Podcasts WORD OF MOUTH with Leiti Hsu

Daniel Holzman

Episode: 21

Welcome to WORD OF MOUTH with Leiti Hsu on HeritageRadioNetwork.org! Leiti, a fixture in NYC dining culture, is joined by in-studio guest #PEOPLEWELIKE Daniel Holzman, Chef-Owner of The Meatball Shop.

This is the BALLS & BURGERS Edition of WORD OF MOUTH.

At the top of the hour, we’ll talk to Adam Fleischman, Founder, Umami Burger, about how #ChocoChicken came about, weeks after Jimmy Kimmel described it this way: “it’s as if God has been reading my food journal.”

We’ll catch up with Daniel about his thoroughly Jewish-American upbringing in the Upper East Side and this early bloomer’s earliest crush and stint in the kitchen at Le Bernardin at the age of 15. Daniel shares how he met his best friend and business partner Michael Chernow when they were just teenagers. Also: the Bible, the Dalai Lama, matzo ball soup and blintzes.

To #WINEedDown, we’ll get Adam back on the line from LA. This former journalist started out in the wine industry before starting Umami Burger, and they talk Dom Perignon and the development of Umami Burger house wine.

Tweet at #WOMshow @leitihsu.

Thanks to our sponsor, The International Culinary Center. Music by takstar.



“I played the flute in orchestra. Michael [Chernow] was going to be attending [LaGuardia High School], and he was going to play the tuba. We met on the Metropolitan Museum of Art steps and I riding my bicycle and I think he was rocking some rollerblades and we got to talking.” [27:35]

“I picked the piccolo, I think my teacher was like: listen if you haven’t come out of the closet yet, I’m gonna with you the flute, just to give you some chance.” [30:00]

“I desperately care what you think about me and yet I pretend that I don’t give a sh*t.” [29:05]

What makes our partnership work so well is that it’s authentic. Working together we hated each other at times, and it threatened our friendship at times…We went to couples therapy for about eight months trying to learn how to draw boundaries. [33:10]


“One of our first bigs fights was at the lunchroom at LaGuardia High School. I was kind of being a pretentious d*ckhead, and Mike threw a tater tot at me.” [34:35]

Daniel Holzman on WORD OF MOUTH with Leiti Hsu

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