Jen Chen

Associate Producer, Central Standard

Ways to Connect

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

When it’s cold and snowing — or if you’re feeling under the weather — there’s just something that’s so comforting about a hot bowl of soup or stew.

From pho to pozole to chicken noodle and chicken pot pies, KCUR’s Food Critics uncovered the best soup and stew dishes in Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Charles Ferruzza:

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

If soup is the answer to your cold weather woes, you're not alone. A doctor explains why soup makes us feel better, then our critics guide us to the best soups and stews in town, including insights into the new ramen craze. Bonus: what's new and noteworthy in the Kansas City restaurant scene? Our critics let us in on the people and places to watch right now.

Guests:

In this encore presentation, we revisit our conversation with Scott Hobart, AKA "Rex", on the occasion of his country band's first new album in ten years.

Music Man (R)

Dec 30, 2015

In this encore edition of Central Standard: A Portrait Session with Danny Cox. He's a legendary musician, a Civil Rights activist, an actor ... and the talent behind the Grass Pad's "High on Grass" jingle.

Guest:

Jen Chen/KCUR

"Chewie, we're home" ... that simple sentence in the trailer for The Force Awakens packed an emotional wallop for some people. On KCUR's Central Standard, local fans discuss what Star Wars means to them — plus a brief, spoiler-free review of the new movie.

Guests:

Jen Chen/KCUR

From coffee to cocktails, Kansas City’s drink options exploded in 2015.

“I just think this year had been really incredible in terms of the number of distilleries, wineries, breweries and roasteries that have popped up on the scene,” Food Critic Jenny Vergara told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard on Friday.

“2015 feels like the Year of the Drink,” Vergara added.

With a Twist

Dec 11, 2015
Jen Chen/KCUR

According to KCUR's Food Critics, 2015 will go down as the Year of the Drink.

Andy Rieger talks about bringing back his family's distillery, a local bartender makes us a seasonal holiday drink, we visit the Imperial Brewery building, and our Food Critics search out the best drinks of 2015 in and around KC.

Guests:

Kyle Smith / KCUR 89.3

When Jaxson Metzler described his fashion aesthetic to Project Runway: Junior host Tim Gunn, he said that he's inspired by “B.A. women who want to look glamorous.”

“For what women?” asked Gunn.

“Bad-ass women, that's what they are,” Metzler replied.

Music Man

Dec 4, 2015
Paul Andrews

A local jazz musician shares his journey from addiction to homelessness to recovery.

Guest:

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

Finding a fossil in Kansas City can be as easy as going to the park or checking around your basement.

"Both Kansas and Missouri have great fossil deposits," Bruce Lieberman told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard.

"They represent, in some respects, different time periods, especially if you get further east into Missouri, east of the Kansas City metro," he said.

The cars, the exotic locations, the action scenes, the gadgets, the women … even the most casual moviegoer is familiar with the world of James Bond. But what is Bond's place in the world today? We review Spectre, the latest in the franchise, with a movie critic, a tech inventor and a travel enthusiast.

Guests:

Jeffreyw/Flickr --CC

Cold weather and chili go hand-in-hand.

Hot and hearty, and eminently customizable, it’s an American classic and a perfect winter meal.

But what is chili? There are many recipes that vary by region, including a Kansas City loose-meat assemble-it-yourself style of chili.

“I think it’s chili if you think it’s chili,” Food Critic Jill Silva told guest host Sylvia Maria Gross Friday on KCUR's Central Standard.

We visit Dixon's Famous Chili, a KC institution since 1919; a hot sauce expert recommends the best way to add heat to chili; then KCUR's Food Critics search out the best chili dishes in and around Kansas City.

Guests:

Jen Chen/KCUR

For Dave Loewenstein, a Lawrence-based artist, there’s more to creating a mural than just painting the side of a building.

In his experience, making a piece of public art has encouraged conversations (and offers of help) from passers-by, resulting in what he calls an “improvised gathering space.”

“It’s sort of like a Hyde Park Speakers’ Corner for a while when the murals are going up,” he told Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Flesh And Bone

Nov 6, 2015
Paul Andrews

Lee Meisel, the owner of Leeway Franks in Lawrence, discusses his approach to butchering — and how his time working at an old-school butcher shop and going to Haskell University helped him find his direction in life.

