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Tinfoil Swans

Author: Food & Wine

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Food & Wine has led the conversation around food, drinks, and hospitality in America and around the world since 1978. Tinfoil Swans continues that legacy with a new series of intimate, informative, surprising, and uplifting conversations with the biggest names in the culinary industry, sharing never-before-heard stories about the successes, struggles, and fork-in-the-road moments that made them who they are today. Each week, you'll hear from icons and innovators like Daniel Boulud, Guy Fieri, Mashama Bailey, and Maneet Chauhan, going deep on their formative experiences, the dishes and meals that made them, their joys, doubts and dreams, and what's still on the menu for them. Tune in for a feast that'll feed your brain and soul — and plenty of wisdom and quotable morsels to savor later. New episodes every Tuesday.

22 Episodes
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Say the name "Claudia Fleming" and those who know will probably deploy the word "legend." And if you don't recognize her name, you definitely have benefitted from her groundbreaking pastry creations and flavor combinations that plenty of people now just take for granted. Original copies of her cookbook "The Last Course," went for huge sums of money on eBay and cookbook stores until it was reissued in 2019, and her book "Delectable" made pretty much every "best cookbooks of 2022" roundup. Some of the most notable pastry chefs in the game cite her as a mentor and inspiration and she remains a huge force in the way we all eat sweets today. And if things go right — it's going be that way with sandwiches next. Fleming spoke about her days as a ballet dancer, the magic of Gramercy Tavern, getting through tough times, and the privilege of working with freaks.  For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
At the end of 2015, Dan Giusti shocked the culinary world by walking away from his position as head chef at Noma. Not for another restaurant job, but to feed school children, senior citizens, incarcerated people, and hospital patients through his new company, Brigaid. Food & Wine named Brigaid as one of its 2024 Game Changers for its goal of not only feeding some of the country's most vulnerable people — but also giving professional restaurant chefs a chance at a sustainable career. In this episode, Giusti explained why he made the radical move, how he deals with the haters, and why he believes everyone on earth deserves a good meal. For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In the 10 years since Cody Rigsby joined Peloton as an instructor, the former McDonald's drive-thru worker, backup dancer, and cater waiter's life has changed in unimaginable ways. He's competed on Dancing with the Stars, written the bestselling memoir XOXO, Cody, and built a massive fanbase of indoor cyclists who are as invested in his hot takes on ranch dressing and snacks as they are in his cardio-challenging HIIT and hills rides. In this episode, Cody Rigsby goes deep on anxiety, working in the service industry, the power of brunch, and the correct sauce-to-chicken-finger ratio. For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
When E.J. Lagasse was four years old, he made his debut appearance in Food & Wine in a feature called "How to Kick Healthy Cooking Up a Notch." He wasn't the one making the recipes — that was his dad Emeril Lagasse — but 17 years later, the father and son are comrades in the kitchen. Most notably at their flagship New Orleans restaurant Emeril's, where E.J. — and if you just did the math, yes, he's 21 — runs the kitchen. The two generations of Lagasse chefs talk about working together, the unique magic of sno-ball season, and watching people's faces react to a massive pyramid of butter. For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
When Lee Anne Wong was starting out as a line cook, her nickname in the kitchen was The Little General — and she owns it. For her entire life, she's thrown herself full-force into anything she does, whether it's cooking, competing on TV shows, being a culinary producer on Top Chef, or mentoring young chefs, and it's led to a pretty extraordinary life — complete with running her own restaurants in Hawai'i. But then in August of 2023, suddenly, things were out of her control. Wildfires devastated large sections of Maui. Lee Anne sprang into action, tracking down her staff to make sure they were safe. She coordinated efforts to get her community housed and fed — and she admits, neglected her own wellbeing in the process. In a generous and emotional conversation, Lee Anne opened up about the barriers to rebuilding, the importance of mental healthcare for the industry, and what you can do to help Maui. For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rodney Scott is having a good day. It's right there on the pit master's shirt — the slogan "every day is a good day." He's a James Beard Award-winning chef who rose to national prominence cooking the sumptuous whole-hog barbecue he grew up eating. He's been the subject of a documentary, won accolades for his cookbook, and has plans to expand his restaurant empire everywhere. But back when he was a music-loving kid in Hemingway, South Carolina, annoyed about spending his vacation days working in the fields, chopping wood, or flipping pigs for his family, he never dreamed that barbecue would become his legacy. For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
