The Splendid Table

Sunday 2pm and Tuesday at 10pm
  • Hosted by Francis Lam

In 1994, acclaimed food writer and cooking teacher Lynne Rossetto Kasper was receiving accolades for her debut book, The Splendid Table, which at that time was the only book to have won both the James Beard and Julia Child Cookbook of the Year awards. Among the many people enchanted by the book was producer and foodie Sally Swift, who thought the time could be right for a radio program on food.

Appropriately, Lynne and Sally met over lunch to discuss the radio idea. They weren't interested in creating a show based on "talking about recipes"; instead, they wanted to explore everything they loved about food: the culture, the science, the history, the back stories and the deeper meanings that come together every time people sit down to enjoy a meal. And so it was The Splendid Table — "the radio program for people who love to eat" — was born.

The Splendid Table began as a live, Saturday-morning call-in show on Minnesota Public Radio. As the program's popularity continued to stretch across the nation, The Splendid Table eventually became the pre-recorded program that now airs on more than 400 public radio stations in the United States, plus SIRIUS satellite radio and World Radio Switzerland.

The Splendid Table, hosted by award-winning food writer Francis Lam, has been an original weekend companion, celebrating the intersection of food and life for more than two decades. A culinary, culture and lifestyle program, it has hosted our nation's conversations about cooking, sustainability and food culture and has introduced us to generations of food dignitaries.

Francis Lam took over the program from long-time host Lynne Rossetto Kasper in January 2018.

Under Francis, listeners can expect a modern, multicultural weekly snapshot of the food world –  exploring different cultures, cuisines and ideas, as well as the small personal stories that come out of the expansive world of the table. As a former restaurant cook and culinary school graduate, Francis can handle virtually any food query and loves taking listener’s calls.  He is keenly interested in people and their stories and believes that one of the keys to understanding people better is to learn what they cook and how they eat.

The Splendid Table frequently visits with the test cooks at America's Test Kitchen to discuss a wide range of topics including recipes, ingredients, techniques and kitchen equipment.

The Splendid Table has been at the forefront of food issues and policies since its inception. Long before eating local became a catchphrase and farmers' markets became ubiquitous, The Splendid Table was talking about the changes needed in the food system and what was happening on the grassroots level. In fact, when The Splendid Table first went on the air, Lynne had to make sure to define such terms as "organic" and "sustainable" for listeners. Today those terms have become part of the everyday lexicon, and people's hunger for wholesome food and the rituals surrounding it has only increased.

Special guests are also essential to The Splendid Table's ongoing culinary conversation. The late Julia Child was a steadfast advocate of The Splendid Table and appeared on the program numerous times. Among the parade of outstanding guests are food activist Michael Pollan, author of such books as The Omnivore's Dilemma and Food Rules; film director and writer Nora Ephron; famed Spanish chef José Andrés; the late director Ismail Merchant; food writer Anthony Bourdain; Franz Ferdinand lead singer Alex Kapranos, who is also a food critic; and classical violinist extraordinaire Joshua Bell.

Always making food come alive in multiple ways, The Splendid Table has recorded programs in Portland, Ore.; in Hawaii; in Spain; and in Mexico City. To commemorate the program's tenth anniversary, a series of shows were produced on site in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, Lynne's spiritual homeland and the inspiration for her first book.

From its first mealtime brainstorm to the award-winning weekly program it is today, The Splendid Table continues its celebration of food and the roles it plays in our lives.

Ways to Connect

Tasting the Nation with Padma Lakshmi

Jul 17, 2020

If you only know Padma Lakshmi from her role as host of Top Chef, get ready for a fascinating chat with a big thinker who really wants to help us understand the real value of the food we love, and the stories of the invisible people behind it. We talk about her series Taste the Nation on Hulu, we get into what really thrills her about what she eats, her theory on the relationship between Mexican and Indian food, parenting bicultural kids, and the food writers she admires most.

Light Up Your Grill

Jun 19, 2020

This week, we bring you grilling inspiration with Chef Yia Vang of Minneapolis' Union Hmong Kitchen. Yia talks about the strong Hmong grilling tradition that fuels his work and leaves us with an amazing marinade recipe. Raleigh Chef Ashley Christensen of Poole's Diner is famous for her way with vegetables and her grilling ideas for them are pretty extraordinary.

