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Special Sauce with Ed Levine

Serious Eats

205
Followers
58
Plays
Special Sauce with Ed Levine
Special Sauce with Ed Levine

Special Sauce with Ed Levine

Serious Eats

205
Followers
58
Plays
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About Us

Serious Eats' podcast Special Sauce enables food lovers everywhere to eavesdrop on an intimate conversation about food and life between host and Serious Eats founder Ed Levine and his well-known/famous friends and acquaintances both in and out of the food culture.

Latest Episodes

Special Sauce: Kenji on Competitive Cooking; Ivan Orkin and Chris Ying on Being Gaijin [2/2]

On this week's Special Sauce, we take a deep dive into The Gaijin Cookbook: Japanese Recipes from a Chef, Father, Eater, and Lifelong Outsider, the new cookbook from Ivan Orkin and Chris Ying. We pick up where we left off in last week's conversation, and Chris and Ivan talk about how this new project came about. They said that while their previous collaboration, Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo's Most Unlikely Noodle Joint was received well, they decided they'd like to try writing a book that was more focused on cooking. And, as Chris tells me, as they tried to figure out what that book would look like, "I wanted to figure out specifically what it was that made a Japanese cookbook from Ivan and me worth buying or what the perspective was that made sense. We...pretty quickly arrived at this thing that Ivan's a gaijin. I'm a Chinese guy; I'm a gaijin. We can't hide that. There's no pretending otherwise." After they figured out an approach, the rest was relatively simple: Ivan supplying the recipes and the anecdotes, and Chris figuring out how to cobble them together into an organized whole. And the result is a book filled with observations about Japan that are incredibly personal, accompanied by recipes and guides for how to enjoy them. For example, here's Ivan talking about Japanese New Year: "So, New Year's food, it's a little like Shabbos. You cook all day on Friday and then you turn off the stove, you got your cholent on the stone thing and you just eat from that and you relax. Japanese New Year's, you cook all these things, a lot of the little treats have different meanings about long life and sweetness and bitterness and whatever...On New Year's Day, you wake up in the morning and...everybody in the country just sits down and watches TV and drinks and eats delicious food." In addition to Chris and Ivan, Kenji and Stella pop up in the episode to dispense some advice. Kenji fields a question from Christian Hiller, who's looking for some advice about competing on the Swedish version of MasterChef. Stella, on the other hand, comes on to talk pie dough, just in time for Thanksgiving, the biggest pie day of all. Chris and Ivan on Japanese food, Kenji on cooking competitions, and Stella on pie dough? It just might be a perfect Special Sauce episode. --- The full transcript for this episode can be found over here at Serious Eats: https://www.seriouseats.com/2019/11/special-sauce-kenji-on-competitive-cooking-ivan-orkin-and-chris-ying-on-being-gaijin.html

46 MIN2 d ago
Comments
Special Sauce: Kenji on Competitive Cooking; Ivan Orkin and Chris Ying on Being Gaijin [2/2]

Special Sauce: Ivan Orkin and Chris Ying on The Gaijin Cookbook [1/2]

Sometimes, my Special Sauce interviews are the best way to catch up with old friends and colleagues. I was reminded of that when Chris Ying and Ivan Orkin, co-authors ofThe Gaijin Cookbook: Japanese Recipes from a Chef, Father, Eater, and Lifelong Outsider, walked into the studio. The first thing you have to know about Ivan and Chris is that they are great company. The second is that, since they've worked together for long enough that they've established an easy rapport, one that comes through in every one of their exchanges. Consider this snippet of our conversation, when we on what role cleaning plays in becoming a chef or cook in a restaurant. Ivan: I was a dishwasher. Chris: As all good cooks should start. Ivan: I agree. If you don't know how to clean, then you can't cook. Chris: If you don't love cleaning... Ivan: I have to say, that as I become a better cook I've learned to actually love cleaning. I mean, when I cook, man, you should see it. I mean it is sparkly...When I talk ...