By the time Daniel Boulud was in Food & Wine's first class of Best New Chefs in 1988, he'd already been working in restaurant kitchens for almost two decades. At 14, he knew school wasn't for him and that despite his parents' concerns, he wanted to be a cook. Now with 20-plus restaurants and countless accolades in his knife roll, the world-famous chef looks back at the moments that made his legendary career, including grueling work in a windowless Lyon basement, creating the first viral burger, and the time he soaked 7,000 stamps off of envelopes so he wouldn't go broke. For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Food & Wine has led the conversation around food, drinks, and hospitality in America and around the world since 1978. Season Two of the Tinfoil Swans podcast continues that legacy with even more intimate, informative, surprising, and uplifting interviews with the biggest names in the culinary industry and beyond, sharing never-before-heard stories about the successes, struggles, and fork-in-the-road moments that made them who they are today. This season, you'll hear from icons and innovators like Daniel Boulud, Rodney Scott, Asma Khan, Lee Anne Wong, Emeril and EJ Lagasse, Cody Rigsby, and others going deep on the moments that made them, their joys, inspirations, doubts, and dreams, and what's still on the menu for them. Tune in every Tuesday for a feast that'll feed your brain and soul. New episodes starting May 7. For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In our season one finale, Food & Wine's executive features editor Kat Kinsman catches up with her brilliant friend and colleague, Ray Isle, a few weeks before his debut book "The World in a Wineglass" arrives in stores. Growing up in Texas, the self-described "word-drunk kid" was years away from discovering the pleasures of fermented grapes, but he was clearly a born storyteller — and even ended up as a character in a famous novel. The executive wine editor shared his winding, wonderful path to becoming one of the most trusted and beloved writers and educators in the business, the bottle that changed his life, why Morrissey is such a disappointment, and how fast food tacos can help you feel more confident when you're learning about wine. For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
When Madhur Jaffrey published "An Invitation to Indian Cooking" in 1973, she had no idea that half a century later, the book would not only still be in print, but also get an anniversary reissue that will welcome future generations in the vast and varied cuisine of her homeland. In the twelfth episode of Tinfoil Swans, Food & Wine's executive features editor Kat Kinsman finally meets her lifelong culinary hero and gets some sage advice from the writer, teacher, and actress about self worth, righteous anger, perfectionism, and what actually matters to you when you turn 90.  For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In 1999, when Food & Wine named Rocco DiSpirito as one of its Best New Chefs he was only in his early 30s, but he'd already been in the industry for a couple decades. At 10 years old, Rocco started working at a local pizzeria – a natural fit for a kid whose Italian American family grew most of their own food and started talking about lunch before breakfast was over. His innovative cuisine at Union Pacific made him a darling of both industry peers and jaded New York diners, but it was his cookbooks and stints in front of the camera that made him a household name. In this episode of Tinfoil Swans, DiSpirito opens up about the pressures of being a public figure, what's changed in the restaurant world since he started, the dream restaurant he'd like to own, and what he'd tell that younger version of himself. For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In our tenth episode, executive features editor Kat Kinsman managed to find chef Stephanie Izard in a rare quiet moment when she wasn't fussing over the final details of opening a new restaurant (or two), in front of a camera on "Tournament of Champions" or "Hell's Kitchen", testing a new sauce for her This Little Goat line of products, or at work on one of the billion other projects she has going on at any given time. If you'd shared a snapshot of this future with Izard back in the days before her groundbreaking "Top Chef" win, James Beard Awards, and F&W Best New Chef accolades, back when she was playing "restaurant" with her childhood friends or working the host stand at The Olive Garden, she might have fainted — and it wouldn't be the first time. Izard reflected on her trajectory from competitive swimming, to owning a restaurant in her twenties, to becoming one of the busiest chef-restaurateur-author-entrepreneurs in the food world while still trying to find time for pickleball. For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In our ninth episode, executive features editor Kat Kinsman gets raw with Gregory Gourdet. You might know him from "Top Chef," "Iron Chef," or playing himself on "Portlandia." You might be a fan of his cookbook "Everyone's Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health." Perhaps you've read Korsha Wilson's profile of him in the August issue of Food & Wine or spent months scheming to get into his James Beard Award-winning Portland restaurant Kann. Gregory Gourdet is — and should be — at the forefront of restaurant cuisine in America. And he's pretty surprised to be here and takes none of his life for granted. Gourdet didn't hold back about being a chef in recovery, learning to swim, his nerdy passions, and why De La Soul is so important. For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Note: This episode contains mentions of substance use disorder and suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling, call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org to connect with a trained crisis counselor 24/7. