The Best Food Podcasts
Having a podcast in 2021 is what having a Tumblr dedicated to moustaches was to 2012. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when we, as a society, reached "peak podcast" – it was probably around the time that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced they’d started one – but I, for one, am infinitely glad that they’ve infiltrated our listening habits and routines so robustly. Because I bloody love podcasts. Especially food podcasts.
Not only have podcasts introduced me to more mattress brands than I ever knew existed but I’ve found that food podcasts, in particular, have allowed me to further develop my knowledge of food and drink culture in an easily digestible format. Going for a long walk and listening to the bizarre history of corn flakes might not sound like everyone’s cup of tea but if you’re intrigued to know about how that breakfast cereal was initially created to be served to patients in an American sanitarium, then you’re probably on the right website. And you’re probably also on the lookout for a delicious food podcast to listen to while you cook one of our equally delicious recipes.
One of the benefits of the podcast is that it's a relatively easy medium to start. All you really need is access to a microphone and some basic editing software. While that low entry point might mean that the market is slightly over-saturated (apols to Harry and Meg) it also makes the podcasting scene more egalitarian. Podcasts have given a platform to a multitude of people who might not otherwise have allowed their voices to be heard by the mainstream media. Food podcasts like Take A Bao and A Hungry Society have been able to democratise that landscape and offer up a slew of listening options for whatever niche you’re interested in. From heavy hitters like Off Menu to newcomers like The MSG Pod, these are the best food podcasts out there.
A Bit of a Mouthful
If you're in the mood for a podcast that'll fill your ears with a warming, moreish portion of food chat then A Bit of a Mouthful should be on your radar. Yes, I might be a little bit bias seeing as this pod features two of our very own MOB Kitchen team members but I actually don't even like Michael or Sophie and I still think this is one of the best food podcasts out there. Every episode will provide you with an ample amount of genuine cooking advice as well as a belly ache from all the laugher. Give it a listen.
Extra Spicy is the food podcast to listen to if you want to get a regularly entertaining and edifying insight into the weird and wonderful happenings of the food world. San Francisco Chronicle food writers and columnists Soleil Ho and Justin Phillips are the hosts of this podcast and it’s a combination of their food expertise with their decent bants which acts as the edible glue that holds the whole thing together.
This food and recipe podcast/mini-series from Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway might already have finished its short and sweet run but that doesn’t mean you can’t go back and enjoy all of the episodes in its archive. Each insightful episode tackles a different cooking conundrum with everything from questions like “what can I make with tinned sardines?” to “what the hell is a kohlrabi?” getting the Home Cooking treatment along the way. Come for the food fun, stay for Hrishi’s puns.
Recipe Club is a weekly cooking podcast from chef Dave Chang. Each week, Chang and his co-host Chris Ying are joined by a special guest as they all compete to cook three different recipes of the same dish, debate which one works the best, and ultimately declare the winning recipe. It’s heaps of fun listening to how different food experts tackle classic recipes (with Chang often displaying the grace and subtlety of an NFL tight-end with a microwave fetish) and you might even learn a thing or two along the way.
Life on a Plate
Life on a Plate is a brand-new food podcast from Waitrose and listening to is a bit like strolling the aisles of the glossy supermarket itself. By which I mean it's all warm and comforting and very, very nice. Hosts Jimi Famurewa and Alison Oakervee know their stuff and are joined each episode by a different guest to discuss what food means to them. Episodes are just the right length and the perfect thing to whack on when you’re preparing your dinner.
Desert Island Dishes
Taking the concept of “what if Desert Island Discs but food?” and running with it, Desert Island Dishes is a lovely little podcast from chef Margie Nomura. Guests are encouraged to dissect their lives through the dishes that have meant the most to them over the years. There’s already a huge number of episodes in the bank and this is without a doubt one of the best food podcasts for those who get misty-eyed just thinking about their parent’s shepherd’s pie.
Singer-songwriter Jessie Ware and her mum, Lennie, have nailed the feeling of going to dinner round your mate’s mum’s house with their Table Manners podcast. Inviting guests round to share a meal with them at the Ware household, the two are wonderful interviewers who are able to eke out fascinating anecdotes and stories through the simple means of great chat. Guests have included everyone from George Alagiah to Dua Lipa, and you’d be a fool not to add Table Manners to your listening list ASAP.
