spoonfuls.    Weeknight dinner stress is cancelled! Catherine's company, not just co., helps you get a healthy, delicious meal done fast with their modern pantry staples, plus easy recipes for you on those evenings you aren't hitting the Boston restaurant scene. Use code TFL20 to receive 20% off your order.    Thank you to our season two sponsors, Winestyr and Image Unlimited Communications. 
Whether you want to learn how to bake a better brioche, or build a successful business, you’re going to want to grab a pen to take notes while you tune in. The baker/restaurant-owner/author shares how she went from a consulting gig as a recent Harvard grad, to scrappily figuring out her first Flour, to running 8 bakeries and 1 restaurant, while writing best-selling cookbooks, and creating a work culture where no one wants to leave.    Weeknight dinner stress is cancelled! Catherine's company, not just co., helps you get a healthy, delicious meal done fast with their modern pantry staples, plus easy recipes for you on those evenings you aren't hitting the Boston restaurant scene. Use code TFL20 to receive 20% off your order.    Thank you to our season two sponsors, Winestyr and Image Unlimited Communications. 
How many people dream of quitting their desk jobs to start a successful craft-brewery? How many people actually take the plunge? We sat down with Night Shift co-founders Michael Oxton and Rob Burns to find out how they turned late night homebrew sessions in their apartment into a fast-growing craft beverage and distribution business.  Weeknight dinner stress is cancelled! Catherine's company, not just co., helps you get a healthy, delicious meal done fast with their modern pantry staples, plus easy recipes for you on those evenings you aren't hitting the Boston restaurant scene. Use code TFL20 to receive 20% off your order.    Thank you to our season two sponsors, Winestyr and Image Unlimited Communications. 
How do you get a job cooking on TV? According to Elle Simone, by saying yes to all manner of crazy experiences life serves up. Chef Simone shares the story of her winding path, from aspiring academic and social worker, to food stylist and on-air talent at America’s Test Kitchen. Elle gives us a peek behind the curtain of food TV production, talks about starting She Chef to empower women of color in the industry, and shares a couple of big, brand new projects she’s working on. Keep up! Weeknight dinner stress is cancelled! Catherine's company, not just co., helps you get a healthy, delicious meal done fast with their modern pantry staples, plus easy recipes for you on those evenings you aren't hitting the Boston restaurant scene. Use code TFL20 to receive 20% off your order.   Thank you to our season two sponsors, Winestyr and Image Unlimited Communications. 
After running away to the islands, and popping up around Portsmouth, Gary Kim is back in his hometown with his new restaurant Mr. Kim’s. In this episode we talk about what hangs in the balance of new and old Portsmouth, wanderlust, finding your food voice, and why he has no fear of “fusion.” Weeknight dinner stress is cancelled! Catherine's company, not just co., helps you get a healthy, delicious meal done fast with their modern pantry staples, plus easy recipes for you on those evenings you aren't hitting the Boston restaurant scene. Use code TFL20 to receive 20% off your order.   Thank you to our season two sponsors, Winestyr and Image Unlimited Communications. 
Ever wonder what it would be like to grow up in a glamorous NYC hotel? Or down on the farm? Pam, the gregarious, fashionable front of the house, and her husband Chris the creative but exacting chef, create the Alchemy that is Pammy’s in Inman Square, Cambridge. Exciting, yet approachable, this elevated Italian-American spot is a reflection of the couple who run the show. We dig into “Pam-ily” dynamics, the unsung beauty of fresh flour, and the emotional pay-off of running a neighborhood restaurant. Weeknight dinner stress is cancelled! Catherine's company, not just co., helps you get a healthy, delicious meal done fast with their modern pantry staples, plus easy recipes for you on those evenings you aren't hitting the Boston restaurant scene. Use code TFL20 to receive 20% off your order.   Thank you to our season two sponsors, Winestyr and Image Unlimited Communications. 