An Hour with Yotam Ottolenghi

Jun 5, 2020

This week, Francis spends the hour with the charming Yotam Ottolenghi, author of multiple best-selling books including Ottolenghi SimplePlenty, and his forthcoming Flavor. Yotam talks about the reality of feeding family while in quarantine, the excitement around reopening his restaurants in London, and answers your questions about exploring international markets, taking tahini beyond hummus, jazzing up your bowl of oatmeal, and keeping your wild children off the top of the table during dinner.

How Restaurants are Dealing

May 22, 2020

How to cook with farro

Apr 24, 2020

Question: What is farro? Where can I buy it?


Recipe: Farro & Italian Greens Stuffing

Farro is an ancient strain of wheat; in fact, it's one of the three "mother" wheats from which all other wheats have come. It is used in northern and central Italy and in other parts of the Mediterranean.

One of the last cookbooks I grabbed from the office before the ‘stay at home’ order went into effect was Lola Milne’s Take One Can: 80 Delicious Meals from the Cupboard. It’s a darling little book, but what struck me was the fact that very few cookbooks these days actually celebrate the can, and the timing for this one couldn’t have been more apropos!

Samin Nosrat Answers Your Cooking Questions

Apr 3, 2020

Slow cooker recipes for easy big batch cooking and meal prep

Apr 1, 2020

Whether you're feeding a big group or just looking to get ahead on meal planning for the week, let your slow cooker do the heavy lifting. Of course, they’re great for big batches, the stews, soups and big cuts of meat, but they also work wonders with vegetables and grains. Below are some of our favorite slow cooker recipes. Don't have a slow cooker yet? Before you buy one listen to our equipment review conversation with America's Test Kitchen.

There are a lot of questions and concerns right now around the coronavirus and the safety of our food. The science behind all of this is an everchanging field of study, but we wanted to learn the current findings and recommendations for keeping safe not only with home-cooked food and delivery, but also when out in public shopping for food and grabbing take-out from restaurants. We learned a lot from food science writer J. Kenji López-Alt. He is the Chief Culinary Advisor of Serious Eats and the author of The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science.

Podcast Extra: How to Make a Sourdough Starter

Mar 25, 2020

With so many people now spending more time at home and in the kitchen, we’ve noticed a lot more photos on social media of beautiful home-baked bread. However, we’ve seen just as many people asking how to get started baking. Which got us thinking back to a piece we did with Bridget Lancaster from America’s Test Kitchen. She walked us through the amazingly simple steps of putting together a sourdough starter at home. In this podcast extra, we hear from Bridget in her own home kitchen.

Things To Do With Rice

Mar 23, 2020

Rice is one of those universal staples found in kitchens all over the world. It’s eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, and the number of ways it can be prepared is practically infinite.  It’s both exotic and simple, and you very likely have some in your cupboard. We’ve curated a rather large number of recipes, so if you’re looking for ways to put that rice to work, check out the links below for main dishes, sides, salads and desserts.

Podcast Extra: Freewheeling Salads

Mar 23, 2020

This podcast extra is all about taking your salads into a much more imaginative place. We revisit an interview with Ilene Rosen who has been making salads professionally for decades. Some say she is responsible for the kale salad trend (you decide!).

We all know this situation. You’re about to start cooking dinner. You look deep into your produce drawer or reach into your bowl of garlic and onions only to find your last few onions have gone south - they are soft and have dark spots. Yup, you’ve waited too long to use them. But if you had caramelized those onions, you would have an amazingly, delicious weapon to deploy in your kitchen, in all kinds of recipes.

Don't let these onions go to waste! Photo: Orion6729|iStock|Getty Images Plus

A Message from The Splendid Table

Mar 18, 2020

During this difficult and confusing time, we want you to know that all of us are right there with you. We're social distancing, juggling kids and jobs, doing a lot of hand-washing, and worrying about friends and family all across the world. Just like you, we’re also doing a lot more cooking. With that in mind, we are hard at work getting you interviews, recipes, and ideas that you will find useful. You’ll hear our regular show as usual, but we’re also digging around our archives and will be posting content regularly. Stay tuned and come back often to our podcast feed and website.