Layers

Oct 30, 2015
Jen Chen/KCUR

Crunchy vegetables, tangy dressing, melted cheese, warm and tender meat (or not), encompassed in soft, chewy bread ... sandwiches have it all.

A grilled cheese expert shows demonstrates the art of cooking them low and slow; we visit a kitchen that pickles all sorts of things in-house; then KCUR's Food Critics search for the best sandwiches in and around Kansas City.

Guests:

Jen Chen/KCUR

Sandwiches — they’re portable, and practically anything can go between two slices of bread (or even atop just one piece of bread).

From banh mi to Cubans to Reubens, local restaurants are offering traditional versions and riffs of the good ol’ hand-held.

Kyle Smith / KCUR

Perhaps it's the insight into the creative process. Or maybe it's because they seem like larger-than-life figures. Whatever the case, there's just something fascinating about reading about the lives of artists.

KCUR's Bibliofiles — our book critics — share their favorite books about artists with Gina Kaufmann on Central Standard.

Here are their recommendations:

Kaite Stover, Kansas City Public Library:

Meet the Patels is a documentary about an Indian-American man who is considering an arranged marriage. Along with our resident film critic, two local residents — one who has an arranged marriage, another who doesn't — review the film and share their thoughts on having a foot in two different cultures.

Guests:

  • Russ Simmons, KCUR's resident movie critic
  • Michael Abraham
  • Reetu Singh

Amy/Flickr - -CC

They can’t be greasy, they should be fresh and fluffy, and they taste best when they’re fresh out of the oven or fryer.

You can get them topped with frosting, icing, sprinkles, nuts and more. Then, there’s glaze.

“Glaze is practically natural, like herbs!” Food Critic Charles Ferruzza told Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

The Roast

Oct 16, 2015
Esther Honig/KCUR

The coffee scene in Kansas City has really grown over the past few years, especially with more shops roasting their own beans. We visit the in-house coffee roaster at Thou Mayest, then the author of a local coffee blog talks about what's new.

Guest:

Steve Agocs, KC Coffee Geek blog

Paper Source

Oct 9, 2015
Paul Andrews

A Kansas City Star reporter talks about falling in love with her story subjects, her path into journalism and motherhood.

Guest:

  • Mará Rose Williams, education reporter and parenting columnist, Kansas City Star

Esther Honig/KCUR

Kansas City's food truck scene has exploded over the past few years.

If you crave international fare, like Australian meat pies, Cuban sandwiches or Spanish tapas — or more down-home grub, like barbecue, tacos or waffles — you can get it from one of our local food trucks.

Truckin'

Oct 2, 2015
Esther Honig/KCUR

The popularity of food trucks has soared in Kansas City, especially over the past few years. We visit a truck that serves boneless chicken wings that are stuffed with fried rice, then KCUR's Food Critics search out the best food truck offerings in Kansas City.

Guests:

It's just the second network TV show that features an Asian-American family. We invite our resident film critic, a lawyer and an actress to review Fresh Off the Boat — and to share their perspectives on Asian-American life in Kansas City.

Guests:

Courtesy photo / Nature's Own Health Market

Before it was a grocery store, the small space at the corner of 43rd and Main streets housed, over the years, a drugstore, a coffee shop that hosted live music, a Whole Foods and a Wild Oats.

For the past five years, it’s been the home to Nature’s Own Health Market.

The corner grocery store holds a special place in the hearts of many Kansas Citians, as Mary Jo Draper recently discovered.

Arnold Gatilao/Flickr -- CC

Arepas, pupusas, pão de queijo … there’s more to Latin American food than massive burritos and hard-shell tacos.

Beyond Burritos

Sep 18, 2015

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:

Shelf Life

Sep 11, 2015

Before Will Leathem opened Prospero's Books in Midtown, he was a Republican political consultant and a touring musician. On this Portrait Session show, Will talks about poetry, politics and the first book he published: 'Leavened 911, a compilation of stories and essays by Kansas Citians about the September 11 attacks.

Guest:

From high-end restaurants to drive-through eateries, fried chicken is a staple on local menus. And some places are putting a spin on that nostalgic comfort dish. We invite the chef from Blvd Tavern to talk about his Korean fried chicken, then the Food Critics uncover the best fried chicken dishes in and around KC.

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