Episode 83
Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Celebrating queer chefs, authors, and food writers with Jesse Szewczyk's Tasty Pride

"There's a huge, vast, and incredibly supportive group within food of queer food professionals. There are countless incredibly successful queer chefs and queer cookbooks, authors, caters, stylists, and photographers. We are in every kitchen. We're in every publication."

*In response to travel restrictions and social distancing due to COVID-19, this week's interview was recorded remotely and not in-studio. Thanks for listening.*

NEW¬†YORK‚ÄĒThis week, we're excited to welcome Jesse Szewczyk to Salt &¬†Spine, the show on cookbooks.

Jesse Szewczyk is a New York-based food writer and stylist with bylines in outlets from Food52, The Kitchn, Tasty, and Jarry.

Jesse joined us in Pride Month to talk about his first cookbook, Tasty Pride:¬†75 Recipes and Stories from The Queer Food Community. In addition to bringing together queer voices for this cookbook, Jesse's publishers‚ÄĒClarkson Potter & Tasty‚ÄĒalso made a $50,000 donation to GLADD on the book's publication.

In today's show, we talk with Jesse about:

  • growing up in the Midwest and becoming interested in food at an early age while cooking with his mother;
  • what it was like to work in restaurant kitchens and food media as a young, gay man;
  • representation of queer voices in the cookbook and food media industries;
  • and the process of putting together this compilation cookbook.

Jesse dedicates the book to:

"All the queer cooks who have longed to see themselves represented in mainstream food media. We are in every restaurant, test kitchen, hotel, catering company, studio, and publication. This book and the stories within in prove that there is a seat at the table for all of us."

In addition to Jesse, we're joined by other contributors to Tasty Pride, including food writers John Birdsall, Aaron Hutcherson, and Eric Kim ‚ÄĒ and we hear from some of our past conversations with queer authors Lazarus Lynch and Julia Turshen.

* * *

More reading:

Read John Birdsall's piece from Lucky Peach:

America, Your Food Is So Gay

I was ten in 1970, a shy kid growing up in a scrub-oak suburb south of San Francisco. Our house was pitched on stilts sunk in a steep hillside, looking out onto a little arroyo and into the house of...


Read more from Eric Kim in Food52:


Read a Q&A with Aaron Hutcherson in Jarry:


Read Julia Turshen's piece in Eater on equity in cookbooks:


VOICES featured in this episode:

RECIPES featured in this episode:

COOKBOOKS featured in this episode:

Salt + Spine is produced by Brian Hogan Stewart and Madeleine Forbes. Our Kitchen Correspondent is Sarah Varney. Our original theme song was created by Brunch for Lunch. Additional music in today's show is "Spend My Life With You" by The Tall Pines (Free Music Archive). Thanks to Jen Nurse, Chris Bonomo, and The Civic Kitchen team and to Celia Sack at Omnivore Books.

Episode Transcript: