23 episodes

On the Fly by tablehopper features a monthly interview addressing the monumental changes the food and beverage industry is experiencing in this age of the coronavirus pandemic. Your host is Marcia Gagliardi of tablehopper.com, speaking with San Francisco Bay Area chefs, restaurateurs, and other members of the hospitality industry—from the big names to the tiny neighborhood joints—as they struggle to adapt and survive. We'll listen to their stories: how are they pivoting, what’s working, and how we can help, along with inspiring stories of how the industry is trying to change, and rallying to feed many communities in need. Prospective guests for On the Fly can submit their story at bit.ly/ontheflyguest.

On the Fly by tablehopper tablehopper

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 35 Ratings

On the Fly by tablehopper features a monthly interview addressing the monumental changes the food and beverage industry is experiencing in this age of the coronavirus pandemic. Your host is Marcia Gagliardi of tablehopper.com, speaking with San Francisco Bay Area chefs, restaurateurs, and other members of the hospitality industry—from the big names to the tiny neighborhood joints—as they struggle to adapt and survive. We'll listen to their stories: how are they pivoting, what’s working, and how we can help, along with inspiring stories of how the industry is trying to change, and rallying to feed many communities in need. Prospective guests for On the Fly can submit their story at bit.ly/ontheflyguest.

    Charles Chen: Basuku Cheesecakes

    Charles Chen: Basuku Cheesecakes

    This episode of On the Fly by tablehopper is with Charles Chen, the creator behind the wildly popular Basuku Cheesecakes. I was beyond thrilled to be able to interview Charles—he’s been a restaurant consultant for some rather high-profile food businesses here in the Bay Area, including Tartine Bakery, Stonemill Matcha, and Maum in Palo Alto, but has managed to maintain a pretty stealth profile—by design. I call him the restaurant ninja, so it was a real pleasure to be able to learn more about his deep restaurant background, his journey, and where it all began. 
    But what's really fascinating, and actually quite incredible, is hearing about this extremely involved and complex experience developing this Japanese-inspired, Basque-style cheesecake and trying to scale the business to meet the ever-growing demand for what has become one of the hottest culinary items of the pandemic.  
    When you hear everything Charles has gone through to even make 16 cheesecakes in his home oven, to all the schlepping and adjustments he’s had to make to bake them in other restaurant kitchens, you’ll quickly understand why they’re so hard to procure; and you’ll have so much appreciation for everything that went into that dreamy, creamy, tangy cheesecake when you finally get your first bite. Be sure to listen through to the very end for details on how to get one. We also have a fun lightning round of other tasty things to go track down as well, including ice cream, pie, and burgers in the Bay Area.
    I want to thank all of you for listening in—this is our 22nd episode since launching On the Fly by tablehopper in April 2020. None of this would be possible without our producer extraordinaire, Lola Yen, and you. We’re going to take a little season break, and will be coming back soon. Be well.
    Basuku on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/basukucheesecakes/ 
    If you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at bit.ly/ontheflyguest.
    Support the show (http://www.venmo.com/Marcia-Gagliardi)

    • 1 hr 16 min
    Stuart Brioza: State Bird Provisions

    Stuart Brioza: State Bird Provisions

    This episode of On the Fly by tablehopper is with Stuart Brioza, the chef and co-owner of State Bird Provisions, The Progress, and now right around the corner, the newly opened The Anchovy Bar. Heads up: this episode is by far our longest, but as you settle in, I hope you’ll enjoy the deep storytelling in this episode. We talk about what it’s like to open a business in the pandemic, and what it was like for them to be closed while they tried to save their two existing restaurants, navigating a mountain of paperwork and an uncertain path into an unclear future, while trying to look out for their incredible team. 
    This conversation is also really fun: I love the deep dive we get to take with Stuart on The Anchovy Bar menu, his ingredient sourcing, and fascinating storytelling about our local ingredients, with a look into his creative process. All three of his restaurants with his wife and partner Nicole Krasinski are absolute creative culinary powerhouses, offering unique tasting experiences and culinary journeys and a particular brand of hospitality, like no other restaurant group.
    Get ready to geek out on anchovies, and oysters, and butter, and take a fun walk through their pantry vis-à-vis their ingenious Atomic Workshop line. I hope you enjoy basking in Stuart’s profound passion for not only being a chef but someone who really loves to feed people, on many levels. 
    The Anchovy Bar: theanchovybar.com 
    State Bird, The Progress: statebirdsf.com 