42 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Special Sauce: Ivan Orkin and Chris Ying on The Gaijin Cookbook [1/2]

Special Sauce: Kenji on Browning Meat, Adam Chandler on Colonel Sanders's Wild Side [2/2]

On Special Sauce this week, I had the pleasure of continuing my deep dive into the history of fast food with Adam Chandler, the author of Drive-Thru Dreams. But before I tell you more about that conversation, we kicked off this episode, as we always do, with another round of "Ask Kenji." Serious eater Nick Bastow asks Kenji why minced meat has to be cooked before it's added to a sauce, such as a Bologneseor chili. Kenji explains that it's not just about rendering excess fat but also about creating the right texture- which will be different if you're making, for example, his chili sauce for burgers and hot dogsrather than the other recipes named above: "In that recipe, what we actually do is, we take the meat, we don't brown it at all, we add our liquid to it, and we kind of break the meat up in the liquid. And the texture you get from that is completely, completely different.... Like a very chunky paste. So, rather than a chili texture, where you have big chunks of meat that are kin...

37 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Special Sauce: Kenji on Browning Meat, Adam Chandler on Colonel Sanders's Wild Side [2/2]

Special Sauce: Kenji on Cooking With Fish Sauce and Adam Chandler on Fast Food [1/2]

This week's Special Sauce episode kicks off with Serious Eater Marc Lampert asking Kenji about the process of cooking with ingredients packed with umami. "Does umami cook out like an acid would?" Marc asked. Here's part of Kenji's response: "A general rule of thumb for cooking is if you can smell it that means that its concentration in the pot is going down...So if you are cooking a stew and it smells like there's this wonderful red wine aroma that means that the more you smell red wine in your house, the less is left in the stew. There's a finite bucket of it, and if it's in your house then it's not in your pot." With Marc's question squared away, the episode moves on to my far-reaching conversation about fast food with former Atlantic staff writer Adam Chandler, the author of Drive-Thru Dreams: A Journey Through the Heart of America's Fast-Food Kingdom. He described to me the high school fast food ritual that started his journey: "On weekend nights, we would all pile into our cars...

33 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Special Sauce: Kenji on Cooking With Fish Sauce and Adam Chandler on Fast Food [1/2]

Special Sauce: Kenji on Freezing Chicken, Simone Tong on Making Mixian [2/2]

This week's episode of Special Sauce kicks off with our new culinary Q&A segment, "Ask Kenji." At the behest of listener Dave Shorr, Kenji lays down the law on the best way to freeze chicken. It’s a simple process that includes placing chicken pieces into a zipper-lock bag and pouring in a saltwater brine. Tune in to learn more about why- and be sure to read up on the benefits of freezing flat. Next, Little Tong Noodle Shop owner Simone Tong explains how she came to open a restaurant serving mixian. These rice noodles, which are typically served in a brothy sauce with an array of toppings, hail from China’s Yunnan Province, and were largely unfamiliar to her customers. We both agreed that building a restaurant around a relatively unknown dish might not have been the wisest business decision, but she was undeterred. "I was naive and I was brave," she says. “I was like a New Yorker, confident." Tong’s confidence and bravery were well rewarded. "Yeah, like you and many other food w...

37 MINOCT 18
Comments
Special Sauce: Kenji on Freezing Chicken, Simone Tong on Making Mixian [2/2]

Special Sauce: Kenji on Cooking With Starch, Simone Tong on the Ingredient She Hates [1/2]

This week's Special Sauce kicks off with our new culinary Q&A segment, "Ask Kenji." This time around, Kenji schools us and serious eater Paul Anderson on the differences between cornstarch and flour when used as thickeners. Among them: Unlike flour, "cornstarch tends to break down when you hold it hot," Kenji says. "So you've been to a Chinese buffet, and they have the pot of hot and sour soup that's been sitting there all day, that's usually thickened with cornstarch, and as it sits in that steam table over the day, it'll actually get thinner and thinner.... [it] breaks down over time. So, a sauce that you made [that] was nice and thick and glossy the day before, when you microwave it and reheat it the next day, it might end up really thin and watery." Keep that in mind next time you're wondering why your takeout leftovers don't hold up so well- and when you're making big batches of your own saucy dishes that you hope will last the weekend. After that, we meet Little Tong Noodle Sh...

