meez podcast

Andrew Friedman on His New Book - The Dish

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About this episode

Andrew Friedman has become an expert in chefs through his career as an Author, Journalist, and Podcaster. With a career spanning two decades, Andrew has authored or collaborated on over 25 chef-centric books and cookbooks, including Knives at Dawn, an exploration of the Bocuse d'Or culinary competition, and the recent Chefs, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: How Food Lovers, Free Spirits, Misfits, and Wanderers Created a New American Profession (Ecco/HarperCollins, February 2018). His new book, The Dish: The Lives and Labor Behind One Plate of Food is available for pre-order and will be published October 17th.

Andrew's passion for interviewing and storytelling is evident in his podcast, Andrew Talks to Chefs. It is also a big inspiration for the creation of The meez Podcast. In this episode, Andrew takes us through the idea and journey behind his new book, The Dish, as well as how he accidentally became an expert in all things chef.

Where to find Andrew Friedman:

Where to find Andrew Talks to Chefs:

Where to find host Josh Sharkey:

What We Cover

(04:10) Andrew's role as adjunct professor at the CIA

(05:09) Josh presents Andrew with a Kuntz spoon

(06:45) How Andrew started writing about food

(09:19) Andrew's accidental expertise in chefs

(12:55) Chefs Drugs and Rock and Roll

(25:04) Andrew's new book, The Dish

(32:46) The format of The Dish

(39:42) What dish Andrew focusses on in his new book

(48:46) Andrew's favorite part from his new book

(54:40) What is next in the pipeline for Andrew

(58:05) Tennis and Pickleball

(59:53) Andrew Talks to Chefs Podcast


[00:00:00] Josh Sharkey:

Welcome to the meez podcast. I'm your host, Josh Sharkey, the founder and CEO of meez, the culinary operating system for food professionals. On the show, I'll be interviewing world class entrepreneurs in the food space that are shifting the paradigm of how we innovate and operate in our industry. Thanks for listening. And I hope you enjoy the show. 

[00:00:20] Josh Sharkey: 

Today is meez's first ever in person podcast live in sunny San Diego with my good friend chef writer, Andrew Friedman. Most of what we're going to talk about today is Andrew's new book, The Dish. And if you don't know Andrew.


He's written and collaborated on dozens of cookbooks and projects with pretty much every chef that you can think of. His prior book, Chefs, Drugs, and Rock and Roll, which came out about five years ago, chronicles the evolution of the American chef in the 1970s and 80s. Some of his other books are Knives at Dawn, about America's quest for gold at the Bocuse d'Or.


He has another one called Don't Try This at Home. It's the culinary catastrophes of the world's greatest chefs. Think chefs like, you know, Wylie Dufrendse and Daniel Boulud and, you know, just crazy mistakes that they may have made. He also wrote the memoir for James Blake. Andrew has this affinity for the game of tennis.


 He loves playing it, and we talk a little about that today in the podcast. He is an adjunct professor at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park for the School of Graduate and Professional Studies. And, you know, I read the remainder of the new book, The Dish, on the plane ride out to San Diego from New York, and I have to tell you, I'm not just saying this.


I freaking loved it. He tells the story of one dish from a restaurant called Wherewithal in Chicago. Beverly and Johnny are just incredible chefs and they have another restaurant called Parachute. But this book centers specifically on one dish from one night of service. And what he does is he just pulls out every single person involved, every single farmer involved, every single ingredient.


It really tells the story of each of those people and each of those ingredients. And it just gives you a new perspective on the food and the dish and you really start to appreciate not just the work that goes into food, which as a chef obviously we know that, but you think a lot more about all of the people involved and all the experiences they have and all the baggage they have and how that impacts the dish that you eat.


And I love the ending. I love all the transitions in the book and just generally just had such a great time reading it and you know, when you have one of those books that you read and you close it and you're like, man, that was awesome. And I texted Andrew right away because I was so excited to talk about it.


So we talked about that today, among other things. And like I said, it was our first live podcast, so it was a lot of fun. Great weather. I hope the audio is okay because there were a lot of people doing, well, work around us. But anyway, as always, I hope that you enjoy the show as much as I did. And I hope that you go and check out the book, The Dish. You can order it wherever you get your books. Maybe that's a local bookstore, which would be nice. Or amazon. com, obviously. So thanks and enjoy the show.

[00:03:11] Josh Sharkey:

Welcome to the show. 

[00:03:12] Andrew Friedman:

Thank you. At long last.

[00:03:15] Josh Sharkey:

I’m so grateful and honored to have you here. 

[00:03:16] Andrew Friedman:

Oh my gosh. 

[00:03:17] Josh Sharkey:

And this is a long time coming. Because I've learned a lot about how to actually make a podcast from you and we work with you on your podcast. But for anybody in the world that might not know who you are, we're going to do a little bit of background. I'll share a little bit and then maybe you can just fill in the blanks. So you were in film and TV.

[00:03:27] Andrew Friedman 

I was. 

[00:03:28] Josh Sharkey:

And then you got into writing, which I wanted to ask about, writing about food specifically. You wrote Chef's Drugs and Rock and Roll, Knives are Dawn, about Bocuse d'Or. And I am reading from this, by the way, just so you guys know. 

[00:03:43] Andrew Friedman: 

You don't have my biography memorized? That’s offensive.

[00:03:45] Josh Sharkey:  

Some of it I do, but I, you know, I, I forget some.

[00:03:48] Josh Sharkey: 

Don't try this at home, which I want to hear about because I never even heard about it, but it's about a book about just screw ups in the kitchen. You are really into tennis, so you wrote James Blake's memoir. You have a podcast, and you have a new book coming out. That we're going to talk about a lot today called The Dish.

[00:04:04] Andrew Friedman: 

And I'm teaching at the CIA. 

[00:04:06] Josh Sharkey: 

And you are an adjunct professor at the CIA. True. What program do you teach? 

[00:04:10] Andrew Friedman:

It's a new master's program and I'm teaching, well, right now just one course that I developed for them. Uh, it has a fancier name than this, but it's essentially a history of the chef profession and restaurants as part of that with a focus on Europe, mainly France and on the United States. And mostly dialed in on the 20th and what we've lived so far of the 21st century. 

[00:04:35] Josh Sharkey: 

How did you become an adjunct professor at the CIA?

[00:04:37] Andrew Friedman: 

To my everlasting amazement, they asked me to do it, and that's how it happened. There wasn't, like, an ad on Craigslist, there wasn't a post, I know some people there, and I, I got a text, I think it was, asking if I'd have any interest in talking to them, and, like that.

[00:04:56] Josh Sharkey: 

Wow. Did I miss anything? Any big notes 

[00:04:58] Andrew Friedman:

If you did, they don't, I mean, people don't need, that's more, more information than anybody needs about me. Alright, well. Unless they want to track me down and kill me. 

[00:05:09] Josh Sharkey: 

Well, we're going to talk a lot about writing today and this book, which I finished on the plane ride on the way over here. And the ending is frigging incredible. I mean, the whole book is awesome. It just really changed my perspective. Wow. Before we get going on that, though, I had a gift for you. We give to many of our meez. Many of the meez folks, this is a Gray Kuntz special edition spoon with a little note from me in here that you are an honorary chef to us now. So please take this gift.

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