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This episode of On the Fly by tablehopper is with Charles Chen, the creator behind the wildly popular Basuku Cheesecakes. I was beyond thrilled to be able to interview Charles—he’s been a restaurant consultant for some rather high-profile food businesses here in the Bay Area, including Tartine Bakery, Stonemill Matcha, and Maum in Palo Alto, but has managed to maintain a pretty stealth profile—by design. I call him the restaurant ninja, so it was a real pleasure to be able to learn more about his deep restaurant background, his journey, and where it all began. But what's really fascinating, and actually quite incredible, is hearing about this extremely involved and complex experience developing this Japanese-inspired, Basque-style cheesecake and trying to scale the business to meet the ever-growing demand for what has become one of the hottest culinary items of the pandemic.  When you hear everything Charles has gone through to even make 16 cheesecakes in his home oven, to all the schlepping and adjustments he’s had to make to bake them in other restaurant kitchens, you’ll quickly understand why they’re so hard to procure; and you’ll have so much appreciation for everything that went into that dreamy, creamy, tangy cheesecake when you finally get your first bite. Be sure to listen through to the very end for details on how to get one. We also have a fun lightning round of other tasty things to go track down as well, including ice cream, pie, and burgers in the Bay Area.I want to thank all of you for listening in—this is our 22nd episode since launching On the Fly by tablehopper in April 2020. None of this would be possible without our producer extraordinaire, Lola Yen, and you. We’re going to take a little season break, and will be coming back soon. Be well.Basuku on Instagram: If you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show (
This episode of On the Fly by tablehopper is with Stuart Brioza, the chef and co-owner of State Bird Provisions, The Progress, and now right around the corner, the newly opened The Anchovy Bar. Heads up: this episode is by far our longest, but as you settle in, I hope you’ll enjoy the deep storytelling in this episode. We talk about what it’s like to open a business in the pandemic, and what it was like for them to be closed while they tried to save their two existing restaurants, navigating a mountain of paperwork and an uncertain path into an unclear future, while trying to look out for their incredible team. This conversation is also really fun: I love the deep dive we get to take with Stuart on The Anchovy Bar menu, his ingredient sourcing, and fascinating storytelling about our local ingredients, with a look into his creative process. All three of his restaurants with his wife and partner Nicole Krasinski are absolute creative culinary powerhouses, offering unique tasting experiences and culinary journeys and a particular brand of hospitality, like no other restaurant group.Get ready to geek out on anchovies, and oysters, and butter, and take a fun walk through their pantry vis-à-vis their ingenious Atomic Workshop line. I hope you enjoy basking in Stuart’s profound passion for not only being a chef but someone who really loves to feed people, on many levels. The Anchovy Bar: State Bird, The Progress: If you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show (
Vinny Eng: SF New Deal

Vinny Eng: SF New Deal


This episode of On the Fly by tablehopper, our twentieth, is with Vinny Eng, a community organizer and founding member of SF New Deal, and a well-known figure in the hospitality industry for his previous twelve years of service at Bar Tartine, Tartine Bakery, and the Manufactory as a general manager and wine director. Anyone who knows Vinny, or is fortunate to work with him, or call him a friend, will always be struck by how heart-centered his approach to everything is. Vinny sprung to action in looking out for immediate ways to help neighbors in need as soon as the state of emergency was issued, and has been an immeasurable help and force with SF New Deal and the people it serves with dignity, as well as the local restaurants it partners with, providing an important  source of consistent revenue, especially when considering the shortcomings of a PPP program that excluded many and has been exhausted, and that further federal aid has stalled.He looks at everything holistically, with awareness of the many touch points and nuances behind who grows our food, and prepares it, and serves it, how the very people who make food and eating possible often go unseen and are unsupported during this difficult time, and how we have access to food—or don’t, and how different communities eat, and what they need.In our conversation, we talk about ways you can help show support—for our community, for our restaurants, and the hospitality industry as a whole, and it’s not just about directing resources to meet the needs of this moment, although that helps too. Foundational to his approach is that if we solve for those closest to harm, we solve this for all of us. I always leave a conversation with Vinny with more insight, and knowledge, and compassion than I had before, and I hope this episode helps bring expansion for you in some ways as well.And there’s a fun moment at the end, when Vinny surprises me with a lightning round of questions about some of our favorite takeout and treats right now. SF New Deal: , @sfnewdealImpact report: round: Ritu Indian Soul Food:, Tilak:, Eat Salty Sweet:, Stonemill Matcha:, Miss Ollie’s Cookshop at Elda’s:, Kantine:,  Nopa: you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show (
