FOODIE & THE BEAST

The DC area’s only food & wine variety show, now in its 11th year.
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Foodie & The Beast from Home: June 21, 2020
Foodie & the Beast is on air, recorded from Nycci and David's bedroom (not as sexy as it sounds), safely talking to people who are making a difference in the food space.  Since we’re not in studio, we don’t have someone shaking up cocktails for us (and our guests) during the show. We now have a cocktail created for each show by a RAMMY Cocktail Program of the Year nominee.  This week, Alonzo Freeman from The Royal virtually made us an Aji cocktail —  a Colombian riff on the classic daiquiri, incorporating Royal’s house aji sauce made with cilantro, scallions, tomato, peppers and vinegar, with white rum, fresh lime and cane sugar — tune in to make your own. While sipping on this week’s cocktail, listen to David and Nycci talk to Chef Michael Rafidi, whose Albi restaurant opened near the Navy Yard just two weeks prior to the lockdown, but managed to  pivot quickly to carryout and delivery and whose  morning and daytime café, Yellow, opened adjacent to the Albi dining room during the pandemic shutdown. This is a real case of Coronovirus survival you’ll want to hear. We chatted with Chef Johanna Hellrigl from the West End’s new Mercy Me. She loves to bake, especially sourdough as an homage to her chef dad, and has been “seeding” friends’ kitchens with giveaways of sourdough starters. Pastry chef & owner of Petite Soeur, Ashleigh Pearson, seemed destined to succeed when she won a $10,000 Les Dames de Escoffier scholarship and headed off to Paris for classes at Le Cordon Blue (without speaking a word of French, mind you!). She’s back, running her operation out of Robert Weidmaier’s Marcels and creating “Wow!” pastries and desserts. Lastly,  an old and good friend of the show, 3 Stars Brewing’s Dave Coleman, joined us to discuss his brewery’s worldwide participation in “Black is Beautiful”, a beer project supporting Black Lives Matter, and 3 Stars’ new CSB – Community Supported Beer” – promotion. So much deliciousness for your ears. Listen to the entire episode here.  
FOODIE & THE BEAST
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Foodie & The Beast from Home: June 14, 2020
On repeat, the curtain continues to rise and spotlight the horrific impact that systemic racism has on our city and our county. David and Nycci stand in solidarity against racism and oppression of all Black, Indigenous and People of Color. We have the platform of Foodie & The Beast and will continue to use it to amplify the BIPOC voices in the restaurant and hospitality space, not just now but always. On Saturday, we were joined by celebrated pastry chef Paola Valez, who one minute was the James Beard-finalist, Rising Star Chef wowing patrons at Kith/Kin, and the next was furloughed due to the pandemic. She launched what started as a local movement, Bakers Against Racism, that soon went global, and you’ll hear how. Also with us, Central Farm Markets’ cofounder Debbie Moser with updates on safe shopping for all your fresh produce, meats and more at area CFM locations. Returning guest, Andra “A.J.” Johnson, is managing partner and bartender at Serenata in La Cosecha near Union Market and cofounder of DC’s Black Restaurant Week and recently launched the Back to Black Pop-Up. She’s a passionate advocate of diversity and across-the-board fairness for restaurant industry workers, and is on to tell us about upcoming events supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and discuss her powerful, City Paper article and book under development, both dealing with cultural neglect of African-Americans in the restaurant industry. When the COVID 19 crisis hit, Chef Javier Arze of Huntsman was selling premium, specialty foods to top restaurants across the Mid-Atlantic. Teaming with suddenly furloughed, local chefs, Chef Javier then pivoted on a dime, delivering Furloughed Chefs gourmet food boxes directly to consumers. And, because drinking while listening is just more fun, Ismael Barreto, lead bartender at Nick Stefanelli’s Officina (Rammy nom for Cocktail Program of The Year), whips up his super-delicious, honey lavender cocktail that you can/should make at home. Listen to the full episode here.
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Foodie & The Beast from Home: June 6, 2020
Once again, the curtain has been lifted and the spotlight is focused on the horrific impact that systemic racism has on our city and our county. David and Nycci stand in solidarity against racism and oppression of the Black community. There is much to condemn and so much work to do. Now is not the time to sit. Now is the time to stand. We have the platform of Foodie & The Beast and will use it to amplify the Black voices in the restaurant and hospitality space.  This week, we were joined again by Chanel Turner, founder of DC’s award-winning Fou-Dre Spirits. Chanel is a prominent force and is the first African-American woman to own and operate a Vodka brand. Chanel talked pivoting her business profitably in the COVID 19 era and the hurdles of being a Black female in the otherwise mostly white and male-dominated spirits industry. Accomplished actor and Rockville native, James Henry, is a strong supporter of representing diversity in the community. He lives his commitment, creating content across various platforms such as TikTok, where he reaches over 3 million followers. He has a Forbes feature coming out this month showcasing his impact, and he joined us on the show to chat about reinventing oneself on social media. To Beach or Not To Beach! Benjamin Gray is the general manager of the Bellmoor Inn & Spa, Delaware's top-rated hotel in Rehoboth. He’s also chairman of Southern Delaware Tourism and serves on Delaware’s Task Force for reopening hotels in Delaware. David and Nycci got an insider look at what it takes to prepare for and deliver a safe reopening of hotel during the COVID crisis. D’Artagnan is a 35 year-old purveyor of high-quality meats, poultry and game to chefs, butchers, and retailers nationwide. Like every other business, D’Artagnan has had to react to challenges to the food supply chain in order to stay in business. D’Artagnan’s Jamie Forsythe joined us and laid out how the company kept all 250 employees on the job by thinking outside the box, literally. Listen to the full episode here.
