StewedSTL, a new podcast about food, drink and restaurants in St. Louis. Its four hosts are active participants in the area's food community: Bill Burge, who writes the food blog STL Bites and contributes to St. Louis Magazine; Kelli Best-Oliver, who wrote the "Novice Foodie" column for Gut Check; Mike Sweeney, who runs the beer blog STL Hops and writes for Feast magazine; and Andrew Mark Veety, who writes his own food blog and also contributes to St. Louis Magazine.
(Full disclosure: In addition to Best-Oliver, Burge and Veety have written for Riverfront Times in the past.)
The first episode -- the pilot, if you will -- is a freewheeling (and, fair warning, gleefully profane) discussion that ranges over such topics as Bogart's Smokehouse, the line between something being properly seasoned and too salty and the career of Maria from Sesame Street. The name Stewed is also a play on words, as the hosts not only talk about food and drink, but also drink as they talk.
Gut Check spoke with Sweeney this morning about the genesis of the project and plans for future episodes.
"The first podcast was fun for us to do," Sweeney says, "but it's very inside. I think most of the people who listened to it knew us.
"Moving forward, we're going to have guests. I think the guests we have on are going to be interesting because usually [in food media] you only get to see one side of them -- a side that an editor can craft. Whereas I think with our podcast, being unedited, you're going to get a different side to people in the industry."
Sweeney adds, "Let's be honest: How often do you get to sit down and, unfiltered, say what you want?"
Monarch executive chef Josh Galliano will be the first guest on StewedSTL. That podcast is slated to be taped on June 6 and be available for download the following day. Others who have shown interest in appearing on future episodes include Five Bistro owner and chef Anthony Devoti, Milagro Modern Mexican owner Adam Tilford and Farmhaus jack-of-all-trades Eric Scholle. The hosts also hope to include other voices from the industry, like line cooks, managers and sommeliers,
Why a podcast, as opposed to other media, to begin with?
Sweeney laughs. "First of all, it's so much easier. Short of setting everything up, getting everything working, after that, oh my god, it's a breeze.
"There's something so much easier about having a beer or glass of wine while you're talking instead of typing. It's the best."
This isn't Sweeney's first experience with audio broadcasts. He worked as an intern on St. Louis Rams' radio broadcasts during the team's Super Bowl-winning season.
"[A podcast] seemed like a natural extension. Nowadays, you can make a podcast that has the same kind of quality as anything you can hear on the radio."
For now, Sweeney says, the StewedSTL team plans on releasing a podcast every two weeks to establish an audience. After that, they might switch to every three weeks. You can listen to the podcast on the StewedSTL website and download it from iTunes.