On the Fly by tablehopper

On the Fly by tablehopper

On the Fly by tablehopper features a monthly interview addressing the monumental changes the food and beverage industry is experiencing in this age of the coronavirus pandemic. Your host is Marcia Gagliardi of tablehopper.com, speaking with San Francisco Bay Area chefs, restaurateurs, and other members of the hospitality industry—from the big names to the tiny neighborhood joints—as they struggle to adapt and survive. We'll listen to their stories: how are they pivoting, what’s working, and how we can help, along with inspiring stories of how the industry is trying to change, and rallying to feed many communities in need. Prospective guests for On the Fly can submit their story at bit.ly/ontheflyguest.


January 12, 2021 76 min

This episode of On the Fly by tablehopper is with Charles Chen, the creator behind the wildly popular Basuku Cheesecakes. I was beyond thrilled to be able to interview Charles—he’s been a restaurant consultant for some rather high-profile food businesses here in the Bay Area, including Tartine Bakery, Stonemill Matcha, and Maum in Palo Alto, but has managed to maintain a pretty stealth profile—by design. I call him the restaurant n...

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This episode of On the Fly by tablehopper is with Stuart Brioza, the chef and co-owner of State Bird Provisions, The Progress, and now right around the corner, the newly opened The Anchovy Bar. Heads up: this episode is by far our longest, but as you settle in, I hope you’ll enjoy the deep storytelling in this episode. We talk about what it’s like to open a business in the pandemic, and what it was like for them to be closed while ...

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October 18, 2020 64 min

This episode of On the Fly by tablehopper, our twentieth, is with Vinny Eng, a community organizer and founding member of SF New Deal, and a well-known figure in the hospitality industry for his previous twelve years of service at Bar Tartine, Tartine Bakery, and the Manufactory as a general manager and wine director. Anyone who knows Vinny, or is fortunate to work with him, or call him a friend, will always be struck by how heart-...

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September 22, 2020 64 min

This episode of On the Fly by tablehopper is with Reem Assil, the chef and owner of Reem’s California, both in Oakland’s Fruitvale and now in San Francisco, which opened just days before the stay-at-home order in March. It’s already hard enough to open a new restaurant—in this case, San Francisco’s first Arab bakery—but Reem and her team have managed to adjust and persevere during the many challenges of these past six months. 

I’ve ...

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This episode of On the Fly by tablehopper is with Jesse Ziff Cool, the chef and restaurateur known for her Flea Street restaurant in Menlo Park, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, an incredible achievement, as well as operating Cool Cafe on Stanford’s campus. Jesse is an early trailblazer in the organic food and sustainable agriculture movement, opening the country’s first organic restaurant in 1976, and continues to share ...

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Today’s episode of On the Fly is with Gwyneth Borden, the founder of Ground Floor Experiences, providing restaurant consulting, strategic advice, and thought leadership. Gwyneth is well-known in San Francisco across many industries for her deep and varied background, from 20 years of public policy to five years as the Executive Director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. Get ready for a high wattage interview, because we co...

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This episode of On the Fly is with chef Fernay McPherson, the award-winning, entrepreneurial force behind Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement, a fried chicken joint known as much for its trademark rosemary fried chicken as its next-level sides. While Minnie Bell’s is located in the Emeryville Public Market, its roots run deep in San Francisco’s Fillmore District, where Fernay is a third-generation Fillmore native. This episode runs a touch...

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July 10, 2020 52 min

This episode of On the Fly is with Sarah Kirnon, the chef and owner of Miss Ollie’s in Old Oakland. Miss Ollie’s is much more than just a place renowned for its skillet-fried chicken—Sarah is a builder of friendships, a teacher to many in the Bay Area culinary community, and at Miss Ollie’s, is nurturing a sacred space for her community to gather in, a place where Black and queer folx are celebrated, seen, cared for, honored, uplif...

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This episode of On the Fly is with Jay Foster, a well-known San Francisco chef and restaurateur, who has been feeding us with heart and intention in his authentically cool and soulful establishments for the past 18 years. From his early days at Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack and Blue Jay Cafe, to 13 years running the beloved and greatly missed Farmerbrown, Jay has been a champion for the diverse and vibrant San Francisco we are, or should ...

