A passion for food

by Emily Remaklus

“Food isn’t going anywhere, it’s bigger than ever!” exclaimed Chef Saundra Irvine in a recent interview. And as the foodie scene gains popularity in the Toledo area, Chef Saundra’s passion for cooking and enthusiasm helps others with their culinary endeavors.

From an early age, Irvine was interested in the culinary arts. Her family was in the restaurant business, and though her Ohio University degree is in journalism, cooking became her passion.

She has worked in the Toledo area for many years now, memorably from her cooking demos at The Andersons. Now, Irvine can be heard on WCWA 1230-AM Toledo radio during the “The Fat Cat Cooking Show.”  She stated, “Every city had a cooking show. When I was approached to do the show, I did some research and thought Toledo should have one.” The weekly program, co-hosted by Jim Park, is on-air from noon to 1pm every Saturday, and can be heard across the country through iHeartRadio. Each week features a different topic, from how to cook and eat a lobster to what to look for in kitchen tools.

“The show is all about fun and giving people great inspiration to cook,” Chef Saundra said. She and Jim Park host the show, and also host a round table with special guests who are experts on a particular topic each week. The show has featured local farmers, wine connoisseurs, chocolate experts, and bakers, among other guests. Nationally recognized guests appear on the program as well, often by arrangements through  the National Restaurant Association in Chicago.

 Another major part of the show are “Food Field Trips,” where nearby establishments are highlighted. One recent segment was about the Zingerman’s food shops in Ann Arbor; another to Turkeyfoot Creek Creamery in Wauseon, which Chef Saundra claims has some of the best goat cheese in the country. 

With such a wide variety of topics, Irvine said that trying to put a vast amount of information into an hour-long program is one of the greatest difficulties in food radio. She focuses on making sure the show is “valuable in a fun way.” There is a specific synergy used in the show so that it is informative, but also involves humor and music to make it even more entertaining for listeners. 

“We’re here to enrich peoples’ lives in food . . . you don’t have to love to cook,  you just have to love to eat,” she said.

“The Fat Cat Cooking Show” runs from 12:00-1pm every Saturday on WCWA 1230 (The Fox Sports channel) and can be heard over iHeartRadio on the web. Visit “The Fat Cat Cooking Show” on Facebook for more information or for recipes by Chef Saundra.

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