Out To Lunch
Jay Rayner, who has already blagged one of the world’s best jobs as the Observer's restaurant critic, has only gone and got himself another wonderful revenue stream with Out To Lunch: a podcast where he wines various celebrities and personalities in a restaurant of his own choosing to find out what they’re like. It’s an excellent and disarming format that often leads the interview subjects to reveal some fairly juicy anecdotes. The top-shelf booze that Jay plies his guests with probably helps.
Dan Pashman’s podcast isn’t for foodies, it’s for eaters. The Sporkful has been going strong for over 10 years now and I’m confident in saying that it’s still one of the best food podcasts out there. Whether it’s through a serious conversation on the importance of diversity and representation in food styling or a less-serious conversation about the perfect circumference of a jelly doughnut, The Sporkful never ceases to offer up a hearty slice of food-based entertainment into your ears.
Food Behind Bars
The Food Behind Bars podcast is a nutritious and eye-opening food podcast that shines a light on the inequalities and injustices prevalent in the British prison food system. Lucy Vincent started Food Behind Bars, the UK’s only charity dedicated to transforming prison food in 2016, and this eight-episode podcast explores why Lucy decided to start the charity and why campaigning for an improvement in prison food remains such an important issue today. Vital listening.
Milk Street Radio
Milk Street Radio is an award-winning public radio show and food podcast which is the podcast equivalent of eating your vegetables. If those vegetables have been lovingly sautéed in a boatload of butter, that is. Host Christopher Kimball doesn’t shy from asking the bigger questions about how food affects our lives and culture but he’s also not above answering the smaller questions you might have about the best technique to boil an egg. Fair warning that isn’t a podcast for those who have a vague interest in food, though, MOB. This one is for the obsessives.
A Hungry Society
Food writer and photographer Korsha Wilson created her brilliant food podcast, A Hungry Society, in order to foster more diverse and inclusive conversations about the culinary world. Conversations which aren’t heard often enough in the mainstream media. Wilson succeeded. A Hungry Society is a joyous podcast; a podcast where interviewees are encouraged to tell their own stories and their own personal experiences; and a podcast where you can really understand how intrinsically food and culture are linked.
Hugh's Joy Of Food
Hugh's Joy Of Food is a new podcast on the scene that sets out to celebrate the wonderful things about eating. You won't find cynical hot takes on this feel-good podcast, MOB. Hugh's Joy Of Food is, as its name would suggest, an absolute joy to listen to. The host, Hugh Smithson-Wright has a got a voice as rich as a hollandaise sauce and a passion for all things edible that you can't help but get caught in. A salve for your ears in these dour times.
Come For Supper
Come For Supper is one of the best food podcasts going because of how quick, easy, and breezy it is. In every episode, host Alexandra Dudley sits down with a different guest – be they an artist, actor, author or chef – to discuss how they like to serve their supper. Listening to Come For Supper is a lot like when you’d overhear an intriguing natter on the table next to yours and end up getting more emotionally invested in their conversation than your own. Plus, our very own Ben Lebus was a guest one time.
Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley’s Gastropod is a food podcast that never ceases to amaze me. The sheer depth and breadth of research that goes into every episode (whether it’s an investigation into the origins of the garlic bulb or a historical analysis of how carrots became orange) is nothing short of admirable. If you want a podcast that’ll arm you with a neverending arsenal of “Hey! Did you know that…” food facts, Gastropod is the one for you.
The Filling with Anna Barnett
I'm a sucker for wholesome food chat and The Filling with Anna Barnett is a podcast that's fit-to-burst with just that. Each weekly episode features host Anna Barnett heading into the kitchen of a celebrity guest to find out more about their approach to life through the medium of food. It's funny, insightful and – with guests that have ranged from chef Tomos Parry to not-chef Russell Tovey – you can always be ensured of something a little different each time around. Give it a listen on your next long walk.
A Hotdog is a Sandwich
A Hotdog is a Sandwich is a food podcast that throws out questions as controversial as its title on a weekly basis. Hosts Josh Scherer and Nicole Hendizadeh have excellent on-mic chemistry and it’s hard not to find yourself smiling as they discuss, debate, and dissect the internet’s most controversial culinary questions. Is deep dish pizza really a casserole? I don’t know! Is A Hotdog is a Sandwich one of the best food podcasts around because it attempts to answer those wonderfully deranged quandaries? Yes!