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Foodie & The Beast from Home: May 31, 2020
We have stood and continue to stand with the protesters. On Saturday, May 30th before the upside down world became a ball of fire, David and Nycci recorded Foodie & The Beast. It seems like a year ago that we were all so excited for Phase 1 to begin in DC and with that, Shawn Townsend, DC’s director of the mayor’s office of nightlife and culture, joined us. Shawn's initial charge was to be the “ambassador” and central point of contact between DC Government, the nightlife industry, and District residents. That said, the pandemic put DC’s hospitality industry and nightlife on hold - Shawn is an industry advocate and is helping people and places reopen responsibly. Debbie Shore, cofounder and CEO of Share Our Strength and No Kid Hungry was back and had a lot to impart about the additional food-related challenges of feeding America’s hungry – kids, in particular – in the middle of supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID 19 mess. Chef/restaurateur/hospitality industry activist with the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) Camilla Marcus (West-bourne, in NYC) put a spotlight on the fact that, (1) with 11 million unemployed, restaurants are a top contributor to rising unemployment, (2) that only 1 in 10 restaurants has yet been able to access PPP funds, and (3) what the IRC is doing on the local and national levels to save local restaurants affected by COVID-19 shutdowns.  Neighborhood Restaurant Group (NRG) is forging ahead with plans to open The Roost — soon -- a multi-market concept under one roof, and Nick Farrell is creating the entire cocktail program for the new bar, Show of Hands. We learned about Nick’s focus on ABV cocktails (apparently people still want them during the pandemic) and the cocktails he has been batching every week and selling through Neighborhood Provisions.  Juan Coronado, creative director and owner of the Colada Shop, a RAMMY nominee for cocktail program of the year, whipped up the Cuban Martini that everyone should enjoy while listening to last weeks show. Shake, strain, and listen in to the full episode here.
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Foodie & The Beast from Home: May 24, 2020
Don’t think for a minute that any pandemic can keep Foodie & The Beast down and away from our fun. That’s why this week, we’ve reignited our regular cocktail feature. Every week, look for the cocktail ingredients and recipe @NycciNellis on Instagram or Facebook, then join us Sundays to make, shake, and intake our cocktail of the week, with guidance from one of the area’s leading mixologists.  This week: Alan Grunlauskas, GM and cocktail maven at Jose Andres China Chilcano, a RAMMY nominee for cocktail program of the year. Also joining us are Lauren Biel, founder and executive director of DC Greens, where on a regular day she and her team fight food insecurity and lack of education in DC, but now have launched more than 20 programs to feed hungry folks the fresh, nourishing foods they need during COVID 19 lockdown. Also, many restaurants forced to close because of COVID are finding insurance companies resisting paying off on business interruption insurance. Some, like Buttercream Bakeshop’s Tiffany MacIssac, are suing, and rightfully so!  We get the 411 on the lawsuit from Tiff and her crackerjack legal team, Mike Davis and Dave Feinberg,  from powerhouse law firm Venable. Last, but hardly least, everyone’s favorite seafood chef and restaurateur, Jamie Leeds, joins us with War Shore Oyster Company’s Brad and Hannah Blymier with details on their very smart, home-delivered fresh seafood meals, called Current Catch.  We’ve had it, and it’s absolutely sea for yourself! Listen to the full episode here.  
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Foodie & The Beast from Home: May 17, 2020
Nycci and David are still trapped at home, but that didn’t stop them or some great guests from telling you all about the restaurant and hospitality industry’s broad efforts to surmount the COVID 19 madness. Joining us are Amy Brandwein, celebrated chef/owner of both Centrolina and Piccolina in City Center DC, with updates on her pivots to respond to COVID while keeping business going and staff employed, with delish new take-out and delivery options that are totalmente delizioso; James Beard Award-winning journalist Kathy Gunst and the Food Network’s Katherine Alford, who transformed punching bread and rolling out pie crusts to express rage about the current state of our country into a spectacular new baking cookbook, RAGE BAKING: The Transformative Power of Flour, Fury, and Women’s Voices; Greg Casten, president of OceanPro Industries (think Profish sustainable seafood, Ivy City Smokehouse, Tony & Joe’s...) with his COVID pivot – home deliveries of the freshest seafood, meats, and more; Mitch Berliner in with his weekly Central Farm Market check in, and DC restaurateur Adam Fry, in with details on DC To-Go-Go, the new, web-based food and beverage ordering platform allowing bar and restaurant owners to better control their food delivery costs, instead of paying up to 30% of their profits to the larger food ordering platforms. Turn on, tune in and …enjoy!
