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Chicago-based food podcast Overserved spotlights homegrown talent

Chicago-based food podcast Overserved spotlights homegrown talent
Photograph: Courtesy Mess Marketing

Chicago food journalists Ari Bendersky and Maggie Hennessy have teamed up to make your commute sound a little more delicious with their new podcast, Overserved, which features long-form interviews with some of the city's most notable chefs, including John Manion of El Che Steakhouse & Bar, Jennifer Kim of Passerotto and Erick Williams of Virtue.

The hosts' names should sound familiar—Bendersky is the former editor of Eater Chicago and a regular reporter for Crain's Chicago Business, while Hennessy is Time Out Chicago's (that's us!) restaurant and bar critic as well as a contributor to publications like Chicago and Plate magazines. The duo met a few years back and came up with the idea to launch a podcast to feed food-obsessed listeners deep-dive interviews with industry professionals.

"We wanted to create a platform to get to know the human beings behind these spots—how and why they came to this business, what makes them tick, what keeps them up at night, what they do on their rare days off, what they keep in their fridge," Hennessy says. "By giving people such as chefs, cooks, bartenders, coffee roasters, brewers, sommeliers and farmers space to share their multidimensional personalities, we'll hopefully help listeners appreciate and better understand the whole food world and its intersections with everything from culture to politics, race and class."

Overserved is currently four episodes in, and new episodes drop weekly on Tuesday via iTunes, Spotify and Stitcher. Bendersky and Hennessy teased a few additional names you can expect to hear from on this season of the podcast, including Adrienne Lo of Fat Rice and Paul Kahan of One Off Hospitality. Listeners will be treated to intimate chats with household names like Stephanie Izard as well as up-and-coming talent they might not otherwise be exposed to. Topics of conversation span from food waste and inclusivity to recipes and parenting.

"This isn’t just about the bigger-named chefs who always get the attention," Bendersky says. "Yes, we'll have them on, but we also want to talk to independent folks from all parts of the city who often get overlooked by the mainstream press. Everyone has a story to tell, and we want to hear them."

Overserved is produced locally by West Town design and development studio Mess, with a helping hand from director of content Ernest Wilkins, a former reporter for RedEye and a freelance writer for publications like Complex, Pitchfork and GQ. Though the operation is deeply rooted in Chicago, Bendersky and Hennessy hope to grow their audience beyond city and state lines.

"Chicago is a world-class dining city and the rest of the world needs to find out why," Bendersky says.

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