BBC The Food Programme
A true classic of the genre, The Food Programme sets out every week to investigate and examine every aspect of the food we eat from where it comes from to how we dispose of it as waste. The Food Programme should really be your first port of call for an informative and succinct food podcast to keep you company while you do the dishes.
The Splendid Table
Award-winning food journalist Francis Lam is the host of The Splendid Table and it’s Lam’s passion for food, and the stories you can tell through it, that makes The Splendid Table one of the best food podcasts of all-time. Lam’s mission is to champion fresh voices and spark surprising conversations at the intersection of food, people and culture. It’s safe to say that he’s achieved just that.
Table Talk is a lovely little food podcast. A proper “pop this in your ears for some pleasant food chat while you pretend to enjoy exercise” kind of podcast. Hosted by Lara Prendergast and Olivia Potts, Table Talk rolls with a simple interview format where notable guests (like Alison Roman. Dolly Alderton, and Ian Rankin) come on to chat about their life, through the food and drink that means the most to them. It’s good. Listen to it!
The Kitchen is On Fire
The Kitchen is On Fire (or TickyOff to those who are ITK) is on hiatus at the time of writing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy one of the best food podcasts in existence by tucking into their back catalogue. There've been plenty of tasty episodes over the years which are worth trawling back through and tossing haphazardly into your eardrums; just about everyone considered important to the London food scene has made a guest appearance on this food podcast at some point and it’s an absolute must-listen for any restaurant nerds out there. Of which I gladly include myself.
The MSG Pod
The MSG Pod is a podcast where hosts MiMi Aye and Huong Black have set out to explore food, cooking, and what it means to be a second-generation immigrant in the UK today. This podcast is still fairly new but guests have already included big-hitters like Evelyn Mok, Tim Anderson, and even Nigella bloody Lawson. That being said, it’s the MSG (mildly salacious gossip) and banter between the two hosts that’ll have you coming back for more.
Take a Bao
Loh Yi Jun (or Jun as he is best known) is a former chemical engineering studio-cum-recipe developer who has successfully created one of the most interesting food podcasts in the scene. Take A Bao is a show dedicated to Asian food, and an exploration into its rich diversity, that aims to give voice to the myriad food stories of Asia. It’s large in its aims and pristine in its delivery; episodes on topics ranging from rice and durian to the phenomenon of disappearing Malaysian coffee houses are wonderful examples of how the podcast can work as a storytelling medium.
Have you ever asked yourself what your dream meal would be? The starter, main, side, and dessert that you’d eat if money (and time and reality) were no option? You probably have. You are on a food and cooking website, after all. Comedians Ed Gambler and James Acaster’s podcast asks guests what their dream meal would be each and every episode of Off Menu and the resulting conversation often sits somewhere between lighthearted entertainment and Bacchanalian carnage. This is one of the best food podcasts and is regularly at the top of the download charts for a very good reason. It’s brilliant.
Every week on Spilled Milk, hosts Molly Wizenberg and Matthew Amster-Burton start with a food-related topic and talk about it until the wheels properly start to come off the conversational jalopy in the most wonderful way possible. You’d think they’d have exhausted all possible topics after nearly 500 episodes but every week they seem to find something new to argue over. This is a food podcast for anyone who’s ever got into a heated conversation about whether you should pre-butter a slice of peanut butter toast.
Hoovering is a podcast about eating where host Jessica Fostekew chats to a guest about all things related to food and drink. The conversations are always hilarious and regularly enlightening in what they reveal about our individual eating habits. Hoovering is one of the best food podcasts to consume when you want some frank and delicious chat all up in your system.
A podcast about the life-changing power of a good meal, Lecker isn’t afraid to dive into the nitty-gritty of everything to do with eating. Every episode of this quality food podcast is produced and hosted by Lucy Dearlove with topics like cooking and ADHD getting some much-deserved air time. Whether you want to learn more about how our eating habits affect our daily life or simply want to hear about the very best lockdown cocktails, Lecker is an enriching listen.
Food Tribe, in host Georgie Creaven's own words, is a show all about the people doing great things in the world of food. Guests have ranged from hot shit chefs like Douglas McMaster to cookbook authors like Chetna Makan but what you'll get from an episode of Food Tribe is a sense of unrelenting passion. Georgie loves food culture and her enthusiasm shines in every interview she conducts. Give it a listen if you're the sort of person that gets inordinately excited by the idea of small plates and sustainable produce.