Welcome to WORD OF MOUTH with Leiti Hsu on HeritageRadioNetwork.org! Leiti, a fixture in NYC dining culture, is joined by #peoplewelike Chef Leah Cohen, owner of Pig & Khao restaurant and former Top Chef finalist. They’ll talk what it was like to grow up in suburban Scarsdale, NY as a ‘Jewippino’ and how Leah nearly flunked out of traditional college to go on to the Culinary Institute of America — a far better fit, we realize! Also, lessons learned from her reality television ‘showmance’ and how a makeout session with a fellow contestant turns into a storyline on national TV. It was so disastrous that she then ducked out of the country for a pivotal year of cooking and learning in Asia. Finally, Leah describes how scoring a job in the kitchen at Eleven Madison Park is a lot like performing under pressure on Top Chef, and the role that mentor that Daniel Humm played in Leah’s career.
At the top of the hour, we go to the Greenmarket with Chopped champion Sean Scotese and talk parsnips and his soon-to-open hot pot restaurant Ghost Street. To #WINEedDown, Leiti brings you Matt Conway, GM and sommelier of Marc Forgione restaurant, who’ll tell us why and how to make your somm your best friend.
“Daniel Humm was amazing…That kitchen was very, very hard. Everything has to be perfect, and if not, you have to remake it. I would freak out before service.” [35:58]
“Oh yeah, he was an amazing kisser. No, I’m just kidding! No, actually, I don’t even remember. I mean, we were drunk pretty much the whole time that we were filming. They give you beer, they want you to be drunk. Not when you’re cooking, but when you’re stewing and waiting for deliberations.” [19:45]
“I’m a very open book…My PR woman will be like ‘Ok, maybe you shouldn’t have said that. Maybe you should have like, thought about it.’ Sometimes I need someone to be there with me while I do interviews to just be like, ‘no no, that’s not what she meant.'” [23:40]
— Chef Leah Cohen on Word of Mouth