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Robin Sussingham

Senior Editor

Robin is Senior Editor at WUSF, spearheading the station's podcasting initiatives and helping to guide the vision for special reporting projects and creative storytelling. She hosts the weekly current affairs program, Florida Matters, on WUSF and also created The Zest, the station's podcast that's all about food, which she continues to host and serve as senior producer.

Robin has earned multiple awards for reporting on science, health, the environment, culture and education. She’s hosted a daily call-in show in Salt Lake City; reported at a newspaper in north Texas; and covered many national stories for NPR, as well as publications like Newsday, the Times of London, the Tampa Bay Times, epicurious and others. She has an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Duke University and a Masters Degree in Journalism from New York University. 

Robin thinks Florida is the most fascinating place to tell stories – and has reported on things like giant invasive lizards, how to run from an alligator (do not serpentine!), and the best wood for smoking mullet. 

 

Ways to Connect

For Yaniv Cohen, his passion for teaching people about spices all started when his daughter was born nine years ago and he found himself wanting to give her a feeling for the tastes and aromas of his childhood in Israel.

This week on Florida Matters, we talk about how the environmental history of the Gulf of Mexico shaped human life over the years with Jack E. Davis, whose book The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for History.


It started 30 years ago. That's when Rex Jensen first got a call to check out some land owned by the Uihlein family just off I-75 near Sarasota.  That is all Jensen needed to see and he knew this land was going to be a success.

This story originally published on Nov. 19, 2019

This week on Florida Matters, we take a look into the development of Lakewood Ranch. 

We bring you a special Thanksgiving program featuring some of our favorite stories about food in the Sunshine State. There is a lot to be thankful for here in the land of citrus, seafood, and Spanish flavor with a splash of southern charm.

The country's first Thanksgiving actually took place in Florida, 56 years before the one in Massachusetts with the Pilgrims. Speaking to Robin Sussingham, host of The Zest podcast, historian Rodney Kite-Powell said that Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés held a religious ceremony and feast of Thanksgiving in St. Augustine on Sept. 8th, 1565.

The Zest: 'Bugsgiving' Is A Feast Of Insects

Nov 21, 2019
Lobster with black ants and scorpions
Brooklyn Bugs

Chef Joseph Yoon’s idea of comfort food might not be to everyone’s liking. His Honeycrisp apple slices dolloped with Greek yogurt and drizzled with honey are a promising start. But the roasted grasshoppers and superworms strategically poking up from the tangy yogurt take the experience in another direction.

This program originally aired August 6, 2019

Many people may not realize that wine making in Florida is a billion-dollar industry. There are dozens of wineries across the state employing nearly 100,000 people, and university research departments dedicated to viticulture.

Becky Dineen, Robin Sussingham, Josh Harris
Leslie Laney / WUSF

Josh Harris got his start,  as so many beekeepers do, when a swarm of bees landed in his yard. He decided to keep the hive and learn how to tend to the bees, and then added another hive, and another.

Department of Defense

Vaping lung-related injuries are on the rise, and there are still many unanswered questions as to why.

Sen. Bill Nelson was a three-term Democrat who served in Washington for more than 45 years before losing his seat to Rick Scott in the 2018 mid-term election.

When Natalia Lima went vegan eight years ago, she assumed she was destined for a lifetime of dull desserts. But soon, the St. Petersburg baker learned to whip up her favorite confections—minus the animal products. She now sells them at her Curious Cat Bakery. Natalia is even veganizing recipes featured on The Great British Baking Show and posting the delicious results on Instagram.

The hepatitis a vaccine
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

This week on Florida Matters, we discuss the concerns of more than 2,800 cases of hepatitis A being diagnosed in Florida so far this year. It has become one of the worst outbreaks of the liver disease in the country.

Mass transit in Tampa Bay's densely populated big cities grabs the headlines. But there's a case to be made that transportation has even more of an impact on people living in rural areas.

Patron boarding bus
HART

With the population in the Tampa Bay area growing so has the traffic. Transportation leaders have proposed many ideas about how to help people get around faster in the region, but residents are waiting on results. 

