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The Zest Podcast

Hall on Franklin
The Hall on Franklin

In 2019, Alexandria Jones set out on a mission: to interview owners of a handful of black-owned eateries across Tampa Bay. She turned those interviews into a half-hour documentary called A Soulful Taste: Exploring Tampa Bay's Black-Owned Food Scene.

Mykonos family photo
Dalia Colón

Miami has Little Haiti and Little Havana. Orlando has Little Vietnam. And in northern Pinellas County, you’ll find an ethnic enclave like no other: Tarpon Springs.

Rene Valenzuela
Courtesy photo

Chef Rene Valenzuela brought Mexican cuisine to Tampa Bay by way of the food truck, well before food trucks were trendy.

He’s best known as the founder and former owner of Taco Bus. Rene’s life and career came to a standstill two years ago, when he was burned in a horrific kitchen fire.

Toni Tipton-Martin at festival
Dalia Colón

Toni Tipton-Martin is on a crusade.

The food journalist and educator won a James Beard Award in 2016 for her book The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks. Her latest work, Jubilee, is a collection of recipes from those antique cookbooks.

Her goal? To change the way society thinks about African-American cooking.

oysters
Jessica Meszaros / WUSF

Welcome to season two of The Zest podcast! We're starting off with a trip to Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve, at the mouth of Tampa Bay, to sample some Florida oysters. WUSF reporter Jessica Meszaros takes a boat ride with Brian Rosseger, owner of Lost Coast Oyster Company, to his floating oyster farm. "There is an agricultural revolution that's happening right now," Rosseger says. "And it's happening in the oceans."


A chef finishes plating a dish.
Nineteen61

Downtown Lakeland restaurant Nineteen61 has earned statewide honors for its upscale, modern take on Spanish cuisine. Now it's staying busy and avoiding layoffs by offering family-style comfort food, home delivery -- and even toilet paper.

Nineteen61’s chef and founder, Marcos Fernandez, said some restaurants are having a harder time adapting to this era of quarantine and isolation. Nineteen61 offers its own delivery service, because Fernandez said he wants the assurance that his employees will follow all the sanitary guidelines. They also offer curbside pickup.

Michelle Stark
The Tampa Bay Times

Michelle Stark, food editor of the Tampa Bay Times, has been writing about how to eat well, even when we're eating emergency supplies.

She gave WUSF’s Robin Sussingham, host of The Zest podcast, some tips on what to look for when you’re stocking up for the long haul.

moms and kids in kitchen
Braulio Colón

For anyone on a special diet or with a picky eater at home, these are especially trying times.

freakshake
Courtesy of Bake'n Babes

Here’s a philosophical question: If you order an over-the-top milkshake for a great cause, do the calories count?

Not according to Julie Curry.

Curry owns Bake’n Babes, the wildly popular bakery inside the Hall on Franklin food hall in Tampa Heights. In addition to cakes, cupcakes, cookies and pies, perhaps the bakery’s most buzzworthy menu item is its freakshake.

Dayanny De La Cruz
Matthew Noel for Centerplate

On the first Sunday in February, 50,000 football fans, members of the media and others will descend upon Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium for Super Bowl LIV. And they’re bringing their appetites with them—which makes Dayanny De La Cruz the true MVP in our book.

Gasparilla started out at the turn of the 20th century as a sedate little music program. Then, organizers decided to throw in a pirate invasion to spice things up -- and they succeeded: the Gasparilla Pirate Festival is now one of the country’s largest outdoor festivals. Speaking on The Zest podcast, Andrew Huse, an associate librarian at the University of South Florida in special collections, says Gasparilla “is like Mardi Gras without the Catholicism.”  

Food offerings at the Florida State Fair
Florida State Fair

If you’re looking for an excuse to throw that new diet to the wind or to enjoy the chalky taste of an antacid, this year’s Florida State Fair has got you covered.

The fair, which opens Feb. 6, will debut a variety of new foods for guests to indulge in – from variations of fair-food staples like the funnel cake and corn dogs to ramen-infused burgers.

If you're like Jeff Houck, you've popped into a neighborhood convenience store and thought "wow!" this is a little quirky and an adventure.

Chef Ed
Dalia Colón

The Straz Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Tampa is the largest performing arts venue in the southeastern U.S. With five theaters and a school for budding talent, the Straz is a hub for Broadway shows, concerts, dance performances and more.

That means lots of hungry ticket holders—not to mention catering for on-site weddings, meetings and other events.

 

Nora and Ariel
Dalia Colón

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen. But how about the reindeer with pretzel antlers and a red M&M for its nose? This season, WUSF reporters are sharing their holiday food traditions. Today, Dalia Colón introduces us to her family and their custom of baking reindeer cookies.

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.

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 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.

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.

Chuck Bandel, chef of the Dalí Museum's Café Gala, shows off cuisine inspired by his travels to Spain.
Dalia Colón / The Zest Podcast

The Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg contains more than 2,400 works by the artist. And the museum’s restaurant, Café Gala, pays homage to Dalí’s native Spain with menu items like serrano ham salad, Spanish omelet and sangria.

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.

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.

pastries
Dalia Colón

In a special collaboration between WUSF News and The Zest podcast, we're taking a closer look at honey bees.


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.

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.

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.

KFC is set to serve meatless chicken for the first time — testing the new menu items on Tuesday at a single restaurant in the Atlanta area.

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.

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