Kat Kinsman, Extra Crispy (Live From FAB Charleston)

 Photo: CHarleston wine + food

Photo: CHarleston wine + food

The first time my eyes beheld Kat Kinsman was on my TV screen. There was this woman chatting about food on CNN, and she seemed goth? I thought, how good do you have to be to a CNN food reporter? and a food reporter allowed to express your own style on a mainstream news outlet? Well, the answer is pretty damn good. Kat Kinsman is the former managing editor of CNN’s Eatocracy who now is the food and drinks editor for Time Inc’s all-breakfast site Extra Crispy. She has written a book called Hi, Anxiety: Life With a Bad Case of Nerves, and that website I just mentioned, chefswithissues.com, is her brainchild. She is a force. And she is fully herself as much as she can be, courageous enough to tell her story, and brave enough to live beyond it. She has been a constant behind-the-scenes cheerleader in my professional food media life, but this story she tells here is for you. How do you find your calling? How do you step into new roles, the thing you want to do, are passionate about, but don’t know what that even is? How did she get all these jobs, follow her path to here? Food is just the beginning of this conversation, but don’t think we’re all sappy all the time. Kat also has a wicked sharp sense of humor, and we can’t help but giggle a bit too.

Episode 109 >

Michael Mai, Arabica Soda (Charleston, SC)

 photo: stephanie burt

photo: stephanie burt

It’s summer, I get it. So why are you doing a coffee show right now Steph, you may ask? Because it’s not just coffee, it’s cool, refreshing Arabica Soda, made from Cascara fruit and coffee and meant to be a welcome lift anytime but especially welcome as we enter these dog days of summer. Michael Mai, master barista and now bartender, is the man behind this delicious beverage. You might remember him from Episode 33 when we talked all things coffee. His enthusiasm for self-education, wit, and flat out creativity makes him an inspiration to be around, so I knew he’d have some good insights a year into launching his business. It’s no secret that I’m a Michael fan: he was on my Charleston Zagat 30 Under 30 list, I’ve interviewed him for The Post and Courier, and we did a little recipe together for Saveur magazine. But Michael represents a growing class of bright, innovative humans in Charleston who are finding inspiration in and adding to the dinner table, so to speak, and so we raise a glass of cascara to that.  

Episode  110 >

Jill Mathias, Chez Nous (Charleston, SC)

 photo: stephanie burt

photo: stephanie burt

There is a place where there are no TVs blaring, a place where it’s easy to exchange a word with people at the next table or scrape that last bit of dessert off the plate with a spoon. This restaurant glows softly in the twilight as you approach, and yet, open the door, and it’s a-bustle with activity. This magical spot? Chez Nous in Charleston, S.C., and it’s got way more chops that just its good looks. That’s because Chef Jill Mathias creates delicious European bistro fare from local ingredients, focuses on sustainability, the idea of hospitality, and what it means to come together over a meal. She doesn’t often give interviews -- she’s much more interested in cooking than promoting herself -- but we’ve gotten to know each other over the years, so she obliged. Very much a chef’s chef, you’ll want to hear her thoughts on menu building, being a people pleaser, and of course, her daily practice of handwriting that menu.

Episode 111 ›