Sean Sherman
Dana Thompson

Sean Sherman is a Minnesota-based chef on a mission to revitalize Native American cooking and culture. His cookbook,  The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, won the James Beard award for Best American cookbook in 2018.

When Tracey Johnson requested a tour of Florida Bee Farm, she got more than she bargained for.
Tracey in Sunshine City

Put on your beekeeper suit and come see what's involved in maintaining a thriving apiary.


This week on Florida Matters we talk about how some of our region’s airports are changing to make travel more convenient.

Honey bees have captured my attention.

As more local beekeepers began popping up at the farmers market, it seemed that friends and family were becoming obsessed with the hobby - and they weren't alone.

Florida is one of the nation's largest producers of honey and is a hub for beekeeping, both commercially and as a hobby.

In a special reporting collaboration, WUSF News and the Zest Podcast are taking a closer look at honey bees over the next few weeks.

Many well-known local restaurants swear by the sausages they get from the Tambuzzo Sausage Company of Tampa. The butchery recently opened up its new location in West Tampa, alongside the company's cafe, "The Boozy Pig." Owner Andrew Tambuzzo says it's a new chapter in what's been a very old tradition for his family in Ybor City -- that is, making sausage.

LISTEN: To This Week's Episode

When Isabel Laessig's daughter left for college, she told her mom that the thing she'd miss most was their Sunday family dinner together.

Paul Mott (l) and Brad Pupello participated in One Small Step, a project WUSF produced in partnership with StoryCorps. It brings two people of differing political backgrounds together for civil conversation.
Andy Lalino / WUSF Public Media

Over the next few weeks, WUSF will be sharing stories produced for One Small Step, the latest project from StoryCorps. Each segment features two strangers, with completely different political beliefs, sitting down together and having a conversation. 

pie
Dalia Colon / WUSF

This week on The Zest podcast we’re talking about some real Florida classics. We learn to make the Columbia Restaurant's signature 1905 Salad. Then, we fast-forward to 1961, when the Junior League of Tampa debuted its Gasparilla Cookbook, which included its prize-winning Florida Orange Grove Pie. And, we’ve got a conversation with celebrity chef Lazarus Lynch, who’s spreading the word about his Southern cuisine using a very modern kitchen staple: social media.

"On The Upwind Flying Club" Facebook page
On The Upwind Flying Club / Facebook

Now that Tampa Bay residents are able to let their guard down against Hurricane Dorian, many people are taking a look at what can be done to help the hard-hit Bahamas.

One group of local pilots is quickly mobilizing to gather supplies and plans to fly them to the island.


Genius Desserts
Amazon

Let's talk meats and sweets: August is nearly over, but there’s still time to plan one last end-of-summer blowout bash. This week on The Zest podcast, get grilling guidance from Ray Lampe, a.k.a. Dr. BBQ. And what’s for dessert? Our contributor Janet Keeler offers ideas from the cookbook Genius Desserts. 

Dr. BBQ has a restaurant of the same name in St. Petersburg.
Datz Restaurant Group

With Labor Day weekend just ahead, The Zest podcast got a last-minute barbeque lesson from Dr. BBQ himself, Barbecue Hall-of-Famer Ray Lampe, at his St. Petersburg restaurant.

The Florida Aquarium recently announced they had induced Atlantic coral to spawn in a laboratory for the first time.
Florida Aquarium

Florida's coral reefs are in trouble. Scientists say they've been declining for decades.

But researchers have very recently come up with some exciting results that they say show promise in restoring these beautiful and important marine communities.

Helen Freund
Monica Herndon

This week on WUSF's food podcast, The Zest, we’re talking to some of Tampa Bay’s favorite food personalities.

Helen Freund
Monica Herndon / Tampa Bay Times

Helen Freund is the new food critic for the Tampa Bay Times, arriving from New Orleans where she was the restaurant writer and food critic for an alternative weekly newspaper. Freund also covered criminal justice and the courts for the Times Picayune newspaper before she began writing about food in a city where food and restaurant reporting is a highly competitive beat.

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