[00:05:35] Andrew Friedman:
Thank you very much for that. That's a huge compliment. And this, I've been wanting this forever. So thank you. Should I open it now? No, I'm just kidding.
[00:05:44] Josh Sharkey:
You can if you want. Yeah. Why don't you do a little review?
[00:05:46] Andrew Friedman:
Well, the Kuntz spoon. A little unboxing. Sadly, we have to tell people who Gray Kuntz is. Was.
[00:05:50] Josh Sharkey:
If you don't know who Gray Kuntz is and you are a chef, then. I don't want to say shame on you, but a little bit shame on you. He is one of the greatest chefs of our time. He really revolutionized, not just what you would think of as fusion cuisine, because he doesn't do fusion, but he has a background in Southeast Asian cuisine, is Swiss born, French trained under Frédéric Girardet, and it's just.
Changed the game for flavor profiles and cooking and he's just an incredible chef and was a mentor of mine for many years So I give everyone his spoon. He has an eponymous spoon called the Kuntz spoon It is 22 milliliters and is the perfect shape to do everything from arise piece of fish To get sauce out of a pan to use it like a spatula.
You can kind of use like anything It's really versatile in the kitchen and every chef should have one and now Andrew you have one
[00:06:37] Andrew Friedman:
[00:06:38] Josh Sharkey:
Why did you get into writing about food?
[00:06:45] Andrew Friedman:
It's a really long story that I'll pare down as much as I can. It was completely accidental. I grew up wanting to be a screenwriter and maybe a producer, maybe a director, but definitely a screenwriter. Spent five years doing that right out of college. Ironically, I made a ton of connections, but it was such a, I had a job as a. Basically a right arm to two film producers. And it was so all consuming the work that I had all these great contacts and I had absolutely no time to write. So I quit my job one day and literally just, you know, to make a living, I answered a, an ad.
For a job with a PR firm in New York, which at the time was the top restaurant PR firm in New York city. It was called, uh, Kratz and company. It was run by David Kratz. It was really the big fish in New York city and a lot of people who have their own agencies now started. And, uh, honestly, I just needed a day job.
I was like, you know, that sounds like something for a writer to do, you know, write press releases. And they happened at the time to be the top restaurant PR firm in New York City. And next thing I knew, I was representing. You know, Alfred Portali at the Gotham Bar and Grill and Marcus Samuelsson when he was 24 years old and had just been hired at Aquavit and Rocco Dispirito when he was at Union Pacific and these people all became friends of mine and I kind of got really interested in that world.
And then Alfred asked me to write the Gotham Bar and Grill cookbook with him because we had a great rapport and I thought it would just be a one time kind of lark and then the book did great. You know, we won one of the, we won the IACP Julia Child Cookbook Award for Best Chef. Or restaurant book, we were nominated for best general cookbook at the Beards.
And I thought, you know, this, I never really wanted to do this, but maybe this is a way to not put on a suit and tie and have clients and have somewhere to be at, you know, 9 a.m. every day. And I quit my job. And, uh, started looking for projects, and that was almost 25 years ago, and more than 30 projects ago. Started collab as a collaborator, and then realized one day, it was actually kind of a funny story the way it happened, but I realized I'd accidentally become an expert on chefs. And that was an epiphany for me. And that's when I started trying to do my own stuff.
[00:09:16] Josh Sharkey:
What do you mean by an expert on chefs?
[00:09:19] Andrew Friedman:
I just felt like I had developed because, you know, I was a collaborator on a lot of cookbooks and a memoir or two, and I was, I was spending a ton of time in kitchens. I was meeting friends of mine who were chefs and cooks after they got off, you know, like meeting them at, it's gotten earlier over the years, but meeting them at like 11, 1130, you know, for a post shift drink.
And I just, you know, I think I had as much understanding of the life as someone who never lived it could have. So I wouldn't compare myself to any chef writers like the late Tony Bourdain or somebody like Gabrielle Hamilton, you know, or Dan Bartlett. Those people, they live it. I observe it. But I just felt like I knew an awful lot.
[00:10:04] Andrew Friedman:
Yeah. And I decided I was going to start, you know, I'd written 20 some cookbooks around that time. And I thought And I, in fact, sold a cookbook of my own, an idea, and I so didn't want to write it, I realized I gave the money back and canceled the contract.
[00:10:20] Josh Sharkey:
Wow. What kind of cookbook was it?
[00:10:22] Andrew Friedman:
It's still a great idea. It was not my idea, so I can say it was a great idea. A friend of mine said to me one day, we used to have a, my wife and I used to have a weekend place upstate. We don't anymore. And a friend of mine had been up there with us and we were driving back to the city. And he, I don't know if you've ever had anyone like this in your life, but I know when I've told this story to friends who are chefs, they're like, Oh yeah, I have friends like that.
When he would come visit us and I would like cook a big dinner, like on Saturday night. He would like get a cocktail or a beer or something. He would just stand in the doorway of the kitchen and like, watch me cook. And we would talk a little, but he was just, and I'm not a professional. I mean, I'd been to cooking school.
I'm not a professional cook. And we were driving back on Sunday afternoon and he said, you know, you need to have. a project of your own. You got to stop collaborating. And I said, well, I don't have an idea for a project of my own. And he was in film and television, right? So he's like very concept oriented.
And he goes, give me a minute, literally. And he's like, he goes, you know, like this in the back seat. And he goes, okay, here it is. The weekend warrior cookbook. And I'm like, what is that? And he goes, well, You know, and at this time everyone was doing 10 ingredients or less and 30 minute meals, he goes, this is the counter programming to all that it's for people who, instead of playing golf or going fishing or gardening, their weekend project is cooking and it's ambitious things for the weekend warrior cook right?
[00:11:45] Josh Sharkey: right? It's so funny because now that is definitely a thing. Oh, sure. You know, no, no.
[00:11:50] Andrew Friedman:
I mean, I sold the book and I tested, you know, enough recipes to write a proposal and then I started imagining doing the whole thing and general, you know, doing all my own recipes and the PR. Like, I'm like, do I want to be this person like the weekend warrior? I kind of pictured that person is like, you know, a silly catchphrase uttering. Just an idiot. So I'm like, I don't want to be that. I'm not that guy. I don't want to be that guy. And I, I, it was years until I started after that doing my own thing. Yeah. And I realized I wasn't a food writer. You know, I refer to myself as a chef writer.
I think I'm still the only person who does that. I'm trying to make it a thing, but I'm about to embark on a cookbook project with a good friend of mine, but I haven't written a cookbook since 2014. You know, even at that point I had started doing my own non fiction, but I've been totally dialed in on, you know, memoirs and my own stuff. And my show.
[00:12:48] Josh Sharkey:
Yeah, you definitely write about chefs far more than food.
[00:12:53] Andrew Friedman:
I haven't written a recipe in a decade.
[00:12:55] Josh Sharkey:
What was Chef's Drugs and Rock and Roll about for anybody that is, I guess, what, a millennial or maybe younger? I don't know.
[00:13:02] Andrew Friedman:
What year did it come out? Uh, five years ago.
[00:13:05] Josh Sharkey:
Oh really? Yeah. I thought it was longer than that.
[00:13:07] Andrew Friedman:
No. 2018. Oh my goodness. Oh, wow. There was a plague. You know, the plague throws off one sense of time. Gee, that's nuts. Yeah. Came out February 27th. 28th, February 28th, 2018.
[00:13:22] Josh Sharkey:
What was the premise? Why did you write it?