34 MINOCT 11
Comments
Special Sauce: Kenji on Cooking With Starch, Simone Tong on the Ingredient She Hates [1/2]

Special Sauce 2.0: Kenji on Grilling Naan and Nicholas Morgenstern on Sundaes [2/2]

For the first segment of this episode of Special Sauce 2.0, Kenji takes a question from serious eater Phil on how to make naan in a Big Green Egg. It starts with our grilled naan recipeand ends with a 60- to 90-second bake on a pizza stone. Next, ice cream Jedi Master Nicholas Morgenstern, of Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream, talks about how he comes up with his notoriously inventive flavors, like Burnt Sage, Black Pepper Molasses, or the Banana Kalamansi ice cream he had me taste on mike. His ice creams are excellent on their own, but Morgenstern also has a sundae bar in his shop. Why? "The ice cream sundae has come to represent the egalitarian indulgence that ice cream can be in this country...everyone can have an ice cream sundae,” he told me. “Ice cream is already strictly an indulgence, and you're taking it to another level by adding the things that if you were a child and could have whatever you wanted, you would have on there. It turns out everyone wants to have that." To pr...

44 MINOCT 4
Comments
Special Sauce 2.0: Kenji on Grilling Naan and Nicholas Morgenstern on Sundaes [2/2]

Special Sauce: Introducing Special Sauce 2.0, with guest Nick Morgenstern [1/2]

This week Serious Eaters get to see the all-new Special Sauce format we've cooked up for the new season. Every episode of Special Sauce 2.0 will start off with "Ask Kenji," a brief section in which J. Kenji Lopez-Alt will answer a pressing question one of our readers has sent in. We're going to do one of these every week, so keep those questions coming. This week the question comes from Tucker Colvin, who asks Kenji which outdoor pizza oven Kenji recommends. After "Ask Kenji," each week we'll have on a guest, and this week that guest is ice cream wizard Nicholas Morgenstern, whose eponymous ice cream shop in New York's Greenwich Village offers 88 flavors. As my friend Brian Koppelman said on his podcast, "The Moment," Morgenstern is Willy Wonka of ice cream. He also happens to be an extremely thoughtful person; for example, when I asked him why he chose to devote his life to ice cream, he replied, "The product itself is a terrific vehicle for expression for me...It's become more and...

33 MINSEP 20
Comments
Special Sauce: Introducing Special Sauce 2.0, with guest Nick Morgenstern [1/2]

Special Sauce: Author Tom Roston on Post-9/11 New York as Victim and Survivor [2/2]

Part two of my at times emotionally overwhelming interview with Tom Roston, author of The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World: The Twin Towers, Windows on the World, and the Rebirth of New York, focused on the employees of Windows on the World who were in the North Tower's iconic restaurant on September 11, 2001, all of whom tragically died that day. According to Roston, "there were immigrants from, I think it was over 25 nations.... People from Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria, Ecuador, Peru, and Mexico." For many of these employees, getting a job at the prestigious institution was a watershed moment in their lives. "It was like, basically, you made it. This is going to be your ticket to whatever it was, or maybe this is just the answer and you don't need to fight anymore, and then it was gone." As Roston and I discussed, those employees who weren't in the restaurant that morning didn't escape completely unscathed, and each was profoundly impacted in their own way. These survivors r...

24 MINSEP 20
Comments
Special Sauce: Author Tom Roston on Post-9/11 New York as Victim and Survivor [2/2]

Special Sauce: Tom Roston on the Untold Stories of Windows on the World [1/2]

No matter where you were when the two planes hit the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, you were profoundly affected by the events of that day. And if you, like me, were at all involved in the food culture at that moment, your thoughts quickly turned to Windows on the World, the glitzy restaurant on the 107th floor of the North Tower, where visitors could enjoy unparalleled views while sipping $5 drinks (at the adjoining Greatest Bar on Earth) or dropping serious coin for a celebratory dinner. One hundred seventy employees and patrons of the restaurant died that day. Author Tom Roston, this week's Special Sauce guest, has written The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World: The Twin Towers, Windows on the World, and the Rebirth of New York, a compelling and doggedly reported book that details the history of both Windows on the World and the Twin Towers, from their inception to their demise. As Roston says, "It's no coincidence that the book is coming out in September, right around ...

