D.c. Simmers Over Washington Post Op-Ed About City's Food Scene (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Transcripts

D.C. Simmers Over Washington Post Op-Ed About City's Food Scene

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:09
Welcome to "Metro Connection." I’m Rebecca Sheir and today we're going Down the Hatch with our annual show about all things edible and drinkable in the national capital region. We'll chow down on cookies and cakes as we explore D.C.'s rising bakery craze.

MS. SARA FATELL

00:00:22
We definitely opened this big shop, with lots of bills and lots of debt and thought, God, I hope we make it.

SHEIR

00:00:28
And we'll visit the first farm at a low-income housing development.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1

00:00:32
Sometimes the assumption is that people don't know what's good for them, etcetera, etcetera. I think that assumption is overrated. I think people know what's good for them.

SHEIR

00:00:41
But before we get to all that we're going to take a bite out of a culinary controversy here in D.C. It has to do with a little something that appeared last week in the Washington Post, an article titled, "What's missing from D.C.'s food scene? A lot."

CHEF MARK FURSTENBERG

00:00:56
I think I feel slightly more hopeful than the article that appeared reflected, but I'm very critical of the food scene.

SHEIR

00:01:05
That's Mark Furstenberg, the guy who wrote the article. Furstenberg is a baker, a chef and the former owner of Marvelous Market and Remarkable Breads. And the way he sees it, D.C. lacks what he calls a discernible food culture.

FURSTENBERG

00:01:17
People who care deeply about food and who come to Washington or grow up here, learning about a food tradition that is geographically native to us, as well as culturally native to us.

SHEIR

00:01:32
Well, Furstenberg's comments got many in the local food scene pretty steamed up, including Jessica Sidman, food editor for Washington City Paper. She says Furstenberg isn't giving local diners enough credit.

MS. JESSICA SIDMAN

00:01:44
The people who live in Washington come from all over the world. They come from those supposedly superior cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. They know good food, and they're going to judge the new restaurants just as harshly as the old ones.

SHEIR

00:02:02
She also says Furstenberg dismissed a major part of D.C.'s culinary culture, the burgeoning craft beer and mixology scene, which, actually, some say isn't all that burgeoning.

MR. DEREK BROWN

00:02:13
The Ricky was invented here in the 1880s. I mean, what other kind of tradition do you want?

SHEIR

00:02:17
That's D.C. native Derek Brown, owner of The Passenger, Columbia Room, and his newest spot, Mockingbird Hill, a ham and sherry bar in Shaw.

BROWN

00:02:25
I invite Mark Furstenberg to come let me make him a Ricky so he can shut up about of this no local tradition stuff.

SHEIR

00:02:34
Now, Mark Furstenberg says he's aware of the food-based furor he sparked. In fact, that was the idea. He wants to get people talking about Washington's food scene.

FURSTENBERG

00:02:44
I'd like people, particularly young people, to notice much more acutely what they eat. I'd also like people to object to prices and object to pretention. I'd like to have restaurants that don't take reservations called to account for that.

SHEIR

00:03:09
We have links to Furstenberg's article and Jessica Sidman's response on our website, metroconnection.org. And we're curious. Do you think D.C.'s food scene has come a long way? Or does it still have a way to go? Email us at metro@wamu.org or send us a Tweet. Our handle is @wamumetro.
Transcripts of WAMU programs are available for personal use. Transcripts are provided "As Is" without warranties of any kind, either express or implied. WAMU does not warrant that the transcript is error-free. For all WAMU programs, the broadcast audio should be considered the authoritative version. Transcripts are owned by WAMU 88.5 American University Radio and are protected by laws in both the United States and International law. You may not sell or modify transcripts or reproduce, display, distribute, or otherwise use the transcript, in whole or in part, in any way for any public or commercial purpose without the express written permission of WAMU. All requests for uses beyond personal and noncommercial use should be referred to (202) 885-1200.