(L-R) James Rigato, Ann Delisi

WDET-FM 101.9’s Ann Delisi, host of Essential Music, and award-winning chef James Rigato of Hazel Park’s Mabel Gray restaurant formed a friendship several years ago over their mutual love of food and music. They have since collaborated on cooking events and talked about music and food on WDET’s airwaves.

The duo’s latest joint venture — a broadcast and podcast series called Essential Cooking— is a monthly one-hour broadcast and bimonthly podcast in which they interview a wide array of food industry experts, talk about the history of food and food culture, take audience questions and inspire people to cook. Given their mutual love of music, what to listen to while cooking and eating will certainly find its way into the conversation.

“For years, Chef James Rigato and I have talked about creating a podcast about food, those who create it and its rich history,”Delisi said. “With people forced to stay at home and cook more than ever before, we thought this would be the right time to provide a platform in which listeners can be exposed to how exciting cooking can be, give them access to some of the best chefs around and involve them in a wide array of topics focusing on food.”

The hour-long Essential Cooking broadcast launches Friday, July 10 from 1 to 2 p.m., and airs once per month on the second Friday on WDET. Guests on the inaugural show are sommelier Christopher Hunter, senior wine associate at Vino Volo in Detroit, who believes wine is art, and Pashon Murray, co-founder of Detroit Dirt, the leading model of organic waste recovery and reuse whose mission is to drive forward a low-carbon economy.

The Essential Cooking podcast will launch in late-July, with two episodes released each month. Each 20- minute podcast is themed around a particular topic relating to food, food history and people who create it.

For more information on the podcasts and broadcasts check out the Essential Cooking series page on wdet.org. Listeners will be encouraged to participate by calling in and submitting questions in advance. Recipes and guest chef’s bios and links to resources referenced on the programs will also be made available.

The Essential Cooking broadcast and podcast is an extension of the popular Essential Cooking series of live events, which have been key fundraising and engagement activities for WDET since 2014.

Original music for the podcast was created by The Mallett Brothers. Essential Cooking is supported by Great Lakes Wine and Spirits.

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