Here is your access to some of the South's most interesting culinary stories; they are too good not to share! Listen to the podcast and join the conversation.
Eddie Hernandez, Taqueria Del Sol (Atlanta, GA)
Chef Eddie Hernandez and I really thought it was a good idea. We really liked the idea of chatting on a warm spring day on the enclosed, empty patio at the Howell Mill Road location of Taqueria Del Sol in Atlanta. The birds were so peaceful, we said, and it’s quiet out here, we said. But there is nothing quiet in the world of Eddie Hernandez. This energetic man has been going full tilt since the age of 16 when he started a music career, and so, sitting in his world for a mere 30 minutes, we heard traffic, the sound of increasing guests lining up waiting for him to unlock the restaurant doors, restaurant staff discussing mopping, a train, and well, that’s all the stuff I couldn’t cut out, except for the birds. Oh, the damn birds. But … for some of you out there, Eddie’s story might be one of the most important ones you ever hear on The Southern Fork. He’s not just a man who used to play music; he’s a man who believes food, and cooking, saved his life. Around the 10 minute mark we get into some heavy talk about a decision he made to change his life, and how he’s opened a new world because of it. And yes, there’s talk of tortillas and collard greens too. You’re invited to the patio to join us; just take mind of the birds.
Kat Kinsman, Extra Crispy (Live From FAB Charleston)
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.
Michael Mai, Arabica Soda (Charleston, SC)
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.