Ep 18 - Season finale: Fat green heads

Why Mukbang enrages Joshna, regenerative greens for your salad, milk cutting spice (as usual), and a #weirdwidget which grooms your herbs

Mirella and Joshna fall down the rabbit hole of Mukbang, the Korean trend of broadcasting over-eating. Bethany Gaskin is internet famous for picking up in the trend and stuffing her face with shellfish. If you already know about her, that's okay, because the conversation travels to ASMR, synesthesia, mussels which cook themselves (terrifyingly) due to climate change, and Joshna's existential rage.

There's some really promising news from a local farm about regenerative, organic agriculture. We used to think choosing to eat organics was about what we wanted to put into our bodies, but now there's more to consider. This approach to farming is carbon negative, meaning it improves the environment. A local restaurant chain, IQ Food, has teamed up with The New Farm to promote their regenerative salad greens and this is a seriously good news story.

A study was just released, confirming, the mostly common knowledge -- believe it or not -- that milk is the best  thing to drink to ease the burn of spicy foods. Some intrepid researchers tried a number of things and confirmed milk is "the one". If you've heard this story before you'll already know all that, but did you know they never figured out "WHY"?

Finally, Mirella and Joshna test a #weirdwidget unsuitable for personal grooming but designed for combing your herbs!

Ep 17 - The great beyond for meat and cookie dough

Who is eating Beyond Meat, when beer flavours go too far, a new and safe raw cookie dough, and a failed #weirdwidget

Beyond Meat is sweeping across restaurant menus and grocery store shelves. As Vandana Shiva points out, this is all part of further industrialization of food, responding to the market rather than addressing climate change and factory faming. When we think we're making a smart choice by choosing an alternative to meat, is this a real and impactful option?

Beer flavours have jumped the shark in Mirella's opinion. Odd ingredients in beer appear to be a common theme. What are the strangest flavours we've tried and how are brewers reacting to them?

Then, Nestle and Toll House are selling tubs of raw cookie dough, ready for eating right out of the tub. It's safe, and oh so enticing… But isn't cookie dough meant to be baked with?

Finally, a gadget that literally tries replace something most people have:  hands. It's a hard fail on this episode's #weirdwidget!

Ep 16 - Oral crunching while seated

In defense of cooking, the rise of the New England IPA, posture and taste, and perfect threesome of a #blindbeerdate

In defense of cooking, Mirella and Joshna dive into this New York Times piece about the importance of time spent cooking in the kitchen. The current message from all sides is "don't waste your time cooking". Convenience culture and the explosion in popularity of delivery services means fewer people seem to enjoy spending time in the kitchen. Is cooking really an endangered species? Is a cultural shift happening? Or, is this all just marketing spin?

Next: Do you want to nerd out about beer? Some beer drinkers definitely don't. It turns out these uninterested drinkers might well be IPA drinkers, according to an article published by the Brewers Association (in the USA). This isn't a discussion about IPAs, but it might explain why the New England IPA has risen so quickly.

Then, we - humanity - have finally learned for certain that sitting down helps you taste better. This study proves what instinct tells us: posture has an impact on our enjoyment of food. What does this mean to the way we make and consume food? We're boggled by the ramifications. 

Finally, we explore a non-alcoholic beer paired with chips and home-made hummus on #blindbeerdate. It's a pretty perfect threesome!

Ep 15 - No good times in Toronto

Toronto Brews Exhibit with Wayne Reeves, what makes a great sandwich, and bubbles in beer.

Mirella and Joshna welcome Wayne Reeves, Chief Curator of Museums and Heritage Services for the City of Toronto and curator of the upcoming "Toronto Brews: Two Centuries of Beer Culture in the City." Toronto's historic  relationship to beer fascinating, but we also wonder if this is part of a growing interest in documenting the history happening right now. The Smithsonian is now documenting the craft beer movement, recognizing its current historical importance, and Toronto is certainly taking steps to acknowledge its long history of brewing.

Then, OH MY do we have opinions about sandwiches or what! Toronto Life released its Bread Winners list sandwiches, which begs the questions "what makes a great sammy?" and "how far exactly should Joshna spread the contents of the Sammy?" How do we really feel about dry corners? 

Finally, despite a personal interest in all things bubble tea and tapioca, Mirella rails against the new Tapioca Beer trend popping up in Japan and in LA. She's dreading the day it sweeps Canada, but Joshna can't wait!

Ep 14 - Non-drinkers who like to drink

Drinks writer Sarah Parniak on Seedlip, an electric tongue that can do your tasting for you, dehumanizing drinkers, and #curiouskitchen. 

