For Episode 100 of the podcast, my guest is Dan Ahdoot. He’s a standup comic, actor, writer, producer, and podcast host. He’s a national headliner who’s a frequent guest on The Tonight Show, and is currently acting on Netflix’s Cobra Kai. He's garnered fans as a character actor on the shows Bajillion Dollar Propertie$, Shameless, Workaholics, and Disney Channel’s Kickin’ It.
On his podcast Green Eggs and Dan, he takes a new look at “you are what you eat,” and brings listeners in on conversations about food, life, and more, with some of his most entertaining friends. Not your typical food show, Green Eggs and Dan is the type of food podcast you’d make with your friends around the table, roasting more than just food.
Dan’s show has hit #1 on the podcast charts, and his guests have included Jacques Pepin, Ruth Reichl, Padma Lakshmi, Henry Winkler, Paul F Tompkins, and Iliza Schlesinger. Starting in August, you can see him in a brand new Food Network cooking competition show called Raid the Fridge, and he’ll have a food memoir coming out soon called Lost Sole.
On the show, we talk about Persian food and cooking, luxury food ingredients, and the dining scene in general. You’ll hear how he went from pre-med to stand-up and acting, and now podcasting. And as a fan of Cobra Kai, I had to know if he was Team Daniel or Team Johnny.
Looking to hire employees for your restaurant? This week's sponsor is Savory Jobs, a job site only for restaurants. For just $50, get unlimited job postings for an entire year. Use discount code SAVORY10 to save 10%.
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Welcome to the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast. I'm your host Chris Spear. On the show. I have conversations with culinary entrepreneurs and people in the food and beverage industry who took a different route. The're caterers, research chefs, personal chefs, cookbook authors, food truckers, farmers, cottage bakers and all sorts of culinary renegades. I, myself, belong to the personal chef category as I started my own personal chef business perfect little bites 10 years ago. And while I started working in kitchens in the early 90s I've literally never worked in a restaurant. Hey, everyone. I want to start by saying that I'm super excited to bring you Episode 100 of the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast. In reality, I guess it's just a number but it feels like such a milestone and I wanted to make note of it. Also be doing some awesome free giveaways on social media this week, and I'd love for you to share this episode. I also want to remind you that we still have the Patreon and you can go to patreon.com/ChefsWithoutRestaurants to support the podcast and the organization. This week, my guest is Dan Ahdoot. He's a stand up comic, actor, writer, producer and podcast host. He's a national headliner who's a frequent guest on The Tonight Show, and is currently acting on Netflix's Cobra Kai. He's garnered fans as a character actor on the shows Bajillion Dollar Propertie$, Shameless, Workaholics and Disney Channel's Kicking It. On his podcast Green Eggs and Dan he takes a new look at "you are what you eat", and brings listeners in on the conversations about food life and more with some of his most entertaining friends. Not your typical food show Green Eggs and Dan is the type of food podcast you'd make with your friends around the table roasting more than just food. Dan's show is hit number one on the podcast charts and his guests have included Jacques Pepin, Ruth Reichl, Padma Lakshmi, Henry Winkler, Paul F. Tompkins and Iliza Schlesinger. Starting in August, you can see him in a brand new Food Network cooking competition show called Raid the Fridge. On the show, we talk about person food and cooking luxury food ingredients and the dining scene in general. You'll hear how he went from pre med to stand up and acting. And now podcasting. And as a fan of Cobra Kai, I had to know if he was team Daniel or team Johnny. Dan's hilarious and you should definitely check out his stand up, especially if he's coming to a town near you. Be sure to listen to his podcast, Green Eggs and Dan. And now a quick word from our sponsor Savory Jobs. Are you shocked at what it costs to post a job advertisement? Instead, imagine a job site for restaurants only where you could post as many jobs as you wanted. And it only cost 50 bucks. Not for each job you post, but for all the jobs you post and for an entire year. Well, my sponsor Savory Jobs has made that a reality. They've launched a revolutionary, easy to use job site just for restaurants. And it only costs $50 for unlimited job posts for an entire year. Go to savoryjobs.com and discover the job site that's shaking up the restaurant industry. And for our loyal listeners, use the code SAVORY10 and get 10% off your listing. Forget the big corporate job sites. Join the revolution at savoryjobs.com and use code SAVORY10 for 10% off. And now, on with the show. Thanks so much for listening and have a great week. Hey Dan, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for coming on.Dan Ahdoot:
Thank you for having me, Chris. This is very exciting.Chris Spear:
I'm really excited to have you on the show today. This is a little different type of show for many of my listeners.Dan Ahdoot:
Yeah. I am not a professional chef. I am a part owner of a restaurant so I am a non-chef with a restaurant.Chris Spear:
Well, there you go. Also, did you have a restaurant called Falafel? Phil's at some point,Dan Ahdoot:
Well, that that, unfortunately has gone out of business. But yes, I did. I was an actor on a Disney show. And I owned a restaurant called falafel Phil's. And it was kind of a racist character. For the moment. It was for the time it was okay. But maybe looking back on it. It was a questionable questionable choice by Disney. But you know, it helped it helped pay for this podcast equipment. SoChris Spear:
