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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Good Food News-Sioux Chef

An Upcoming Minneapolis restaurant will focus on Indigenous American Cuisine.

Chef Sean Sherman to open an indigenous food restaurant at a new riverfront pavilion.
The food will be free from European ingredients. “We’ve cut out things that weren’t here before [Europeans came to America],” Sherman explains. “So we’re not using any dairy, wheat flour, processed sugar, beef, pork, or chicken, and are just really being creative with proteins and plants and agriculture that was here before.”
Kind of crazy to think how innovative this centuries-old cuisine really is.
Read about it here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Big Naturals and Beyond

My Executive Producer Curtis Endicott thought interviewing me would give you the listeners insight into the why’s and wherefores of our Something About Food? Podcast.

So here I am, babbling on about me in Episode #10, “Big Naturals and Beyond”.

He even wrote this mock bio, which is about 90% correct:

A notorious raconteur, Chris Clarke has traveled the world on a quest to find the mystical Golden Pain Au Chocolat. She once shot a man in Boulder just to watch him die. Always wears black unless she doesn’t.

Here is my almost real bio:

Born and raised a tiny village in upstate New York, I am a culinary veteran with over 30 years of experience working in restaurants, catering, in the natural foods industry, and as a culinary educator.

Now, I find myself to be a 49-year old, mostly vegan, dedicated devourer, who prefers street food to a typical white linen fine dining experience. I was a winner of  “Denver’s Best Home Chef” contest, appeared as a guest chef on several morning programs and once competed on an obscure Food Network trivia game show, where I came in second and won a year's supply of Jordan Almonds and Junior Mints.

After selling most of what I owned and traveling the world for a year I decided to write a book about what I ate and where I went. And then I started the podcast Something About Food? so that I could carry on that conversation.

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We are on hiatus until the beginning of November, so catch up on episodes you've missed, or listen again.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Good Food News-A Chef’s New Hustle

In Good Food News-I found this wonderful story written by Alicia Lu for Edible Manhattan, about Chef Harold Villarosa who grew up in the South Bronx. He is now executive chef at Freemans Alley on the  Lower East Side. Villarosa has worked in more kitchens than most chefs will in a lifetime.  Including Per Se and Noma. His motto is“never forget where you come from”, and that means taking everything he’s learned from traversing this extraordinary culinary terrain and putting it back into the soil of the neighborhood that raised him.

In 2013, Villarosa launched the Insurgo Project, an education program that teaches inner-city kids how to cook and grow their own food using sustainable methods as well as practical life skills to encourage entrepreneurship. He developed Insurgo’s curriculum philosophy, called the New Hustle, which teaches students not only how to produce and cook food, but also how to turn it into a business. Curriculum topics include urban agriculture, hospitality, culinary arts, civic duty and social entrepreneurialism. They grow their own vegetables, learn how to use kitchen equipment and are taught culinary techniques to produce delicious, restaurant-quality dishes.

A truly inspirational chef giving back to the community. Read more about him here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

An Artist's Palate

There are friends you love to catch up with to see where they are now in life and the conversation flows just as easily as it once did. That is how it goes with my friend, artist Chris Huang. We chat about our shared love for Chinatowns, the influence of art in daily life and sesame balls on Episode 9, “An Artist’s Palate” on the Something About Food? podcast.

Chris Huang is a professional artist living in Boulder, CO.  He loves art, music, food, swimming, friends, and family.

See Chris's current art show that runs through the rest of September at Mercury Framing  (4692 Broadway Boulder, CO 80304)

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Vegan At You?

"I'm not being vegan at you!"

If I had a dollar for every time I've said that, I'd have enough money to buy several fabulous vegan meals.


It's time to explain why I'm mostly vegan. I say "mostly vegan" because I have a weakness for pastries. Although there are many lovely vegan pastries out there in the world, if I see a pan au chocolat, I'm going to have a hard time saying no to that beautiful laminated, buttery, flaky chocolate-filled slice of heaven. I will fall on it like I'm saving you from a hand grenade (you're welcome).

When I was in my early 40's, my cholesterol was 220. That ain't great. There are drugs you can take that may help lower your cholesterol. Some people, no matter what they eat, will always have high numbers. But for me, I found that eating vegan lowered it. It actually lowered it to 180 in 3 weeks! CRAZY. Since then, I've been mostly vegan.

I fell off the vegan wagon when I was traveling around the world, as will happen. When I was somewhere with amazing seafood, I tried some (and did I mention pastries? Ah, pastries...sigh...).
Now I'm getting back to the thing that is best for me, and that is a plant-based diet.

Let's get back to the Vegan At You part of this conversation, shall we? What I eat is what works for me. And what you eat is what works for you. I cook meat for family and friends without a problem. I don't judge you and I ask the same of you towards what I eat.

I do believe that there are better, more humane ways to raise animals for food consumption, and I will absolutely be an advocate for that. It is better for the environment and for you physically. My greatest hope is that we Americans will start eating more vegetables and cut back on the meat. That is better for all.

Besides the health benefits I've found eating this way, I've also been able to really explore my culinary creativity. How can I best replicate a taste or texture? What other spices or cooking methods will bring out the fantastic flavor in a vegetable? The possibilities, as I learn more and more about world cuisines, are truly endless.

No matter where we go, I'll find something to eat. I will never starve, believe you me.

Hopefully, in the next few months, I'll have published a book of my travel stories with photos and recipes. They will be vegan, because they were or because I sought to replicate them without any animal products.