    If you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at bit.ly/ontheflyguest.
    Support the show (http://www.venmo.com/Marcia-Gagliardi)

    • 1 hr 20 min
    Vinny Eng: SF New Deal

    Vinny Eng: SF New Deal

    This episode of On the Fly by tablehopper, our twentieth, is with Vinny Eng, a community organizer and founding member of SF New Deal, and a well-known figure in the hospitality industry for his previous twelve years of service at Bar Tartine, Tartine Bakery, and the Manufactory as a general manager and wine director. Anyone who knows Vinny, or is fortunate to work with him, or call him a friend, will always be struck by how heart-centered his approach to everything is. 
    Vinny sprung to action in looking out for immediate ways to help neighbors in need as soon as the state of emergency was issued, and has been an immeasurable help and force with SF New Deal and the people it serves with dignity, as well as the local restaurants it partners with, providing an important  source of consistent revenue, especially when considering the shortcomings of a PPP program that excluded many and has been exhausted, and that further federal aid has stalled.
    He looks at everything holistically, with awareness of the many touch points and nuances behind who grows our food, and prepares it, and serves it, how the very people who make food and eating possible often go unseen and are unsupported during this difficult time, and how we have access to food—or don’t, and how different communities eat, and what they need.
    In our conversation, we talk about ways you can help show support—for our community, for our restaurants, and the hospitality industry as a whole, and it’s not just about directing resources to meet the needs of this moment, although that helps too. Foundational to his approach is that if we solve for those closest to harm, we solve this for all of us. I always leave a conversation with Vinny with more insight, and knowledge, and compassion than I had before, and I hope this episode helps bring expansion for you in some ways as well.
    And there’s a fun moment at the end, when Vinny surprises me with a lightning round of questions about some of our favorite takeout and treats right now. 
    SF New Deal: sfnewdeal.org , @sfnewdeal
    Impact report: sfnewdeal.org/impact-report
    Lightning round: 
    Ritu Indian Soul Food: ritusf.com, Tilak: tilaksf.com, Eat Salty Sweet: eatsaltysweet.com, Stonemill Matcha: stonemillmatcha.com, Miss Ollie’s Cookshop at Elda’s: eldasf.com/#MENU, Kantine: kantinesf.com,  Nopa: nopasf.com.
    If you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at bit.ly/ontheflyguest.


    Support the show (http://www.venmo.com/Marcia-Gagliardi)

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Reem Assil: Reem’s California

    Reem Assil: Reem’s California

    This episode of On the Fly by tablehopper is with Reem Assil, the chef and owner of Reem’s California, both in Oakland’s Fruitvale and now in San Francisco, which opened just days before the stay-at-home order in March. It’s already hard enough to open a new restaurant—in this case, San Francisco’s first Arab bakery—but Reem and her team have managed to adjust and persevere during the many challenges of these past six months. 
    I’ve wanted to speak with her on the podcast about a multitude of things, from what it’s like to launch a restaurant in the first month of a pandemic, to the many adjustments they’ve had to make along the way, to hearing about her experience working with initiatives like SF New Deal. It took a little time for an even bigger reason for me to interview her to be revealed, and that is to talk about the future of restaurants, especially after these six months of upheaval, reckoning, and the growing desire to seek racially just, sustainable, and equitable business models—which is crucial since some of the most marginalized people in our society make up a large part of the restaurant industry workforce.
    Reem is well-known as an activist, and worked for a decade as a community and labor organizer prior to starting her career in food. She has always cared deeply about her workers, and workplace culture, and how her business relates to the community at large, and now she is exploring how to build a worker-owned model that will fit her many criteria, and the specific needs of her workers, and what does leadership look like in a collective structure. 
    At the heart of it all, Reem’s was launched to be an expression of Arab hospitality, and she talks about how they try to do it through take-out and Friday night meal kits. We also take a walk through the pastry case, and just wait until you hear about the workers’ wreath (take a look at @tablehopper on Instagram for the goods, but trust me, you really need to enjoy it in person, not just with your eyes and ears). 
    Reem’s California: www.reemscalifornia.com (Instagram: @reemscalifornia); 2901 Mission St., SF; 3301 E. 12th St. #133, Oakland.
    Additional links:
    New Yorker video: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/video-dept/a-san-francisco-baker-on-what-hospitality-looks-like-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic 
    SF New Deal: https://sfnewdeal.org 

    If you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at bit.ly/ontheflyguest.