yeah, I'm a kid of the 80s. And I want to show all my all my favorite things to my kids. And I go back sometimes and watch these things, even stuff from the 90s. And you're like, I don't know so much about that. Like, oh, man, I just watched like five years ago. I just watched stepbrothers the other night, and that had a lot of questionable stuff in it, too. And that that was not that long ago. Yeah. Yeah. It'll be interesting to see what holds up from today. The things they're making. If that stuff's gonna be bad, like, I don't know. I know. Well, so yeah. You're a comedian. You're an actor. You're a writer. And now you're a podcaster. I want to kind of hear a little bit about your career path and how that started. You went to school? Were you pre med? Is that right? Yeah, I went to Johns Hopkins. I was pre med, and I got into medical school, and then decided to give my parents a heart attack and go into stand up comedy. And, yeah, so I moved to New York, and I started doing stand up in the early 2000s. And at the same time, the food scene in New York back then was amazing. It was exploding. It was like they were just coming. It was like they were revolutionary for all of America. Like it seemed like the chefs in New York in the early 2000s were, were the kernel of what you see now every in every city in America, which is like, you know, these regional cuisine hyperlocal that whole movement sort of was starting in New York at the time. So I was a poor stand up comic, but any Penny I made went to, you know, wildly different, or April Bloomfield, or Marissa Vitaly, or like, all these, all these people who were, you know, starting up the food scene there. And I just got obsessed with food. Yeah, that's when I really fell in love with it. I mean, I graduated from Canary school in 98. And, you know, I was poor, because I was working in food service. But every bit of money that I could scrounge was spent on going out to eat and just kind of seeing what was out there. Because that was, you know, kind of really pre internet, right? Like, when I was in school, I mean, we only had very, very basic internet, you didn't really know what was going on. But by the early 2000s, you started to see all this stuff like, oh, wow, this is what they're doing in New York City. Like, I grew up in the Boston area. And you started to become more aware of what's going on in Chicago in LA. And I was just like, wow, like, I've got to start traveling and going to all these places. Yeah. And it also seemed like, back then, like in the 80s and 90s, you either had insane fine dining temples, like lists, Eric or Danielle, you know, these, these, these restaurants that you couldn't get a reservation at and you had to have a suit and tie to go to walk into or you had like fast food? I mean, there was like, No, there was no happy medium, there was no casual fine dining. And I think that that's what was being created at the time. And, you know, arguably, still I you know, in my opinion, I would take a good casual fine dining restaurant over you know, a tasting menu nine times out of 10 I'd say I say that on the podcast all the time. Like I really love you know, if we're talking like Michelin rated type places like maybe like a good one star or even a two You know, I think the last time I wore a suit to a restaurant was I went to Liberty den because that was someplace I really wanted to go Yeah, you know, they have like their mandatory jacket requirement there and I can remember doing that and I was like it just felt so stuffy and formal like the food was really good but I just you know, I want to go to a place where they're having some really awesome food but it's a much more laid back environment and once in a while it's it's fun it's fun to feel like Michael Bloomberg for a night but I do think that in general yeah I I'm gonna go so far as to say I live in the biblical Vermont's that's that's that's my love the big Vermont's. But yeah, bigger modern one star Michelin are my are my jam two star, maybe, but the three is, it's like, I think, I don't know, in general, there's so much other stuff that they need to get right. where the food is, like, you know, I'm not gonna say it's an afterthought, but it's definitely like, their service has to be on such an insane level that I just can't imagine the food being so insanely amazing, the service being so insanely amazing. There's only like a handful of restaurants that can actually pull that off. And even then, even that place like, I'd maybe put, you know, like blue Hill for me is in that category. Like, I'd want to go once every five years. You know what I mean? Yeah, for the amount of money like you know, let's say I'm going to New York City, I can dine out three nights I'd like a really solid like bib Gorman kind of plays as what it would cost us a gota per se not, you know, not knocking like per se and Thomas Keller or anything like that, but I would much rather go spend you know, like 80 to 100 bucks. for three nights and drop 300 bucks in one setting. Yeah, and the other thing is like, Look places like per se, you know, their, their price to rent out their space is so astronomical, that to an extent they have to keep this, they have to keep it safe to some extent. And this is sort of my arguments against a lot of new restaurants in New York now is that the rents are so high, that to keep it up, you can't really take a lot of chances. And you have to have a lot of safe dishes. And I started to see all these new restaurants in New York that were super expensive. You know, it's like, you got a chicken, you got your salmon, you've got your ribeye, and that's it. And it's like, Well, okay, that's, that's fine. But I don't want to spend 40 bucks for you know, a, you know, a chicken, drumstick and thigh, you know, with something that they pipette on top of like, I you know, I just need, I want I I'd much prefer to go to restaurants that are taking chances and doing weird things. And it's hard to do that when you have such high rents, which is part of the reason why I think the LA food scene kind of overtook New York, because it was cheaper to start up here. And you could go six months, without, you know, three months without making a profit and still, you know, play around. And in New York, if you go one month without making a profit, you're done. Yeah, it's a really rough business, which is why I've never wanted to have a restaurant. I mean, when I was in college, high school, I want to have a restaurant because I think that's what you did at the time. Like, you went to culinary school, you graduate, and it's like, oh, of course, I'm gonna start my path to like owning a restaurant, then you start looking into it's like, I don't know, finding the restaurants, the best decision, like, that's where I want to be. And I guess that's like, the path I didn't take. And, and I'm starting to see people now kind of aging out of that, as you know, I have a lot of friends my age who are like, 40 or so when they're like, I've kind of done the like, restaurant thing. Like, let's find another avenue to go. Yes. 1,000,000%. I mean, and the other thing is, like, especially post pandemic, you know, people have gotten so used to bringing the creature comforts of the outside world into their homes, right. So, you know, they, they're getting everything delivered their groceries, like they're watching, no one's going out to the movies anymore. I mean, that was a trend that