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In our eighth episode, executive features editor Kat Kinsman checks in with Enrique Olvera as he's on the verge of expanding his international restaurant empire. There's a good chance you're picturing him in a "Chef's Table" glow, making the mole and tostadas and other dishes that has made his Mexico City restaurant Pujol into a global destination since 2000. That flagship was followed by New York outposts Cosme in 2014 and Atla in 2017, then Los Angeles in 2020 with Damian, and he's now adding more to the roster with Atla in Venice Beach, and Tacos Atla in Brooklyn. Fans and fellow chefs plan trips to Mexico City around their Pujol reservations and flock to his restaurants on America's coasts because he's got so much to teach them about the beauty and bounty of a cuisine that has long been undervalued outside of its country of origin. Olvera delves into what keeps him going, how he shares this motivation and passion and energy with the people he trusts to keep such a big empire alive, and the beauty of taking some time to sweat — in a good way. For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In our seventh episode, executive features editor Kat Kinsman gets personal with Padma Lakshmi. The author and TV personality had a stunning 17-season run as a host, judge, and executive producer on "Top Chef," has written multiple bestselling cookbooks and a memoir, and won both James Beard Awards and Emmys. Just days after this recording, it was announced that she was leaving the show, and will be diving full force into "Taste The Nation" – a show that she created for Hulu, focusing on the food culture of immigrant groups from across the nation. In this intimate conversation, Lakshmi opens up about her experience as an immigrant to America, the fear and bravery in calling herself a writer, the onesies she gives to guests, identifying as a dork, and how she's found purpose in using her hard-won platform to amplify marginalized voices. For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In our sixth episode, Food & Wine's executive features editor Kat Kinsman sits down with the multifaceted David Chang. In 2006, Food & Wine named him as one its Best New Chefs, but no one could have predicted the impact that his restaurants, books, consumer products, TV shows, podcasts, magazine, and more would have on food culture — least of all Chang, who didn't expect to live past 35. Ten years past that self-predicted end, the chef who was once as well-known for his volatile temper as his groundbreaking food is finding himself more comfortable in his own skin, but it's a work in progress. Chang opened up about anger, aging, letting go of being cool, being kinder to himself, and an unexpected apology he'd like to make.  For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In our fifth episode, Food & Wine's executive features editor Kat Kinsman catches up with Maneet Chauhan, the chef and restaurateur behind Chauhan Ale and Masala House, and other excellent Nashville spots, as well as the author of "Chaat: Recipes from the Kitchens, Markets, and Railways of India". These days, Maneet is a force on shows like "Chopped", "Iron Chef America", and "Tournament of Champions", but before all that, she was a self-admitted "complete brat" as a kid, running from house to house in her small community in India, bugging the aunties to teach her to cook, and dreaming of the day she'd get to call herself a chef. Maneet shares her journey to the Culinary Institute of America, the art of running a restaurant empire with her husband, and how making mistakes is the best thing that ever happened to her. For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In our fourth episode, Food & Wine's executive features editor Kat Kinsman catches up with the eternally optimistic Shota Nakajima. Many people may know him from his incredible run on Top Chef Season 18, his appearances on Food Network shows like Tournament of Champions, his array of Seattle restaurants, or his extremely entertaining and educational Instagram feed. But before his rise to fame, Shota was a "punky looking" high school drop-out with his head deep in a sketchbook, or wandering into the woods looking for mushrooms and bugs, hoping to find his place in the world. Shota opened up about motivation, anime, moving a couch with his friends, never making a Plan B, and always valuing hospitality over food. For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In our third episode, Food & Wine's executive features editor Kat Kinsman speaks with her friend Antoni Porowski. His rise to fame may seem meteoric, with a star-making role as Queer Eye's food and drinks expert leading to bestselling cookbooks and tours, and a Netflix competition show of his own. But Porowski has been preparing for this moment since he was a multilingual, food-fixated, Martha Stewart-loving kid in Canada with his eye on the silver screen and beyond. Antoni and Kat chatted about panic attacks, Red Lobster, meeting his idol, and the beautiful, dog-and-chicken-filled future he's finally daring to dream. For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In our second episode, Food & Wine's executive features editor Kat Kinsman speaks with the inimitable Mashama Bailey. You may know her from Chef's Table. her James Beard Awards for Best Chef, Southeast and Outstanding Chef, or her book Black, White and the Grey, which she co-authored with her business partner Johno Morisano. You may have caught her on a screen on the back of an airplane seat, sharing the secrets of Southern cooking. Mashama Bailey is everywhere — as she should be! But before all that, she was going to cooking school and getting a degree in social work, but not quite feeling like she had found her place. And then a fateful trip came along that set her on the path to superstardom. For more info visit: foodandwine.com/tinfoilswans Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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