[00:13:23] Andrew Friedman:
Well, it's basically about the American chef, whatever you want to call it, explosion, revolution, proliferation, that happened in the 70s and 80s. We didn't really have famous American chefs before that. I'm talking about restaurant chefs. I'm not talking about Julia Child or the Galloping Gourmet or people like that. I'm talking about people who are chefs in restaurants. The cliché, although it's true, uh, The time before this was if you were an American and you were in a kitchen, you'd probably taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way, you know, and this was kind of your last resort job.
And then all these young Americans started getting turned on to the idea of food and cooking and working in restaurants. And the funny thing is the first book I did, or I'm sorry, when I first got around the business was 1993. When I took that PR job, my book ends in 1993 and I didn't realize that until I'd kind of almost finished it, but you know, I, when I started to meet all these chefs, many of whom were part of that generation, you know, and I'd go out with them after working on their books or I'd meet them or I'd be out with a group of them, you know, they were talking about a time, maybe five, 10 years before we were sitting there having a drink.
And it just felt like they were talking about a completely different era. Yeah. You know, what, how hard it was to get into French kitchens, you know, deciding to go to culinary school, their families all thought they were nuts. A lot of them were what we would today call career changers. And I just wanted to look at like, how and why did this happen?
You know, how and why did. this thing that's, you know, really took hold and it's, it's done nothing but grow over the years. How did we get here? How did we develop an American restaurant cuisine? Like that didn't exist before this time. You know, we didn't have signature dishes by American chefs. It just didn't exist.
I mean, yes, you could point to the rare example, somebody like Edna Lewis, who had a rest was in the chef in New York city and known as known. Starting in 1949. That's an outlier. That's an amazing story that. I don't know why there's not a movie about that. I mean, I don't know, as a black woman in 1949, from the, you know, like, that's just a whole anomaly.
But, you know, there were outliers like that. But they were, you know, very few and far between. And I wanted to look at, like, what were the factors that made this happen? And it ends with the launch of the Food Network, you know, so it was right when the whole celebrity notion was becoming really entrenched.
[00:15:47] Andrew Friedman:
And I wanted to write that book. For better or for worse. I mean, it took me five years to finish it.
[00:15:52] Josh Sharkey:
Who are some of the, I mean, there's a cover with these chefs, but maybe just for the audience, like some of the key chefs that you covered in the book.
[00:15:59] Andrew Friedman:
Well, the cover is the original opening team at Michael's Santa Monica, Michael McCarty's really important restaurant. And on the cover is a guy named Ken Frank, who's currently at La Toque in the city of Napa in California. And the late Mark Peel, who we just lost about a year and a half ago. And Jonathan Waxman, who started off as a sous chef there, and when Ken left after three months, Jonathan became the chef. Ken's often omitted from that restaurant's history by the people who were there.
They just talk about Jonathan being the chef, but Ken was the opening chef. And Then the fourth guy on the cover is actually Michael McCarty himself. And it's a great picture that was very intentionally posed and staged a photograph to make chefs look like rock, like a band, right? And it's a very famous picture now.
Both Ruth Reischel and I consider it like our favorite. Chef picture of all time. It's just the best picture. I mean, figures in the book are, I mean, the usual suspects like Alice Waters and Jeremiah Tower and Jonathan Waxman and Wolfgang Puck and Barry Wine from The Quilted Giraffe in New York and David and Karen Waltuck from Chanterelle in New York City and Charlie Palmer and David Burke.
I mean, it's More or less what people would expect. But then there's people, honestly, many of whom I didn't know about myself at that time. Uh, there's a gentleman named Bruce Marder, who's on page one of the book, doing acid in the back of a van on a camping beach overseas, and that was the moment he had a revelation that he wanted to be a chef.
But, you know, he, Bruce is somebody who Never really had a publicist, isn't the most socially minded guy, you know, he doesn't go to, he doesn't do the charity events, and he doesn't pal around with a lot of chefs, and consequently, he's been left out of a lot of history, but he... If you talk to somebody like Ruth or Evan Kleinman in LA, they'll all tell you that Bruce, before almost anyone else, was doing what we would call California cuisine now.
You know, it's just that he was on the west side of LA. You know, there was no internet, obviously. And so he was kind of off the beaten path. But he had a huge following at the West Beach Cafe. And then he had a restaurant called Rebecca's, which was a modern Mexican restaurant with a design by Frank Gehry, the legendary architect Frank Gehry.
And then he had a huge hangar sized restaurant called DC3 out near LAX. He was one of the chefs behind the Broadway Deli, which was a huge popular spot back in the day. And You know, he still has a restaurant called Capo in Santa Monica, which is one of the hardest reservations in town. It may have used to be the highest ticket average in town, but I think now there's probably competition for that.
But it's like a little clubby restaurant that serves Bruce's version of Italian food. I love that restaurant. And, you know, but Bruce is someone who Until I put him on page one of my book, barely got any play, and he was fine with it. Bruce is a businessman and a chef, and his businesses do very well, but that was also very instructive to me in terms of who gets left out of history, you know, because most awards, all the stuff, a lot of it's popularity, a lot of it's PR, some of it's politics.
You know, and bruce for no discernible reason except that I don't think he was friends with that many people and maybe some people didn't Like him too much just kind of got like omitted, you know, and that's messed up to me I mean I had people who ignored my last book media who ignored it. I think Probably because for whatever reason, they don't like me.
I have a suspicion. And to me, that's just lame. I mean, if you're a journalist, if you're covering a subject, you don't leave people out because you don't personally have an affinity for them. You know, that's not what we're here for. So that was really, he was very, when he started to come up in interviews, I was like, who is he?
You know, and he was right there, you know, operating restaurants still. You know, and he's about to open a Capo, not about like next week, but he's getting, he's gonna build a Capo in, uh, St. Helena in the Napa Valley, which is a really smart move by him. So,
[00:20:11] Josh Sharkey:
Yeah. I mean, there's a difference between, you can be an incredibly successful restaurant operator. and not an awarded chef. And you could be a very, very, you know, awarded chef with a lot of accolades and James Beard awards and not be a successful restaurant operator. It's in the same way that you can be a successful writer and not be on, you know, certain you know, publications. Because if you sell the books, you sell the books. People like it and they buy it.
[00:20:36] Andrew Friedman:
No, I'm talking about influence. Like, Bruce was an influence. I know because I've talked to them, you know, chefs used to go there to see what he was up to, you know, I'm not saying they plagiarized, but they got inspiration from him.
[00:20:49] Josh Sharkey:
Yeah, that's what I mean. He, for all intensive and purposes, still very successful, just didn't have...
[00:20:54] Andrew Friedman:
No, but I don't know how you leave someone like that out of, you know... The storytelling, that's what I'm saying. And people have taught, you know, uh, Coleman Andrews wrote a book, I think it was called My Usual Table, which was sort of a biography done, each chapter was about a restaurant, a time in his life, and the West Beach Cafe is one of the restaurants in there, and he, I mean, he was there, you know, he knew Bruce at the time, and it's a great portrait of Bruce, you know, so there are people who have, but I just find, um, just kind of the ignoring of certain people to be kind of weird.
[00:21:25] Josh Sharkey:
Yeah, yeah, it's interesting. Well. If you were going to write that book again today, do you think, it's, it's tough because that was sort of almost like a period piece about that time, so that was published five years ago, even though it was about, you know, many years prior, but even from five years ago until today, the industry has changed a lot, if you were going to do a new version of that today, what do you think would be different?
[00:21:49] Andrew Friedman: Well I mean, the thing I thought about doing was a, you know, a sequel, you know, like from 93 to now, right? If I'm really honest, I think it might've been for me, it might've been a little depressing because that was such an in it. The whole thing about that time that I wrote about is it was such an innocent time.