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May 29, 2020 46 min

Today’s episode of On the Fly is with Christine Farren, the executive director of CUESA, the visionary nonprofit organization that operates San Francisco’s world-renowned Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and Mission Community Market.

Christine is a well-known and beloved face of the market, a shining contact point for all the farmers and vendors, the chefs and bartenders who frequent the market, many regular customers, plus everyone who&#...

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May 22, 2020 41 min

Today’s episode of On the Fly is with Trinh Banh, a co-founder of Good Good Eatz, an ad hoc initiative that has sprung up to help support Oakland Chinatown businesses in a number of impactful ways during these extremely challenging times. They’re helping immigrant-owned businesses get set up on social media, providing marketing assistance, PPE and protocols, and even creating new systems and business models. 

Working with Tommy Wong...

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Today’s episode of On the Fly is with Roberta Economidis, a San Francisco-based attorney who is a partner in the boutique hospitality law firm, Georgopoulos and Economidis, aka GE Law Group. Roberta and her partner Zach count numerous restaurants and bars and other hospitality-related businesses as their clients, and have been working so hard to help them navigate through this crisis the past two months. 

One of the greatest concern...

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Our tenth episode of On the Fly is with one of my dear friends and my homie, chef Rob Lam of Perle Wine Bar in Montclair, Town Square Eats in Jack London Square, and his upcoming pet project, Lily, which was on track to open on Clement Street in SF in mid-March, but remains in a state of suspense.  

I originally called to just check in on him, catch up, hear what was the latest, and how he was doing, but as I was listening to everyt...

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May 8, 2020 21 min

Today’s episode of On the Fly is with Karri Kiyuna, the bar director for the PlumpJack Group (founded by our governor, Gavin Newsom), and she is currently overseeing Wildhawk in the Mission. Karri has been tending bar in San Francisco since 2003, and talks us through what it’s like to turn a bar into an e-commerce website. She shares their current setup, and what she’s starting to envision for the bar’s future layout and more.


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May 6, 2020 44 min

Today’s episode is with Jennifer Bennett, an owner of the 28-year-old Zazie in Cole Valley, a San Francisco Legacy business well-known for its eggs Benedict, legendary home fries, and the kindest staff, as well as its progressive business practices. (She is also the owner of Lovina in Calistoga.) Early this year, in January of 2020, after owning Zazie for 15 years and working there for 20, Jennifer sold the restaurant to three long...

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Today’s episode is with Fernando Pujals, the Senior Director of Communications and Clean Operations for the TLCBD (Tenderloin Community Benefit District). This episode is a follow-up to our previous episode with chef Joanna Karlinsky, who has been directly feeding the unhoused on the streets of the Tenderloin and other encampments around the city. When I interviewed Joanna, she revealed folks have been asking her for water due to d...

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Today’s episode of On the Fly is with chef and restaurateur Joanna Karlinsky. Anyone who has lived in SF for more than 20 years remembers her famous Meetinghouse biscuits. Joanna is also known for her big heart—she is a steadfast volunteer and advocate for Food Runners, a longtime SF organization working to recover and redistribute discarded food to community programs. And at the moment, Joanna has taken to running her own one-woma...

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April 24, 2020 30 min

Today’s episode of On the Fly is with Geetika Agrawal, the program director of La Cocina, an incredible nonprofit business incubator dedicated to supporting working-class food entrepreneurs—primarily immigrant women and women of color—in building successful food businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. Geetika works closely with La Cocina entrepreneurs to support their businesses and leads growth initiatives for the organization. 


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April 22, 2020 26 min

Today’s episode is with Evan Kidera, the co-founder and CEO of Señor Sisig, a beloved food business that got its start in 2010 as a food truck during the beginnings of the SF street food scene. Popular for their Filipino street style dishes, like their groundbreaking sisig burritos, the business has expanded to six food trucks, and they just opened their first brick and mortar location in the Mission at the end of 2019. But with th...

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April 17, 2020 22 min

Today’s episode is with Kim Alter, the chef and co-owner of Nightbird and the adjoining Linden Room bar in Hayes Valley, which are currently closed to customers during the crisis. But the lights are still on as her small but mighty team is cooking hundreds of meals daily for initiatives like SF New Deal and Frontline Foods. Kim is known for her commitment to local farms and sustainability, and she’s proven to be a leader in leverag...

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