EAT WITH YOUR EARS FIRST
Ben Getz leads his Atlanta food podcast with consistency and candid conversations
STORY: Grace Huseth
PHOTO: Stephen Payne
NPR podcast junkie and foodie Ben Getz was seeking more podcasts to listen to. When he searched for “Atlanta” and “food,” nothing popped up. So he set his table, this time with recording software and not silverware, to capture the oral history of Atlanta’s food scene.
The Atlanta Foodcast is a glimpse into the background and day-today life of the people who feed our city. Each week, Virginia Highlands resident Getz publishes a fresh episode averaging 45 minutes in which he leads open conversations about chefs’ zigzagging journeys and culinary entrepreneurs’ big breaks.
“The people on the podcast show you the tapestry of what really makes the food industry what it is,” Getz says. “If you want to get a great snapshot of who these people are and what makes the lifeblood of Atlanta’s culinary community, it’s these folks.”
The Atlanta Foodcast could focus on recipes and restaurants, but Getz is more interested in the people behind the food. He opens every interview with the same question: “Who cooked for you growing up, and what kind of cook was he or she?” Once a storytelling space is established, listeners get a peek into the personality of Getz’s foodie guests who have included Steven Satterfield of Miller Union, Judith Winfrey of PeachDish, and Todd Richards of Richard’s Southern Fried, just to name a few.
Getz’s rustic, whisk forearm tattoo shows he’s been rolling up his sleeves to pitch in around the kitchen his whole life. Both of his parents became culinary entrepreneurs who started a catering business in their dining room. By day, Getz works in marketing and spends his weekends hosting podcast recordings at restaurants or at Ponce City Market, just a short walk from the home he shares with his wife and two young children.
With no formal training in broadcast, Getz made his podcast from scratch by emulating the free-flowing interview style he enjoys listening to. And by echoing his gregarious father, he dishes up a variety of personalities on his show. “My father was a steadfast connector of people. I’ve always been very much like him,” Getz says. “I have never met a stranger, and I’m never at a loss for how to strike up a conversation with someone.”
Season 1 launched in March, but the show had been brewing since April 2017. After establishing his passion project for months, Getz was confident he could satisfy his listeners with fresh content each week. A total of 34 episodes are planned for the inaugural season.
“The first step to making a podcast is consistency: If you decide to make a weekly podcast, make a weekly podcast,” says Getz, adding that consistency also establishes credibility. “I may never have the chance to do this again, so I might as well commit to doing this the best that I can.”
The Atlanta Foodcast will have a new menu of sound bites for Season 2 with a variety of ways to listen, and maybe even watch. Getz plans to host his first panel discussion this month with guests from Season 1 discussing their thoughts on the slow food movement.
But promoting the podcast is not something Getz prioritizes. Just like good food, the podcast should speak for itself. “I have so much confidence in the content of the podcast. It’s not about me,” Getz says. “I want The Atlanta Foodcast to be a gift that I give back to the industry that I love the most and the city that I live in and love.”