This episode of On the Fly by tablehopper is with Reem Assil, the chef and owner of Reem’s California, both in Oakland’s Fruitvale and now in San Francisco, which opened just days before the stay-at-home order in March. It’s already hard enough to open a new restaurant—in this case, San Francisco’s first Arab bakery—but Reem and her team have managed to adjust and persevere during the many challenges of these past six months. I’ve wanted to speak with her on the podcast about a multitude of things, from what it’s like to launch a restaurant in the first month of a pandemic, to the many adjustments they’ve had to make along the way, to hearing about her experience working with initiatives like SF New Deal. It took a little time for an even bigger reason for me to interview her to be revealed, and that is to talk about the future of restaurants, especially after these six months of upheaval, reckoning, and the growing desire to seek racially just, sustainable, and equitable business models—which is crucial since some of the most marginalized people in our society make up a large part of the restaurant industry workforce.Reem is well-known as an activist, and worked for a decade as a community and labor organizer prior to starting her career in food. She has always cared deeply about her workers, and workplace culture, and how her business relates to the community at large, and now she is exploring how to build a worker-owned model that will fit her many criteria, and the specific needs of her workers, and what does leadership look like in a collective structure. At the heart of it all, Reem’s was launched to be an expression of Arab hospitality, and she talks about how they try to do it through take-out and Friday night meal kits. We also take a walk through the pastry case, and just wait until you hear about the workers’ wreath (take a look at @tablehopper on Instagram for the goods, but trust me, you really need to enjoy it in person, not just with your eyes and ears). Reem’s California: (Instagram: @reemscalifornia); 2901 Mission St., SF; 3301 E. 12th St. #133, Oakland.Additional links:New Yorker video: SF New Deal: If you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show (
This episode of On the Fly by tablehopper is with Jesse Ziff Cool, the chef and restaurateur known for her Flea Street restaurant in Menlo Park, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, an incredible achievement, as well as operating Cool Cafe on Stanford’s campus. Jesse is an early trailblazer in the organic food and sustainable agriculture movement, opening the country’s first organic restaurant in 1976, and continues to share her deep knowledge and culinary experience as an author, educator, consultant, and community activist. Her visionary ways have not stopped, however, and in response to the pandemic, she has completely restructured her restaurant’s compensation model. We talk about her newly launched Heart of House, which creates a more equitable structure and fair pay for her employees by offering an alternative to tipping (an outdated practice that is racist, sexist, and ageist, among other things) and instead has her team share a service charge—called a gratitude—that is distributed equally and fairly to all hourly workers. It’s so inspiring to hear from Jesse about how things have changed internally at the restaurant, starting with a boost in morale, which is especially needed during these challenging times. As restaurants are looking ahead to implementing structural changes that need to be made industry-wide, this interview will hopefully inspire and educate. Thank you for listening.Flea Street: (Instagram: @flea_street)To reach Jesse, her email is  Meals of Gratitude: mealsofgratitude.orgArticles: Racist History of Tipping: Chef Amanda Cohen on How the No-Tipping Movement Will Survive: you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show
Today’s episode of On the Fly is with Gwyneth Borden, the founder of Ground Floor Experiences, providing restaurant consulting, strategic advice, and thought leadership. Gwyneth is well-known in San Francisco across many industries for her deep and varied background, from 20 years of public policy to five years as the Executive Director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. Get ready for a high wattage interview, because we cover a lot of ground discussing many aspects of what the restaurant industry is facing at this moment: what does it need to survive now, and what needs to change moving forward, from treating restaurant workers with dignity to creating a new kind of workplace culture.  This is a fascinating interview, as Gwyneth takes us behind the curtain and walks us through the architecture of the San Francisco restaurant industry and the political machine. She has such a unique perspective that spans restaurant needs and policy, which is why we are so fortunate to have her as a figurehead of the Bay Area Hospitality Coalition, working closely with other restaurant coalitions throughout the U.S. Her expertise and connections are tremendous assets for the work the coalition is doing right now to save our independent restaurants, which, I’d like to add, she is doing tirelessly for no pay right now. Yeah, we need to take good care of her, and we owe her more than just thanks. If you care about the future of our restaurants, and want to know how to help, this is an interview you won’t want to miss.Bay Area Hospitality Coalition:, @bayareahospitalitycoalitionIndependent Restaurant Coalition:, @indprestaurants If you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show (
