Listen in on an intimate, one-on-one conversation with a chef or restaurateur each week. Eli Sussman, a chef and cookbook author, interviews chefs and restaurateurs he admires about their childhoods, first jobs in food, and the paths that led them to become who they are today. From how it all began, to where they are now, and everything in between, this is The Line.
On today’s episode, I'm joined by Steven Satterfield, the executive chef and co-owner of Miller Union, a celebrated ingredient-driven restaurant located in Atlanta's West Side neighborhood. The restaurant, which opened in 2009, has become an institution and has been recognized as a top restaurant in America by Eater, Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, and Esquire.
Together we talk about opening his restaurant and how he has kept it running smoothly after all these years of operation; growing up in Savannah; seasonal Georgia cooking; and the many local ingredients he works with, including peanuts and okra.
Jeff Byrd and Lauren Byrd - Two Birds Taphouse
On today’s episode I welcome Jeff Byrd and his daughter-in-law Lauren to discuss their restaurant Two Birds Taphouse in Marietta Georgia. The restaurant is truly a family labor of love. Jeff, his wife, his son and Lauren joined forces to open Two Birds in 2016. Jeff was a recently retired attorney and had no previous experience in restaurants or hospitality and from the start took on the massive role of being the day to day operator on site, a job which he continues to this day. Lauren, who now lives in Brooklyn, had extensive hospitality experience coming into the project but had never opened her own restaurant. She is now the Director of Customer Success at BentoBox where she spends all day dealing with helping other people promote their own restaurants. On today’s episode we discuss the pros and cons of working with your family, what it's like to own a restaurant when you have never worked in one before and what it's like to own a restaurant from afar. We also talk about COVID and how it affected Two Birds and its staff, and the decisions they made that helped the restaurant make it through.
Presenting Dyed Green, An Exploration of Irish Food & Culture
On today's episode of theLINE, I have the pleasure of presenting an episode of Dyed Green, a podcast about food and culture in Ireland. Hosted by my brother, Max Sussman, and his wife, Kate McCabe, each episode features dynamic conversations with chefs, farmers, scholars, and more - exploring Ireland’s rich culinary history, its dynamic creative culture, and challenging outdated stereotypes.
In this episode I got the chance to join Max in interviewing Jess Murphy. Jess is a celebrated chef, restaurant owner, writer, and activist. Originally from New Zealand, she moved to Ireland and opened the Michelin Green Star Kai restaurant in Galway’s West End. We talk to her about why we should all think about today’s Irish food on the same level as other internationally acclaimed cuisines.
If you enjoy this conversation, make sure to subscribe to Dyed Green to get the episodes as they launch!
Chef Jae Jung
On today’s episode, I welcome Chef Jae Jung, the chef and owner of KJUN, a Korean-Cajun pop-up currently operating in New York City.
A graduate of the CIA, she moved to New Orleans where she became enamored by Cajun cuisine. Since moving to NYC in 2014 she has worked at Oceana, Le Bernardin, the NoMad Restaurant, and most recently as the sous chef of Café Boulud. In 2021, she launched KJUN as a pop-up operating out of a ghost kitchen, introducing New Yorkers to the exciting blend of Korean and Cajun flavors.
She has been featured in the New York Times, Eater, FOOD & WINE Magazine, Bon Appétit Magazine, the New Yorker, and Bloomberg Pursuits, which recently named KJUN one of the Best New Restaurants in New York. And she is appearing on this season of Top Chef 19.
On this episode, we spoke about growing up in Korea and moving alone to the US, the cuisine of New Orleans, and finding your own culinary style while working in some of the best kitchens in the world. Now, onto the episode.
Ben Van Leeuwen
On today’s episode of theLINE, I welcome Ben Van Leeuwen, the co-founder and CEO of Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, where he leads product development and commercialization.
Van Leeuwen has come a long way since the first yellow truck hit the streets of NY in 2008. The company has grown from ice cream trucks to national distribution and brick and mortar locations in New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, with Colorado and Connecticut soon to open. They recently secured an additional round of fundraising which will allow the company to expand even more over the coming years.
On this episode, we chat about supply chain issues, rising costs of goods, wholesale vs. scoop shops (and you’ll hear which is better for the business). And for entrepreneurs looking to launch or grow your own business, you’ll hear from Ben on building and scaling a brand, and what securing financing can help a founder achieve.
On Today’s episode of the Line, I welcome the co-owners of the Austin, Texas restaurant Birdie’s. Tracy and Arjav moved from NYC to Austin with the hope of building an equitable neighborhood restaurant. Birdie’s is a casual order-at-the-counter spot that serves elevated plates. Tracy, a Texas native, handles chef duties, and Arjav, who was born in New Delhi and grew up in Portland, handles the front-of-house and the wine list.
Together they wanted to create a restaurant for the long term both for themselves and their employees, so they built in things like healthcare, an equitable pay and tip model, and a winter and summer break when they shut down the restaurant for two weeks each season to provide a paid vacation for the entire team to recharge.
Among its accolades, Birdie’s has been named a best restaurant in Austin by Eater, and was chosen by the NYTimes in 2021 as one of the 50 most exciting restaurants in America.
On this episode of the Line, recorded in late 2021, we talk about how to build efficiency and maintain momentum while running a busy restaurant, creating a style and a vibe of a casual restaurant while coming from a higher-end background, keeping staff happy while maintaining your sanity as owners, and of course so much more.
Great podcast I found
I really enjoyed the episode with Chef Todd Richards. Eli is such a great interviewer and Todd provided a lot of great insight on his life, his restaurant, and the food industry in general. Looking forward to more episodes!
What a great show
Eli just asks the right questions to get great interviews from interesting people. Just found the show recently and I can see ripping through the backlog like it’s Cooking Issues. Keep up the great work.
Awesome guests and great conversations
Eli is a talented chef, author and restaurateur. Add one of our generation’s best interviewer to his long resume. His guests are the bees knees of the hospitality industry and the conversations he is able to cultivate are must-listen content. I can’t wait to see what else he is able to get out of this podcast.