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Special Sauce with Ed Levine

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.
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Now displaying: October, 2017
Oct 26, 2017

Serious Eaters who are as curious about all things chocolate as I am are going to love the second part of my Special Sauce interview with Jacques Torres, a.k.a. Mr. Chocolate.

Jacques gives a simple, succinct, and comprehensive explanation of the bean-to-bar chocolate process, and explains how his chocolate obsession has led him to buy 5,000 trees on a coffee plantation in Central America. He also clearly articulates the difference between dark, milk, white, and pink chocolate, which is relatively new. Which type of chocolate does Jacques prefer? All I can tell you is that he told me that good "dark chocolate is magical." I couldn't agree more.

As for the attendees to Jacques's last supper? Leonardo da Vinci is the first person he named without hesitation. His next choice was a shocker, and it's someone whose chocolate products are consumed by the ton every day around the world. To find out his name you're just going to have to listen to this chocolate-coated episode of Special Sauce.

 

Wanted: Your Holiday Cooking & Baking Questions

As the holiday season approaches, we're planning a brand-new episode of Ask Special Sauce, starring our team of superstar recipe developers and all of your most pressing holiday-cooking questions! Need tips on Thanksgiving menu planning? Make-ahead dishes you can throw in the backseat for the drive to Aunt Becky's house? Guidance on safely deep-frying a turkey? E-mail us the whole story at specialsauce@seriouseats.com, and your cooking conundrum just might get featured on Special Sauce.

Oct 20, 2017
If you love chocolate–and what Serious Eater doesn't–you won't want to wait to savor every morsel of the Special Sauce episodes featuring Mr. Chocolate himself: chocolatier and pastry chef extraordinaire Jacques Torres. 
 
Jacques knows more than a few things about chocolate. He grew up in Bandol in Provence, France, and first started working at the local pastry shop when he was fourteen. He says he was hooked on the very first day. "Oh my God,' he recalls, "That sweet sticky stuff, I want to do that for the rest of my life." Jacques has since won a James Beard Pastry Chef of the Year Award, established his own bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturing facility in Brooklyn, and he's even opened Choco Story New York, an interactive chocolate museum in Lower Manhattan. 
 
On today's episode Jacques has some hilariously pointed advice for the best way to store chocolate: "The best way to store chocolates that we make in a store like mine, the best way to store them is in your stomach, because they don't age very well. Eat them fresh." 
 
His pastry- and chocolate-centered life has had many (mostly sweet) twists and turns, but for more specifics, you'll have to listen. Just make sure you have a piece of chocolate handy when you do.
Oct 12, 2017
I'm going to go out on a limb here, or perhaps I should say on a sprig of rosemary: For those who care deeply about the state of home cooking today, the food-journalism landscape, or the Grateful Dead, this week's episode of Special Sauce, part two of my conversation with Milk Street founder Chris Kimball, is a must-listen. Going back over the transcript, I marveled anew at just how smart and thought-provoking and, yes, persnickety the bespectacled, bow tie–wearing Mr. Kimball really is, on every subject: how Serious Eats culinary director, Kenji López-Alt, was just as science-driven and obsessive about rigorous testing when he worked for Chris at Cook's Illustrated as he is now, the humorous side of Abraham Lincoln, the range of spices found in the cuisine of the Ottoman Empire, and the benefits of not just giving home cooks what they want, to name a few. It may be my favorite Special Sauce ever—it's that good—and if this podcast weren't already free, I'd offer a money-back guarantee that serious eaters everywhere will feel the same way after listening. (And if you don't, let us know. We'd love to hear your feedback.)
Oct 5, 2017
If you're interested at all in food media you're going to love my Special Sauce conversation with Milk Street founder and seminal food publishing guru Chris Kimball. Chris is insanely smart, incredibly provocative, and very good company if you like your company opinionated, outspoken, and a little bit prickly.
 
Here are a few gems (or should I say crumbs?) from the first part of our conversation: "You know, I just did a Twitter contest about bad substitutions. Two of my favorites were, 'Instead of mint I use mint toothpaste,' which I just love. And my other one, which was a kid's, said, "Instead of chocolate they use chocolate ex-lax because it kind of looks like chocolate." But when you get into that muddy world..."
 
Of course, I asked Chris what life was like at the Kimball family table: "[It] was formal, seven o'clock every night, jacket and tie, fingernails clean. I'm not making this up...Well, the best thing about the table ... I mean the food was good, but the conversation was great. I mean we were expected at an early age to know what's going on and say something intelligent. So we were part of the conversation. So I developed an early love of argument or discussion. I love arguments."
 
Chris also has some strong opinions on whether people should pay for content: "People always said, 'Why do you charge for your content online?' And I said, 'Well why should I give it away? I mean this costs a lot of money.' I have people flying to South Africa and to the Middle East and doing this new project. It's expensive. And we have cooks, and we pay a lot of money in rent, and you know we need money to pay our bills. And so I'm perfectly happy to say to people, 'Look. If you'd like to participate it's $20 or $30 a year. It's sure money."
 
I had a blast talking to Chris, and I think Serious Eaters everywhere will have a blast listening to him, too.
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