Follow @simonathibault

Journalist. Food Writer. Producer.

Filtering by Tag: radio

The Value of Story

We used to subscribe to magazines, newspapers, book clubs, and all sorts of things. We paid for these things, and enjoyed what was brought to our doorsteps and mailboxes. We would read, digest, discuss, and even occasionally throw said magazine or book across the room because someone wrote something that incensed us. 

Then the internet came around.

We started getting content for free. But more importantly, the value of said “free” content soon began to reflect the investment that was placed into paying for it. In other words, much of the content began to have next to value. 

And we accepted it because hey, it's free. 

No computers were thrown about, but we did all of a sudden have an abundance of trolls living under bridges. And clickbait. And listicles. 

I'm not interested in free content. I'm interested in good content. I'm a freelancer,and I work hard to get paid. I often joke that I won't get out of bed for less than ten cents a word* but I will tell you that oftentimes the work I am the most proud of is the work that has been paid for by people who work just as hard to pay me. 

We happily pay roughly $5 for a good latte, or a pastry, and seriously, you should pay good money for good food. Nourishment is essential to our lives. 

So is information.  

I am willing to pay so that I can be informed, educated, and inspired. A few sites/magazines/shows have gone to create online funding campaigns to kickstart their careers. They evoke a sense of charity as well as excitement, but those things wane quickly. And once that money is gone, it’s gone. You can’t budget on charity and excitement.

Recently two shows I listen to often started campaigns to get monthly patrons of their shows. CANADALAND, by Jesse Brown is a great show about media, ethics, and broadcasting. I don’t always agree with Jesse - and sometimes even think he’s a bit unnecessarily snarky - but I think he does great work. I don’t mind giving up an extra snack once a month so that he knows, somewhere, a little extra steady funding is coming in.  

Another show I decided to become a patron of was Fugitive Waves, which is part of the Radiotopia. Fugitive Waves is put out by the Kitchen Sisters, Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva. I had the chance to meet the two sisters, and Davia was even kind enough to give me some pointers on some of my own work.

In fact, Radiotopia is in the middle of a campaign to get people to pledge $75,000 to be able to continue to produce good content. And they were able to do it because more and more people believe in and are willing to pay for said content. 

I'm not writing this because I want to say, "Hey I'm a good guy and I do this, humblebrag, et cetera," but because I believe in changing the way we consume media, and the way we value said information. I think that's worth $5 a month. 


*With apologies and thanks to both Linda Evangelista and Melissa Buote for stealing that.

No more sitting down

After ten weeks of running around and finding, recording, and editing stories, Assis Toi, my food series for CBC Radio here in the Maritimes, is done for the summer.

I've been doing this series for about four years now, and every year I find myself discovering new and fascinating little pieces of history, personal stories, and so much more. Food has such a huge impact on our daily lives, and not just in the immediate sense of filling our bellies. Yes, we need food to survive, but the role food plays in our lives is deeper than that. Why does a woman choose to become a cheesemaker after working for the UN? What happens when a woman leaves the old country behind and finds a new country full of people who welcomes her and her food with open hearts? 

These are the stories we can tell through food. And these are the stories I count myself lucky enough to have been able to transmit to others. 

Just because Assis Toi is over for the summer doesn't mean you should go without radio about food. With that in mind, I'd like to point you to some amazing food radio that I can't stop listening to. 

First is Good Food, from KCRW in Los Angeles. Hosted by Evan Kleiman, the show is based in L.A., but looks at food culture throughout the United States, and the rest of the world.  It also includes weekly restaurant reviews by Jonathan Gold, the first food critic to win the Pulitzer Prize.

The second is The Splendid Table, with host Lynn Rosetto Kasper.  I discovered this show thanks to food photographer and stylist Kelly Neill. Kasper has been doing this show for twenty years, and it runs like a well-oiled machine, with interviews from chefs around the world, and even a weekly phone-in with Kasper doling out advice on what to cook, how, and where to learn more about it.

A recent podcast which I have completely become obsessed with telling people about is Gravy, put out by the Southern Foodways Alliance. Produced and hosted by Tina Antolini, this show examines the ways in which food and culture intersect in the American South. One of my favourite pieces is about the last Jews of Natchez, Mississippi by Robin Amer. Listen. Now. 

Last but not least is my favourite, the works of The Kitchen Sisters. Niki Silva and Davia Nelson have been producing Hidden Kitchens with NPR for years, but now have their own podcast called Fugitive Waves. The sisters recently won the 2015 James Beard Award for Best Radio Show. if you love radio, food, and good storytelling, listen to anything and everything these two put their name on. 

This is the kind of image I've been staring at for two months. And I couldn't be happier about it.

This is the kind of image I've been staring at for two months. And I couldn't be happier about it.

I'd like to take thank everyone involved in this year's crop of stories.

- Joy and Malcolm at Fudgelicious

- The Chen family, especially Pay Chen

- Emily Tipton at Boxing Rock Brewing, and the guys from Good Robot Brewing

- David Parks at La Cantina

- Kristina Parlee and Lindsay Cameron Wilson for talking about cookbooks

- Valerie Mansour for chatting about her mom while feeding me a feast of lebanese food. 

- Chef Antonio Park who took the time out of his busy schedule

- Lyndell Findlay for taking me into her man-made "cave" of blue cheese

- Sébastien Dol, who made me look at my old stomping grounds of Church Point in a new way

- and Joshawa Lamkey from Grindhouse Blade Ware & Care.

On the CBC side of things, special thanks go out to Sandy Smith, Jerry West, Don Connelly, Louise Renault, and Christina Harnett at Information Morning here in Halifax, Jonna Brewer at Information Morning Moncton, Hance Coleburn at Information Morning Saint John, Steve Sutherland at Information Morning Cape Breton, Terry Seguin at Information Morning Fredericton,  and last but not least, Matt Rainie at Island Morning in Prince Edward Island. 

And thanks to you, for listening, downloading, tweeting, posting, and sharing these stories. Thank you so much.