You know, you talk to almost anybody who came up then and you ask them like, what was your goal when you started cooking or when you decided to go to culinary school? And they're like. I just wanted to cook. Yeah. You know, it was, it was that time. It was like, you know, that term, you know, people would take time to find themselves.
You know, this was that time. This was, as my title suggests, it was the sex drugs and rock and roll era. I mean, the number of people either on the record or off who told me what a transformative experience, you know, dropping acid was, um, even Alice Waters, you know, admits to dropping acid once and, and how it made everything possible, you know, Oh, I can see it.
I just mean, you know, a lot of people won't even admit, you know, won't cop to it. You know, it was such an innocent time and the book ends right when people were starting to have more than one restaurant and starting to not be in their restaurants and You know wolfgang puck when he opened his he had Spago and then when he opened chinois in maine his second restaurant with his Ex wife, business partner, Barbara Lazaroff.
When he opened that second restaurant, you know, people who were there talk about he would, like, agonize over which restaurant to be at, you know, or he'd spend time at one and then go to the other one on the same night because he felt like he had, you know, that, how would, that used to be the, the psyche, right?
And I'm not complaining, I always say this, things change, you know, whenever an older friend of mine starts bitching and moaning, I always go, things change, you know. And it's really amusing to me when people from that era complain about change because they turn the whole world on its head, you know, people thought they were like, I, I can't say who it was, but a very successful person in the industry once when, um, Momofuku Sambar got three stars from the New York times, this person was apoplectic, just absolutely furious and you know, how can you give three stars to a restaurant?
The waiters are in t shirts and there's no backs on the chairs and they're not even chairs, they're benches, you know, and I go, do you not understand that this is the way the francophiles talked about you guys? You know, when you started, it's a good thing when things change, you know? And it's, I think the minute you stop being open to that is when you start becoming old, you know?
[00:24:19] Josh Sharkey: Yeah. The only constant is that things always change.
[00:24:24] Andrew Friedman: But they should. Yeah. I mean, they should, but you know, so to me, the second book, if I were going to do it, I started thinking of it as sort of like Godfather part two, it just started to seem dark to me. Like it was all going to be about money. And all the ugly stuff that came out and
[00:24:39] Josh Sharkey:
That sounds like a fun book too haha.
[00:24:41] Andrew Friedman:
But the other thing is, I mean, just to be completely frank, because it is a factor in anyone's life and especially a writer.
I have twins who are only one year into college right now. I can't take five years to write a book. Yeah, I don't have time. I mean, I, you know, this book right here, you know, I mean, I wrote it in a year. You know, the research happened quickly, but then the writing took about a year. Those are the kind of books I need to be doing right now.
[00:25:04] Josh Sharkey:
It's still a long time to write a book. Yeah. Well, that's a perfect segue into this book. I can't tell you, and I'm not just saying it because I would tell you either off air or on air if I thought something, you know, else of it. But man, I just really love this book. It really touched me. It touched me because, you know, as a chef, I think we obviously have an appreciation for how food is made because we run kitchens, and we know it's an incredible amount of work, and there's an incredible amount of effort that goes into things, and you have to have a lot of skill, and perseverance, and discipline, and organization, and mise en place, and it's just fucking hard to run a kitchen, but I'd never thought about Everything else that goes into the food that we create from a socioeconomic standpoint, from a social and psychological standpoint, from a mental standpoint, from all the people involved, and it totally changed my perspective of how I look at food now, and makes me way more mindful of it.
And so as a chef, This book has helped me just have a better perspective and a new vantage and appreciation for the food that I eat on a plate, and for a diner, it's going to have the same thing, and this is a, I probably shouldn't say this, I know it's sort of, take it for what it's worth, but to me, it has the, it has the quality of the modern day food Kitchen Confidential, in that, it tells the story Don't say that out loud.
[00:26:34] Josh Sharkey:
Well, we can cut it if you want, but
[00:26:35] Andrew Friedman:
No, it's fine. I mean, it's the high I mean, there's no higher praise,
[00:26:38] Josh Sharkey:
But, you know The reason why that came to me as I finished the book was, you know, that what Kitchen Confidential did was really, like, open the curtain to something that many people didn't know, and then many people that did know didn't talk about, and that others that were going to start in the industry needed to know, and it still inspired them to go and cook.
And I think this book is a completely different Vantage and a completely different door in which to look into open into the industry, but it does the same thing in that it inspires you to, to really appreciate, you know, the, the industry in the restaurant and the kitchen in a personal way. And I'm excited for chefs to read this.
I'm excited for diners to read this. And I'm also excited for young cooks. And aspiring cooks kids that are that want to cook to read this because I think it's gonna I think it's going to inspire them to want to do it and no matter what background you come from
[00:27:35] Andrew Friedman:
Thank you. This has been great.
[00:27:40] Andrew Friedman: I guess what I would say is should we tell people what it is?
[00:27:41] Josh Sharkey:
Well, I think we'll get to that. I want to build up to that. Okay No, no, let's just get into that because I, you know, I'm not going to ask you if you ever considered that because I imagine Tony Bourdain is, he's a mentor and so a lot of people aspire to. I don't know if you ever thought about that when you were writing this book, but we'll get into next.
What is this book? So you can tell everybody about it.
[00:28:03] Josh Sharkey:
This podcast is brought to you by meez, the culinary operating system for food professionals. As a chef and restaurant owner for the past 20 years, I was frustrated that the only technology that we had in the kitchen was financial or inventory software. Those are important, but they don't address the actual process of cooking, training, collaboration, and consistent execution.
So I decided if it didn't exist, I'd do my best to get it built, so the current and next generation of culinary pros have a digital tool dedicated to their craft. If you're a chef, mixologist, operator, or generally if you manage recipes intended for professional kitchens, meez is built just for you. Organize, share, prep, and scale your recipes like never before. And get laser accurate food costs and nutrition analysis faster than you could imagine. Learn more at www.getmeez.com
[00:28:55] Andrew Friedman:
I mean, first of all, thank you for all of that, especially the mentioning Tony in that context. No, I mean not. I don't think of this book is comparable to Kitchen Confidential. I don't think I'd ever say anything I did was even if I thought it, I don't think I would say it. The only way I've thought about it is that if you talk to people who started cooking professionally from around 2000 to.
Maybe 2010, maybe a little less. But, you know, that 2000 is when Kitchen Confidential came out. And there's a whole generation of cooks and chefs who the two books that come up the most often, and this is so funny to me because it says everything, from that time, books that people said, that made me want to be a chef.
One is the French Laundry Cookbook. Mm hmm. All the time. Anyone who started them, not anyone, but a lot of people, okay, because they had never stayed open that book and it was like Oz, right? But then the other one is Kitchen Confidential, right? Which was the seedy Underbelly, right? So for me, there was a point when I was writing it where I did one day look up from my laptop and I said to my wife, You know, I would love for this book to make young people see the kitchen as a possible career option for themselves, people who may be, you know, all the classic profile, they're not doing that great in school, or they love to cook, but they didn't think they should pursue it professionally, or there's family resistance.
You know, a lot of that's not the way it used to be, but there are a lot of families where that is still like the families still freak out. You know, there is still a lot of that pushback, you know, or just the industry's invisible to certain people. But there is still that kind of headwind, right? And I would like to think that maybe, you know, a young person who reads this book or is given this book by somebody who maybe thinks they have that kind of potential might read it and think this this world is kind of intriguing to me You know, and I really did try to write it.
I want to be careful how I say it Well, it's probably what percentage of your listenership is industry a hundred probably probably so I may not need to say this but honestly, I This book is accessible to the mainstream. But for me, this is like This was a book for the cooks. You know, this is a book for the chefs.
