Jen Chen | KCUR

Jen Chen

Associate Producer, Central Standard

Ways to Connect

Oven And Hearth

Apr 29, 2016

A chat about spring produce (including rhubarb jam) and a quick review of a new bagel shop. Then, KCUR's Food Critics search out the best bakeries in and around Kansas City.

Guests:

Wikipedia

Does the Kansas we see in The Wizard of Oz have anything to do with the Kansas on this side of the rainbow? From tornadoes to costumes to politics, we explore the different interpretations of this classic American film.

Guests:

This post was originally published in April 2016.

It’s been a mild winter, which means we’re getting a jump on ice cream season.

Whether it’s served in a cup or cone, ice cream (and its friends: custard, gelato, sorbet, soft serve and more) is the classic treat that feels like an indulgence.

On Friday’s Central Standard, KCUR’s Food Critics search out the best ice cream in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

We visit the kitchen of a local chef to learn how to make ice cream if you don't have an ice cream maker (hint: it involves bananas ... and some liqueur, if you're so inclined), then KCUR's Food Critics search out the best ice cream in and around KC.

Guests:

Jen Chen / KCUR 89.3

His music has been described as “guitar and growl” and “avant-garde folk.”

He also plays a mean kazoo on his new album, Theatres.

But Nicholas St. James says that “folk” is probably the easiest way to characterize his music — with a lot of blues influence as well.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Meet a prominent thinker who's a Kansas farm boy and "prairiebilly" turned geneticist, and hear the story of how and why he became a leader in the sustainable agriculture movement back in the 1970s. Jackson is retiring as president of the organization he started: The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas. 

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Krokstrom Klubb & Market / Facebook

It's starting to warm up, and Kansas City's food scene is changing.

KCUR’s Food Critics — Charles Ferruzza, Bonjwing Lee and Pete Dulin — have been watching what’s going on. They shared their news with host Gina Kaufmann on Friday’s Central Standard.

Bob Wasabi Kitchen / Facebook

When KCUR Food Critic Charles Ferruzza moved to Kansas City in 1984, there were “lots and lots” of Chinese restaurants, but very few Thai, Korean or Vietnamese places.

That has changed.

“People have no idea what a plethora of options they have now,” he told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

We visit a Filipino restaurant in Grain Valley, and we hear more about a French-Korean bakery that set up shop in Overland Park. Then, our Food Critics search out the best Asian food in and around KC.

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It's an animated Disney film about the first rabbit on the police force. But it also addresses issues of politics, race, gender, stereotyping and xenophobia. We hear how the politics of Zootopia mirror Kansas City, and how the first Latina columnist for The Kansas City Star relates to that bunny cop.

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Meat-Free

Mar 18, 2016

A visit to a local kitchen to learn how to make cashew cheese, vegetable gardening tips, then KCUR's Food Critics search out the best vegetarian (and vegan) food in and around KC.

Guests:

Plate / Facebook

“I’ve always maintained that the best vegetarian food you can find anywhere is deep-fried,” joked KCUR Food Critic Charles Ferruzza.

But Kansas City’s meatless food scene has blossomed over the past few years. In addition to vegetarian and vegan-only restaurants, chefs at restaurants of all stripes are getting creative.

“I think people have such an unfortunate misunderstanding that vegetarian food is bland,” commented guest Food Critic Lisa Murphy. “And when done properly, it’s absolutely not. It’s every bit as flavorful and as delightful as food made with meat.”

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Growing up, Tony Berg remembers the excitement of getting the newspaper.

"That was how we got news. I remember every day, go out to the driveway and it was like Christmas," he told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard.

And for Berg, being the new publisher of The Kansas City Star is a dream job.

“I feel like this is my hometown and this is my hometown paper,” he said.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

When Bruce Winter moved to Kansas City in the late 1970s, he didn’t understand why the gay clubs here didn’t have drag performances.

“The gay clubs kind of shunned it and felt like it was an insult to their masculinity or something, I don’t know,” he told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Paul Andrews

He's a self-taught cook (from the classic cookbook, The Joy of Cooking) who's a semifinalist for "Best Chef: Midwest" in the 2016 James Beard Awards.

Meet Jonathan Justus — a former bike messenger, repo man and gallery-represented painter — whose restaurant has put Smithville, Missouri on the culinary map.

Guest:

Bruce Winter brought his Melinda Ryder persona to Kansas City in the 1970s, when all was quiet on the drag-queen front. A 60th-birthday profile of this leader within Kansas City's drag scene, who feels more free in costume. 

