It all started in mid-2018 when I was performing my quarterly browse of iTunes’ list of trending podcasts – a Foodie podcast jumped out at me (largely due to the name, but also due to the fact that there aren’t many Foodie podcasts out there)!
What the F is for Dinner? – 9podcasts
That first podcast was ‘What the F is for Dinner?’ hosted by Jane de Graaff. The show’s concept is smart and to-the-point, each week Jane interviews a well known Chef and spends a brief moment chatting before she pulls out a recipe, reads it out and her guest advises in how they would approach the cooking of that dish to make it easier for the ‘everyday man/woman’.
The podcast is punchy (around 10 minutes per ep), it’s fun and lively, and in the end you leave with some helpful tips and a recipe which you can really try that night (I tried one of the Mac and Cheese recipes to great success)!
If you’d like to give ‘What the F is for Dinner?’ a go, check-out:
Jane started the show on 8 November 2017, and the most recent episode dropped on 3 December 2018; so there are plenty of past episodes for you to binge listen to, and more new content on its way!
And once I had latched onto this one Foodie podcast, I just rode the wave for all it was worth, following the rabbit hole of ‘You might also like’ podcast suggestions and that was how I found my next Foodie podcast:
The Pass Australia’s Newest Podcast- The Pass
I guess it takes some onions to name a podcast ‘Australia’s newest podcast’ as your podcast name can quickly become inaccurate (as What the F is for Dinner is in fact Australia’s latest food podcast), and it takes even more nerve to state in your podcast blurb that you’re “One of Australia’s favourite food podcasts” when you’re just starting out and unknown. But hats off to Magdalena Roze who hosts each episode, as The Pass’ podcast concept is probably the most solid from the 4 Foodie podcasts which I follow and the format which I enjoy the most.
The format of the show is as follows: Mags meets up with a renowned Chef at either their home or their business and spends some time chatting about them, their concept of food, and their business, before reaching the midway point of the show when her guest reveals where he/she will be taking her for lunch (usually at one of the guests’ favourite local haunts). And with microphones continuously recording, they hop into cars to get there, make their orders at the restaurant/café, and then enjoy their meals; all the while their candid conversations continue. The result is that you the listener obtains a great insight into the Chef, like eavesdropping on a neighbouring table’s private conversation. Another aspect of the show which I particularly like, is learning of unknown Sydney restaurants (to me at least) from the Chefs themselves, and listening to what they end up ordering (I now have a little notebook full of restaurants and dishes Chefs have ordered across the episodes, which I’d like to try one day).
If you’d like to join me and eavesdrop on Mags and her guests, click on:
Mags started the Pass on 20 February 2017, so there are 2 seasons worth of shows to binge listen to. But unfortunately the most recent episode is from 30 May 2018; the show is released in seasons, so I’m hoping that they’ll release a 3rd season soon.
So still hot on the rabbit’s heels, I discovered the next podcast I’m going to tell you all about. This Foodie pod is the show which I’ve listened to the most (6 years’ worth of episodes I’ve binged on thus far). But this is by-and-large due to the fact that it’s the longest running Australian Foodie podcast with the most extensive back-issue! **Note: “What the F” and The Pass are more professional productions with a team of people working on them, with theme music, and after-production edits; but the next two shows are independent productions and a little bit more ‘amateurish’.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry- Lee Tran Lam
An embarrassing confession I have to make first (and I’m only sharing this because it was such a light bulb moment!), but it was only this morning that I realised the name of the show was “Unbearable Lightness” not “Unbearable Likeness”, and that actually makes a whole lot more sense now! I was going to be a hopeless ‘Fan-boy’ if I ever met Lee Tran, and ask her what was the deep philosophical meaning behind her show’s name. I’m not joking, more than a couple of times over the past months I’ve stopped to think “The unbearable likeness of being hungry……” What is she comparing the feeling of hunger to? But it’s Lightness! I get you now! Lightness, as in not being heavy from being full? I’m confused…. Have I grasped the meaning???? *Shrug*.