This is a book for the farmers. This is a book for the delivery people. This is a book, you know, anyone who works in a kitchen, I wrote this book for them. And the way you kind of see that is, and this is why I think it's can be read by anybody. Is I do explain a lot about how things are working in the kitchen, because even if you've worked in a kitchen, every kitchen is its own universe, right?
They don't all, no two kitchens are exactly the same. And so I explain a lot of the protocols and things there, but when I use kitchen language or restaurant language, I just use it. And I footnote the explanation, right? So I don't take a paragraph to explain certain things
[00:31:59] Josh Sharkey:
I noticed that
[00:32:00] Andrew Friedman:
Right? And that was because I wanted people in the industry to feel like it was for them, and they didn't have to, they could just skip all that stuff. And I wanted people who weren't in the industry to have the information available. A lot of it's intuitive, like walk in, you know, and then asterisk walk in refrigerator. But if you can't figure that out, there's a footnote, you know.
[00:32:21] Josh Sharkey:
What was fun about that was that. First of all, yeah, it is very clearly something that we're calling consumers and then industry both will enjoy. It's actually nice to sometimes read the footnote of how you explain something that we know in our nomenclature just because we see it because sometimes we never even think about how we would explain what that means.
[00:32:39] Andrew Friedman:
Right like chef de cuisine
[00:32:43] Josh Sharkey:
Yeah, or you know, or corner or something like that, you know. Right, right. We just say it. Yeah,
[00:32:46] Andrew Friedman:
But so that That was the intention, and what the book is, we still haven't gotten to it, is I take one dish at a restaurant in Chicago, and I tell the story of all the principal people whose life and work comes together in that one dish. So, in the restaurant, you meet everybody, you meet the dishwasher, you meet the line cook, you meet the sous chef, the chef de cuisine, the chef owners, you meet the server, and then, beyond the restaurant, you meet all the farmers whose proteins and vegetables, herbs, and even in one case, wine, because there's a red wine reduction in the sauce.
I went to all the farms, I spent time with all the farmers. You get a little view of how they do what they do, but you also get the story behind the farm. I was very fortunate to be able to interview an immigrant who's documented, but who at one time wasn't, so I was able to include one person's immigrant story.
That's a very touchy thing around farming. But I saw an opportunity to get I actually came back on a second trip just to really just to drive out to Michigan and meet this person because I didn't dare ask about it live. That's such a third rail. Yeah. If you're a journalist at a farm, but
[00:33:59] Josh Sharkey:
So I have to back up for a second because I think you're underplaying by saying you meet these people because I think part of the beauty of this book is you actually really deeply get to know a part of each of these people in a way that helps you understand why they are in the kitchen or In the front of house and why they interact the way they do and why they approach the recipe the way they do or approach the customer the way they do you more than meet them.
You actually, you're hear, you're telling the story of how they got there and why, and what's their family background and what challenges or, you know, turbulence did they go through in their life and, and what struggles. And that for me is a big part of the meeting as well, thank you, is you get to know all these people and then you see them finish a dish or take it to the table and it's like your friend.
That you see doing this work and you're way more connected to it. Ironically, one of my, someone that works at, at meez knows and worked with, uh, The server in the book, Noosha. Yeah. But maybe you could talk a little bit about that, about the stories. And did that change anything for you as you, as you got to know more about these people?
[00:35:03] Andrew Friedman:
Uh I mean, in all honesty, for me, not real, I mean, you know, as you said, I've had my podcast now for six years, a little more than six years now. I've interviewed, I mean, several hundred people now. So. I mean, I mean, it did strike me the concentration of stories under one roof, you know, there was a moment in the interviewing where I was kind of like, there are things that haven't changed about the industry, you know, as reputable as it's become, it is still kind of a haven for people who just don't fit anywhere else.
You know, it still is a lot of most people in the book, and I would include some of the farmers. I would definitely include. Mark, the truck driver at Profile, who's a really smart, funny, quick on his feet guy. And, you know, people, I think, are like, why's, you know, he has, he told me, it's in the book, that friends of his, you know, say he's doing grunt work.
There's only one job in the book I don't think I could probably do if I was trained, and it's that job, being a truck driver in a big city, delivery driver. That, that is, I learned, I learned a lot. I mean, I had no idea. All I've ever seen, to your point before, all I'd ever seen is people coming in with a hand truck.
I didn't realize they're probably illegally parked. They are worried about getting boxed in. You know, there's all these considerations and it's sometimes they, they don't know how to get into the building. Sometimes the loading, the loading area is closed when it's supposed to be open. You know, they just have a hand truck, you know, they don't have like a laundry bin.
So like they may have to make Two or more trips, you know and that I say it in the book that I think there could be a reality show called delivery wars You know, like give two truck drivers a cargo area full of stuff and see who finishes first, you know And with the least parking tickets, so so to see a concentration of all this around one dish that did strike me I did learn I didn't know this before.
Amazingly, it had never come up and it came up with three different people in the kitchen at Wherewithal, which is the restaurant I write about in the book, there were three people there who were skateboarders. As kids and I've started asking when it come it's come up since then and it really struck me I didn't know skateboarding was like a thing, you know, I know a lot of chefs play guitar You know, I know a lot of chefs like individual sports like they like golfing.
They like fly fishing They like tennis, you know as adults they still do this stuff, right skateboarding had never But that especially in the midwest. That's a thing Yeah, with cooks. That's a minor thing. But for me, after this many years covering, I was like, Oh, it's, you know, it's good to still be able to, like, pick up something like,
[00:37:40] Josh Sharkey:
Yeah, at least for me, I picked up this sort of learning lesson, like around leadership.
When you focus on this one dish and as a, you know, the chef, we might be like myopically focused on like, make sure this thing gets done right. And the thing that I took away from it is the importance of like, really getting to know the background of your team. Right. And where they come from, and what struggles they had, what did they do, what didn't they do, because you can manage them better, and you can help them, you know, perform better and be happier.
And so often in the kitchen, you just get them in, and you're just like, come on, let's go. And you might, like a year and a half later, learn that about them, when they, when they're gone, you know. If you knew all these things in the beginning, you would just, it would, it's a very different. You know, environment and a different perspective when you're, when you're leading them.
[00:38:27] Andrew Friedman:
You know,years ago, I interviewed somebody's sous chef. This person may be listening, if they are, I don't mean this in a critical way, but I had gotten to interview someone on their team, and the person told me that their dad had been a chef. And they used to go with their dad to work. And that's how they got interested in becoming a chef.
And then I was talking to the chef owner and I said, Hey, did you know, so and so's dad was a chef and like, he had never, he didn't know, you know, the other thing is it comes to mind, I got to interrupt for one second. The other thing about the dish is it's not. A series of profiles. It is told during a service.
So you basically follow one dish through its production over 75 minutes in the kitchen.
[00:39:11] Josh Sharkey:
What's the dish?
[00:39:12] Andrew Friedman:
I'll tell you one second. Okay. So and as different people are handling different elements of the dish, things that are going to go on the plate, there's a little break and you either get a profile of that person.
Or you get a profile of the farm where the stuff comes from, you know, to me, it's like when I was trying to sell the project, I was like, think of it as like a website, you know? So you see this and you can like click on the person and like their biography would open up, right? That's cool. And except you don't have that kind of control, but that's kind of the, what it's like.
The dish is a dry aged strip loin with tomato and a red wine reduction and sorrel. Yep. And for people in the Midwest who may know these names, the Stripling comes from Slagel, which is a very popular meat purveyor. It's about two hours south of Chicago. The tomatoes come from, uh, Nichols Farm and Orchard, which is an institution.
