Lettuce Wrap

Lettuce Wrap

We’re Christine Doerr and Tammy Tan: friends, food enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. Between us, we own three food businesses (including our shared-use commercial kitchen where this podcast is recorded), and have lots to say about food, the food business, and the people who work in our industry. Join us each episode as we explore food and the food business with other entrepreneurs and food lovers, and share our decades of experience owning, running, and marketing our businesses. New episodes are released on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. Thanks for listening and subscribing!... Show More

Episodes

June 16, 2020 10 min
Update: Thanks to your purchases, we raised $1,800 to support the work of Planting Justice! Thank you for supporting this effort. -- We’ve joined thousands of other #BakersAgainstRacism supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement by doing what we know best: making delicious food! All profits from the purchase of our brownies and spiced nuts supports Planting Justice, a non-profit organization with the mission to “Grow Food. Grow Job...
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We’re back! We didn’t plan to be away this long, but the world changed, quickly. In this episode, we share what it’s been like running three essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how we’re coping with all the changes it’s brought about. We’ll have more episodes throughout 2020, so thank you for staying subscribed (or for resubscribing)! Links and Show Notes COVID-19 Poster https://files.fireside.fm/file/fireside-up...
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December 13, 2019 46 min
In our final episode of 2019, we take a break from interviews to talk about our favorite (and busiest!) time of the year: The holidays! We get personal and chat about our holiday history, how we prepare (business-wise and personally), how we celebrate, and what we miss. Along the way, we admit a few shocking truths, from Tammy’s feelings on pumpkin pie to Christine’s childhood Halloween costume, and we wrap up with a holiday-themed...
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In 2007, Anucha Kongthavorn stepped off a plane in San Francisco from his native Thailand, and got a job cooking the same day. He's spent his career in the service industry, from restaurant busser to cruise ship butler, culminating in opening his own Thai food take out, Mae Krua. He joins us to talk about his journey, shares his philosophy on serving others, provides advice on starting a restaurant, and explains why his restaur...
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This episode we talk about something we both know a bit about: farmers’ markets. Both NeoCocoa and Spice Hound owe their early success to these neighborhood marketplaces, and we firmly believe they’re an amazing way for new food entrepreneurs to get started. We visit a local market to chat with vendors and shoppers, ponder their growing popularity in urban areas, and share our experiences from over a decade of being behind the tabl...
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Dan Mills turned his hobby of collecting commercial kitchen gadgets into Tinker Kitchen, a makerspace for community cooking. He joins us to talk about his inspiration for the space, why entrepreneurs need grit in the face of never-ending roadblocks, and how his very understanding girlfriend provided the (literal!) space he needed to succeed. Links and Show Notes Maker culture (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maker_culture) CAD (Compu...
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Kelly Zubal of Inticing Creations made a custom guitar birthday cake for Journey guitarist Neal Schon, and appeared on TV next to Martha Stewart. Now she’s here with us to talk about how she got started in her sculpted edible cakes career, her experiences as a “reality tv star”, and why her husband “Home Boy” Pete is her third favorite kitchen tool. Kelly also tells us - Why 4 years La Cocina (https://twitter.com/lacocinasf) was “t...
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September 27, 2019 59 min
We discuss the state of “plant-based meat alternatives” then taste seven different burgers, beef and not-beef, to see if we like (or can even identify!) the plant-based ones from Impossible Food and Beyond Burger. These are definitely not your old-school alternatives like Boca Burger or Gardenburger. Do these lab-engineered foods actually taste like beef? Can a self-described carnivore and a non-beef eater find common ground in the...
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Growing up in a big Greek family, cooking for large groups was a natural part of Marissa Daskalakis Tsangaropoulos’ youth. She eventually turned that passion for bringing people together over food into a business, Fete Fraiche, first as a personal chef, and now as an event chef and caterer for the likes of Google and Stanford. Marissa shares the challenges of unanticipated growth, why saying no is such an important part of success,...
