Words with chefs: Jenée Libby’s Edacious podcast gives listeners food for thought

One of Edacious podcaster Jenée Libby's favorite interviewees? Cupcake queen Laurie Chapman Blakery, who owns Pearl's Bake Shoppe. Photo: Amanda Maglione One of Edacious podcaster Jenée Libby’s favorite interviewees? Cupcake queen Laurie Chapman Blakery, who owns Pearl’s Bake Shoppe. Photo: Amanda Maglione

Jenée Libby always wanted to be on the radio. As a child, she spent hours pretending—“Remember Mr. Microphone?” she asks. But Libby’s all grown up now, and she no longer has to pretend, thanks to Edacious, her twice-monthly podcast devoted to all things food.

“I initially thought [Edacious] would be a terrific way to bring people to my writing,” says the author of The Diner of Cville blog. “I don’t always write what people want to read—things like restaurant reviews and recipes bore me to tears—so my writing delves deeper, but I realize a lot of people aren’t interested in the history of canning beans in Virginia.” Turns out Libby’s podcast, which premiered last February, provides her with something even better than a larger audience: “I’m meeting all the wonderful chefs, growers and purveyors and learning their stories,” she says.

Among her favorite guests have been Pearl’s Bake Shoppe’s Laurie Chapman Blakey, whose grandmother, Pearl, grew up in Greene County “and she uses many of her recipes to make her shop’s cupcakes and other goodies,” Libby says, adding that Blakey brought her grandma’s cookbook to the interview, and the pair spent two on-air hours comparing notes on each other’s grandmother’s cakes. Other Edacious highlights include learning how Splendora’s PK Ross creates a new gelato flavor; hearing chef Melissa Close-Hart’s thoughts on being a female chef “in an industry where women aren’t always recognized as invaluable” and talking with the C&O’s Dean Maupin “about the old-school way of apprenticeship.”

“Every time I finish an interview it’s a high,” Libby says. “I’m terribly neurotic, so each interview is an exercise in fear. But I breathe through it, do my best…and [when I’m done] it’s like flying.” Asked who her dream Edacious interviewee is, she says, “One word: Tomas [Rahal, owner of Mas].”

You can hear more from Libby at edacious.co.

ON THE WEB

In addition to her Edacious podcast, Jenée Libby writes The Diner of Cville blog (thedinerofcville.com), which she calls “a frenzied literary mosaic of all things food.” But as you’ll see from the list below, Libby isn’t the only area foodie to put her keyboard where her mouth is.

Brooklyn Supper, the brainchild of Elizabeth Stark and Brian Campbell, is an award-winning blog that wants to make eating seasonally simple and straightforward, courtesy of recipes aimed at home cooks of all levels (potato, leek and fennel soup, anyone?). If it’s in season, Stark and Campbell are likely to write about (and photograph) it. brooklynsupper.com

Renee Byrd’s Will Frolic for Food is filled with vegetarian recipes that are seasonal and approachable and show readers that eating a mostly plant-based diet can be “luxurious, decadent, invigorating and help you live your most vibrant life.” But Byrd’s blog isn’t exclusively food- focused, as evidenced by her recipe for The Sugar Hollow, a watermelon gin cocktail (we’ll take two, please!). willfrolicforfood.com 

Roux Studio bills itself as a culinary collective, which is code for a mouthwatering collection of photographs, recipes, thoughts and “doodles” about all things food. You’ll find everything from a recipe for rye gnocchi with crispy purple scallion (aka “moving day pasta”) to the lowdown on a Peter Chang Champion Brewing Company dinner and frame-worthy drawings of pickles, pastries and caviar. roux-studio.com—S.S.