Lloyd Nichols started that business back in the seventies. I spent an afternoon with Lloyd. It was very memorable. And then the herbs, the rosemary and thyme that are in the in the sauce come from Smits Farm, which is predominantly an herb farm that is, I mean, maybe 50 minutes from where the restaurant is.
[00:40:23] Andrew Friedman:
And then the sorrel comes from Butternut Sustainable Farms, which is in Michigan. And the wine comes from Wyncroft, which is a winery also, amazingly, in Michigan. And that's the dish. And I have to add, because I know it'll come up at some point, I didn't know what the dish was going to be. This goes to my point about not being a food writer.
I picked the restaurant based on having met Beverly Kim. This was a restaurant that Beverly Kim and her husband and co chef co owner Johnny Clark had in Chicago. They also have Parachute restaurant, which is more well known. I had sold the idea for the book without a restaurant. I sold the concept. I needed a, basically a restaurant that would give me access and serve.
As like the material for the book, right? And because it was during COVID, I usually only interview people in person. I was doing remote interviews and I did an interview with Beverly Kim and she was such an open book and she was so thoughtful and had so much energy. And she and Johnny have amazing reputations.
I didn't want to have a situation where I felt like I had to brush garbage under the rug. I've had moments like that in my career. And, you know, I've had those crossroads and I don't, like them. It's just not what I'm interested. I'm not interested in being that person. I mean, I generally just don't do those interviews.
You know, if there's writers and chefs know stories often before they break, you know, and often writers know stories that are being worked on, you know, when the Ken Friedman story broke, I mean, we all knew that was coming, you know, so I really wanted to veer away. from anybody who would cause me that kind of internal stress.
I just generally am on my show. If there's somebody who I kind of know to be a bad seat, I just don't book them. That was a part of it. And wherewithal the restaurant in the book changed its menu every week. So I did not know I landed on a Sunday. The restaurant was open Tuesday through Saturday. I landed on Sunday.
That Monday morning, before I started trailing and observing at the restaurant for a week, I had a coffee with Beverly and Johnny, and at one point, Johnny took out a notebook and he goes, well, here's what I'm thinking for the dish. Because I told them, because it's told in service time, I was going to be focusing on the meat dish, which was the last savory dish, because it would give me the most time to play with.
Yeah, right. Like I couldn't focus on, you know, the grains course that comes like 20 minutes into the meal. Yeah, there's not enough space, right? And there's not enough components and all that. So it wasn't even finalized until this is how that restaurant operated until the first day I was at the restaurant.
[00:43:06] Josh Sharkey:
Yeah. What'd you learn in the book as well there's sort of process around. Yeah,
[00:43:10] Andrew Friedman:
It was a very stressful, but they, you know, Johnny admits to this, you know, it's a love hate thing. It was, he works really well under the gun, um, but the pressure he puts on himself is also a little tortuous, right? But I think a lot of, I relate to that as a writer.
[00:43:24] Josh Sharkey:
Yeah, it was a ballsy move, picking the dish before you knew it.
[00:43:29] Andrew Friedman:
Well, I picked the people. Yeah, yeah. Right? This goes back to my thing, I write about people I don't write about food, you know?
[00:43:36] Josh Sharkey:
It’s a great point. What I think was really interesting about the premise of this is that. I would love to hear this same story for so many other restaurants. Have you ever thought about, like, scaling this and having it be a series of these stories?
[00:43:50] Andrew Friedman:
Uh, you know, I had this notion that if it all went well, maybe I would do a series of books. I was kind of dissuaded from that by my agent because I didn't know this, but most, most book series You just go down in terms of sales.
Yeah from the first one to the next one to the next one to the next I didn't know that it's also i've already sold my next project the idea So i'm already working on my next book and I couldn't wait to see how this one sold To even contemplate whether a publisher would let me do a sequel I don't mind saying I just recently, this sounds really obnoxious, but I just recently signed with a management company in Los Angeles in the entertainment realm.
[00:44:32] Andrew Friedman:
What you are talking about would probably most reasonably be done as a docu series. And that's actively being pursued. We actually, I can't really get into it, but I had optioned the idea off to some producers. And we shot a sizzle reel and, and that just didn't work out. But so now I have someone trying to, you know, ferret out the next producer who should have it.
But if anybody wants to talk to that person, get in touch with me. I'll connect you. Yeah. I would love to see it as a doc series, you know, and my idea is. One week could be a restaurant like the one in the book, you know, the next week could be a food truck in Austin. The next week could be a mom and pop restaurant in, you know, Nashville.
[00:45:11] Andrew Friedman:
I mean you could do a pop up. You could, there's all, you could do everything.
[00:45:14] Josh Sharkey:
Yeah, it'd be great. TV. I mean, I think you could just keep doing it too, even if it was the same concept of a restaurant, just hearing more of these stories.
[00:45:20] Andrew Friedman:
No, that's what I'm saying. You pick one dish each time, but I'd want it to be, you know, it might be a barbecue joint or, you know, whatever, you know, you could do it.
[00:45:29] Josh Sharkey:
What was the editing process like for you? Or in general, maybe not just for this book, like are there things that got cut out of this book that you, anything notable that didn't make it into the book?
[00:45:37] Andrew Friedman:
I mean, this book, not so much. It's kind of a nice, small, manageable, I really wanted a manageable book after Chef's Drugs and Rock and Roll.
So no, I didn't, I didn't write much I wasn't going to use. I mean, the format was so logical. And it's funny, I think it's because I used to be a, a wannabe screenwriter and screenplays are all about structure. Like I remember even my agent, I was, he, he was like, so, you know, so each chapter will be a profile or be like the story of an ingredient.
I go, I'm like, no, it's, I'm going to tell it during service. And like, originally I didn't even want to have chapters. I was telling every, my agent, my editor, I was like, I want it to be like an epic poem. I just want it to be one long unbroken thing, you know, like this, like a service is. Yeah. And then my very supportive publisher, editor, Peter Hubbard, who I did not know before this book, who's been a godsend to me.
It's the first time I've ever sold my next project to the same person who bought my last project. You know, he said, write it however you want, and then let's figure it out. We had toyed with different ideas, and then I hit on the idea of, um, we had toyed with putting little markers of time or something in the margin.
That was a thought. I'd actually mocked one up myself and during the writing process, and then I settled on this idea of like all the chapters are like kind of parts of the day or the week in a restaurant, right? So it's like prep, menu meeting, you know, service, pre shift, right? And those kind of give you just breaks, break points, you know, if you want to put the book down for the night or whatever, you have a break point.
But other than that. It is told during a service from start to finish, and this isn't a brag, it's just the way my mind is wired, but you know, a lot of people said to me, you know, how are you going to do that? How are you going to tell that during a service? I say this in the introduction, I woke up with this idea one day, I literally dreamt the idea, woke up with the idea, and that's how I saw it.
Yeah. And, you know, you said you loved the ending. The specifics of what's happening in the kitchen, obviously I couldn't have known that, but the end end, the very end, was how I pitched the book. I always knew, I don't want to say what it is, but that was always going to be the ending of the book. Always.
[00:47:55] Josh Sharkey:
Incredible ending, but the ending is actually, not a microcosm, I guess a macrocosm for a lot of the transitions that actually happen in the book of what you're talking about. Because you will cut away during service to the story of Taylor. And then you cut back Who's chef de cuisine.
Then you cut back to her, you know, doing something in the kitchen and that sort of connectivity there of you're just, you just heard her backstory and the small town and all these things. And then you, then she's in the kitchen. And so you have this sort of connectivity that really makes like it more special.