was happening even before the pandemic. So I could totally see that people would want to, you know, bring the restaurant to their home, why not? You know, that's what I'm banking on. I mean, that's what keeps me in business. Right? So how long? How long have you been doing stand up now, and movies and stuff. I've been doing stand up for about 20 years now. 2021 years. And, you know, I started acting and writing about 10 years ago. And the food, you know, food was this constant drumbeat in the background. And I never really combined those two worlds like comedy and food, I kept them really separate. It was where I was almost like, I joke to my friends, like I was kind of in the closet about my food world to my comedy friends. And because it's you know, foodies in general, aren't the funniest people. And comedians don't really care about food. So I was kind of straddling these two worlds. And a couple years ago, I was like, Alright, that's it. I want to I need to meld these two worlds and see what happens. So I started my podcast, which is sort of a comedy food podcast. And I mean, within four months, it became the number one food podcast in America. I'm coming for you. That's that's a, that's no small feat. You know, I hit like number 23 on the charts. And that was kind of a huge deal for me. And I'm awesome. Love it. It's all about numbers and stuff. But it's like, you know, is anyone listening to me just talking to these people about food? And it's really cool when you see that? People are interested in something you have to say. But yeah, so you've got this show about looking into people's fridges, which I think is super interesting. So how does this work? You have a guest, and you ask them to take a photo of what's in their fridge? And then you guys talk about it? Is that right? Yeah, I mean, so the way this happened, the name of the podcast is green eggs, and Dan. And, you know, in Hollywood, I'd go to these Hollywood parties, or like meet celebrities and stuff. And I'm always awful at meeting celebrities, like I clam up, I don't know what to say. And inevitably, I would just start talking about food because that was my way in. And I knew a lot about food, and they'd want to talk about food. And I realized that everyone has an opinion on food, even if their opinion is that they don't care about food, that's an opinion on food. And I started to do this thing where I'd go to people's homes, and I would just like, look into their fridges and take a picture and I'd post it and and it was so invasive and awful to do, but also people really loved it. Like they loved to see what was in these people's fridges. So I was like, why don't I turn that into a podcast? And yeah, so I interview celebrities, people in general who are not in the food world, we'll probably have like one or two people a season that are in the food world. In fact, last year's was Ruth Rachel, this year's was jack papan. That's huge. I just listened to that episode last week. Yeah, it's just me fanboying out for an hour. But yeah, I mean, in general, I'm always like, you know, like next week's episode is going to be Henry Winkler like I have no idea what Henry Winkler thinks about for I'm curious, you know, so yeah, it's, it's been pretty, pretty awesome and, and the celebrities like to be on it too because they're used to being on podcast where they have to talk about their career or whatever. And just to talk about food as you know, I'm gonna have to I don't have to convince you like, people just love talking about food. And it's just, it's it's a fun new way in to their personalities. I feel like this could almost tie into like psycho analyzing, like, what can you learn about people by what they have in their fridge? And so what have what have you learned? I mean, are there any big things that have stuck out? You know, I, the great divider seems to be marriage. You can tell right away if someone's married or single by their fridge, it's the the food to booze ratio. And also just kind of the amounts of organization. You can tell if someone's single or not, and also kids, if someone has kids, you can tell right away because there's like enough jugs of milk to like, I don't know, feed like 1000 baby calves. But for some reason, there's just so much milk in those fridges. And also, I would say, almost inversely proportional to how good of a cook someone is, is how good their fridge is. I've had I've had Michelin starred chefs on my show, and you look at their fridges, and they're just god awful, disgusting fridges. So it's mindful of condiments, and it always reminds me of like, there's like a quote in the movie fight club where like, the apartment blows up. He's like, you know, a refrigerator full of condiments or something like that. And I was thinking about that, like, you just opened my door and there's like 80 jars and all the drawers. It's like me sews and sois and yuzu kosho. And like all kinds of marinades and weird stuff. It's like, I don't even know there's anything to make a meal. There's no proteins. I mean, there's some proteins, but, you know, it's all these condiments and weird projects I have going on? Yeah, I have a lot of weird stuff in my fridge right now. Because my friend I have this buddy Paul Feinstein who's a who's a cookbook author, and he's helping write this cookbook for this. This guy who's got a restaurant in LA called pizza, which is like a pretty fantastic pizza place. Anyway, he'll call me one after the recipe test and he's like, I'm coming over. I'm bringing a bunch of food. I'm like, Alright, cool. And you know, I'm expecting like, you know, pantry items, groceries fun stuff. He'll bring me He brought me like, a two gallon bag of grated aged Parmesan cheese. And then like, like two pints of chop shallots, and half a pint of like, sliced pepperoni. I'm like, What am I gonna do with this stuff? Dude, like little? Like there's worst episode of Iron Chef ever. I mean, I love pepperoni. There's a million things you can do with pepperoni. I know but I have like nothing to put it on. Like I don't even have bread in my in my house right now. I've just been traveling a lot. So but you read right? Like you're not on some weird like non by love bread. Okay, I need bread to live. Yeah, I can't have people on the podcast who promote like a no bread diet. That's like a totally weird thing. It's it's tough man in LA. It's like, you know, I'm the exception. So it's, I mean, to me, there's nothing more satisfying than good bread and butter. Oh, yeah, absolutely. And just carbs in general. Like the combination of like carbs and fat are is just amazing. Whether it's like tortilla chips and cheddar cheese or bread and