Lettuce Wrap

All about food, the food business, and the people who work in the industry.

About the show

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!

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Episodes

  • 24: My Medium, Not Your Medium, with Anucha Kongthavorn of Mae Krua

    November 23rd, 2019  |  59 mins 58 secs

    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 restaurant regulars asked about his emotions before ordering.

  • 23: Support The Farmers Directly (T&C Talk)

    November 9th, 2019  |  26 mins 46 secs

    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 table.

  • 22: Like a Gym, Except a Kitchen, with Dan Mills of Tinker Kitchen

    October 26th, 2019  |  50 mins 27 secs

    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.

  • 21: Cake Scraps and Hugs, with Kelly Zubal of Inticing Creations

    October 12th, 2019  |  59 mins 5 secs

    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.

  • 20: Petri Dish Meats (T&C Talk)

    September 28th, 2019  |  59 mins 55 secs

    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 these patties, or will we be left asking “Where’s the beef?!”

  • 19: 850 Item To-Do List, with Marissa Daskalakis Tsangaropoulos of Fete Fraiche

    September 14th, 2019  |  58 mins 38 secs

    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, and the reason she’s such a gigantic fan of… lists and spreadsheets?

  • 18: This Country Needs Onigilly, with Koji Kanematsu of Onigilly

    August 24th, 2019  |  59 mins 59 secs

    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 death of his childhood friend inspires him to always move forward.

    --

    The end of this episode mentions the death of Koji’s friend by suicide. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org

  • 17: BBQ is a Little Mystical, with Steven Hollifield of Seismic BBQ

    August 10th, 2019  |  59 mins 31 secs

    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 partner, great suggestions for great meals, and why even the chefs at Michelin-rated restaurants go to... Taco Bell?

  • 16: It’s So Hot In San Francisco

    July 27th, 2019  |  17 mins 10 secs

    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.

  • 15: I’m the “J”, with Joel Sakakihara of R&J Toffees

    July 13th, 2019  |  51 mins 38 secs

    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 our favorite segment, Wrap-id Fire!

  • 14: Two Whole Croissants, with Robert Hac of Sons & Daughters

    June 22nd, 2019  |  45 mins 27 secs

    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 needed to enter the culinary world, creeps himself out from his open kitchen, and defends the artisan creator. And what in the world does Jackson Pollock have to do with dessert? Tune in to find out!

  • 13: I Moved 6,000 Pounds By Hand, with Elyce Zahn of Coco Tutti

    June 8th, 2019  |  59 mins 36 secs

    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 you can accomplish when you’re a one-woman force of nature.

  • 12: Food Is Not A Widget, with Mirit Cohen of Adobe

    May 25th, 2019  |  53 mins 52 secs

    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 original social networking.

  • 11: A Chocolate Tourist, with Jack Epstein of Chocolate Covered

    May 11th, 2019  |  41 mins 31 secs

    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 Francisco restaurant recommendations! (Check the show notes for links.)

  • 10: I Prefer My Beer Distilled, with Stuart Cristol-Deman of Stuart on the Coast

    April 27th, 2019  |  48 mins 50 secs

    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.

  • 9: I Used to Dance Around Those Trees, with Nafy Flatley of Teranga Juice

    April 13th, 2019  |  47 mins 9 secs

    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.)