Guest:

  • Bruce Winter, AKA Melinda Ryder

Pittsburgh Craft Beers / Flickr

Bar food: it's salty, it's starchy, and you can usually pick it up with your hands. Beyond that, we make up our own rules. Whether it's by breaking the rules at the speakeasies of yesteryear, or enjoying a sandwich called a fluffernutter that's like a late-night pre-teen cabinet raid. A visit to Tom's Town Distilling Co., a spring-cheese tasting with a certified cheese expert and a critics roundtable on the best bar food in town.

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https://www.facebook.com/PrettyInPinkMovie

Pretty in Pink, the classic John Hughes film, turns 30 this Sunday. We talk about class differences, high school culture, the mystique of the record store ... and prom (of course).

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Jessica Spengler/Flickr -- CC

We visit the production facility of Meshuggah Bagels, which will open a storefront in Westport this Spring. Then a local maven weighs in on Jewish delis — and whether a New York-style bagel can be replicated outside of NYC.

Guest:

  • David Seldner, bagel and deli maven

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Meat and potatoes are Kansas City’s heritage, according to KCUR’s food critic Charles Ferruzza.

“We are the city that had, at least in our region, the stockyards. So beef was really, really accessible and potatoes were really, really cheap,” he told host Gina Kaufmann on Central Standard.

“It’s always been a great combination.”

Ferruzza, along with food critics Mary Bloch and Jenny Vergara, discussed the best meat and potato dishes in Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Julie Denesha/KCUR

Brooke Salvaggio isn’t your typical urban farmer.

She grew up in the suburbs, in an upper-middle class family in Johnson County.

“I grew up like most typical suburban kids: vast mowed green lawns, the SUVs in the garage, food out of boxes, microwaves,” she told guest host Brian Ellison on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Roots

Feb 12, 2016

We talk with urban farmer Brooke Salvaggio, who is closing her Badseed Farmers Market around the end of the month. She discusses her transition from a suburbia to living off the land, and the rise — and decline — of the "eating local" movement in Kansas City.

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Open Book (R)

Feb 10, 2016
Paul Andrews

In this encore presentation of Central Standard, we talk with Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner. Until recently, she was the Deputy Director of the Kansas City Public Library. Next month, she'll be heading the American Jazz Museum.

She discusses the role of the library in the 21st century, her efforts to bridge the digital divide and to archive information — as well as her dream of being a jewelry designer.

Guest:

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Italian food isn't just pasta in red sauce or hearty slabs of lasagna.

From fish that's served very simply to bucatini alla gricia (pasta with pork jowl), Kansas City's Italian restaurants range from the old-school to places that veer towards lighter fare.

On KCUR's Central Standard, the Food Critics discussed the difference between Italian and Italian-American food — then they searched for the best Italian food in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Red

Feb 5, 2016

From red hearts to red sauce: In this Valentine's Day-inspired show, we start out at V's Italiano Restaurant, where many Kansas Citians have gotten engaged. Not feeling it? We also have tips for what to do when you're about to cry in a restaurant (and yes, we've all done it). Then, KCUR's Food Critics uncover the best Italian food in Kansas City.

Guests:

Todd Wade / Flickr -- CC

The year is 2300 and Kansas City — as we know it — no longer exists.

The Eastern Empire — a loose federation of Chinese-led nations — has claimed the West Coast of the United States.

The refugee crisis from Americans fleeing east over the Rockies triggered a cataclysmic civil war, pitting the extremely wealthy against the extremely poor.

The very rich won, and the new nation that emerges has been restructured into a formalized, class-driven society.

Broad City is about the friendship between two twenty-something women scraping by in New York City. In light of the Season 3 premiere in February, we ask: Are Abbi and Ilana feminist heroes or depraved slackers ... or both? (Or neither?)

We delve into Abbi and Ilana's world with a comedian, two young feminists and a TV critic. Plus, an interview with Mike Perry, a KC native who animates the opening title sequences for the show.

Guests:

In this encore presentation, we explore KC's diverse Latin American food scene. A local chef shows us how to prepare cactus (and cooks his specialty dish, chicken with cactus, in the studio), then KCUR's Food Critics uncover the best Latin American dishes in and around Kansas City.

Guests:

Looking Inward

Jan 15, 2016
Paul Andrews

Local artist and pastor Dylan Mortimer discusses his art, his faith and his battle with cystic fibrosis — which he addresses, for the first time, in his current exhibit, Cure.

Guest:

  • Dylan Mortimer, artist and pastor

Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri

In December, an often-called iconic Kansas City steakhouse shut its doors.

The Golden Ox Restaurant & Lounge, which was one of the oldest restaurants in Kansas City, will see new life next fall under new ownership

But what makes a Kansas City restaurant iconic? It depends on who you ask.

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