On this week’s WORD OF MOUTH, we LIVE in-studio we welcome Dirt Candy’s Amanda Cohen, who’s just opened the expanded second incarnation on the Lower East Side. When the veggie whisperer speaks, she doesn’t whisperâ€”not just chef, Amanda spotlights tough issues in the restaurant world in her “Dispatches from Dirt Candy” writings on Eater. We’ll talk veggies, women, travel, family. Plus, what happened on a 40-hour train ride to Bejingâ€”and why onions are sexy. #WINEdown with Amanda as well, as she tells us about her love of natural wines, spring drinking and her favorite pairing at the restaurant.
At the top of the show, we take a trip to the Santa Monica Wednesday farmer’s market with Walter Manzke, chef-owner of the beloved Republique and Petty Cash, to talk mandarinquats and his growing restaurant empire in the Philippines.
On why she became a chef:
[23:00] I fell in love with traveling and fell in love with cuisine and sort of had this realization that what I wanted to do with my life was travel, but that I couldn’t do that because I had no money. So really the only way I could travel was find a skill, so I got my chef’s degree and decided that I was going to travel the world, and then I never traveled.
On her worst travel story:
[24:15] I was on a train once to Beijing from Hong Kong, and I ended up in a little cabin with two people who had been married but hadn’t seen each other for a year or two, so it was 40 hours of them fornicating with me on the top bunk…All I had was my guidebook and wallet, and my guidebook fell out of the back of my pocket and into the toilet and I had no choice but to pick it up. Then I picked it up, cleaned it up as best as I could, vomited a couple of times, listened to them have sex a couple more times.
On a non-chef dream job:
[28:45] I’d be a professional eater, like one of those hot dog guys. I like to eat so if I’m not going to cook food I might as well eat it.
–Amanda Cohen on WORD OF MOUTH