How to improvise a vegetable pasta

Mar 17, 2020

Lynne Rossetto Kasper is the queen of improvised, waste-not-want-not-suppers! Check out her story and shorthand guide to improvising your own recipes using what you have on hand.

What ended up becoming Spring Linguine began late, as in 8 p.m., with no time to shop. "Use up what is in the fridge because it's a sin to waste" was the mantra.

How to cook dry beans

Mar 13, 2020

Question: How do I cook dry beans?

Saliha Mahmood Ahmed is a doctor in London, who turned her passion for cooking into a winning appearance on the British TV show Masterchef. Then, she turned her other passion, for culinary history, into Khazana, a cookbook of dishes inspired by the long-defunct Mughal empire. Yes, the empire that conquered Central Asia through north India, and built the Taj Mahal. But, what do we know about their food?

How to cook dried beans and what to make with them

Mar 13, 2020

See our Beans Recipe Collection for some ides of what to cook with many different types of beans.

We at The Splendid Table get asked a lot: "How do I cook dried beans such as navy beans or pinto beans?"

Here's the deal with all dried beans:

1. Rinse

Rinse the beans and discard any small pebbles or shriveled beans.

2. Soak

A few years ago, a pastry chef named Dominique Ansel shaped croissant dough into a ring, fried it until puffed, and became the creator of the Cronut, one of the world's most copied pastries. He also became a master maker of lines, as in hours-long lines outside his bakeries around the world, people waiting for cronuts, frozen s'mores they light on fire, and mugs of hot chocolate where the marshmallows literally open up and blossom like flowers before your eyes.

Photo: Joe Yonan and Carl Mason at home with their pets.

Last year, our team spent a few days in St. Louis, where we met a lot of wonderful food lovers including Loryn and Edo Nalic, the very gracious couple who own a Bosnian restaurant called Balkan Treat Box. The restaurant started as a food truck serving up unique Bosnian dishes around the city. But before either the restaurant or the truck, there was a relationship, a story of love that crossed many oceans to bring Loryn and Edo together.

To Damira Inatullaeva and her Uzbek roots, cooking is not simply cooking, it is a way of socializing and sharing knowledge. So, we were excited when we were recently invited into her home to learn to make a very special dish. Damira is a retired cardiologist and her husband Sahib Aminov was a professor of Central Asian history at the University of Samarkand; they came to the U.S. from Uzbekistan seven years ago.

Photo: Michaele and John Weissman (left) and one of their many shared loaves of rye bread

For beer lovers who are cutting back on their alcohol intake, there is a new wave of non-alcoholic options available that don’t fizz out on the flavor. Regardless your reasons for seeking out an NA beer, there are definitely other benefits beyond presence of alcohol which include fewer calories, fewer carbs and less sugar. For these reasons the NA beer market has seen an uptick in the past few years.

Mark and Brian Canlis are brothers and the third generation of their family to run Canlis, a nearly 70-year-old restaurant in Seattle and a true landmark. But even beyond the restaurant, what’s extraordinary about the Canlis family is how thoughtful they are at helping people to connect. And for years, in the basement of the restaurant, they had a very special barrel of whiskey. But, you couldn't buy yourself a taste of it - not with money, anyway.

The language of wine is a mix of science and poetry

Feb 14, 2020

Esther Mobley
Photo: Russell Yip

We don’t know if there are any songs written about when a bar opens for the night, but there are plenty of them dedicated to the moment before it closes. "Last call" isn’t just a public service announcement, it isn’t just a call to action - buy another drink or get outta here - it’s a ritual, it’s an intimacy, it’s the moment the night changes.

If you step into a cool cocktail bar today, chances are they have drinks made from mezcal, a Mexican spirit with an intense, roasted, smoky flavor. But just a decade ago, barely anyone in America had heard of it. You could call it the hot new thing in bartending, except that it’s hundreds of years old. And in Oaxaca, it’s much more than that. Bricia Lopez, who’s been called the Mezcal Queen of Los Angeles, is the owner, with her family, of Guelaguetza restaurant in Los Angeles.

Step into the kitchen with Andrea Nguyen, author of Vietnamese Food Any Day, and learn how to make two of her favorite recipes.

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