Sarah Parniak, drinks writer, former bartender, and Canadian Brand Ambassador for non-alcoholic distilled spirit Seedlip, joins us to talk about the rise of NA (non-alcoholic) cocktails. Is there a growing movement of non-drinkers? Why are they spending time in bars "not drinking"? Sarah helps us unravel this growing group and understand the opportunities it's creating.

Then, we muse about an E-tongue. Are tasting robots going to replace professional tasters? We're excited to learn more about our future robot executive chefs...

Apparently both men and women dehumanize women as they drink, according to a thoroughly depressing new study. Naturally we find it upsetting, though the study was conducted with beer, which has long suffered from certain connotations. We'll hear more about its history in an upcoming episode.

 Finally, on #curiouskitchen, we  taste test the wonderful and unconventional Italian treat, Lupini Beans! Here’s a fun VICE article about them.

Ep 13 - Get up early, hang with farmers 

Cookie Roscoe on making farmers' markets part of your routine, next level ice cream, the winning formula for breweries, and our first live #blindbeerdate ends badly!

Farmers' markets manager and Queen's Diamond Jubilee recipient Cookie Roscoe joins us to talk about all things farmers markets. How can we work markets into our busy schedules? What should we expect to get and why are they popping up all over? Getting up early on a Saturday has never sounded so good!

As the summer heat approaches ice cream season sets in. Mirella and Joshna review a few next-level flavors and  reminisce about the one that got away. This season's trend is taking us towards really savoury, complex ice cream. What makes ice cream such a great canvas for flavour?

Then, if producing an ongoing rotation of sour, hazy and quirky beers is a winning formula, why are so few new breweries using that model? 

Finally, a #blindbeerdate where really we should have just quite while we were ahead.

Bonus - Suzanne Barr on cultural appropriation (full interview)

Chef Suzanne Barr talks cultural appropriation with Mirella Amato and Joshna Maharaj

We had such a compelling conversation with Suzanne there was hemming and hawing as we attempted to cut it down to length for Episode 11 "Authenticity is the Emperor's new clothes".  

It feels like an important conversation, and important conversations need space to breath. So, we're releasing the entire interview as bonus content.

Enjoy "the details", and a glimpse behind the scenes of Hot Plate. Let us know what you think on Twitter @hoteplatpod

Suzanne Barr: Suzanne’s notoriety within the food scene of Toronto has come at a rapid rate, as word spread of a female chef breaking down barriers and nurturing young talent. Constantly speaking at events, trade shows and writing editorials for many press outlets in Toronto and abroad. Her brand and infamy are on a steady rise, taken into her daily stride as a restauranteur, author, public speaker and mother.

Suzanne Barr has become one of Canada’s most respected chefs with a signature flair for fresh comfort food and a passion for local community, food security, and advocacy for people of colour & LGBTQ communities. She was the owner of the popular restaurant Saturday Dinette, and the inaugural chef-in-residence at the Gladstone Hotel. Her most recent residency was at Sand and Pearl Oyster Bar in Prince Edward County, which was just awarded #9 on the list of Best New Restaurants in Canada by EnRoute Magazine. Suzanne has always combined her love of cooking with her desire for social change, and in June 2018, she was chosen to participate in the James Beard Foundation Chef’s Bootcamp at the New Farm in Collingwood, ON where she worked directly with Community Food Centres Canada. Then in August 2018, she was asked to speak at the Mad Symposium in Copenhagen, Denmark where she was on a panel for working parents discussing the current state of the culinary industry. In 2018, she was chosen as one of six finalists to present a project at the Women In Hospitality United symposium in New York City, where she presented The Dinette’s Program, a cooperative training program providing an opportunity to learn, co-create, effective solutions for workplaces, and enhancing business productivity while promoting the next generation of women as industry leaders. Suzanne was one of the chefs featured in Maya Gallus’ documentary film The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution. In 2019 Suzanne will begin her next journey as Head Chef at Avling Kitchen and Brewery in Toronto. She lives in Toronto with her husband and young son, and still spends time in Florida with her family.

Ep 12 - Setting the bar high

Better beer, with Steve Riley from betterbeer.com, enthusiasm for edibles, bathing in beer, and #weirdwidget

Mirella's old friend Steve Riley joins us to talk about what's going wrong with beer in bars. What's actually happening when we're served a pint of beer that just isn't quite right? More importantly, how do bars go about solving some of these problems. He makes reference to his wall of shame -- if you have a strong stomach you can see it here: https://www.betterbeer.com/wall-of-shame/

Then, our frequently discussed friend Dr. Sylvain Charlebois has been busy studying weed. This study suggests people aren't as stoked for edibles as might have been expected. Mirella and Joshna talk about why we're not all eating pot brownies after legalization. 