And that's. Exactly how I feel the ending is very, you know, is very similar to that, but maybe is there like, uh, can you give a little teaser? It's a little quip of from the book that you think a teaser is anything any little like, you know micro story from from here that I think would be that we could share. I don't want to give away too much of the book.
[00:48:46] Andrew Friedman:
I mean my favorite thing in the book because again, it was the thing I knew the least about is the day I spent with Mark the truck driver Yeah, that was I you know, I met him in Marengo Illinois, which was about I made the drive out at two in the morning.
So there was literally zero traffic. The car service I called the driver could have easily murdered me and disappeared my body Like it would have been very easily done. Uh, you know, I met this guy at 2:30 in the morning. I never met him before Nichols who's one of Lloyd's sons who basically runs the business now the sons had been generous I wrote him and said is there any way I could go out on a delivery run?
And he paired me up with Mark and this first of all As a character in the book, he was like manna from heaven. I mean, he is, he was totally open. I say in the book, like his, you know, the way he's dressed and his personality, you know, even though he's 60, you know, he might remind you of your favorite camp counselor.
You know, he's just this funny affable guy. He. You know, he kibitzes with all the, that's New York for chatted up with all of like everybody he was making deliveries to, you know, he would come in and be like, Hey, everybody, I got lots of great fruits and vegetables for you guys, you know, and, and then in between, like in the truck, he was telling me a story.
He was answering all my technical questions, but then I was also getting an education. On what it takes to pilot a delivery truck for a farm in a big city. You know, it's like I say in the introduction of the book, I wrote this book in some ways so I could learn how all these dots I've seen over the years are connected.
I've been to a million farms. I've been to a million restaurants. I've never been with the delivery guy, you know, never. And that was a revelation. I mean, did you find that entertaining? I think that is. Like, in my mind, I was like, that could be a New Yorker. Piece.
[00:50:40] Josh Sharkey:
My father was a, for a long period of time, did that as, that was his job.
[00:50:46] Andrew Friedman: Oh, really?
[00:50:47] Josh Sharkey:
And so I went to work with him all the time. Yeah. So when you, when I read that, it just reminded me of being a kid, being in the van with him. Oh, wow. Going through the streets of DC. So I think maybe I just had a cognitive bias because I grew up with that.
[00:50:58] Andrew Friedman:
I did have one funny moment. There's a, um... I don't even know how it's categorized. It's called Bian, B I A N, and it's a, like a composite health club. It's from Kevin Boehm, right? Kevin Boehm from Boca Restaurant Group. It's a side project. It's not part of Boca, but Kevin and I are friends, and I had been in there after hours with Kevin because he wanted to show me around, and, you know, the place was locked, and it's a beautiful facility, and one of the things that's in there is they have a little restaurant.
I was in there with Kevin in the music. They have a music room. I think it's five. They fight. It's either 500 or a thousand final albums and a very expensive, amazing sound system. And I was in there after hours with him to see all this. And then, when I was in the truck with Mark, he was making, one of his deliveries was to a place he had never been before.
And he kept referring to it as Bane. And, you know, I say in the book, like, I thought of, like, you know, the Tom Hardy villain in The Dark Knight Rises. And it turned out, it was Bian. And it was Kevin's place. And I, just because I'm a normal... Hopefully decent human being I spent the day with Mark, so I would help I would help them.
I would carry a box Yeah, I would if there was a little tray of cherry tomatoes, I would carry that, you know, cuz they're delicate So I was in shorts and a t shirt making a delivery there and I was like, I really hope Kevin's here Cuz that would be really funny, but it didn't happen. Yeah
[00:52:26] Josh Sharkey:
Yeah, it's so funny. I actually never thought about that. That's how I grew up, was little hand carts with boxes through the streets of DC, going upstairs or elevators sometimes and through multiple streets to like deliver nuts and candy and things. And it's, it's, you know, early mornings and sometimes during the day. I wanted to talk a little bit about some of the other projects that are in the pipeline that you've been talking about, but I want to wrap up anything else you want to share about The Dish and also, well, we're going to be releasing this when it comes out, but where to get it and anything else folks should know.
[00:52:58] Andrew Friedman:
I mean, you can get it anywhere books are sold. It's published by Mariner Books, which is an imprint of HarperCollins, which means I have great distribution. All the big online sellers, you can go, if you Google Andrew Friedman, the dish, one of the first one or two results that'll come up is the HarperCollins page for the book.
And from there, you can go to your favorite bookseller. It'll put you on their site. And I personally would love if you're actually going to do it. If you're not going to do it, order it online. But I personally would love if you went to a local independent bookstore and purchased it there. They'll love it if you do that. But yeah, basically anywhere you would go to find a book starting on October 17th, uh, you should be able to find it.
[00:53:39] Josh Sharkey:
Alright. October 17th. Got it.
[00:53:40] Andrew Friedman:
Yeah. And I'll be visiting some cities, I should say.
[00:53:41] Josh Sharkey:
Oh, cool. What cities?
[00:53:40] Andrew Friedman:
So I'll be doing, there may be an event in Chicago. I'm not sure yet. Some of these details aren't ironed out yet, but I will be in Miami.
I'll be in Houston at one point. I'm going to be in Los Angeles and San Francisco and in New York, I'm doing two events this fall and then one in January, you know, like in conversation with events. I love this era of being an author where you don't have to go up anymore and, and like just present, you know, for 40 minutes. That is very stressful. Yeah.
[00:54:12] Josh Sharkey:
Q and A's much.
[00:54:13] Andrew Friedman:
Oh, you know, you just got to get the people. Yeah. I can say this. The, the one that's fully locked is there is a wonderful, relatively new bookstore slash coffee shop slash podcast studio called P&T Knitwear in Lower Manhattan. And I'm going to be there November 14th at 7 p.m and I will be in conversation with Amanda Hesser. Oh, nice. And I'm very excited about that. Oh, that's awesome.
[00:54:40] Josh Sharkey:
Yeah. Very cool. Yeah. Okay. Well, go get the book. It's incredible. Thank you. It will be, uh, also a great timing to, to gift it for the holidays. Thank you. What else is the pipeline? You got a bunch of other stuff going on. You’re a busy guy.
[00:54:54] Andrew Friedman:
We mentioned that I'm doing some teaching now. My show continues. Are we competitors? Can I say I've started doing, I've started doing these special conversations mixing those in with the biographical interviews, like just 30 minute newsy kind of things with people. That's been fun. And also I do those remote, so it opens up the possible guests for the show, um, because it's not as personal a thing, so I don't mind not being in the same space with the guests.
I, I mean it's, it's his book, but I am, I'm I mean, I don't know how to say what I would say without it sounding hokey. I'm very excited, honored. I'm collaborating with Daniel Boulud on a book. He does not like the word memoir. He's not alone in this, but you know, he thinks it makes it sound like you're done.
And I think he's probably busier now than he's ever been in his career. But I'm collaborating on a, what I'm referring to is the story of his 40 years in New York, which is how it started. He actually texted me in fall of 2020 when we were all locked up at home. And said, what do you, I'm thinking about writing, I'm coming up on 40 years in New York, what do you think?
And I said, sounds amazing. And two days later. I wish I had, I only have a picture of him, but I wish I had a picture of the two of us because we were, I mean, that was pre, pre vaccine. It was still peak COVID. We were like, you know, across a dot and we were in the empty dining room with Danielle, you know, which had been dormant for six months at that point, sitting across a table from each other with masks on doing interview sessions for the proposal.