This episode of On the Fly is with chef Fernay McPherson, the award-winning, entrepreneurial force behind Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement, a fried chicken joint known as much for its trademark rosemary fried chicken as its next-level sides. While Minnie Bell’s is located in the Emeryville Public Market, its roots run deep in San Francisco’s Fillmore District, where Fernay is a third-generation Fillmore native. This episode runs a touch longer than our other conversations, so I hope you can take a little time to downshift and listen to Fernay’s journey as she’s been steadfastly building her business over the past twelve years. Her story is one of great resilience, resolve, and belief in herself. In this episode, you’ll hear the many adjustments, challenges, and learnings she’s had along the way, from the experience of being a La Cocina entrepreneur, to running a mobile trailer while driving for MUNI and being a mother, to building her catering business, to running pop-ups, which is all fodder for an upcoming project to help others who are following their food dreams on a similar path to hers. Fernay also shares what it feels like as a Black female business owner during the Black Lives Matter movement, and having to regulate her space so she can tell her story on her terms, and on her chosen platforms, at a time that feels right for her. Make time to head over to Minnie Bell’s for a delicious and truly soulful meal, and if you can, please order the Pay it Forward Community Meal as well so she can continue to feed those in need in her beloved Fillmore community. Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement: www.minniebellssoul.comEmeryville Public Market5959 Shellmound St., EmeryvilleGoFundMe for Minnie Bell’s employees: Read her recent piece for Food & Wine that we refer to in the interview here: you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show (
This episode of On the Fly is with Sarah Kirnon, the chef and owner of Miss Ollie’s in Old Oakland. Miss Ollie’s is much more than just a place renowned for its skillet-fried chicken—Sarah is a builder of friendships, a teacher to many in the Bay Area culinary community, and at Miss Ollie’s, is nurturing a sacred space for her community to gather in, a place where Black and queer folx are celebrated, seen, cared for, honored, uplifted, and yes, well-fed. Miss Ollie’s is a place of healing and a charging station for the community—it’s also a rare and endangered third place—not only as a queer, female, Black-owned business, but also as one of the thousands of local restaurants struggling and fighting so hard to keep the doors open and the records spinning, for themselves, and their community during this pandemic. California governor Gavin Newsom visited Miss Ollie’s in early June, a couple weeks after the George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests began, and of all the restaurants and places to visit, I was so happy to see he called upon this one. Which is why I reached out to Sarah for this episode—I wanted to hear directly from Sarah herself about what wisdom she had for Gavin and for us. I also craved a deeper conversation with Sarah about what Miss Ollie’s stands for, why it resonates so much, and the many ways she feeds and shows up and holds space for the community. I look forward to seeing you at Miss Ollie’s, enjoying Sarah’s goat curry and rhum punch and it would be great if you could buy a community plate while you’re there for someone else in need of a meal made with love and care. There’s more we can do, but that’s an excellent place to start. Miss Ollie’s: 901 Washington St., Oakland @missolliesoaklandTwo-Top: Feed Hospitality box: visit you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show (
This episode of On the Fly is with Jay Foster, a well-known San Francisco chef and restaurateur, who has been feeding us with heart and intention in his authentically cool and soulful establishments for the past 18 years. From his early days at Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack and Blue Jay Cafe, to 13 years running the beloved and greatly missed Farmerbrown, Jay has been a champion for the diverse and vibrant San Francisco we are, or should I say were once known for being. Jay has fought hard for the disappearing Black San Francisco, and now he’s part of its list of casualties: he’s one of our few Black chefs, and with the closure of Farmerbrown and his most-recent project in the Fillmore last fall, Isla Vida, we’ve lost one of our city’s few Black restaurateurs. Jay has been trying to take a break from the grind of disadvantaged ownership and work for others for a change, utilizing