butter. Just I love that combinations. Like I need some carbs and I need some fat on there. Like that's, that's all I really need to make a good meal. Yeah, it's there's, there's a like satisfaction is missing to me if, like the other night, I was just like, lazy and I made like a couple eggs. And I had some smoked salmon. And that was it. And I was like, I need I need a carbohydrate here to bring it all together. You know, just a little baguette. That's all you need. It's a little baguette. That's all I need. But the problem with a baguette is that once you bring it back to your house, like within 10 minutes, it goes bad. So totally, totally eat. You have to put it in a Ziploc bag like suck all the air out of that thing. Yeah, cuz you got like five minutes before that thing stale. Yeah, it's so true. By the way, if you're a big bread fan, one of the best breads that I think exists that no one has ever had is this Persian bread called sangak, which is a very thin flat bread that's actually literally translated sangak means little rocks, and they cook it over over a bed of tiny rocks heated up. And so you get all these little pockets of goodness and it's very thin, and it's very chewy on the inside very crispy on the outside. It is heavenly if there's a if, if you can find a Persian bakery, there's a bunch of them in LA but it's one of the best cultures breads I've ever had. And we have to check that out. I mean, I'm in the DC ish area and mo you'll find it DC has pretty much every culture represented here but I don't think I've ever had that before. Yeah, seek it out and just crisp it up and put it in the toaster. Oh my god. It's I put it up there. I put it up there with The, you know, an insanely good sourdough. And that's your background, right? Yeah. I'm Persian. I was born in America, but my my family is all from Iran. Now. Did you guys have a lot of that kind of cooking growing up? Or was it more Americanized, we're kind of like a hybrid? No, no hybrid going on at all my mom cooked super traditional Persian food she hates whenever I try to hybridize, like once I took sumac, which, you know, we use in a lot of our cooking, and I wanted to make guacamole with sumac because I was like, Oh, this will be cool. It's got the citrus flavor that you try to get from lime. Like let's try that. And she gave me so much shit. She's like, You're so dumb. You think you can put sumac in guacamole she calls a guacamole. I'm like, first of all learn how to speak English mom, and then you can Heckle me. But yeah, super traditional flavors. And it's funny because Persian food is very, very misunderstood in America. Like no one really knows what the cuisine is like. A big base for it is tumeric. tumeric is used in everything. Which is so funny, because when tumeric became like the hip spice and everyone's like, Oh my god, I just discovered this thing. It's for inflammation. It's called tumor. I'm like, I had tumeric in my breast milk, bro. Okay, you're the oh geez of tumeric. Right? Yeah, we are totally the Oh, geez. of tumeric Yeah, it's, it's an amazing spice. And also, you know, like, as a fresh produce, I think you know, now you're seeing more recipes that call for fresh tumeric but I don't think you could really find it at a grocery store, you know, prior to five years ago, unless you went to some crazy like specialty health store. Yeah, and honestly, I don't know any Persians who cook with fresh tumeric like they always use use the dried stuff. Fresh Turmeric is sort of it's very annoying. It's like, I don't know what they look like tiny ginger is basically that's how I feel about ginger. Like I love the ginger flavor, but it's so kind of obnoxious in a small amount. As I always buy I still never use at all like people are like, Oh, you just need to grade it and put it in the freezer. But I always buy like the littlest piece like I go to the grocery store and snap off this little thing for recipe. And I use like half of it and then in two weeks it's moldy in the vegetable drawer. It's such a bad habit of mine. I'm surprised that the people who are making these you know the Monsanto's who are like combining making genetic new fruits haven't combined like a ginger and a carrot. So it looks like a carrot. It's easy to peel, but it's better you waste so much like cutting around the gnarly, weird shapes and you know, the dry stuff where someone else has already snapped because that's what happens. People go to grocery store, they snap off a piece and then a piece you buy has like this kind of gnarly, tough end where there was a knob attached, but someone else broke that knob off. I know Suddenly, I feel like a woodworker like trying to carve a piece of wood, like doing those carvings that they would do in like whale's teeth like I'm doing that on a piece of ginger. It's like very annoying there needs there's there's got to be a better way. This is our This is our infomercial for our new ginger. We're putting it out there. Whoever has the money investor wise wants to come up with some weird GMO ginger hybrid. Like we've got the idea right here just talking about we're here for it. We're absolutely here for it. Yeah, well, you know, I love anything big, bold flavors, like a lot of spice. There's so much bland cooking out there. And not necessarily like restaurants, but just like people in their homes. Like when I cook for people, they're always like, This is delicious. What did you do? It's like, I use like, you know, this spice and, and this thing, I just find that people tend to cook pretty plain, you know, like, they won't just go to the store and buy some new spice or herb or something. It's like what's the worst that's gonna happen? So you bought this? You know, whatever spice just buy it. Try it if you don't like it, no big deal. Yeah, I also think that there's a lot of taboo against ingredients that are amazing that people think like for example, anchovies, right? anchovies are one of those things that you put it in anything and everyone's like, what the hell is this flavor, right? And so fish sauce is basically anchovies and people are grossed out by fish sauce and people are grossed out by anchovies. But what they're not grossed out by is like worstest her sauce which is anchovies. So you just kind of teach people Hey, man, this is this is something that you love. You're associating with like, was it Garfield or Heath Cliff that had the anchovy? I don't remember what it was. There was a cartoon. I mean, Garfield zanya. So it was probably he's heat cliff. Right? Right. Right. So, you know, little things like that. Or, you know, what combo or some fun, like dry chalky mushrooms, like these little umami bombs, they