26 MINSEP 13
Comments
Special Sauce: Tom Roston on the Untold Stories of Windows on the World [1/2]

Latest Episodes

Special Sauce: Kenji on Competitive Cooking; Ivan Orkin and Chris Ying on Being Gaijin [2/2]

On this week's Special Sauce, we take a deep dive into The Gaijin Cookbook: Japanese Recipes from a Chef, Father, Eater, and Lifelong Outsider, the new cookbook from Ivan Orkin and Chris Ying. We pick up where we left off in last week's conversation, and Chris and Ivan talk about how this new project came about. They said that while their previous collaboration, Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo's Most Unlikely Noodle Joint was received well, they decided they'd like to try writing a book that was more focused on cooking. And, as Chris tells me, as they tried to figure out what that book would look like, "I wanted to figure out specifically what it was that made a Japanese cookbook from Ivan and me worth buying or what the perspective was that made sense. We...pretty quickly arrived at this thing that Ivan's a gaijin. I'm a Chinese guy; I'm a gaijin. We can't hide that. There's no pretending otherwise." After they figured out an approach, the rest was relatively simple: Ivan supplying the recipes and the anecdotes, and Chris figuring out how to cobble them together into an organized whole. And the result is a book filled with observations about Japan that are incredibly personal, accompanied by recipes and guides for how to enjoy them. For example, here's Ivan talking about Japanese New Year: "So, New Year's food, it's a little like Shabbos. You cook all day on Friday and then you turn off the stove, you got your cholent on the stone thing and you just eat from that and you relax. Japanese New Year's, you cook all these things, a lot of the little treats have different meanings about long life and sweetness and bitterness and whatever...On New Year's Day, you wake up in the morning and...everybody in the country just sits down and watches TV and drinks and eats delicious food." In addition to Chris and Ivan, Kenji and Stella pop up in the episode to dispense some advice. Kenji fields a question from Christian Hiller, who's looking for some advice about competing on the Swedish version of MasterChef. Stella, on the other hand, comes on to talk pie dough, just in time for Thanksgiving, the biggest pie day of all. Chris and Ivan on Japanese food, Kenji on cooking competitions, and Stella on pie dough? It just might be a perfect Special Sauce episode. --- The full transcript for this episode can be found over here at Serious Eats: https://www.seriouseats.com/2019/11/special-sauce-kenji-on-competitive-cooking-ivan-orkin-and-chris-ying-on-being-gaijin.html

46 MIN2 d ago
Comments
Special Sauce: Kenji on Competitive Cooking; Ivan Orkin and Chris Ying on Being Gaijin [2/2]

Special Sauce: Ivan Orkin and Chris Ying on The Gaijin Cookbook [1/2]

Sometimes, my Special Sauce interviews are the best way to catch up with old friends and colleagues. I was reminded of that when Chris Ying and Ivan Orkin, co-authors ofThe Gaijin Cookbook: Japanese Recipes from a Chef, Father, Eater, and Lifelong Outsider, walked into the studio. The first thing you have to know about Ivan and Chris is that they are great company. The second is that, since they've worked together for long enough that they've established an easy rapport, one that comes through in every one of their exchanges. Consider this snippet of our conversation, when we on what role cleaning plays in becoming a chef or cook in a restaurant. Ivan: I was a dishwasher. Chris: As all good cooks should start. Ivan: I agree. If you don't know how to clean, then you can't cook. Chris: If you don't love cleaning... Ivan: I have to say, that as I become a better cook I've learned to actually love cleaning. I mean, when I cook, man, you should see it. I mean it is sparkly...When I talk ...

