For a little over a year, Sunday afternoon has been all about food for KLCC listeners. Since July 4, 2010, the local NPR affiliate has been broadcasting Food For Thought, an hour long program co-hosted by Ryan Stotz and Boris Wiedenfeld. The hosts talk food news, trade hilarious commentary, and interview guests during the show that according to Stotz is “entertainment first, commentary second, and news a very distant third.” We sat down with the hosts for a review and look ahead.
“Fourth of July was our one year, and the show has gotten immeasurably better by anyone’s estimation,” says Stotz, as Wiedenfeld jokes, “And once in a while we go back to immeasurably worse, too.” Running the show on top of having full time jobs (both are in the wine business, Stotz at Marché Provisions, Wiedenfeld at Sundance Wine Cellars) can be stressful. Finding engaging guests can be hit or miss, and as Stotz commented, “not every week is going up for a Peabody.”
Favorite guests from the year include wine writer Lance Sparks, Off the Waffle owners Omer and Dave Orian, and Soup Nation’s Mark Stern. The hosts also had their own favorites. “Dara Goldstein,” says Stotz. “She is the founding editor of Gastronomica and much too classy for our show, but she was great to do it and could not have been a better guest.”
“My favorite guest by far was Clive Wanstall,” says Wiedenfeld. “Freakin’ cracked me up. He’s the head of LCC’s culinary program, and he’s a hoot.”
Keeping things focused in Lane County is the last thing the hosts want to do. The show broadcasts over almost the entire state, except for Portland.
“KLCC is the most powerful station in the state, we are at 63,000 watts, and we have a lot of repeaters. It’s a cool station to be on, and quite frankly, I’d rather be on a network that reaches all these totally diverse people from the mountains and the coast and the valley than preach to hipster Portlanders who want to eat vegan sushi,” says Wiedenfeld.
Both agree that Oregon is on the cutting edge of food trends, making hosting a food show exciting. “Certainly the kind of food we are making in restaurants is influencing people elsewhere in the country,” says Stotz. “On an agricultural level, what Oregon is doing has a huge impact and picks up a lot of discussion. There is a restaurant in [Washington] DC that grows all the wheat for their flour locally, that didn’t happen before Oregon was doing it. It’s an exciting place to be.”
“Look at the quality of food that you can get here that is from Oregon. I’ve lived in a lot of places… and here, you walk into Sundance and look at the produce that’s all mostly from around here, and you are like holy crap! You don’t get that anywhere else,” says Wiedenfeld.
Both Wiedenfeld and Stotz take advantage of the Oregon bounty by cooking at home. For Stotz, a summer day isn’t complete without a tin of good Spanish tuna, while Wiedenfeld loves a good tomato sauce. Click here to get Wiedenfeld’s top secret recipe.
The coming year will bring more regular correspondents, which Wiedenfeld refers to as their “Cast of Characters”, alongside guests on the local and national levels.
“When our guests are good, they are really good,” says Stotz.
“When they bring us food they are the best,” finishes Wiedenfeld.
Tune in to Food For Thought every Sunday from noon to 1pm.
Photo courtesy of KLCC