Extra Spicy

Join hosts Soleil Ho and Justin Phillips as they attempt to decipher the bizarro happenings of the food world alongside a mix of fascinating folks. They dismantle diet culture and angry chefs, cover the restaurant apocalypse and pandemic pivots, and dish out advice you didn't know you needed. Extra Spicy will stimulate your mind and your appetite.

Society & Culture
You’re White and Own an Asian Restaurant: Let’s...
Irene Li, chef and co-founder of Mei Mei restaurant in Boston, wrote about the ways white chefs can show up for racial justice. Li breaks downs each item on her list and talks about the difference between appreciation and appropriation.
40 min
Are Alternative Foods the Future?
Author and journalist Larissa Zimberoff discusses her latest book, “Technically Food: Inside Silicon Valley’s Mission to Change What We Eat”
33 min
ICYMI: America’s Minimum Wage Debate Is Tipping...
Tipped workers, like servers and bartenders, can be paid as low as $2.13 per hour in some states. But America’s minimum wage debate is more than a “restaurant issue.”
35 min
Food as Love Language
Cooking, eating and delivering food has helped many of us take care of ourselves and each other during tough pandemic times.
21 min
How a Podcaster Designed a New Pasta
Dan Pashman of The Sporkful podcast talks about his creation of a new pasta shape, ‘cascatelli’
36 min
The Doctor’s Orders
Doctor and cookbook author Linda Shiue takes a radical approach to treating food as medicine: She writes prescriptions for recipes.
30 min
Crying in H Mart
Japanese Breakfast singer-songwriter Michelle Zauner discusses her debut memoir, “Crying in H Mart,” which explores grief, heritage and consolation cooking.
33 min
Cooking REAL Hawai’ian Food
Hawai’ian chef Sheldon Simeon on the relationship between tourism and the mainland’s image of the islands’ cuisine and how chefs like him are on a quest to reclaim it.
22 min
America’s Minimum Wage Debate Is Tipping Over
Tipped workers, like servers and bartenders, can be paid as low as $2.13 per hour in some states. But America’s minimum wage debate is more than a “restaurant issue.”
33 min
Can Chocolate Be Ethical Under Capitalism?
Major chocolate companies are facing child slavery lawsuits in the United States. Simran Sethi, professor and freelance journalist, joins Soleil Ho to talk about how to love chocolate without guilt.
40 min
Asian & Black People Are Hurting. And It's Comp...
A frank conversation about the tensions between Asian and Black communities, and why a widening rift could prove dangerous.
41 min
ICYMI: Can Free Fridges Avoid “Poverty Porn”?
Gabriela Alemán of the Mission Meals Coalition and Ashley Rahimi Syed of SF Community Fridge have teamed up to bring a fridge stocked with fresh food to the Mission District amid the pandemic. They talk about protecting the dignity of those they serve, and mitigating the “performative” aspect of some of the giving.
50 min
What Will Food Historians Say About the Pandemic?
Katherine Spiers, host of the Smart Mouth podcast, discusses how the coronavirus pandemic is changing the way we eat and think about food.
30 min
The Hidden Labor Behind Cookbooks & Recipes
Author Julia Turshen talks about the process and labor it takes to take a cookbook from pitch to publication and how to make a recipe that works, is accessible, and provides context.
28 min
Pandemic Pivot to the Worker-Owned Restaurant R...
Restaurateur and activist Reem Assil talks about the struggle and necessity of transforming her Arab bakery shop into a worker-owned operation amid the coronavirus pandemic.
29 min
Chuck E. Cheese & Ferrero Rocher: How Immigrant...
Writer and journalist Liana Aghajanian shares stories about growing up in the U.S. as a child of Iranian-Armenian refugees and how she approaches writing about diaspora cuisines in a unique way.
33 min
Finding Wild Food with @BlackForager
Liable to break into song at any moment, Alexis Nikole Nelson shares her passion for urban foraging and talks about teaching people how to identify and cook wild foods.