But regardless of the title, The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry is my go to podcast, for the simple fact that Lee Tran has this amazing access to a host of amazing guests! And those whom she chats with aren’t limited to only famous Sydney Chefs, but Sommeliers, Baristas, front-of-house staff etc. etc. So it’s a really wide cross section of the hospitality industry and each person seems to be very familiar and comfortable with her so they end up opening up and being very candid in their responses. At first I used to get annoyed with Lee Tran for always asking the same handful of questions (she never diverts from those questions) but over time you’re reliant on the predictability which takes the guest through a logical sequence (Was food a big deal when they were growing up?; What were their highlights and lowlights of their career?; their favourite places to eat and drink in Sydney?; and what places they’re looking forward to try?). And with these questions, the guest inevitably pours out their life story to Lee Tran and you’re the beneficiary of Lee Tran’s connection with her guests! But don’t get me wrong, the show isn’t Q and then A, but some of the most interesting parts is the result of Lee Tran’s extensive research into her guest’s life; the information which she is able to rattle off-the-top-of-her-head is incredible and I think all of her guests respect her for that and feed off her interest in them, so it’s not an interview as-such but a real conversation between 2 people. If you want to meet all the interesting people Lee Tran has chatted with over the years, please click on:
Now my biggest fear is that my binge listening of back-issues will eventually catch up to the present day episodes, and then I’ll just have to wait for future episode drops. Boo! Lee Tran’s first episode went to air on 1 August 2012, and unfortunately the frequency of her uploads has slowed in recent years, but on the bright side her most recent ep was made available on 24 December 2018 so she’s still going strong! And I still have all of 2016 and 2017’s episodes to listen to. *Rubs hands in glee*. And I’d just like to add, by far Lee Tran is on the top of my list of Podcasters whom I’d like to meet! And with the weirdness of the Internet, I’m silently hoping that she might see this post one day, my homage to her work! Haaha.
Which now leads me to the last of the 4 Foodie podcasts which I’m subscribed to and which I’m going to recommend to you. I have to admit the first time I heard this podcast, I stopped after 20 minutes into it and then deleted it from my library. The reason was that I found it too crude with all the swearing, and it was too “Yo Bro!”….”That’s sick!”…..”DUDE!”…. It was just too much like high school all over again. And it didn’t help that I started listening from the latest episode, so I was confused with all the different voices (they usually have 6 people) and there wasn’t much context to what they were chatting about.
But a few months later, when I was working my way through Lee Tran’s podcasts too quickly and I was starting to panic about running out of un-listened episodes, so I had a need to find something else to intersperse in between ‘The unbearable lightness’ so I went on my interminable search for new Foodie podcasts again. But there weren’t anything that I hadn’t tried before (crap I sound like an addict), and I came crawling back to The Mitchen. But this time I learnt my lesson, I commenced at episode 1 to obtain all the context to their banter.
The Mitchen- Andrew Levins and Mitch Orr
The Mitchen is hosted by Andrew Levins (Writer and DJ and former owner of The Dip at Good God) and Mitch Orr (Head Chef of ACME), and each week around Mitch’s dining table which they dub the ‘Mitchen’, around wine and tea Andrew and Mitch have their mates over (all Chefs and guys in the hospitality industry) and they just chat about the goings on with the Sydney food scene. It is incredibly insightful to hear about a side of the hospitality industry which we as customers are unaware of, and for me it’s given me a greater appreciation of how difficult this industry is, especially in Sydney. Tell you the truth, I’ve been more comfortable with paying ‘Sydney prices’ for food now that I know how expensive it is to operate a small business in Sydney, and the only way your favourite restaurant can stay afloat, is to support them by just eating and drinking what you want and not being too concerned with the cost (a hard concept to grasp being Asian).
Yes, admittedly once you hear the Mitchen you’re presented with another side to well-known Chefs who you thought you knew (as often when we see these Chefs in the media, they’re on their best/public behaviour); but when they’re at the Mitchen they’re relaxed and let loose. That results in hearing your favourite Chefs swear perhaps a bit more than you’d like; and perhaps see a side of them that you didn’t care to see. However I guess the food industry is like that, it’s high pressure and guys will be guys, and the gals need to be like one of the boyz to fit in. So if you ever choose to listen to the Mitchen, I must warn you of the explicit language; and advise you to start with episode 1, as it makes more sense when you start the journey from the beginning. And shout-out to Andrew Levins, he is a great host and quite funny (although the other guys don’t like to admit it), all I have to say is LOL Levins! So if you’re prepared for the Mitchen and you promise that you won’t be turned off your favourite Chefs after you witness them being themselves around their mates, then please click on:
The Mitchen first started on 15 August 2015, and the most recent episode was uploaded on 18 June 2018; unfortunately it does look like the boys are no longer producing content, but on the bright side there are 74 past eps which you can binge listen to. If you’re interested to know, I’m currently up to episode 21.
So that’s it! My 4 Foodie podcasts which I’m subscribed to and recommending to you. I personally think they’re all required listening if you’re a Sydney-based Foodie! **End note: One depressing thing about listening to old episodes about Sydney’s food scene, is the fact that there are many Chefs and restaurants which are featured in these podcasts who have since closed their businesses. *Sad look*. The only way we can support our vibrant Sydney dining scene, is to just go out and enjoy Food and Drink! Hit us up below, let me know what you think if you gave any of the Foodie podcasts some of your ear-time!