don't sound very appetizing. And they don't even smell that good a lot of the times, but when you cook them into the food, it just like creates a magical, you know, a magical cacophony of flavors. So I think people just need to get over their fears. And, and and try these new things. I mean, I get that it's intimidating and stuff, but, you know, it's, it's true. Like, if you go, you're rarely going to go wrong. And if you do then great. That's trial and error. Yeah, and I think if people saw how fish sauce was made, they probably wouldn't eat it. Yeah. They just like take the anchovies, put them on the sidewalk in Vietnam as Yeah, it's like a tarp I think. And then as it ferments like all the fermented juice, kind of like drips down off there, and they have a bucket that catches it, Chris, I'm trying to convince people to start using it. And then you got to just like, You're ruining my sales pitch, just just like a dash makes everything a little better. Just I just love that little just hit a little like something like a guacamole. Like, you can just put a dash of fish sauce in there. And it just like opens up your palate when you're eating it. And it doesn't taste fishy, but it just gives it that something that, you know, people are like, Wow, this is amazing. And I don't want to I mean, like it's fish sauce. at the restaurant that I'm an investor in is Stella in New York, they the chef puts it in, in the beef tar tar. So how long have you been an investor? And I mean, I know of them. They're a fantastic place. I haven't been but great reputation. Yeah, I mean, since it started, it started out and my Ignacio and, and Tommy, two of my buddies were starting the restaurant and they were like hard up for cash. And so they just, you know, cobbled up from a bunch of friends. And, and two months later, the Obamas went in and went and ate there. And the rest was history. Do you ever have to go in and work a shift like hop on the line and cook dinner? Never again, man, never again? Yeah, I interned at the spotted pig for like three summers in a row. Oh, really? Wow. That's Yeah, well, because I lived down the block. And I had just come back from touring. And I did 165 shows around the country. And I was so exhausted. And I just wanted to do something completely different. So I was going to take classes at the French Culinary Institute just for fun. And I was telling the manager there and he was like, dude, just come work here. It'll be free, and you'll learn a lot more. And it was a block away from my house. I was like, Alright, why not? So I went and work there. I know exactly what it's like to work in a in a crazy high intensity environment kitchen, and I would never ever, ever want to do it again. Yeah, it's pretty rough. I've never worked in a big city. I've worked in big cities, but not in restaurants like that. I have a lot of friends who do and like, that's just not my speed or style. Like I'm not built to be a line cook. I don't think, yeah, it's insanity. It's just the amount of heat. And you're just on your feet all the time. And just like in a cramped space. And also, I mean, one thing that I realized from working at the spotted pig was like, why it's okay to spend a little more money at these restaurants because the level of cleanliness and precision and OCD that goes on in the back of the kitchen. I mean, they were throwing out stuff that I was like, This is still good guys. No, I like but they're their standards were just so high. And you realize, okay, this is why I'm paying five bucks extra for this dish than it would be next door. Because it's literally like, it's like, it's like hospital level cleanliness back there. Yeah, there has to be some kind of like, I don't know, way to figure out a B menu or something like what do you do with all that stuff that nobody wants? That's, that's not deemed the quality of that restaurant? Oh, my God, let me tell you something. So I am going to have my own show on the Food Network that comes out at the end of August. And it's a food it's one of these food competition shows the amount of food waste that happens on one of these food shows like there has to be, there's got to be a way to get this food into. And it's like beautiful food that just gets thrown out. Like there's got to be a better way. So you're gonna have a show on the Food Network. That's kind of crazy. Yeah. I am. It's a lifelong dream. Dream come true. I've always wanted to be on the Food Network. My reps never understood why they're like, we don't understand you're doing TV stuff like scripted. I was like, I don't care. I've always wanted to do the Food Network. So yeah, they they came at me, partly because of my podcast. And we I pitched them that we do this food competition show but make it funny and make it almost almost making fun of the format of the competitions on how intense they are. And it's like you're not curing cancer, guys, you're, you know, you're making a French onion soup. So they went for it. And we just filmed six episodes, and I cannot wait for it to come out. It's called raid the fridge. Nice. I mean, look, don't get me wrong. I can get into the intense food shows and it's fun to see Gordon Ramsay just like have an aneurysm yelling at someone. But I do think that there is it is time for the pendulum to swing in the other direction for a little bit. Yeah, bring some comedy into food. That's great. Do you have your own? Do you have your own cooking style? Like if I were to ask you like what kind of foods do you like to cook say at home or if you're having a dinner party? What do you kind of defer to you know, I, I basically stick to Italian that's usually my bread and butter I've gotten and it's just because it's the easiest In my opinion, you know, Italian food if you if you have a good basis of how to cook and you have amazing ingredients. You know, it's hard to mess up And it's usually not too many ingredients, you know, you can whip it up pretty quickly. And it's amazing to me how much people I don't know. I feel like once you really know how to make a pasta, you can make it as good if not better than most restaurants that you go to most restaurants you go to, I feel are not doing like the best job of cooking pasta, they just don't really. I don't know there's something about it being on the line or whatever. I feel like that's something you can probably make better at home. I also love cooking, like Steakhouse steaks for for guests, which is another thing that I think once you master it, you can make it better at home than you can have at a steak house. But the markup is crazy on that. I mean people always ask me what my favorite Steakhouse is. It's like I literally never