his years of experience and knowledge and well-honed skills. In a city where upper-level restaurant managers and executives are a valuable asset, in our interview, you’ll hear his discouraging experience that further revealed a racist system designed to undervalue him. What is a San Francisco without Black executives, and Black-owned restaurants, and diverse places for the community to gather? What happens when our keepers of the flame, of our city’s African American heritage and traditions and cuisine and vibrant history, are continually being blown out? As you listen to this interview with Jay Foster, you’ll hear his firsthand account of what happens when we don’t do enough to protect and uplift the Black community, culture, business, and heritage, and support equity, equality, opportunity, and visibility.Articles mentioned in the podcast:Bloomberg: Black Business Owners’ Ranks Collapse by 41% in U.S. Lockdowns Appétit: Running Restaurants in San Francisco Made Me Rethink Everything I Thought I Knew About Success 1. La Cocina Catering: Black-owned businesses include A Girl Named Pinky, Boug Cali, Crumble and Whisk, Healing Kitchen, MexiQ, Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement, Peaches Patties, Pinky and Red’s, Teranga Life, and Zella Soulful Kitchen. 2. Bayview Bistro Box: bayviewbistrosf.comIf you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show (
Today’s episode of On the Fly is with Christine Farren, the executive director of CUESA, the visionary nonprofit organization that operates San Francisco’s world-renowned Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and Mission Community Market.Christine is a well-known and beloved face of the market, a shining contact point for all the farmers and vendors, the chefs and bartenders who frequent the market, many regular customers, plus everyone who's part of all the community and educational programming they do. It also means that she’s operating at the center of this crisis, having to make swift adjustments for the market's shifting customer base and revenue model, institute safe shopping practices for customers and farmers and her incredible team, while simultaneously trying to take care of the many communities CUESA is so close with. To that end, she tells us about the Feed Hospitality initiative developed with the San Francisco Chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild, which is distributing fresh produce boxes to unemployed hospitality workers while providing vital income for local farms—it’s a great thing to contribute to since your donation will be matched.We learn more about how farms are adapting and operating through the crisis, and why some of the smaller farms CUESA works with directly who grow year-round present the best model for sustainability and quality of life for their farm workers—you’ll hear some staggering stats. It’s a lot to think about.Since we're good friends, we also go a little deep on the human experience right now, and what this all means for the future.CUESA: Hospitality: box: 1.  Incubator Series: https://www.hineighborsf.comOrder from Junju, Schmaltz, Ines, AttaGirl Hospitality:  15% discount on your total order (code: HOPPER15), or you can opt for delivery instead and get a special cocktail (the Ode to Jerry) for free—it requires a $20 minimum order, while supplies last. If you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show (
Today’s episode of On the Fly is with Trinh Banh, a co-founder of Good Good Eatz, an ad hoc initiative that has sprung up to help support Oakland Chinatown businesses in a number of impactful ways during these extremely challenging times. They’re helping immigrant-owned businesses get set up on social media, providing marketing assistance, PPE and protocols, and even creating new systems and business models. Working with Tommy Wong of Chinatown Improvement, these two can-do, roll up your sleeves, get ‘er done folks have sprung into action in many ways, including creating a Fund A Lunch program, designed to provide meals to communities in need from neighborhood food businesses that also need support, many of them struggling weeks before the shelter-in-place was announced. In this interview, you’ll hear how Trinh and Tommy are nimbly customizing their support and solutions for each business. Their grassroots model is applicable to many immigrant-dense neighborhoods who really need extra assistance and attention right nowGood Good Eatz is attracting an ever-growing group of volunteers offering their services and talents and skills, which goes to show how many people want to help in some way during these traumatic times, to contribute to something greater than themselves. We can help in many ways, and it can be easy: whether we go visit one of these places mentioned for take-out, follow them on their new Instagram account, order some cookies for a friend, contribute financially to Fund a Lunch or Save Our Chinatowns or directly to a restaurant’s GoFundMe, or even sharing this podcast with your friends, thanks. Or, looking at how you can support your own neighborhood immigrant-owned businesses.Good Good Eatz: Fund a Lunch: Improvement: https://www.chinatownimprovement.orgSave Our Chinatowns: Nosh article: 1.  Tay Ho:  Huangcheng Noodle House: https://www.huangchengnoodle.comIf you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show (
