Listen to James and Chef Olive Podcast

Live (well, lifelike anyway) from Kitchen on Fire in the heart of Berkeley’s renowned Gourmet Ghetto comes “The Open Kitchen with Olive and James”, two guys who are used to talking with their mouths full. Chef Olivier Said and food writer James Mellgren answer some of today’s most poignant food questions – and a few of yesterday’s – in this provocative podcast that The New York Times called “…audible…” and about which the editors of The San Francisco Chronicle exclaimed “What, the kitchen’s on fire? Don’t just sit there, call 911!” You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll likely begin litigation, so join us for some salivating discussions here on Food Talk.

Episode 1

Welcome to the first episode of The Open Kitchen in which Olive and James introduce themselves and the format of the show, and begin to answer questions from students at Kitchen on Fire. They reveal how they each first learned to cook, talk about what a beginning cook should learn first – hint: it’s knife skills – and explain the important concept of mis en place. They also answer how to best store vegetables, and the pros and cons of buying pre-cut fruits and vegetables.

Episode 2

 The boys begin what it means when an olive oil is labeled “extra virgin” and why it’s good to use in the kitchen. These fools go on to discuss how to properly, and safely, defrost a chicken and other meats, how best to season with salt and pepper when cooking meat, and some tips on basic meat safety and the importance of fat. They answer one of the most pressing questions of our time – which is more important, skill or creativity. They offer their opinions on using cookbooks, and whether one should use a garlic press.

Episode 3

Can cooking everyday help make one a better cook, or does it just make for a messy kitchen? The boys weigh in on this with their usual insightful brand of kitchen humor. They also discuss the intricacies of pasta – what defines quality, the differences between dry and fresh, why such price variation, and what’s up with all those different shapes? They also take us on a tour of Berkeley’s “Gourmet Ghetto” as well as offering a few tips and tricks to make life easier in the kitchen.

Episode 4

Join us as our two intrepid hosts discuss the best kept secrets in the kitchen. Hint: we can’t tell you, they’re secrets (just kidding). Also, what is the tool you can’t live without. Fire? Water? Air? A good apron? What about guilty pleasures? No guilt, but plenty of pleasures. Plus tips for storing cheese, great food quotes, and much more talk, opinions, solid information and a utter nonsense from Chef Olive and James on this episode of The Open Kitchen.

Episode 5

In this episode, the boys discuss the challenges they’ve had to overcome in the kitchen – and not just their psychological ones. They also talk cheese – yes, again – and more specifically, the different categories of cheese and how to best enjoy them (hint: it involves eating), and what to drink with them (hint: it involves alcohol). They also share their thoughts on adapting recipes and the joys, or sometimes woes, of leftovers, as well as inspirational quotes and their usual dazzling repartee.