go to a steak house. What do you I don't want to like belittle them but like what are you paying for like if I buy the best quality meat out there? I can cook it at home they're not doing that much like when I go out I'm looking for something interesting or something I'm not gonna do at home I can cook a steak at home. Exactly and mine do look once in a while it's fun for the vibe to go and you know have the martini and have the the the waiter who's like 195 years old in his white tuxedo, wheeling over his emphysema emphysema oxygen tank. I don't know I there's something kind of fun about it. But yes, I think that if I'm having guests over and I want to wow them. Hell yeah, man. I'm getting a insane, dry aged ribeye, which is going to be way cheaper than how much it would be at the steak house. I'm going to reverse sear it because it's completely foolproof. I also have a trigger a trigger grill smoker. So I use that a lot. Yeah, I mean, but it's funny because I had this moment where I was like, I cook Italian food. And I've like mastered as much as I could. But this is crap. I'm like, I'm like a disgrace to my culture. I'm a I'm Iranian, I should learn how to cook Persian food. This is and I had this Iranian pride and I got all the cookbooks and I got my mom to write down stuff for me and I was like ready to go. And then I started cooking Persian food. And I realize you can't cook Persian food consistently. Unless you're a grandmother and you have nothing else to do all day long. Is it just like the time involved like that everything's kind of really detailed. And everything is 50 ingredients and braising forever. And it's like, that's like just to make like a salad. You're like, it's just too much man. It's and also then you have to learn how to cook the rice and the rice is are not just regular rice is like they they wash them like 50 times before they start cooking. And then they hand chop all these herbs and put them into the rice and it's delicious and wonderful. But it's Persian food culture is not like a lot of other food cultures, which are like, you know, we were poor in the home country. So we had to make do and that's you know, where carbonara came from no Persian food company. Like it comes from like a very like, I don't know, it comes from like royalty, like, it's what Cyrus the Great was eating, like having a feast type meal every night. Everything is a feast type meal. And it's like, which is great when your grandma takes three days to make it. But I can't just whip that shit up when I have like a job. And you know, I'm trying to like, I'm trying to make some money here, you know? Oh, yeah, I totally see the draw of like the 30 minute meal cookbooks on the one sheet pan, you know, because I have all these cookbooks from chefs that I love. And you know, they're from a well known restaurant, then you look at them. And it's like, God, there's like 80 ingredients to make this one thing. Like I just don't have it in me to make this. Oh, yeah, I mean, okay, one of my favorite cookbooks. And one of the most ridiculous cookbooks is the Jerusalem cookbook by Ottolenghi. Like, yeah, his books are great. His books are awesome. But yeah, it's 52 ingredients to make like a tea. And you're like, dude, I can't I how big is your your pantry? auto Andy's pantry must be like five football fields. He's like, this is this is a fake pace that is from northern Syria that I'm like, dude, I can't. And if you ever had anything, so kind of, I don't know, special or revered, that you wasted it like, this is something that I do where like, I'll get something special from a shop or someone will give me something and you're like, Oh, this is for a special occasion. Right? And you're like, shit, this is out of date. Like, Has that ever happened to you? Or, or have you anyone ever said that to you with the whole you know, things in their fridge? Because I I don't know. It's just such a shame. But every once in a while, I'll get something really special. And I'm saving it for a special occasion. And then you're like, yeah, oops, I missed its prime. And now I've got to throw this out. It's happened to me a couple times with truffles and it breaks my heart. Because I'll be like, this is an I'm ready. Now I have the I have the perfect I have my risotto going on ready to go. And then I pull it out and it's moldy. That's an expensive mistake to make too. It's the worst Dude, I can't. I have this love hate relationship with truffles. Like I love the flavor. I don't know that I don't know that the flavor is fine. My friend Paul and I were talking about this last night at dinner. Is the flavor worth the price? No. Like, I'm a big fan of my attacking mushrooms. And I tell people like, go and buy some good mai talkies like roast the hell out of them. You get a lot of bang for your buck. Like I'll do a little extra oil on there. And then you have this like nice myhockey oil. Like I just think I'd rather use those then get some truffles. Yeah, I'm with you. And every time I've made like a truffle risotto, like you need to add more mushrooms to like, make it taste mushroom. It's so subtle. And I'm like that. And I feel the same way about caviar. By the way, I will take a big fat salmon egg over like Beluga or any of the fancy like Russian or Persian ones any day. And they're cheap, and it explodes in your mouth. And it's just like awesome and funky. And I don't know, like the subtleties of the pearl, you know, of, you know, these little black pearls of Russian caviar? Like, I don't know, it doesn't do I feel like you need to be some sort of, it's just for like oligarchies trying to like show off to their like side pieces. Yeah, I'm not about that at all. Yeah, I like nice things. I like fancy things. But I always find there's like this point of, you know, the same kind of with like alcohol, like you hit a price point or a certain point where it's like, the price doesn't pay off anymore. It's like, yeah, okay, I get buying, you know, the middle or the upper middle. But you know, it's like whiskey, like, does anyone need like a $600 bottle of bourbon? Like, I feel like there's a price range, where it's like, oh, like a $60 bottle is really phenomenal. And I don't you know, Pappy Van Winkle is amazing, or whatever, but it's like, I don't need to pay for that. No, I feel the same about wine. Like, I think the best wines in the world that you can get are gonna be like 150 bucks and anything over that it's all the same shit. And it's like, you're just you're just spending extra money for a name or for something. But I will tell you something that I do think is worth the the bang for the buck. Really, really good olive oil, and really, really