#LAFoodCulture with Smart Mouth Podcast Host Katherine Spiers

Intro: Food Tribe is taking a deeper dive into #LAFoodCulture, by featuring the chefs, restauranteurs, and foodies that make LA's food scene what it is. We want to hear from various perspectives about LA's food culture, and are excited to share those voices with you!

This week, we interviewed Katherine Spiers, food editor for LA Weekly and host of the Smart Mouth Podcast, produced by Michelle Lanz. She has a refreshing perspective on food culture and gets a closer look at the people behind the food in her podcast.

#LAFoodCulture Smart Mouth Podcast Katherine Spiers

Katherine has been working as a food journalist for about twelve years. She loves the opportunity to contribute to LA Weekly, because it allows her to participate in the broad food discussion across Los Angeles and is excited about the potentially global reach of her podcast, which she launched in November, 2016.

“Each guest brings their own perspective and each conversation is a deep dive.”

In the Smart Mouth Podcast, Katherine takes a deep dive in each episode with the guest of the week. Most of the episodes are titled after one recipe or dish and the name of her guest(s) (i.e. “Episode 21: Poutine with Comedy Dare Devil”), but many times, the conversation naturally unfolds to something much deeper, revealing the heart and the story of the people behind the food. Spiers explains, “For example, in the Pecan Pie episode, we’re talking about pecan pie but we were also able to talk about the American history of slavery, and in the Danny Trejo episode, we were able to talk more about present day issues.”

Left: Katherine, Michelle Lanz - Podcast Producer, & Danny Trejo (Episode 25). Right: Katherine and Eva Anderson (Episode 4).

Left: Katherine, Michelle Lanz - Podcast Producer, & Danny Trejo (Episode 25).
Right: Katherine and Eva Anderson (Episode 4).

She explained that talking about food is practical, because there’s no way to be right or wrong when it comes to taste or appreciation of one food over another. However, talking about the bigger issues like wild caught seafood versus farm raised, and where our food comes from, while extremely important to discuss, can sometimes be a bummer. SO, it’s fun to also talk about the best frozen yogurt once in while. ;)

The Smart Mouth Podcast is categorized under “Society and Culture” on iTunes, which was an important decision to Katherine. It’s about more than just the food, and more than a 5-star artful meal write-up or soundbite. The podcast is meant to be thoughtful, relevant, and “not too snobby,” to express a part of world culture.

“Los Angeles has less reverence toward tradition, which lends itself to experimentation.”

#LAFoodCulture to Katherine is both experimental and diverse. LA has a deep interest in authentic Chinese food for example. San Gabriel Valley offers cuisine from all over China allowing diners to really experience food from many different places. There are also more Armenian, Lebanese, Israeli, and Middle Eastern restaurants popping up, which are “vegetable forward” making it easy to eat vegetarian as just part of the meal. She recommends Mh zh for anyone looking for a good Middle Eastern vegetarian dining experience.

We ended the interview by asking Katherine to name her favorite meal in the past month. She named the classic Pizzeria Mozza, because, “they are still cranking it out… they must really like their jobs!” and Chengdu Impression in Arcadia, because people typically think of Szechuan food as being spicy, but Chengdu’s food was the perfect combination of being flavorful and not overly spicy.

Left: Poutine with Comedy Devil (Episode 21). Right: Baked Ziti with Bruce Kalman (Episode 17). 

Left: Poutine with Comedy Devil (Episode 21).
Right: Baked Ziti with Bruce Kalman (Episode 17). 

Thank you so much to Katherine for taking the time to speak to us and for her fresh perspective on both #LAFoodCulture and the global conversation on food.

AND, we’re conveniently posting this blog on Katherine’s birthday, so we have to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Find Katherine on LA Weekly and the Smart Mouth Podcast, and follow her on Instagram at @katherine_spiers, Twitter at @katherinespiers, and Facebook at facebook.com/smartmouthpodcast.




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