    Support the show (http://www.venmo.com/Marcia-Gagliardi)

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Jesse Ziff Cool: Flea Street and the No-Tipping Model

    Jesse Ziff Cool: Flea Street and the No-Tipping Model

    This episode of On the Fly by tablehopper is with Jesse Ziff Cool, the chef and restaurateur known for her Flea Street restaurant in Menlo Park, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, an incredible achievement, as well as operating Cool Cafe on Stanford’s campus. Jesse is an early trailblazer in the organic food and sustainable agriculture movement, opening the country’s first organic restaurant in 1976, and continues to share her deep knowledge and culinary experience as an author, educator, consultant, and community activist. 
    Her visionary ways have not stopped, however, and in response to the pandemic, she has completely restructured her restaurant’s compensation model. We talk about her newly launched Heart of House, which creates a more equitable structure and fair pay for her employees by offering an alternative to tipping (an outdated practice that is racist, sexist, and ageist, among other things) and instead has her team share a service charge—called a gratitude—that is distributed equally and fairly to all hourly workers. 
    It’s so inspiring to hear from Jesse about how things have changed internally at the restaurant, starting with a boost in morale, which is especially needed during these challenging times. As restaurants are looking ahead to implementing structural changes that need to be made industry-wide, this interview will hopefully inspire and educate. Thank you for listening.
    Flea Street: www.cooleatz.com (Instagram: @flea_street)
    To reach Jesse, her email is jesse@cooleatz.com  

    Meals of Gratitude: mealsofgratitude.org
    Articles: 
    Racist History of Tipping: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/07/17/william-barber-tipping-racist-past-227361 
    Chef Amanda Cohen on How the No-Tipping Movement Will Survive: https://www.grubstreet.com/2020/07/chef-amanda-cohen-on-no-tipping.html

    If you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at bit.ly/ontheflyguest.


    Support the show (http://www.venmo.com/Marcia-Gagliardi)

    • 48 min
    Gwyneth Borden: Bay Area Hospitality Coalition

    Gwyneth Borden: Bay Area Hospitality Coalition

    Today’s episode of On the Fly is with Gwyneth Borden, the founder of Ground Floor Experiences, providing restaurant consulting, strategic advice, and thought leadership. Gwyneth is well-known in San Francisco across many industries for her deep and varied background, from 20 years of public policy to five years as the Executive Director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. Get ready for a high wattage interview, because we cover a lot of ground discussing many aspects of what the restaurant industry is facing at this moment: what does it need to survive now, and what needs to change moving forward, from treating restaurant workers with dignity to creating a new kind of workplace culture.  
    This is a fascinating interview, as Gwyneth takes us behind the curtain and walks us through the architecture of the San Francisco restaurant industry and the political machine. She has such a unique perspective that spans restaurant needs and policy, which is why we are so fortunate to have her as a figurehead of the Bay Area Hospitality Coalition, working closely with other restaurant coalitions throughout the U.S. Her expertise and connections are tremendous assets for the work the coalition is doing right now to save our independent restaurants, which, I’d like to add, she is doing tirelessly for no pay right now. Yeah, we need to take good care of her, and we owe her more than just thanks. If you care about the future of our restaurants, and want to know how to help, this is an interview you won’t want to miss.
    Bay Area Hospitality Coalition: https://bayareahospitalitycoalition.com/, @bayareahospitalitycoalition
    Independent Restaurant Coalition: https://www.saverestaurants.com/, @indprestaurants 
    If you’re a Bay Area business or individual and want to be featured in On the Fly, please fill out the form at bit.ly/ontheflyguest.
    Support the show (http://www.venmo.com/Marcia-Gagliardi)

    • 52 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
35 Ratings

35 Ratings

SisterWifeLyfe ,

Bravo!

Thank you for bringing these necessary stories to light and for helping our industry. It really makes me smile to hear your voice twice a week - you are a natural! I love that you also give us actionable ways to help, so we can feel that we are doing a little something that matters to our community in these times. 💗

eatsaltysweet ,

informative and uplifting

so good to hear these stories. thank you!

cymansez ,

The lady with her finger on the pulse....

Marcia, thank you so much for all you are doing to support our dining community. As an industry vet and a concierge this cause is near and dear to my heart. Every time I listen I learn something new. Money is tight since I’ve been laid off, but I now feel better equipped to help where I can.

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