good balsamic vinegar, like real boss Sonic from Modena. You know, it'll cost you like 150 for like a tiny bottle. But it'll last you for like a decade because you don't use it like crazy. You just use it very sparingly. And it is such a flavor bomb that it's so ridiculously different from any balsamic vinegar that you get in the supermarket. And it's just so decadent and wonderful. And I really, I bet that I will I will splurge on what are some things that you have in your fridge? If we were to see a photo of your fridge right now? What would you have? Right now, I've been traveling a lot, so I don't have a ton of stuff. I do have I did have some people over the other day. And it's funny, I have like a I have a lot of free stuff that people have been sending me in my fridge. So like I'm on a I'm on some a NASCAR show on Netflix. And they just sent me a bunch of Coors Light. And so I had some friends over there's Coors Light of the fridge there is whatever. What is that? There's like it's not white cloth, but it's like a a hip beer company's version of white claw is there. I've got a I've always got a bottle of champagne. I've always got a bottle of cider. So nothing to eat just booze zero nothing. I told you I this two gallon bag of grated Parmesan cheese and the pepperoni and the shallots. I it's funny, I I mostly eat vegetarian at home, because everyone thinks that I you know, the stuff that I post on Instagram is like insane meals that I'm making like, you know, huge prime rib or something like that. But at home it I'm like I have a bag of a rubella that lasts me most of the day. Yeah, I've got a bunch of weird free stuff too. Like somehow I got on the cooking competition circuit this past year where you get sent like all this stuff for promotional and then you have to make recipe so like, I just got a five pound bag of Sour Patch Kids, but they're like chopped Sour Patch Kids, like they're sent, they're trying to pitch them to food service to like incorporate them to dessert. So they're like minced so it's like Sour Patch Kids flakes with all this like citric acid in there. And like, you know, the the winning prize is like $5,000 plus all these like fancy knives and stuff. But it's like I got this five pound bag. Like I literally probably need an ounce to like work on a recipe. So when I have this huge bag is like what am I gonna do with a five pound bag of like Sour Patch Kid? I should probably know what they're not called nuggets, but something like that. It's like, yeah, so I have things like that this summer. I got a case of King's Hawaiian rolls. It was a 40 pound box. That's a lot of rolls, like delivered to my house. It's like I need like three of these to do some r&d. You know, so I'm on Facebook, like, Who wants some King's Hawaiian rolls? I have 37 and a half pounds left. Yeah, I did just get a huge box of seafood from this company called Wild Alaskan company. And they've become like one of my podcast sponsors. So they're like Try out some of the seafood see what you think I'm like, great. I mean, all this wild caught Alaskan stuff that's just insane like salmon and halibut and Cod, like all my favorite cuts. And it's awesome. They send it to you in like a box with like, dry ice and stays off. You know, freshly frozen they call it because I think they freeze it right away when they when they catch it. So that's why you started a food podcast to get a bunch of free food because you're such a foodie, right? 1,000,000% literally the only reason Lacroix is sending me like their exclusive flavors that haven't come out yet and shit. It's great. Did you ever think you'd have such success with the podcast? Like when you started it? I don't know. Did you have any idea of like, where the podcast was gonna go? I did not. I have zero clue where it's gonna go. In fact, I tried to sell it to so many podcast networks. And everyone was saying no, because they thought that it wasn't going to go anywhere. But for me, it was just like, it was literally just a labor of love. I love talking about food. I love meeting food people because people who are passionate about food or are like always very fun. And it's interesting, because I've made so many more friends within my career, just based on this than I ever would have, you know, just moving up in comedy, you know what I mean? So it was one of those things that it's so cliche that when you you know, when you do what you love to do, people aren't going to pay attention. But that's kind of what happened. I mean, I put a lot of time and money and energy into it that I'd never expected to get back. And it ended up working out. That's awesome. How many episodes a season do you do you do like shorter seasons, don't you? We do like 14 to 16 episodes a season. This season is insane, though we have you know from the food world we have jack papan. We have Kenji Lopez alt, who I'm such a huge fan of his I just had Daniel grits or who says counterpart at Sirius eats, who's the culinary director. So we just he and I talked for three hours, and I divided it into two episodes. So last week was part one and tomorrow Part Two comes out. But we sat for three hours and we just like nerded out about everything from like bitterness and olive oil to like the true traditional pepper used in romesco sauce that nobody ever uses. And we're gonna keep talking about all this stuff. So if you want to listen to some real food nerd stuff, check that out. But yeah, oh my God. He is amazing. He's on my list of people to get on the show. I absolutely will. Yeah, he's so cool. He's so great to talk to. And then we have like, Jesse Tyler Ferguson from modern family. We've got Ryan Blaney, who's a NASCAR driver, like a professional NASCAR driver. We have Courtney handler from Cobra Kai. She's in the TV show Cobra Kai Tom Papa Katrina Bowden. I mean, we have we have awesome guests this year. So I'm super stoked about it. You have a really good mix of guests on your show. I mean, there's a lot of like, stand up comedians and actors and stuff. But then it's like a random food person, which is also cool. But yeah, I mean, look, the random food people are like literally just like people that I've had food crushes on my whole life that I finally get to, like, stop being creepy about and be like, Hey, man, you want to hang out? Like Ruth Rachel, for me was just insane. I mean, jack papan to both of them were just like, I couldn't believe that I was talking to them. You know, I like grew up, like just like idolizing them. Yeah, I think these people are more accessible than you think too. You know, it's it's as I was starting to do the show, I was like, I kind of on my bucket list of people and you