The husband wife duo behind The Urban Grape in Boston’s South End are all about making wine culture more accessible: They take the pretension out of wine talk by making everyone who walks into their store feel welcome. They classify bottles “progressively,” in a unique system that prioritizes finding wine you’ll love. They champion small producers. We chat with the couple about work and family life, running a woman/black-owned wine shop, and why trends won’t dictate what’s on the shelf at UG.   Don't miss our upcoming Galentine's Day Party at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen on February 13th from 6-9PM. Join us for a night of sipping, snacking, and sweets to celebrate the ladies – all while supporting Women’s Lunch Place, a local charity that helps homeless women. For more information, click HERE. We hope to see you there!   Weeknight dinner stress is cancelled! Catherine's company, not just co., helps you get a healthy, delicious meal done fast with their modern pantry staples, plus easy recipes for you on those evenings you aren't hitting the Boston restaurant scene. Use code TFL20 to receive 20% off your order.   Thank you to our season two sponsors, Winestyr and Image Unlimited Communications. 
The hospitality business is in Kathy Sidell’s blood. The restaurateur’s father, banker and restaurant backer Jack Sidell, and her sister, Stephanie, of Stephanie’s on Newbury, both inspired her to get in to the game. In this episode, we chat about her career as a female restaurateur, the genesis of Saltie Girl, her new potato chip venture, and the importance of not taking no for an answer. Don't miss our upcoming Galentine's Day Party at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen on February 13th from 6-9PM. Join us for a night of sipping, snacking, and sweets to celebrate the ladies – all while supporting Women’s Lunch Place, a local charity that helps homeless women. For more information, click HERE. We hope to see you there!   Weeknight dinner stress is cancelled! Catherine's company, not just co., helps you get a healthy, delicious meal done fast with their modern pantry staples, plus easy recipes for you on those evenings you aren't hitting the Boston restaurant scene. Use code TFL20 to receive 20% off your order.   Thank you to our season two sponsors, Winestyr and Image Unlimited Communications. 
When friends say, “You should open a restaurant!” just because you throw a great dinner party, they are usually wrong. Not in the case of JuanMa Calderón & Maria Rondeau whose Somerville restaurant Celeste started as a supper in club in their Cambridge home. We sat down with the couple to hear how a filmmaker and an architect with no prior experience in the industry opened one of the hottest spots in town, and how they plan to keep the party going.*NOTE (26:53): The duo's newest concept in Vermont is slated to open in Spring 2020. Don't miss our upcoming Galentine's Day Party at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen on February 13th from 6-9PM. Join us for a night of sipping, snacking, and sweets to celebrate the ladies – all while supporting Women’s Lunch Place, a local charity that helps homeless women. For more information, click HERE. We hope to see you there!   Weeknight dinner stress is cancelled! Catherine's company, not just co., helps you get a healthy, delicious meal done fast with their modern pantry staples, plus easy recipes for you on those evenings you aren't hitting the Boston restaurant scene. Use code TFL20 to receive 20% off your order.   Thank you to our season two sponsors, Winestyr and Image Unlimited Communications.  
Molly & Catherine are back for seconds, and we hope you’ll join! In season 2 of The Food Lens Podcast, the co-hosts sit down with a fresh batch of Boston restaurant industry insiders to talk food, family, business, and travel. Want to know what’s up with the tinned fish trend? Who grinds their own flour and comes out in defense of “meat glue”? How to cut through the BS when buying wine? Well, you’ll just have to tune in to find out.
Molly Ford and Sarah Jesup founded The Food Lens back in 2016 and have been heading up efforts to curate Boston’s best online dining and drinking resource ever since. Molly (a San Diego native) and Sarah (originally from Vermont) met at Boston University in 2008 while pursuing degrees in journalism and hospitality, respectively. The pair then spent time eating their way around the globe, always searching for the best hidden gems, from taquerias in Mexico to shawarma spots in Istanbul. Their “restaurant bible”—a Google doc chronicling top meals eaten at home and abroad—was the blueprint for what would later become TFL. They still love to travel, but call Boston home: Molly lives in Fenway with her boyfriend, while Sarah and her husband live in Beacon Hill with their three dogs. They both enjoy working out and eating out, in pretty equal measure  In this bonus episode, Catherine sits down with co-founders and BFFs Molly and Sarah to tell TFL’s origin story, and reveal what goes in to curating guides to the best food and drink in Boston.
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