Chew The Fat.
As a kid, I was obsessed with music, especially with being a radio DJ. I bought 65-cent 45’s from Carousel or Woolworth’s with every bit of extra money, religiously listened to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40, and if I liked a song, I’d hold up my tape recorder to the speaker in my clock radio and Voilà! My very own primitive mix tape. The first of hundreds.
Over the years this evolved into playlists of every type imaginable. A friend once said I had the most eclectic musical taste she’d ever seen. And I never lost my dream of having my own 4-hour show. The one in charge of the music. This was of course before I learned the playlist is predefined by the corporate bigwigs. It’s only in the tiny studios of colleges where you hear Billie Holliday juxtaposed with Visage followed by Jonathan Richman.
Even during my partying club days I’d stare longingly at the DJ booth, SURE I could do a better job. Who the hell would mix Todd Terry into Nu Shooz, what are you, crazy? Yep, I was definitely GirlTalk in my head before GirlTalk was outta diapers. But I digress.
So when Craig Hartman asked me to appear on his podcast, “Chew the Fat” I was overjoyed! Sure, it’s not music radio, but hell, I’d be in a studio. On a microphone. Near music. I couldn’t wait! Not only could I wax poetic about my love of food and writing, but I could try out the “sexy-DemiMoore-esque-plastic-radio-voice” I’d been practicing since I was 10.
I wasn’t disappointed. Talking with Chef Craig Hartman was like sitting on a porch swing, drinking beer, reminiscing over old times. We’d talked a ton on Facebook, but never met. Didn’t matter, he hugged me right away and instantly it was like we were old friends having a reunion. This one just happened to be on a podcast.
Craig is the consummate interviewer, the kind who makes you forget you’re on air. The kind who puts you so at ease you end up revealing more than you intended, delving deeper into topics that matter. Instead of a marketing slash networking promotional campaign (which most interviews end up feeling like) this felt like a chat over dinner. Seriously wonderful and satisfying like a fine bourbon.
What’s even better is I left knowing more than when I arrived. I actually LEARNED something! Another hallmark of a great interviewer. You never get the feeling Chef Craig does interviews because he likes the sound of his own voice. He possesses a genuine passion and love for cooking and food. He informs and teaches his audience (and his interviewee) in such a lovely, subtle way you leave feeling as if you’ve just been to your favorite college class. And you can’t wait for your next lesson.
A few things I learned:
- M.F.K. Fisher’s “Consider the Oyster” is his favorite piece of food writing (mine too).
- Chefs turn to food writing, particularly food blogs, for inspiration <—Holy Crap! Really? I had no idea! Somehow this factoid may change how (and how often) I put finger to keyboard.
- A symbiosis exists in the food world: chefs, restaurant goers, food bloggers, and producers, each supporting the other equally to elevate the art of cooking and food <—This surprised me, the food writer who has always felt like an outsider, peering in the kitchen window to witness the magic inside.
- Chef Hartman just bought a traditional polenta palette. He plans on using it to catch the drippings of spit-roasted meats like veal and lamb. A different take on traditional grits. <—When The Hubby heard this, swooned. As did I.
- Chefs really care about their food. If you didn’t have a great experience, say so. They hate hearing it, but they do want to know about it.
- I say “exactly” and “fantastic” WAY too much.
- I don’t finish my thoughts! So many times I had a great point, but instead allowed my mind to dart away. Stupid ADD.
I left the podcast feeling content. Happy. But more than that, rejuvenated, with a renewed vigor and commitment to my food writing, hell, to all my writing. I left wanting to eat more (to develop my palate) read more (to develop my knowledge) and cook more (to develop my writing expertise). Thank you Chef Craig. Doing your podcast was a great kick in the ass.
To my delight, the lovely and talented Mike Bisceglia, who was the master recorder/engineer of this podcast sensed my enthusiasm, and invited me to do more “The Diner of Cville” podcasts in the future. Look for them! I couldn’t be more thrilled. It ain’t radio DJ’ing. But it’s one step closer to my fantasy of taking over the airwaves, becoming the next “Nightbird”. You never know.
What did you think about the podcast? Any comments? Thoughts? As always, thanks for “listening” :)
During the writing of this blog, I was dismayed to find I’ve not yet written a review of Chef Hartman’s most excellent BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville. Oh the pigmanity! Look for it next. . .