40 min
The Fight to Save Chinatown
Even before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the Bay Area, San Francisco's Chinatown — America’s oldest — felt the impact. We look at how the community is trying to overcome the challenges a year later.
29 min
Brogurt & Burgers: Dude Food, Explained
Dr. Emily Contois, author of "Diners, Dudes, and Diets: How Gender and Power Collide in Food Media and Culture," talks about how gendered food upholds the patriarchy.
38 min
The Restaurant Apocalypse Is Upon Us
Restaurateurs and workers share their thoughts on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the restaurant world and their relationships to it.
36 min
Extra Spicy Season 2
Flavor. Culture. Politics. Dinner. It's all on the table.
1 min
2020: What Was This Nonsense?
Expanding their "What Is This Nonsense" segment, hosts Justin Phillips and Soleil Ho dive into their top nonsensical moments from 2020.
27 min
Kevin Vaughn Talks Travel Writing
Kevin Vaughn, writer and cook based in Buenos Aires, discusses travel writing and its problems with Soleil Ho and Justin Phillips
30 min
Aubrey Gordon Discusses Anti-Fat Bias
The author published under the moniker Your Fat Friend discusses the social realities of anti-fat bias with Soleil Ho and Justin Phillips
48 min
Bonus: Chef Anthony Salguero on Salvadoran Food...
Anthony Salguero, chef / founder of Popoca in Oakland, talks about Salvadoran food and restaurant culture with host Soleil Ho.
33 min
Bonus: Dessert Potatoes with Daniel M. Lavery
The advice columnist and food writer talks about potatoes for dessert, imaginary restaurant ideas and the persistence of the dinner table as the place where family tensions come to a head.
25 min
Roman Mars: How the Pandemic is Transforming Re...
The author and host of the design and architecture podcast “99% Invisible” talks about how the pandemic creates an opportunity to make restaurant design more resilient while making people less empathetic when ordering food.
38 min
Breaking Up with Diet Culture
Virgie Tovar, author and podcast host of the Rebel Eaters Club, talks about diet culture: what it is, how it feels and how we can push against it.
35 min
How a Recipe Can Become a Protest
“Chinese Protest Recipes” is an antiracist zine from chef and activist Clarence Kwan, who insists food and cooking are political.
34 min
Food Photography Is a Meritocracy — If You’re a...
Food photographer Oriana Koren talks about their work researching and documenting Black contributions to American cuisine, as well as the politics behind the camera.
34 min
Food Pop-ups in Legal Limbo
Incoming Sacramento city councilmember Katie Valenzuela discusses AB-626, legal and social challenges facing restaurant pop-ups, and the importance of being civically engaged.
39 min
Three-Michelin-Starred: A Fine Dining Legacy, B...
A California wildfire burned down the three-Michelin-starred Restaurant at Meadowood. Here’s what some former employees have to say about its highly-disciplined — and allegedly toxic — work environment
37 min
A Foodie's First Impressions of the Bay Area Fo...
Serena Dai, the new senior features editor for The San Francisco Chronicle, talks about why food awards are here to stay — even amid a pandemic.
34 min
What Wildfires Mean for California Wine
Chronicle wine critic Esther Mobley shares talks about the impact the Glass Fire is having on California wineries and restaurants, already hurt by previous fires.
32 min
Barbecue That's Worth the Wait
Matt Horn, the pitmaster and owner of Horn BBQ, talks about his legendary Texas-style barbecue and opening a highly anticipated brick-and-mortar space in Oakland
32 min
Comfort Food for Your Pandemic Hunger
Brenda Buenviaje, chef and owner of a chain of New Orleans-style restaurants in the Bay Area, talks with hosts Justin Phillips and Soleil Ho about coping in the time of coronavirus.
36 min
Don’t Call the Cops on Pop-Ups
Palestinian chef Mona Leena Michael talks about how the health department shut her Oakland food pop-up down due to an anonymous complaint — even during a pandemic that has rendered many food industry workers like her unemployable.