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Foodie & The Beast from Home: May 10, 2020
There's no lock-down on ingenuity. Nycci and David recorded this episode of Foodie & The Beast from home again, featuring some ingenious guests. David Guas, the chef/owner of the Bayou Bakery Coffee Bar and Eatery, has founded the Chefs Feeding Families program, a collaboration with Real Food For Kids, which has been operational since the closure of Arlington County Public Schools on March 13. They talk about Chefs Feeding Families and the challenges facing small business owners during the current pandemic; Gerard Bertholon, chief strategy officer at Cuisine Solutions, talks about how continued innovations with sous vide cooking and new ways of extracting essential nutrition from what may look like vegetable leftovers can help feed and nurture us during and after the pandemic; Edward Segal, one of D.C.’s foremost public relations practitioners and crisis management authorities, has just dropped a book, “Crisis Ahead: 101 Ways to Prepare for and Bounce Back from Disasters, Scandals and Other Emergencies.” The pandemic has had a devastating effect on thousands of restaurants across the country. Ed shares tips on how restaurants can get through this crisis and turn the lights back on for their businesses, and what they can do now not just to survive, but to thrive, after the crisis ends; Michelin Star chef Chris Morgan (formerly chef/co-owner at Maydan, who’s planning the opening of Bammy’s this summer) spearheaded the launch of Save D.C. Eats. Some of D.C.’s most celebrated chefs and restaurateurs are rallying together to offer unique experiences that guests can buy now and redeem later, with 100% of proceeds benefiting restaurants and members of the hospitality industry affected by COVID-19. Listen in to the full conversation.
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Foodie & The Beast from Home: May 2, 2020
Live in studio! Sadly, recorded from our bedroom! Foodie and the Beast continues Coronavirus lockdown or not, David and Nycci had another really good show on show on Sunday, May 2, with incredible people who all have devised dynamic responses to this COVID 19 mess. Guests included Nate Mook, CEO of José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, who provided an inside look at how WCK is helping to feed folks caught up in the pandemic and put restaurants back to work; Nicole Marquis, founder and CEO of Hip City Veg (Philly and DC), offered an inside look at a vegetarian approach to food shortages and delivery of meals to hospital teams fighting the virus; chef and restaurateur Erik Bruner Yang “Zoomed” in with info about his powerful, “The Power of 10” campaign to aid independent restaurants across America by re-employing staff, sustaining business operations, and providing food to community members who need it the most, and Catoctin Creek Distillers’ co-founders Becky and Scott Harris  joined us with their tales of responding to the virus by switching production to hand sanitizer and then back again to spirits, as Virginia’s rules changed to allow direct sales and shipments to individual consumer. So many people, being amazing during this decidedly un-amazing times. To listen in, click here.
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Foodie & The Beast from Home: April 26, 2020
Rightly so, this week’s Foodie and the Beast focuses on the restaurant and local food community’s varied responses to the Coronavirus mess. We’re joined by Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s CEO, Michael Babin, whose 20 area restaurants almost magically pivoted to serving take-out and delivery when the stay-at-home order came out, and then further transformed all of NRG into Neighborhood Provisions, an online destination offering a great selection of comfort meals, ready-to-cook foods, pantry items, wine and beer (and, in DC, liquor), all delivered straight to the consumer’s front door – ya gotta hear it to believe it. Just as quickly, Anna Valero and her Hook Hall team also pivoted to create Hook Hall Helps.com, DC’S first hospitality industry relief program to address the collection of food donations and create the daily dinner meals for out-of-work hospitality industry colleagues.    Legendary DC restaurateur, Ruth Gresser, of Pizzaria Paradiso and Birreria Paradiso fame, also came on to tell how she turned on a dime to help feed hungry hospitality workers and members of the community with her “10,000 Pizza’s” program. And Sam Sgori and Sara Abdel-Rahim of Tables Without Borders joined us to promote their GoFundMe page supporting a program where refugee chefs cook meals to support clients of Ayuda DC which organization provides essential legal, social, and language services for vulnerable immigrants in the DC metropolitan area. To listen to the full episode, click here.
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COVID-19 Be Damned-We're Back With A New Show!
Sure, Nycci, David, and their guests are remote, but their conversations are lively and timely. Joining us are Kathy Hollinger, president of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, to discuss the DC area’s once-and-soon-to-be-again vibrant (we hope) restaurant scene, what restaurants are doing to survive and keep their staffs paid, and what the future holds for the industry; Deb Moser and Mitch Berliner, co-founders and proprietors of Central Farm Markets, discussing the even more essential role of farmers/farmers/farm markets to provision us in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic; Jonathan Stahl, the Nats’ vice president for ballpark operations and guest experience, discussing the stadium’s unique partnership with Josè Andres’ World Central Kitchen to feed thousands of meals a day to needy area residents, along with many other essential activities during this extended shutdown, and Jason Berry, co-founder and CEO of Knead Hospitality and Design (owners of Succotash, Mi Vida, and The Grill), on the line to tell us about Knead’s Lee Initiative, a crucial fundraiser supporting furloughed restaurant workers. Listen to the full episode here.
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