Today’s episode of On the Fly is with Roberta Economidis, a San Francisco-based attorney who is a partner in the boutique hospitality law firm, Georgopoulos and Economidis, aka GE Law Group. Roberta and her partner Zach count numerous restaurants and bars and other hospitality-related businesses as their clients, and have been working so hard to help them navigate through this crisis the past two months. One of the greatest concerns for restaurants and other small businesses to be able to even return from the COVID-19 shutdown is how are they going to be able to pay their rent, when their business and income are going to be anywhere from potentially 50 to 70 percent less for the foreseeable future? The implications are devastating, which is why Roberta has been working with hospitality colleagues and Senator Scott Wiener’s office on an amendment to SB 939 that would allow for small businesses to renegotiate or terminate leases early. Roberta helps walk us through why renegotiation of leases is so critical for our restaurants and other F&B businesses to have a remote chance of future survival, and to avoid a sea of bankruptcies, costly litigation, and ruined lives and communities. Please look below to learn more, and see how you can help show support for this legislationGE Law Group: https://www.gelawgroup.comHow to support the amendment to SB 939 for rent reliefRead the press release and fact sheet.Please download this letter of support and email it to Miles Horton on Senator Wiener’s staff and cc: Review the toolkit for social media, phone call, and email messages/scripts. Subscribe to the Bay Area Hospitality Coalition newsletter for updates. Two-Top: 1. https://www.samovarlife.comIf you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show (
Our tenth episode of On the Fly is with one of my dear friends and my homie, chef Rob Lam of Perle Wine Bar in Montclair, Town Square Eats in Jack London Square, and his upcoming pet project, Lily, which was on track to open on Clement Street in SF in mid-March, but remains in a state of suspense.  I originally called to just check in on him, catch up, hear what was the latest, and how he was doing, but as I was listening to everything he's trying to figure out, I realized that I should actually be recording our conversation. Rob covers a lot of ground, from the role of technology in helping them rise to the current challenge of converting three restaurant concepts to takeout and delivery, to the brutal finances, to looking ahead and mulling over ideas on how to format happy hour, the dining experience, the menu, even what kinds of drinks will work best. He also talks about how they're looking at launching their new restaurant through takeout, and how that experience will tell the story of Lily. I was impressed with his positive mindset about how to approach all these business challenges, and how he believes it's all making him a better restaurateur. But, like any true hospitalitarian, Rob is concerned about what hospitality will look like in this new world—what will be left behind in the guest experience as we knew it, and what’s to come? Thanks for listening in. Perle Wine Bar: https://www.perlewinebar.comTown Square Eats: https://www.townsquareeats.comLily: 1. WesBurger 'N' More: https://www.wesburgernmore.com2. Roam: https://www.roamburgers.comIf you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show (
Karri Kiyuna: Wildhawk

Karri Kiyuna: Wildhawk


Today’s episode of On the Fly is with Karri Kiyuna, the bar director for the PlumpJack Group (founded by our governor, Gavin Newsom), and she is currently overseeing Wildhawk in the Mission. Karri has been tending bar in San Francisco since 2003, and talks us through what it’s like to turn a bar into an e-commerce website. She shares their current setup, and what she’s starting to envision for the bar’s future layout and more.Wildhawk has also partnered with the Hilda and Jesse pop-up—Kristina Compton, the pop-up’s chef, is also a barback for Wildhawk—and they’ve been serving brunch boxes and snacks to go along with Wildhawk’s cocktails and wine to go. Karri also shares what her F&B neighbors in the Mission are doing during this strange and challenging time. This episode is a quick one, consider it an aperitif, because it’s only going to make you even more thirsty and hungry for some of Hilda and Jesse’s pancakes without boundaries and pockets. It’s a good thing Wildhawk is open over the weekend, a perfect time for a spritz kit. Cin cin.Wildhawk: 3464 19th St., SF, @wildhawk_sfHilda and Jesse:, @hildaandjessesfTwo-Top: 1. Pinoy Heritage, @pinoyheritage2. Elda, @elda_sfIf you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show (