Of course Mirella thinks it would be a great idea to bathe in beer! But now she's got backup. Apparently there are scientific reasons to add beer to your bathtub - or maybe not so literally. Would she really try it? Isn't it a waste? How on earth can beer help your skin anyway?

Finally, Steve stumps Mirella and Joshna with a truly unlikely #weirdwidget!

Mulled beer recipe

In episode 11 Mirella talks about her favourite Mulled Beer recipe. It’s a traditional wassail recipe called lambswool.

This mulled beer is made using baked apples that not only fall apart to look like lambswool when cooked but are also delicious!

It’s great for holiday entertaining; what better way to warm up than with a piping hot mulled beer? But why not try it on a beautiful summer night?

The recipe is here, at Beerology.

Ep 11 - Authenticity is the emperor's new clothes

Cultural appropriation with Chef Suzanne Barr, the five year anniversary of Mirella's book Beerology, food safety in cookbooks, and a #blindbeerdate ends happily ever after.

Chef Suzanne Barr

Chef Suzanne Barr


We are so excited to welcome Chef Suzanne Barr, whose brand and infamy are on a steady rise in Toronto and beyond! She joins Mirella and Joshna to dig deeper into questions about cultural appropriation in restaurants. Is it really happening? What can we do about it? What questions could chefs ask themselves and each other?


A little birdie told Joshna that Mirella is celebrating the five year anniversary of the publication of her book, Beerology: Everything You Need To Know To Enjoy Beer Even More. She puts Mirella on the spot for an AMA on Beer.

Then, should cookbooks really be teaching us about food safety? A new study suggests yes…

Quelque Chose Beer and Double Smoked Cheddar.

Quelque Chose Beer and Double Smoked Cheddar.



Finally, we stumble upon a match made in heaven on #blindbeerdate: Quelque Chose Beer by Unibroue and Double Smoked Cheddar.

Ep 10 - From tampons to tinctures

A controversial cocktail with Josh Lindley from Bartender Atlas, looking beyond bitterness, taste and ageing, and damiana tincture in #curiouskitchen

Josh Lindley is the co-founder of Bartender Atlas and has spent his career making drinks. We asked him what he thought of an explosively controversial "tampon cocktail". Can go too far?

Bitterness. No, not the emotional kind! Joshna has been playing with bitterness in her kitchen and walks Mirella through her findings. As it turns out, there's some solid wisdom that connects bitter flavours to the absorption of nutrients, the digestion of food, and the health of your gut.

Then, Mirella and Joshna get digging into the sad reality of how taste changes as we age. It's not pretty… but maybe there's an upside!

Finally in #curiouskitchen, Josh Lindley brings us a damiana tincture made by Dani Tatarin's Las Animas Botica.

Ep 9 - All the mouthfeels

What happened to texture, Craft beer as convenience, "is food art?", and foods seek love in #blindbeerdate

On this episode of Hot Plate we think about texture and mouthfeel of food and drink. More and more this is a secondary consideration to the industry and it's a huge problem. We talk about food and drink where the mouthfeel just isn't right, and what could solve the problem.

Next, this article discusses a curious effect breweries- industrial buildings - have on residential property values. Whereas we might not want any old factory in our back yards, counterintuitively a brewery acts as an amenity for a neighborhood.

Then, we don't name names - but there is an article floating around about food as art. In it the author allows art to completely overtake the purpose of food: nourishment. It was hard to contain our frustration long enough to record this segment… but we did learn about influential Indian Chef Gaggan Anand. Enjoy!

Finally, we have a #blindbeerdate: Mirella brings a random beer and a Joshna brings a random food to pair. We see what complements, what clashes, and, if we're lucky, discover something truly delightful!

Ep 8 - People who eat without pants
JasonRees quote.png

The dynamics of food delivery with Earlscourt BBQ's Jason Rees, cultural appropriation in restaurants, a case for mignardises, and #curiouskitchen

On this episode of Hot Plate we get riled up with Jason Rees, competitive BBQer and owner of the very tasty Earlscourt BBQ in Toronto. He pulls back the curtain on food delivery services. For restauranteurs, what has the explosion of these services meant? What are the hidden benefits and drawbacks of this innovation and disruption? And is there really a difference between the people who eat at home and the people who go to a restaurant in person?


