Joe and Celia Ward-Wallace opened South LA Cafe with a mission to fight racial, social and economic inequality. Their next project? Overseeing the Natural History Museum's entire food and beverage program. The first season of "The Last of Us" concluded last Sunday, and mushrooms played a big role in this new, dystopian world. Tejal Rao asks: Are fungi here to destroy us or save us? Visoth Tarak Ouk aka Chef T was born in a refugee camp in Thailand to parents who survived the genocide of the Khmer regime in Cambodia. His family eventually settled in Long Beach, where the chef developed a love for cooking and became a pillar of Southern California's Khmer community. Planning to enter the cream category of this year's PieFest? Margarita Manzke of Republique, Manzke, and Sari Sari is a judge, and she has tips on how to win a ribbon. From Haruki Murakami's stir fry to Maurice Sendak's chicken soup with rice, Adrienne LaFrance recalls the 12 most unforgettable descriptions of food in literature. Finally, Bill Addison finds Shanghainese cuisine among a field of Sichuan-dominant restaurants.
Celeb restaurants, Irish desserts, making tacos metal
Just in time for the Academy Awards, journalist and historian Hadley Meares uncovers two of LA's earliest celebrity restaurants. Tejal Rao, critic at large at the New York Times and a KCRW PieFest judge, talks about the beauty, the versatility, and the wow factor of savory pie. "The McSatan" and "The Bruja" are on the menu at Evil Cooks where Alex Garcia and Elvia Huerta are on a mission to "Make Tacos Great Again." JR Ryall went from student to pastry chef at Ballymaloe House in County Cork, Ireland. At the farmers market, blood oranges are getting a squeeze.
The Pie Contest returns, Parsi food and pantry cooking
After a three-year, in-person hiatus, KCRW's Good Food PieFest & Contest returns — with a vengeance. Claire Saffitz answers the most burning after-dinner question with a new cookbook. Noah Galuten opens the cupboard and looks at pantry staples with fresh eyes. Reclaiming her identity, Homa Dashtaki abandons a legal career to make yogurt. Chef Farokh Talati explores his Parsi roots in his first cookbook. Finally, Alex Weiser brings fingerling potatoes to Santa Monica Farmers Market and chef Chuy Cervantes of Damian puts them to work.
California winemaking, plant-based Chinese, the history of rare seeds
From Malibu to the San Gabriel Valley, the documentary "The Oldest Vine" explores the history of winemaking in Los Angeles. Amy Luftig and her business partner launched the first winery to open in Los Angeles since Prohibition. Hannah Che reimagines classic Chinese dishes for the vegan palate. Serena Alagappan explores the techniques and culture of eating with our hands. Former filmmaker Adam Alexander discovered an unusual pepper on location in Ukraine. It set him on a quest to unearth rare varieties of vegetables. A traveling farmers market celebrates its second anniversary at the California African American Museum.
King cake, bees, composting, chicories
Matt Haines has sampled more than 80 king cakes from New Orleans bakeries, just in time for Carnival season. Professor Psyche A. Williams-Forson considers the stereotypes and stigmas of race and diet. Beekeeper Adam Novicki breaks down the exacting process of almond tree pollination in California. Michael Martinez of LA Compost has an update on the ins and outs of the green composting bin. Malli chefs Elizabeth Heitner and Nestor Silva pop up in Virgil Village at Jewel for a President's Day brunch.