36 min
Mark Canha: Big League Foodie
Mark Canha, outfielder for the Oakland Athletics, talks about his unlikely turn as a Bay Area food influencer
36 min
Adapting to the Realities of Outdoor Dining
Shawn Naputi and Shawn Camacho of restaurant Prubechu discuss how the pandemic is reshaping restaurants
35 min
Can Vegan Soul Food Tackle Meat’s Masculinity P...
Toriano Gordon, a rapper-turned-restaurateur, talks about finding his place in veganism, meat’s masculinity problem and the history of plant-based eating in Black communities.
28 min
Can Free Fridges Avoid “Poverty Porn”?
Gabriela Alemán of the Mission Meals Coalition and Ashley Rahimi Syed of SF Community Fridge have teamed up to bring a fridge stocked with fresh food to the Mission District amid the pandemic. They talk about protecting the dignity of those they serve, and mitigating the “performative” aspect of some of the giving.
42 min
Centering Black Foodways in A Hungry Society
Korsha Wilson talks about her website and podcast, A Hungry Society, and how she’s protected her byline. Her focus on Caribbean cuisine and Black foodways at large has been an inspiration to Soleil Ho and Justin Phillips.
41 min
Only Nigerian Restaurant in San Francisco Burns...
Simileoluwa Adebajo, owner of San Francisco’s Eko Kitchen, speaks with hosts Soleil Ho and Justin Phillips just hours after her restaurant burned down in a major fire.
40 min
Hungry Hungry Hooker
San Francisco food blogger and professional companion Adahlia Cole talks about the ways in which sex work intersects with the food industry.
38 min
The Pandemic Pivot: Restaurant to Grocery
Anthony Strong, the chef and owner of San Francisco's Prairie, talks about his restaurant’s quick pivot to a general store at the onset of the pandemic. Hang on to the end to hear some nonsense about Hot Pot Panic, Soleil Ho's new favorite computer game made by a Bay Area local.
39 min
How JustUs Kitchen Feeds the Movement
Bay Area chef and community organizer Jocelyn Jackson is the founder of JustUs Kitchen, a project that provides healing food experiences for Black women and femmes. Jackson, also the co-founder of the People’s Kitchen Collective, talks about what it means to create liberated spaces, the ancient history of mutual aid, and how we can sustain the political moment,
36 min
Not Interested In American Cuisine
Hawa Hassan, CEO of Basbaas Somali Foods, talks about her work to promote African cuisines here in the U.S. and her new cookbook, “In Bibi’s Kitchen.” She also has a frank discussion of her work with Bon Appetit’s Test Kitchen, which she says used her image to uphold the illusion of diversity while not affording her the respect she deserved. | Get full Chronicle access: sfchronicle.com/pod
41 min
Drama at the Dinner Table
Writer and advice columnist Daniel M. Lavery about potatoes for dessert, imaginary restaurant ideas and the persistence of the dinner table as the place where familial tensions come to a head. Plus: Ho and co-host Justin Phillips dole out their own advice about making it as professional food writer on the Dear Spicy segment of the podcast.
37 min
A New Deal for Restaurants
Organizer and sommelier Vinny Eng talks about working with SF New Deal, a nonprofit that has provided financial relief for restaurants by enlisting them to cook meals for people and organizations in need.
37 min
Pickle Jar Time Machine
Master fermenter Kelly McVicker geeks out about pickles. She says an increased interest in the craft during the coronavirus pandemic is a sign that people are rethinking the place of pickles in our food system.
35 min
Padma Lakshmi: Redefining “American Food”
The writer and television personality talks about her new show, Taste the Nation. Lakshmi, an award-winning author who previously hosted “Top Chef,” talks about using her show to broaden the definition of “American food.”
38 min
This is Extra Spicy
San Francisco Chronicle food writers and columnists Soleil Ho and Justin Phillips talk to fascinating food folks in the Bay Area and beyond about restaurant life, cookbooks and the devastating horror of ranch dressing. Their attempts to decipher the bizarro happenings of the food world will stimulate your mind and your appetite.
2 min