Then, Mirella and Joshna react to recent cultural appropriation debates in the restaurant business:  Gordon Ramsay's company is in the news defending his new London restaurant. Is he right or wrong to call is "authentic asian"? Where and how do we draw the line on what is appropriation and what is not?

Three mignardises courtesy of Chef Joshna Maharaj.

Three mignardises courtesy of Chef Joshna Maharaj.


Finally Joshna puts on her hospitality hat to make a compelling case for mignardises, only to find Mirella turning her nose up at free post-desserts desserts! But all is mended with a drink in a special follow-up #curiouskitchen, where we test vodka made with milk permeate: Vodkow from Dairy Distillery.

Ep 7 - Hot Plate unwrapped

Food over-packaging with special guest Michelle Genttner, no-waste menus at home, alcohol and creativity, and a #weirdwidget

We welcome our first ever guest! Michelle Genttner from Unboxed Market knows food packaging inside and out. She and her partner have opened Toronto's first Zero Waste Grocery Store. Michelle joins Mirella and Joshna to talk over-packaging, and why it's even happening in the first place.

Michelle Genttner quote.png

Also, there's a "no waste" menu trend,  hot now in restaurants. But is it really just a conversation starter for what can happen at home? Currently the average Canadian household wastes 140kg of food each year! Want to do better? We share some ways to pay more attention to what's in your fridge.

Then, An endearing New York Times article profiles two scientists who meet weekly for a drink and a chat. Can alcohol really fuel creativity? They wrote 10 books together, ostensibly because of their drinking. What can you do with a drink in hand?  

Finally, Hot Plate tests a very cheap #weirdwidget which delivers the goods - and the zest!

Ep 6 - The food insecurity crisis

A closer look at how Canadians eat - food insecurity and Canada's food guide. Then, distilling food scraps, and where's the booze in #curiouskitchen?

Visit www.hotplatepod.com for links to people, articles, recipes, and products.

In this episode Mirella and Joshna delve into recent changes to Canada's Food Guide, which was revised in January 2019 by Health Canada. Aside a move away from meat, what changed? What do the changes mean about how we eat? What's realistic to expect? Are there any encouraging trends?

Then, a wakeup call. In the months following the Food Guide revision it's been revealed just how many Canadian are "food insecure" and the numbers are horrifying. How can we do better? Is it even possible for Canadians to follow the new Food Guide? Read The Walrus article for yourself: Food Security is our new national crisis.

Finally, how food waste is being turned into spirits! Check out this we talk about on the show:

Boozy beverage from food waste and Researchers make beer from sushi rice.

And on #curiouskitchen Mirella and Joshna test a non-alcoholic spirit: Garden 108 by Seedlip

Ep 5 - How do you solve a problem like Umami?

The fifth taste, first responder baking, an odd thing to use in a dark room, and a #weirdwidget.

Mirella and Joshna discuss the under-represented fifth taste: Umami. It's that funky (but not salty) taste you get in some of your favorite foods, but you might not know about it. Where do we find umami and how do we explain what it is?

First responder baking is a timely phenomenon. More people are baking to relieve their stress and help their friends cope with the world. Mirella doesn't find baking stress-relieving at all, but to Joshna there's nothing like a relaxing chocolate cake! (check out the quick cake recipe).

Kodak and Dogfish Head Brewery have developed a beer together - which can develop photographs! Mirella and Joshna dig into the details. Check out Stefan Schaufelberger’s photographs developed in beer.

And finally, Joshna has a *crush* on this dangerous #weirdwidget.

Ep 4 - The vegetarian solution

The vegetarian solution, pouring problems, a #weirdwidget, and #curiouskitchen.

Mirella and Joshna tackle two contentious subjects in the worlds of food and drink: 

Making space for vegans and vegetarians in a world of meat-heavy menus. Are we unrealistic in our expectations of meat-eaters? And are we collectively obsessed with putting protein first? How do we make a shift we need to make for environmental responsibility?

Then, are self-serve beer taps a fad? Or are they here to stay? This could be a game-changer for the beverage industry but is it a potentially dangerous? 

On #weirdwidget, we test little gadget Canadians are sentimentally attached to. 

And finally, can Mirella and Joshna handle an intense but intensely popular Chinese spirit? They test out Baijiu on #curiouskitchen

Ep 3 - Serving up more than just food

Wellness beers, food banks serving up more than just food, and #curiouskitchen.

Are wellness beers adding anything to the conversation? On this episode we weight the pros and cons of drinking for a healthier tomorrow.

Then, how food banks are offering culinary skills training. How this change relationships to food and change lives too. 

And finally, reactions to an Indian carrot-based treat in #curiouskitchen.