42 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Special Sauce: Ivan Orkin and Chris Ying on The Gaijin Cookbook [1/2]

Special Sauce: Kenji on Browning Meat, Adam Chandler on Colonel Sanders's Wild Side [2/2]

On Special Sauce this week, I had the pleasure of continuing my deep dive into the history of fast food with Adam Chandler, the author of Drive-Thru Dreams. But before I tell you more about that conversation, we kicked off this episode, as we always do, with another round of "Ask Kenji." Serious eater Nick Bastow asks Kenji why minced meat has to be cooked before it's added to a sauce, such as a Bologneseor chili. Kenji explains that it's not just about rendering excess fat but also about creating the right texture- which will be different if you're making, for example, his chili sauce for burgers and hot dogsrather than the other recipes named above: "In that recipe, what we actually do is, we take the meat, we don't brown it at all, we add our liquid to it, and we kind of break the meat up in the liquid. And the texture you get from that is completely, completely different.... Like a very chunky paste. So, rather than a chili texture, where you have big chunks of meat that are kin...

37 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Special Sauce: Kenji on Browning Meat, Adam Chandler on Colonel Sanders's Wild Side [2/2]

Special Sauce: Kenji on Cooking With Fish Sauce and Adam Chandler on Fast Food [1/2]

This week's Special Sauce episode kicks off with Serious Eater Marc Lampert asking Kenji about the process of cooking with ingredients packed with umami. "Does umami cook out like an acid would?" Marc asked. Here's part of Kenji's response: "A general rule of thumb for cooking is if you can smell it that means that its concentration in the pot is going down...So if you are cooking a stew and it smells like there's this wonderful red wine aroma that means that the more you smell red wine in your house, the less is left in the stew. There's a finite bucket of it, and if it's in your house then it's not in your pot." With Marc's question squared away, the episode moves on to my far-reaching conversation about fast food with former Atlantic staff writer Adam Chandler, the author of Drive-Thru Dreams: A Journey Through the Heart of America's Fast-Food Kingdom. He described to me the high school fast food ritual that started his journey: "On weekend nights, we would all pile into our cars...

33 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Special Sauce: Kenji on Cooking With Fish Sauce and Adam Chandler on Fast Food [1/2]

Special Sauce: Kenji on Freezing Chicken, Simone Tong on Making Mixian [2/2]

This week's episode of Special Sauce kicks off with our new culinary Q&A segment, "Ask Kenji." At the behest of listener Dave Shorr, Kenji lays down the law on the best way to freeze chicken. It’s a simple process that includes placing chicken pieces into a zipper-lock bag and pouring in a saltwater brine. Tune in to learn more about why- and be sure to read up on the benefits of freezing flat. Next, Little Tong Noodle Shop owner Simone Tong explains how she came to open a restaurant serving mixian. These rice noodles, which are typically served in a brothy sauce with an array of toppings, hail from China’s Yunnan Province, and were largely unfamiliar to her customers. We both agreed that building a restaurant around a relatively unknown dish might not have been the wisest business decision, but she was undeterred. "I was naive and I was brave," she says. “I was like a New Yorker, confident." Tong’s confidence and bravery were well rewarded. "Yeah, like you and many other food w...

37 MINOCT 18
Comments
Special Sauce: Kenji on Freezing Chicken, Simone Tong on Making Mixian [2/2]

Special Sauce: Kenji on Cooking With Starch, Simone Tong on the Ingredient She Hates [1/2]

This week's Special Sauce kicks off with our new culinary Q&A segment, "Ask Kenji." This time around, Kenji schools us and serious eater Paul Anderson on the differences between cornstarch and flour when used as thickeners. Among them: Unlike flour, "cornstarch tends to break down when you hold it hot," Kenji says. "So you've been to a Chinese buffet, and they have the pot of hot and sour soup that's been sitting there all day, that's usually thickened with cornstarch, and as it sits in that steam table over the day, it'll actually get thinner and thinner.... [it] breaks down over time. So, a sauce that you made [that] was nice and thick and glossy the day before, when you microwave it and reheat it the next day, it might end up really thin and watery." Keep that in mind next time you're wondering why your takeout leftovers don't hold up so well- and when you're making big batches of your own saucy dishes that you hope will last the weekend. After that, we meet Little Tong Noodle Sh...

