Get To Know Gourmand: The Podcast for Today’s Foodies

Meet Alaina Chou and Maggie Tang, the cohosts of Gourmand – their passion project turned podcast that highlights  the stories of leaders in the food industry (the first episode is out! Listen on  Spotify or Apple Podcasts)! Brought together by their love of food – they did in fact meet through Penn Appetit – juniors Alaina and Maggie created a podcast to bridge the gap between interested students and people working in hospitality, and also to raise awareness on some of the most important issues in the industry. 

Alaina comes from a big food family. She grew up with her mom cooking a lot, and quickly found her own love for baking. Her parents encouraged her to start her baking blog, Crumbs and Nibbles, when she was thirteen to funnel the extra time on her hands and her fun baking adventures into something productive. Through the blog, she discovered that food was a world she loved so much and might even want to work in one day. From developing recipes and running photoshoots to writing content and marketing on social media, Alaina’s blog introduced her to not only baking new recipes, but also to the food media side of the industry.

Maggie’s love of food began when she attended Midland, a small boarding school on 2,860 acres of wilderness in California. Inspired by BG Kresse, the school’s chef and kitchen manager, Maggie quickly became involved in the farm-to-table program, started baking weekly desserts, and cooked up Sunday Pancake breakfast with BG. She loved the communal aspect of food — both sharing and making it with her community. The best part was seeing people’s happy smiles when they ate her creations. During her senior year, she wrote her thesis on the emotional aspect of fine dining and even interned at Atelier Crenn, a 2 Michelin Star restaurant at the time. Since then, she’s been obsessed with the world of hospitality.

Maggie and Alaina’s brainchild Gourmand is a fun food podcast for people who like to eat. On their weekly episodes, they speak to different industry leaders about their upbringing, fun experiences during their career, and insights on issues in the industry such food sustainability. They started working on this podcast in May right as the pandemic first hit and have been working on bringing it to life over the past few months. Gourmand’s first season is all about Sweet Treats and the people behind the most delicious creations. If you’re curious about the creator behind the sprinkle covered treats all over your Instagram feed (Hint: Milk Bar!!) or about the chefs behind some of the world’s most intricate desserts, then you’re in for a treat!

The duo hopes to not only share the stories of the people behind the most beloved companies, but also encourage their audience to support the industry, especially during the pandemic. Their goal is to eventually get more students involved at schools across the nation – so far they’ve reached out to students at schools such as Cornell and UCSB to join the Gourmand team, aiming to eventually build a community of people passionate about making an impact in this industry. While not every school has a unique club like Penn Appetit, all these schools do have many aspiring foodies.

They’ve already found awesome people who have been working on the Gourmand team with them, Eion Rogers and Dide Olmez, to help produce the episodes, as well as manage strategy and partnerships. 

Each week, there will be  exciting takeovers, giveaways, and recipes on the Gourmand Instagram . Look out for all of this, and more exciting episodes coming soon.

Lightning Round

Most underrated food/drink spot in Philly:

MT: Baology

AC: The Asian markets in Philly

Best family recipe/food-related tradition:

MT: Gathering around the dinner table and eating hotpot with my family 

AC: My family’s yummy feast on the Jewish Holidays, and my dad’s Chinese home cooking

Favorite Penn dining hall meal/experience:

MT: The gourmet dinners at New College House

AC: The roasted sweet potatoes at Hill 

Favorite weird/hot-take food combos

MT: I love vanilla gelato with aged balsamic vinegar. Also tajin and oranges

AC: I will eat tahini with absolutely anything. Try tahini on oatmeal!