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The lack of decent lunch options led Koji Kanematsu to launch Onigilly, serving onigiri—traditional Japanese rice balls—to busy American workers. He now has an ambitious mission to build Onigilly into a nationwide chain of at least 500 locations, as a healthier alternative to Subway and McDonald’s. He joins us to share his vision, how his early career in high tech and mobile gaming prepared him for the food business, and why the de...
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Steven Hollifield walked into a kitchen dish-pit, found it magical, and remained in food service his entire career. He now runs two kitchen-based businesses, Seismic BBQ and South Basin Kitchen, and joins us to discuss how he got his start, shares some sobering realities of owning a catering business in San Francisco, and of course, talks barbecue, from sauces to its place in American history. Learn about the value of a good partne...
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July 26, 2019 17 min
It was unusually warm in San Francisco in early June, so we took a quick break from interviews to chat with each other about ice cream to keep us cool during these rare, warm San Francisco evenings. If you live in—or plan to visit—San Francisco, consider this a guide to delicious, creamy treats. Links and Show Notes Listen to Lettuce Wrap 8: The Ice Cream Atmosphere, with Lori Phillips of Rocko’s Ice Cream Tacos (https://www.lettuc...
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This episode is dedicated to James Yamaoka. Joel Sakakihara and his brother updated their grandfather’s 60 year old toffee recipe, and built a business that’s grown from farmer’s markets to Costco and Whole Foods. Joel joins us to chat about the complexities of running a rapidly-growing food business, advice for starting a food business of your own, and how he launched the company with... Arnold Schwarzenegger? Plus, the return of ...
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Award-winning pastry chef Robert Hac joins us to taste some of the best chocolate croissants in San Francisco. Robert is the pastry chef at Sons & Daughters, where he builds seasonal desserts inspired by memories of the foods he ate as a kid. He traces his love of cooking to his grandma, and the dumplings and mochi they made together. We talk about the start of his decade-plus career before Robert shares the essential trait nee...
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As an entrepreneur, you do what it takes to make your dream a reality, and Elyce Zahn almost literally built Coco Tutti by hand. She makes gorgeous, “addictively edible” chocolate artwork, an award-winning business she started just as her architectural business was going under. We cover a wide range of topics this episode, from Elyce’s start in the arts to having the vision to see a kitchen where others see an office. Learn what yo...
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Mirit Cohen was “executive chef” of her family’s large dinner gatherings long before becoming Executive Chef at Google and Adobe, as well as CEO of her own “daily foodservice” business. Now Adobe’s Global Workplace Experience Programs Manager, Mirit shares her advice about the importance of identifying your market, the hazards of scaling too quickly, the right way to shut down a business, and why she believes sharing a meal is the ...
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You don’t need passion to start a business, but you do need it to keep one going for a quarter century. Life-long entrepreneur Jack Epstein of Chocolate Covered sells over a thousand artisan chocolates from his store in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. Learn how Jack built his unique business, and hear valuable advice from a shopkeeper who’s been in business for 25 years. Plus, Jack shares dozens of chocolate and San F...
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Stuart went from whiskey novice to Certified Bourbon Steward, turning a bad first impression with whisky into a passion he now shares with others in his at-home whiskey tasting and cooking classes. We taste our way through a personalized flight of four ryes, while learning more about whiskey (and whisky!) with Stuart as our guide. Links and Show Notes What we tasted The four ryes we tasted: Sagamore Spirit Signature (Maryland) Rye,...
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The baobab tree looms large in the life of Nafy Flatley. Its fruit juice nourished her when she was young, and powers her Teranga Juice business today. We discuss the origins of Nafy’s business and learn a lot about the “tree of life”, including its health benefits. Can the juice of the baobab fruit help you be stronger, fall in love, or attain happiness? Listen and find out! (Recorded October, 2018.) Links and Show Notes La Cocina...
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From an immunology Ph.D to ice cream entrepreneur, learn how a book, a funny name, and a memory of an ice cream taco all came together to form Lori’s delicious desert business. We discuss reasons to remaining artisanal, the argument against franchising, and the power of liquid nitrogen. Links and Show Notes I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! (https://youtu.be/-U5TTQ1mReY) (Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup commercial) Song ...
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