Today’s episode is with Jennifer Bennett, an owner of the 28-year-old Zazie in Cole Valley, a San Francisco Legacy business well-known for its eggs Benedict, legendary home fries, and the kindest staff, as well as its progressive business practices. (She is also the owner of Lovina in Calistoga.) Early this year, in January of 2020, after owning Zazie for 15 years and working there for 20, Jennifer sold the restaurant to three long-time employees, although she remains a 25-percent owner and oversees the business.But when the shutdown happened, she sprang into action like a two-hundred-percent owner, fighting hard for her 38 employees, and draining her 401K, maxing her home equity loan, and selling her life insurance policy to do anything to help keep the business afloat. After hemorrhaging all available funds, and with takeout business just not covering what they needed in order to operate and make payroll, they made the hard decision to temporarily close Zazie. But 10 days later, a Covid miracle of miracles happened, and they just received a PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan, enabling them to reopen and be able to pay their employees. On the day of our interview, it was Zazie’s reopening day, with a new online menu for takeout, and new kits for Mother’s Day. Jennifer shares with us her perspective on navigating this brutal business experience, as well as some plans and ideas about what the future of reopening Zazie for dining could look like. As one of our city’s most progressive restaurateurs, this interview is one to listen to.Zazie,, 941 Cole St., San FranciscoTwo-Top: 1. Izzy’s Steaks,; Feed Frontline Hospital Workers GoFundMe:  2. The Melt,; Melting Hearts for Hospitals: If you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show
Today’s episode is with Fernando Pujals, the Senior Director of Communications and Clean Operations for the TLCBD (Tenderloin Community Benefit District). This episode is a follow-up to our previous episode with chef Joanna Karlinsky, who has been directly feeding the unhoused on the streets of the Tenderloin and other encampments around the city. When I interviewed Joanna, she revealed folks have been asking her for water due to diminished access—she’s been filling containers and buying water for them on her own. It was a distressing piece of information, and led me to connect further with the TLCBD about what to do. I’m so grateful I was able to speak with Fernando for today’s episode, who offers us some perspective on the crisis happening on the streets of the Tenderloin during this pandemic, how the city is responding, all the ways the TLCBD organization works with the neighborhood, and how we can support the Tenderloin restaurants and food businesses that are still open. Be sure to listen to the very end, when Fernando talks about a grant program On the Fly listeners can donate to and DOUBLE the aid going to restaurants and food entrepreneurs. You have until noon on Sunday May 3rd, 2020, for the match, but if you’re getting to this later, you can always email and mention tablehopper and they’ll make sure your donation directly supports Tenderloin food businesses (it doesn't seem you can leave a note in PayPal when donating directly via the TLCBD website button). TLCBD: www.tlcbd.orgList of open Tenderloin restaurants (and more on the mini-grants for small business): to help Joanna Karlinsky feed and bring water to the unhoused: 6 Supervisor Matt Haney’s fundraiser for masks and sanitizer: Mae fundraiser for hand-washing stations: New Deal: https://sfnewdeal.orgSt. Anthony's: 1. Sai Jai Thai, Tycoon Thai, you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show (
Today’s episode of On the Fly is with chef and restaurateur Joanna Karlinsky. Anyone who has lived in SF for more than 20 years remembers her famous Meetinghouse biscuits. Joanna is also known for her big heart—she is a steadfast volunteer and advocate for Food Runners, a longtime SF organization working to recover and redistribute discarded food to community programs. And at the moment, Joanna has taken to running her own one-woman-army effort to bring food directly to unhoused people who are on the streets and in encampments. It is a desperate and heart-breaking scene on the streets of SF right now. Anyone who has driven or walked through the Tenderloin recently or looked down an alley in SOMA should be shocked by what they are seeing. I know I am. It’s the worst I have ever seen it. People desperately need help, and masks, and more hand-washing stations, and sanitizer, and space, and food, and when you listen to this episode, you will also learn that what they really need right now is water. Which is terrible. In an attempt to help in any way she can, Joanna has been filling containers and bringing water as well as food on her weekly drops. She has been cooking out of her own kitchen and was self-funding this incredible effort until recently when some friends decided to launch a Facebook fundraiser for her (which you will want to contribute to after you hear this interview).Like many chefs, Joanna lives and loves to feed people. But the herculean effort she is making to take care of people during this pandemic is beyond heroic, even though she will cringe hearing me say this. As a cancer survivor, she deeply knows the importance of health and the value of our precious lives. She’s working so hard and bravely to protect and preserve the lives of people who have been mostly neglected by our city. I hope this episode will help illuminate the dire situation that is happening on our streets, and is only escalating. We need to demand more services, and help, and hotel rooms, because we can’t allow this to get any worse. Look below for ways to help—we can make a difference, each and every one of us. Joanna is shining proof of that.Fundraiser to help Joanna feed and bring water to the unhoused: 6 Supervisor Matt Haney’s fundraiser for masks and sanitizer: Mae fundraiser for hand-washing stations: more in this Facebook town hall video from 4/27/20 with Senator Scott Wiener and community service/food bank leaders who discuss the current state of food insecurity: Runners:http://www.foodrunners.orgTwo-Top: 1. SF New Deal: https://sfnewdeal.org2. St. Anthony Foundation: money: donations (and more): you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show
