Heritage Radio is the food-focused internet radio station that broadcasts from a studio attached to Roberta's in Bushwick. Every week, many of the big players in the food world host and appear on shows, and oftentimes they reveal interesting tidbits about their work. Here's a guide to five notable pieces of programming from the last week:
1) Tom Colicchio on Ending Hunger: This week, during a special hour-long episode of Michael Harlan Turkell's "The Food Seen," Tom Colicchio talks about his career, from helping out in the kitchen at home as a child to running multiple kitchens and consistently earning praise for each restaurant's complex simplicity. Colicchio recently shifted his focus from fine dining to fighting hunger when he took on the role of executive producer for the new documentary A Place at the Table:
There are chefs involved in sustainability issues, and we are all working within this big system and trying to make our way through it, but I still believe that there is a political solution within these things. We have to become involved and make government know what's important. We have to make hunger a voting issue, just like second amendment rights are a voting issue. If our politicians are not going to help solve this problem, I think they need to be labelled as pro-hunger.
2) Wild Boar in Upstate New York: On this episode of "Wild Game Domain," a show that covers local hunting and foraging issues, Institute of Culinary Education instructor Jessie Riley talks about the history of hunting and cooking wild boar. She also discusses how New York state feels about the game animal:
We have this problem with feral pigs that starts in Florida and heads all the way up to Connecticut, and I wouldn't say it's uncontrollable for us up here, but in western Georgia and certain parts of the south, they are overrun with them. As far as New York state's concerned, the Department of Environmental Control has decided that we should be hunting feral pigs in New York all year long. They're eating eggs from these animals that are natural to our environment, they'll eat roots, they'll destroy crops, they're starting to become a problem.
3) Queens Craft Beer on Beer Sessions: Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy's No. 43 invites a few beer experts into the studio to talk about the Queens craft beer scene. Gloria Dawson of Time Out New York, Rich Castagna of Bridge and Tunnel Brewery, Juan Cruz of Sunswick 35/35, Gus Anton of Inwood Local, and Ben Sandler and Jennifer Lim of Queens Kickshaw discuss the exciting beers coming out of Queens and the interesting bars and breweries in the area. Rich Castagna talks about being a small-batch brewer:
I like to think I'm the smallest functioning brewery in New York State right now. I'm actively looking for a bigger space. You saw my space, I'm all of 150 square feet, but I can make every inch work for the brewery. I'm kind of painted into a corner, where, if I don't get a bigger space, I can't get bigger equipment, I can't even expand now to a three barrel system. Trying to keep a balance there is important, too, because the bigger it gets, the less you have your hands on it.
4) Mondavi Family on What Makes a Good Chardonnay: Michael, Rob Jr. and Dina Mondavi of the legendary California winemaking family open a few bottles in the studio with Joe Campanale and talk about growing up Mondavi and the changing American wine market. Michael Mondavi explains the important balancing act of a good chardonnay:
The original chardonnays were made in large redwood or concrete tanks - they weren't made in stainless steel or oak barrels. In the mid 70's we got into oak and like anything at first we went too far. Many chardonnays did not have balance - they literally fought food. I think now we've come back to where balance is important. You want the flavor of the grape, a kiss of the oak. You want it to be interesting and compliment the food, not overpower it.
5) Rooftop Farming at Brooklyn Grange: Ben Flanner of Brooklyn Grange is predicting an early spring, moving ahead with the first outdoor plantings of the year. He talks about the challenges of knowing when to start planting spring crops, and shares the risks of declaring a premature end to winter:
You always have to take a few risks, particularly in the spring, once you're doing outdoor planting. Our general methodology is that the seeds and the time are worth it, because the seeds are a pretty small cost compared to the value of the crop if you get a good yield out of it. So I think it's often wiser to err on the side of a little bit of risk, get your seed in, see if you get some sunny days to germinate it, to get things going, and see what happens with the crops.
— Peter Henry