[00:56:32] Andrew Friedman:
That'll be out in 2025. We don't deliver it for another year. I'm doing two other book projects. I probably shouldn't say yet who they're with. And then I've sold my next book project, which I guess I don't want talking about, but I'm doing, I'm going to do a book about restaurant openings. So this is The Dish.
[00:56:48] Andrew Friedman:
My next book is going to be The Opening. And it's,
[00:56:51] Josh Sharkey:
That's a stressful fucking time.
[00:56:52] Andrew Friedman:
But that's good, you know, again, same publisher to what I was saying before about the business of publishing. That's a book that can live on its own, but it has a, it's named in a similar fashion. So hopefully people will, you know, they'll make the connection with me and with this and it's very, it's similar.
[00:57:10] Andrew Friedman:
I'm, I'm taking four restaurants. from different types of operators in different parts of the country and writing about their restaurant from inception to opening.
[00:57:21] Josh Sharkey:
That's cool. Well, we could all use some, some therapy, maybe in the form of a book on a restaurant openings. Anybody that's opened a restaurant can tell you it's a. It sucks, no matter what, it's never been fun. So, I mean, there are fun parts of it, for sure. Ursula's in the background, thumbing down right now.
[00:57:39] Andrew Friedman:
But yeah, but those are the things that I'm, uh, that's what I'm That's awesome, man. That's how I'm keeping out of trouble.
[00:57:43] Josh Sharkey:
You are definitely busy. Anything else you want to share with the audience?
[00:57:47] Andrew Friedman:
It's really weird. You know, when I was a kid, I was always told like, don't talk about yourself. Talk about, you know, whoever you're talking to. So, despite the fact that we've been sitting here talking about me for an hour, 15 minutes, if you're asking me to, like, offer up something, you know, proactively on my own, I don't know.
Actually, I don't know what it would be. How about, you know, At this point, it would be my personal life. I'm looking for people to play tennis with in New York City.
[00:58:11] Josh Sharkey:
Oh yeah, you moved away from, from me, so, we can't play near True. Near me anymore. Ursula lives in Brooklyn. She'll play. Do you play?
[00:58:22] Ursula Siker
Really badly but I play.
[00:58:22] Andrew Friedman:
Okay, we can hit.
[00:58:23] Josh Sharkey:
What's the deal with pickleball? What, what is it? Now I want to know because I keep seeing all the I guess all the kids playing pickleball, but now also adults, like they're Here's the thing It's a big thing.
[00:58:32] Andrew Friedman:
I don't have a problem with pickleball. I guess it's more of a sport than golf.
[00:58:37] Josh Sharkey:
Is it like mini tennis? What is it?
[00:58:39] Andrew Friedman:
It's like ping pong without the table. The reason tennis people largely loathe pickleball, it's not the fact of pickleball. It is a lot of tennis courts are being used. As pickleball courts and tennis courts are hard to come by, at least in a place like New York, you know, if you're in Southern California or where I grew up in Miami, you can go to any local high school, you know, and play tennis on their courts, but New York City, there's fewer courts every year, they're taking our real estate, and that sucks, and that's what's annoying, and, uh, Is it a different
[00:59:15] Josh Sharkey:
Is it a different ball, a different racket?
[00:59:16] Andrew Friedman:
It’s a big paddle. And it's uh, like a, is it a plastic? It's like a plastic ball. It has holes in it. I've only ever seen doubles. I think it's always doubles.
[00:59:27] Josh Sharkey:
Sounds like the modern day badminton.
[00:59:30] Andrew Friedman:
Uh, that's not far off. That's not far off.
[00:59:33] Josh Sharkey:
But By the way, badminton was a pretty big, like, game for a while.
[00:59:35] Andrew Friedman:
You get a, you get a bounce in pickleball. Yeah. But, as I say, it is more athletic than golf. I'll give it that. All right, and darts. It's more athletic than darts.
[00:59:44] Josh Sharkey:
We can't end on pickleball though. So thank you Okay, if you don't want to if you don't
[00:59:49] Andrew Friedman:
I don't have anything to say about pickleball. Okay How about stop taking our courts pickleball?
[00:59:53] Josh Sharkey:
So why don't you give maybe we are a little bit competitors You're more of a someone we aspire to and oh, thanks. We probably do it for different reasons. You also support my show And we support your show. That's right. Yeah, that's right. We love your show so much that we support it Thank you, and we sponsor it at meez and I think we also Somewhat different approaches to how we do it, but any advice on podcasting from what you learned for me or for anybody else? Um last six years of what you've done.
[01:00:21] Andrew Friedman:
Yeah Prepare preparing is really important You know I compare the whole podcasting thing to like whatever it was 15 20 years ago when blogs started happening Like the barrier to entry is very low Yeah, so, you know for like a hundred dollars you can have a podcast on the air You know, you, you pay for some platform.
I use simple cast that, you know, projects it onto all the different, we pay for service that shoots you out to all the different platforms like Spotify and, and Apple podcasts and all that stuff. It's really easy actually to get your podcast out there. If you don't take time to learn about tech, you could, you know, you could record on your iPhone.
I've been interviewed by people on their iPhone, or you can do what you do and what I do, you know. You can get some decent mics and a decent recorder and you can set yourself up for under a thousand dollars, not much under, but you can. But, you know, the barrier to entry is really low, so it's really easy to do it and suck at it.
You know, I've seen it a million, I mean, I'm not going to name anybody. Some of these people I'm very friendly with. Have you noticed there have been all these celebrity Chef podcasts that have just come and gone people are like, hey everybody. I got a new podcast and like six episodes later They're gone.
Yeah, because to do anything of quality you got a prep You got to record you either have to learn how to mix and edit yourself or hire someone to do that You got to make the time for the interview and you got to keep it fresh. You got to keep it lively You know, I don't think people it's like with the blog thing They didn't know what they were getting into and they're like, oh my god Yeah, and then it just becomes you know, you go on their blog Like if you know a lot of restaurants have like on their on the tabs on their website It says blog.
Yeah, and you go to the blog and their last post was from like 2015 Like like it's really anyway that is so that's one like be serious about it. Talk to someone who's done it get advice find out what you know minimal tech would make you sound professional And then you know whenever I teach about podcasting the phrase I use Which I think is my phrase, but it's podcasting is performance, right?
You have to, you gotta bring it. You gotta, you know, you gotta, your energy has to go up when you're on air. Some people are naturally like that. I'm not, I've had many people tell me like, as soon as I get a mic in my hand and it's, this happened this morning, you know, I just become a totally different person or a more.
Emphatic person a more emphatic person, you know, that's something that's taken time If you go back and listen to the first episodes, my intros are horrible They are my wife for a while did the intros with me starting with the fourth episode of the show because I sounded like the most stilted I sounded like a newsman from like 1950, you know, standing in front of a crime scene, you know, it was very formal and stilted and terrible, just terrible.
But you know what? Case in point, I script them now for myself. I mean, I did the whole thing myself, which is crazy, but I've also become, this is a funny story. There's a chef I'm not even sure if she's still in the city. I think she is but there was a really talented chef Named Claire Welle w e l l e. She used to be the chef at Ottway in brooklyn Um, she hasn't been there in quite some time for a hot minute She was the chef to cuisine at Contra which is sadly closing.
That was several years ago, too to interview claire We had only met when I had come to dinner at the restaurant. Claire and I were talking and she said, What's your process? And I said, Well, I'm going to record. We recorded. You saw that. I said, I spend a ridiculous amount of time editing and I'm trying to just let more things go.
And she, I think I've said this on air before. I keep meaning to write her. I've never told her this because we don't hang out. Yeah. But I keep, after I do these shows, I forget to tell her. I said, I'm trying to, you know, Live with, you know, imperfections. And she goes really, really emphatically. She goes, no, do not do that.