Today’s episode of On the Fly is with Geetika Agrawal, the program director of La Cocina, an incredible nonprofit business incubator dedicated to supporting working-class food entrepreneurs—primarily immigrant women and women of color—in building successful food businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. Geetika works closely with La Cocina entrepreneurs to support their businesses and leads growth initiatives for the organization. She talks about the dramatic impact the coronavirus has had on all their talented entrepreneurs, from their catering businesses to their brick-and-mortar locations, and some of the adaptations they’ve made, including the brilliant weekly La Cocina Food Box they recently launched. Geetika shares details with us about the much-needed financial aid the La Cocina Emergency Relief Fund is providing to 58 La Cocina businesses while federal relief remains elusive. Please be sure to visit for a continually updated list of all the La Cocina businesses and what they’re serving for takeout and delivery, their hours, links to their gift cards, GoFundMes, and more. You can also find links to the relief fund and food boxes and more in the episode notes. These businesses have fought so hard to get to where they are, thank you for supporting them, and La Cocina, in any way you can.Updated list and links to La Cocina businesses: Cocina Emergency Relief Fund (to provide their entrepreneurs with cash payments to cover basic expenses): Cocina Food Box (menu goes up on Saturdays!): 1. Hamano (SF):, @hamanosushi.2. Miss Ollie’s (Oakland):, @missolliesoakland.If you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show
Today’s episode is with Evan Kidera, the co-founder and CEO of Señor Sisig, a beloved food business that got its start in 2010 as a food truck during the beginnings of the SF street food scene. Popular for their Filipino street style dishes, like their groundbreaking sisig burritos, the business has expanded to six food trucks, and they just opened their first brick and mortar location in the Mission at the end of 2019. But with the disappearance of their downtown lunch crowd during the stay-at-home order, Kidera tells us how a couple of the trucks are moving on to other locations around the Bay.In honor of their tenth year of business, they launched #Sisig4ThePeople, an initiative with the goal of raising $100,000 to help fund the preparation and delivery of meals to the community. They’re also part of another inspiring initiative, Filipinos Feed the Frontlines, joining their fellow Filipino restaurants to provide meals to healthcare workers and food-insecure communities while trying to stay open. Thanks for listening, please read the episode notes for links to these initiatives, where you can track down their sisig nachos, and more.Señor Sisig: #sisig4thepeople: City Eats: Filipinos Feed the Frontlines: Señor Sisig truck locations:3001 Junipero Serra Blvd., Daly City3333 Fruitvale Ave., OaklandAn up-to-date schedule can be found here: Guests who want to avoid waiting in line can order in advance from or opt for delivery (available via Caviar, Doordash, and UberEats). Two-Top: 1. Free temporary loading zone application for SF businesses: 2. Kahnfections, 3321 20th St. in San Francisco. Open daily 8am–1pm; pre-orders and same-day orders for most items: Delivery available through DoorDash. Purchase a gift card here: For the recipient address, please put Then, in the personal message, please put “For SF General Hospital Nurses.”@kahnfections: If you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show (
Kim Alter: Nightbird

Kim Alter: Nightbird


Today’s episode is with Kim Alter, the chef and co-owner of Nightbird and the adjoining Linden Room bar in Hayes Valley, which are currently closed to customers during the crisis. But the lights are still on as her small but mighty team is cooking hundreds of meals daily for initiatives like SF New Deal and Frontline Foods. Kim is known for her commitment to local farms and sustainability, and she’s proven to be a leader in leveraging her longtime relationships to support farmers as she sources ingredients to go into these low-cost but high-quality meals. She also shares with us a day in her extremely busy life right now—you’ll be exhausted just hearing everything she’s doing. Thanks for listening to her inspiring story. You’ll find links to Nightbird’s GoFundMe and more in the episode notes, please take a look. Thank you.Nightbird: https://www.nightbirdrestaurant.comNightbird GoFundMe: SF New Deal: Frontline Foods: https://www.frontlinefoods.orgBay Area Hospitality Coalition: https://bayareahospitalitycoalition.comTwo-Top: 1. Dining Out for Life/Dining IN for Life: 2. La Ciccia:, @lacicciasfIf you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at the show (
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