I encourage you all to try eating plant-based for one day a week, and really stretch outside your comfort zone to find new dishes that will excite you and your families. And maybe, just maybe, you'll find some of those recipes in my book.

Now go eat something, will ya?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Good Food News-Pan Dulce

Hurricane Harvey has brought devastation to the Houston area and yet there are hopeful stories that show us how humanity can work together. One of them, which I read in Saveur Magazine, written by Dan Q Dao, is about a group of bakers who were trapped by the storm.

At the Wayside Drive location of Houston's 20-year-old panaderia El Bolillo, the men decided to make the most of their time: by baking loaves of sweet Mexican bread, bolillos, for those in need. Over the course of the two days they were trapped, the group baked their way through over 4,200 pounds of flour. As the waters began to recede, the owner was able to pick up the men, and they immediately began delivering bread to first responders. With more employees joining the effort since then, the store's three locations have baked thousands of loaves to be delivered to the makeshift shelters set up at the Convention Center, nursing homes, and local churches. A very sweet and hopeful story.
Find the story here.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

From Improv to Idli

It was an improv class that brought Dr. Meenakshi Singh and I together and it was idli that made us friends. She is smart, sweet and knows her way around those amazing Indian desserts.

She talks about that, Northern vs Southern Indian cuisine, ketchup and much more here on Episode #8, “From Improv to Idli”, on Something About Food?

Dr. Meenakshi Singh grew up in India and moved to the U.S. in 2006 to work towards a Ph.D. in Physics. She is now a Professor at the Colorado School of Mines.

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Saturday, September 9, 2017

You, Me and iTunes

We have reached an important milestone here at the Something About Food? podcast this week: we are now over 1000 downloads! Thanks to our fabulous guests for their stories and to our wonderful listeners who have given their time and terrific feedback.

And now I'm going to ask you to head over to iTunes put that feedback on line by reviewing us.  The more reviews we get there, the more visible we'll be in the search results for folks looking for food, conversation and a soup├žon of the ridiculous in a podcast.
We promise to keep the conversation going! And remember, everyone is invited to the table!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Food News-Restaurant Job Growth

I read an interesting story in The Atlantic, written by Derek Thompson. He reports on the biggest growing job market in the US not being in industry or coal mining but in restaurants.

Thompson writes “Restaurant jobs are on fire in 2017... and the jobs are mostly at sit-down restaurants, which make up 50 percent of the category. Fast-food joints are the next-largest employer in the category, with 37 percent.”

The impact is country wide but these jobs don’t pay very well. This is why there are advocates for raising the minimum wage within the restaurant industry. This growth doesn’t look sustainable for the restaurants or those they employ.
Check out the article here.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Family Food

Even if Aaron and I weren’t related, we would probably hang out and chow down on doughnuts together. He showed up about 17 months after I did, and we’ve been sharing family and food experiences ever since. We don’t always agree on what we like to eat, which goes to show that even with many of the same influences, food is, ultimately, very personal. Here in Episode 007, "Family Food" we do just that. Stories are told, laughs are heard and memories are remembered.

Aaron J Clarke is 47 years old and is originally from a tiny village in upstate NY.  He attended the Culinary Institute of America, is now a member of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and works for the W Hotel. When not working, singing or in the kitchen (or singing in the kitchen) Aaron is in search of the flawless Bavarian Cream Doughnut and pursuing the elusive, and much sought after, perfect bowl of mashed potatoes!
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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Help Yourself

      I had appendicitis when I was around seven years old. My mom thought it was just a bit of constipation. A few gallons of prune juice and one horrific enema later, she took me to the emergency room and, lo and behold, that appendix had to come out IMMEDIATELY. No fault to her, she was dealing with six of us monsters, and generally at least one of us had a mysterious malady.

     What I learned from that episode, not always to my benefit, is that you wait it out. You try and fix it yourself. You help yourself.

     Years later, I waited a week to see a doc about an ankle that had seized up and it turned out to be a bone chip stuck in the joint due to extremely loose ligaments.

     Another time it was waiting two weeks for a kidney infection that had me doubled over in pain, only to be cured 24 hours after finally going to the emergency room.

     About three years ago I was hit again. This time by my age and my hormones. These hellacious hormonal episodes were all something I could handle, right? I would eat right, run, travel the world and it would all go away.

     Yet it didn’t. It just got worse. And with all the usual suspects, hot flashes, night sweats and weight gain, came the depression. I fought back as fiercely as I could. Run, eat right, have adventures.

     My hormones didn’t care. They hit me hard. I didn’t want to run. I wanted to eat ALL the pastries. I couldn’t sleep restfully and my mind was beginning to get befuddled.

     I had stopped drinking almost 13 years ago in part to let the real me through. At that time I could look in the mirror and see me looking back. It took a long time for that to happen.

    Now my hormones didn’t care about all the work I'd put in. When I look in the mirror I see a puffy face, circles under my eyes, flab invading my body and no spark. I was feeling as if I had lost sight of me again.

    That's when I decided to ask for help. I made the appointment, saw the doctor and she prescribed a low dose anti-depressant. This may work, I may need a higher dose or maybe we try something else. But I know I can’t do it on my own.

     Ultimately it really is helping yourself to ask for help. There is a strength in asking for assistance, that we all too often discount.


     I discuss some of the beginnings of my depression and eating disorder here in Episode 6, Tall Tales with James Johnson of Freelance Writers School