Your show is a listening experience and you should stick to making it sound as good as possible. Yeah. And that comment has probably cost me hundreds of hours of my life. Um, I'm not even kidding because I was right at the point of just being like, I mean, I know people say this a lot, but I'm actually, this is clinical for me.
[01:04:41] Andrew Friedman:
Like I've been diagnosed, I take medicine, but like I have OCD. Uh, ADHD, so A, it's hard for me to do it, and B, I can't let it go. Yeah. Right? So, I will sit there and like, you know, take a scalpel to like, you know, a composite or two sentences that got mushed together by the speaker and try to make it into, you know, I'll do like five cuts to try to make it sound like one unbroken sentence.
[01:05:03] Andrew Friedman:
Yeah. That's like a ten minute exercise. That's nuts. That's, plus now I stopped paying an engineer. I now, during COVID, thanks to YouTube, I taught myself how to mix, right? I mix my own sound now, so I do all of that. I think it matters. But, you know, I do, when people review the show on like Apple Podcasts or when they write to me, there are people who mention the sound quality.
Yeah. Including other podcasters. You know, I got this lovely note, I don't think you'd mind me saying it, last year from Eli Kulp in Philadelphia, who also does a podcast. Yeah. And, you know, Eli, you know, one of the things he said to me about the show was, he said, you know, the production values are really good and I just feel like it's, I don't know.
[01:05:47] Josh Sharkey:
No, I think it's, I agree. I feel like, you know, you gotta have your standards. I agree. It's important. And this is our first ever. in person because we use different equipment at home. Being a chef that's the preparedness was like the only thing that would like I freaked out about in the beginning and it's funny how many of the guests are like oh my gosh I didn't know that you you did so much research and you looked up I was like it's not the job isn't that what we're supposed to do is right but you know why
[01:06:10] Andrew Friedman:
You know why they're surprised because they've gone into a bunch of interviews.
Where either people hadn't, you know, so they come in cold and say things like, so where are you from? Yeah. You know, who was your mentor? Or, uh, I used to have this very obnoxious mid show thing I would play. And it was like, it had music under it. And it was all these people saying nice things about the show.
And actually on my computer, the file of that audio says, It says ATTC for Andrew talks to chefs and then it says obnoxious mid show But one of the lines that I pulled and put in that little montage Was David Kinch on one of the first 10 episodes we did, you know I thanked him at the end and he said, you know, it's always a pleasure I love talking to you because you never ask me my favorite ingredient or my favorite kitchen gadget, and but you know, chefs are, they're all tired of that, you know, so I think the reason people say that to you is because they've gotten conditioned now to people just having this one size fits all like questionnaire or just working their, I would, this is the other thing I would say, you have to be alive to the conversation that's happening, right?
Like you can't just work through a list of questions. If you want to have a really good show, somebody says something, you got to treat it like it a conversation you got to get comfortable doing that. Yeah, you know one of my favorite moments ever I did a live interview with Preeti Mistry at san francisco cooking school, which sadly doesn't exist anymore It was 2019 Preeti and I had never met and we agreed not to do a pre interview because I wanted it to be You know fresh and prithee was comfortable with that.
[01:07:44] Andrew Friedman:
So We're doing this interview and they're very animated, Preeti, the way they talk, right? And, and in the middle of the thing, spontaneously, and this was in front of like a hundred people, I said, you know, you're very demonstrative when you talk. Do you have any theater in your background? And Preeti gave me this look and said, no one's ever asked me that before.
But I wouldn't have known to ask it in my research. It was because Preeti was so funny and, you know, making, you know, a lot of body gesturing. That kind of underscored what was being said, and it led to this amazing ten minute conversation that had never been discussed in an interview. Right? But that wasn't in my Q&A, that was just from being in conversation with someone.
[01:08:30] Andrew Friedman:
I tell people if you can pull it off, just imagine you're, you know, found yourself next to this person at a party. Yeah. And you're having a conversation.
[01:08:38] Josh Sharkey:
No, I, I couldn't agree more. I start now, we didn't do this in person, but whenever we start, From my office, I just start recording as soon as they get on the call.
[01:08:47] Josh Sharkey:
Like, uh, Mark Forgione and I just hopped on a call. We, somewhat often, we did the podcast he came on. And the first 10 minutes, I mean, it was really just like us catching up on a call. And then we just started doing some, some interview things. But we spent 10 minutes talking about, Doing mushrooms and raising your kids and and then I was like, oh, yeah, we we're on a podcast
[01:09:09] Andrew Friedman:
Did he know you were recording?
[01:09:10] Josh Sharkey:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, you know, you know, we just started, you know I think we know each other so we just started talking and that's how I start every podcast now is just start talking and Usually what ends up happening is the guest is little taken off and like is that okay? Should we record this and I was like just talk do your thing.
[01:09:25] Andrew Friedman:
See, I, I should probably do that because I often will go, like I interviewed Anthony Mangieri from, uh, Una Pizza Napolitana, and I only met him when I came in for dinner once and I met him, but we didn't know each other. And I don't, do you know him?
[01:09:26] Josh Sharkey:
I mean, I know of him. I mean
[01:09:45] Andrew Friedman:
He's the greatest guy. He is, I mean, soulful guy, really open. And I got there and we talked for an hour before I ever started recording. An hour. Yeah, you should have recorded that. I should have recorded it. Yeah. That happens all the time. That's happened to me with Greg Backstrom, I think almost every time we've interviewed. It just, yeah. Yeah. Although I will say it's not calculated, but I do feel like that kind of time when I was doing chef's drugs and rock and roll, I would always hang for a little before the interview.
Cause I want to give people a chance to kind of. Get a sense of me because I come in peace generally and I think that's something You know, nothing makes most journalists happier than getting some dirt or juicy quote or you know And i'm not looking I mean unless someone is You know, intentionally saying that to me, I'm not looking for that.
I, I don't embarrass people. I've taken stuff out of episodes that I wasn't even asked to. Like sometimes an older guest will say something horribly politically incorrect. I don't mean racist or anything. They'll just say something what could generously be called passé, and I'll just take it out. Because I'm like, this person is going to get hammered.
And they don't mean anything by it. You know, they're just like a little bit, they're just a little bit out of step.
[01:10:54] Josh Sharkey:
That's nice of you. Well, Andrew, this was quite a pleasure.
[01:10:57] Andrew Friedman:
Thank you, Josh. I hope I didn't talk too much.
[01:10:59] Josh Sharkey:
You, no, you talked just enough. And I'm just, this was so nice doing it outside. Isn't it?
We had a lot of Emily, Ursula, thanks for managing, or trying to manage all the crazy noise, but this was great. We need to do more outside things. But thank you.
[01:11:11] Andrew Friedman:
Thank you very much. And thanks for all the kind words about The Dish.
[01:11:14] Josh Sharkey:
They're genuine. I mean it. Congratulations. And I can't wait for it to be out for everybody to buy in stores or online. So, all right, man. Thank you. Yep. Bye.
[01:11:27] Josh Sharkey:
Thanks for tuning into the meez Podcast. The music from the show is a remix of the song Art Mirror by an old friend, hip hop artist, Fresh Daily. For show notes and more, visit getmeez.com forward slash podcast. That's G E T M E E Z dot com forward slash podcast. If you enjoyed the show, I'd love it if you can share it with fellow entrepreneurs and culinary pros, and give us a five star rating wherever you listen to your podcasts.
[01:11:50] Josh Sharkey:
Keep innovating, don't settle, make today a little bit better than yesterday, and remember, it's impossible for us to learn what we think we already know. See you next time.