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Chefs typically brag about having the sharpest knives or the latest sous-vide machines, but few chefs can claim bragging rights to a recording studio just steps from the kitchen. Count Erik Bruner-Yang as one of the lucky few.
The Maketto owner and chef, who’s bringing two new restaurants to The LINE DC Hotel in Adams Morgan—Brothers and Sisters and Spoken English—says it will be a unique opportunity to get behind the microphone and record a weekly podcast, called RICE.
The podcast, which is expected to launch later this year, will be produced and aired by Full Service Radio, a new podcasting network that will focus on all things food from a recording studio in the lobby of The LINE DC Hotel.
Full Service Radio was originally expected to launch earlier this year, but construction delays at the hotel set back the launch. Bruner-Yang will work with producer Jack Inslee of the New York-based Heritage Radio Network to record a show that highlights immigrant stories and experiences and indulges his interests in food, culture, music, and art.
“It’s an opportunity to do something culturally relevant,” Bruner-Yang says. “Especially now with what’s happening in the United States, to have a booth where people can express themselves in such a classic, old-form art. I love it. Radio is super special and I think it was very brave of The Line Hotel to think that this was a good idea.”
Of course, kitchen skills don’t always translate well to other artistic forms. In his first attempt at recording, Bruner-Yang experienced some technical difficulties during an interview with graffiti artist Peap Tarr in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
“I wanted to get his perspective on graffiti culture in Cambodia,” Bruner-Yang says. “The only problem was that I interviewed him for an hour and a half and I forgot to hit record. I came back from Cambodia and realized that I didn’t have the recording.”
His luck has improved since then. A preview episode of RICE ran last year on a Heritage Radio podcast called Snacky Tunes. That debut episode featured an interview about the architectural legacy of Cambodia with filmmaker Christopher Rompré .
You can listen to it here. In his second podcast, he interviewed photographer Enrico Dungca of “The Amerasian Photography Project: The Forgotten Americans,” an exhibit shown in May at Shopkeepers Gallery, a boutique and neighborhood space on Florida Avenue NE operated by Bruner-Yang’s wife, Seda Nak. The project chronicles the plight of Filipino “Amerasian” children left behind in the Philippines during U.S. occupations and military installations.
“Ultimately with RICE what we’re trying to do is show the impact of these immigrant stories and how it shapes America,” Bruner-Yang says. “Even though I’m a chef, these aren’t culinary stories. These are immigrant stories of what it took to get here.”