34 MINOCT 11
Comments
Special Sauce: Kenji on Cooking With Starch, Simone Tong on the Ingredient She Hates [1/2]

Special Sauce 2.0: Kenji on Grilling Naan and Nicholas Morgenstern on Sundaes [2/2]

For the first segment of this episode of Special Sauce 2.0, Kenji takes a question from serious eater Phil on how to make naan in a Big Green Egg. It starts with our grilled naan recipeand ends with a 60- to 90-second bake on a pizza stone. Next, ice cream Jedi Master Nicholas Morgenstern, of Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream, talks about how he comes up with his notoriously inventive flavors, like Burnt Sage, Black Pepper Molasses, or the Banana Kalamansi ice cream he had me taste on mike. His ice creams are excellent on their own, but Morgenstern also has a sundae bar in his shop. Why? "The ice cream sundae has come to represent the egalitarian indulgence that ice cream can be in this country...everyone can have an ice cream sundae,” he told me. “Ice cream is already strictly an indulgence, and you're taking it to another level by adding the things that if you were a child and could have whatever you wanted, you would have on there. It turns out everyone wants to have that." To pr...

44 MINOCT 4
Comments
Special Sauce 2.0: Kenji on Grilling Naan and Nicholas Morgenstern on Sundaes [2/2]

Special Sauce: Introducing Special Sauce 2.0, with guest Nick Morgenstern [1/2]

This week Serious Eaters get to see the all-new Special Sauce format we've cooked up for the new season. Every episode of Special Sauce 2.0 will start off with "Ask Kenji," a brief section in which J. Kenji Lopez-Alt will answer a pressing question one of our readers has sent in. We're going to do one of these every week, so keep those questions coming. This week the question comes from Tucker Colvin, who asks Kenji which outdoor pizza oven Kenji recommends. After "Ask Kenji," each week we'll have on a guest, and this week that guest is ice cream wizard Nicholas Morgenstern, whose eponymous ice cream shop in New York's Greenwich Village offers 88 flavors. As my friend Brian Koppelman said on his podcast, "The Moment," Morgenstern is Willy Wonka of ice cream. He also happens to be an extremely thoughtful person; for example, when I asked him why he chose to devote his life to ice cream, he replied, "The product itself is a terrific vehicle for expression for me...It's become more and...

33 MINSEP 20
Comments
Special Sauce: Introducing Special Sauce 2.0, with guest Nick Morgenstern [1/2]

Special Sauce: Author Tom Roston on Post-9/11 New York as Victim and Survivor [2/2]

Part two of my at times emotionally overwhelming interview with Tom Roston, author of The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World: The Twin Towers, Windows on the World, and the Rebirth of New York, focused on the employees of Windows on the World who were in the North Tower's iconic restaurant on September 11, 2001, all of whom tragically died that day. According to Roston, "there were immigrants from, I think it was over 25 nations.... People from Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria, Ecuador, Peru, and Mexico." For many of these employees, getting a job at the prestigious institution was a watershed moment in their lives. "It was like, basically, you made it. This is going to be your ticket to whatever it was, or maybe this is just the answer and you don't need to fight anymore, and then it was gone." As Roston and I discussed, those employees who weren't in the restaurant that morning didn't escape completely unscathed, and each was profoundly impacted in their own way. These survivors r...

24 MINSEP 20
Comments
Special Sauce: Author Tom Roston on Post-9/11 New York as Victim and Survivor [2/2]

Special Sauce: Tom Roston on the Untold Stories of Windows on the World [1/2]

No matter where you were when the two planes hit the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, you were profoundly affected by the events of that day. And if you, like me, were at all involved in the food culture at that moment, your thoughts quickly turned to Windows on the World, the glitzy restaurant on the 107th floor of the North Tower, where visitors could enjoy unparalleled views while sipping $5 drinks (at the adjoining Greatest Bar on Earth) or dropping serious coin for a celebratory dinner. One hundred seventy employees and patrons of the restaurant died that day. Author Tom Roston, this week's Special Sauce guest, has written The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World: The Twin Towers, Windows on the World, and the Rebirth of New York, a compelling and doggedly reported book that details the history of both Windows on the World and the Twin Towers, from their inception to their demise. As Roston says, "It's no coincidence that the book is coming out in September, right around ...

26 MINSEP 13
Comments
Special Sauce: Tom Roston on the Untold Stories of Windows on the World [1/2]
hmly
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