have to kind of like work up the nerve to get to them. It's like, Oh, these people all said yes. Like, literally, I don't think anyone's ever said, No, I don't want to come on your show. And I have to start thinking like, who do I really want on my show? Hey, man, you got to stop. Don't give away our secrets. All right, if you tell enough people, they're all gonna start podcasts. And that will they all have started podcasts? I mean, you were doing it back in 2019. Before COVID made it cool, right? I mean, I started november of 2019 to and this past year kind of exploded. And I've already seen a lot of people kind of like, I gotta go back to work. I guess this podcast thing's gonna fizzle out. Yeah. Good. Get out of here. Guys. more room for us more room for us. Do you have any big goals for the rest of the year, either food related or comedy and acting related? anything you're working on? Yeah, I mean, so I've got this Food Network show coming out at the end of August called raid the fridge, which I'm just so excited about. And then I also just signed a book deal with crown publishing to write a food memoir, Comment, Like a funny food memoir book called lost soul spelled like the fish. And so I'm writing that now. And it's taking up a lot of my time. But those two things are what I'm most excited about. I'm also trying to pitch a couple of, you know, scripted food related comedies. I'm a big fan of leaning into what works. And it seems like what's working is this intersection of food and comedy? Well, that's what they always say about things that are successful is like the finding the hybrid. Like there's plenty of comedians and actors, right. And there's plenty people in the food world, but if you do both really well and you love them, like where's the intersection? I think that's where things kind of come together the sky. James altucher I listen to I think he calls it like idea of sex, like making all these lists of things that you can do really well or really interested in like, Where can you have these interesting things meet up? Yeah. I mean, it's I think Scott Adams has a concept like that. And one of his books that I read that I was like, Oh, yeah, this is what I'm trying to do. Because it's like, to be the best at one thing in the world, your chances of succeeding are really difficult. But if you're really good at two things, then your chances like logarithmically increase. And like, yeah, I always say like, I'm not the funniest comedian in the world. And I'm not the biggest foodie in the world. But I might be one of the funniest comedians who's a foodie in the world. Yeah, I don't know of many others. I mean, occasionally, they come up as bits Did you did you do a lot of like food bits in your comedy over the years, I, you know, I'm starting to do a lot more of it. Now. I'm definitely starting to get into it more leading into it. It's funny, though, because some of the bits are so food specific that I feel like they'd only work for a food crowd. Like, there's this bit that I love that I've been doing that like it's just not getting the best reaction, but about how like, I'm gonna stop. I'm gonna stop going to these hipster restaurants because they're getting a little too fast and loose with the term surf and turf, like surf and turf should mean one thing filet and lobster. That's it. And then these guys will be like, Hey, we have a surfeit of special. It's lamb shoulder served on an octopus. It's like No, it's not that is not servitor It's a duck bread served on a barnacle. Stop it now. Well, I love that I think that would kill with like, you know, me, my audience for sure. Good. Yeah. Very, very niche type joke there, I think. Totally. Yeah. Well, I was really excited to have you on the show. We didn't really talk about this. But like Cobra Kai is one of my favorite shows. And you play an interesting kind of, I guess, character on the show, you know, it's like a smaller part, but it adds a lot of pizzazz to the show. So when you reached out, I was like, does this guy from Cobra Kai, want to come on my food show? That's really interesting. Yeah. I play a new show in Cobra Kai, I work at the dealership with Daniel Russo. It's been an insanely amazing ride just because that shows become like the number one show in the world. And I'm starting to tour with Brett earns two plays cousin Louis in the show. We're doing a comedy tour. And the great thing is, is that everywhere we go I turn it into like a food tour. Like we were just in Texas last week. And we hit up like this place Valentine's barbecue in Austin that was like, recommended by like, Aaron Franklin actually recommended it. I mean, it's just like, we hit up all these Tex Mex spots in San Antonio. So I'm literally just using my comedy as a vehicle to get me to all the best restaurants that I've always wanted to go to around the country. I would do the same thing if I were in your shoes. Yeah, it's kind of reminds me there was this guy who was like a serial killer. And he was like a comedian. And he would every town he was doing comedy show and he would kill someone. So it's kind of the same. A little different. But with food but with the same same but different, much less. Yeah. Are you team team Daniel or team Johnny? I mean, I have to be team Daniel. You know, he did me wrong a little bit in in season two, but he made up for it and season three. And I think it's funny though, those guys, the two of them are just the nicest people in the world, like in real life. They're just I love them so much. Because I've worked with a lot of people who are way less famous than they are, and who are way more dickish than they are like they could be so dickish as they want it to be and they're just you know who I am. I'm The Karate Kid. Yeah, that's what I would do. If I were The Karate Kid. I would use that. I'd go to the DMV. They told me to wait in line. Do you know who I won the all Valley okay. I would play that for life for sure. Yeah, but the sleeper the sleeper my sleeper favorite person on this show? Is she's a guest on on green eggs. And Dan this year is Courtney handler who plays Amanda Russo, Daniel's wife. She is one of the funniest people I've ever met in my life. And she's just like, when we're working together, like we just hang out the three of us, me her and Britain's cousin Louie character. And we she loves hanging out with us because we're comics and we're just like busting on each other. And she she jumps in seamlessly. So her episodes actually one of my favorites. She's such a funny person. Yeah, I thought the cast is great. Like, there's so many other characters and I really enjoyed it. You know, I didn't watch it from the beginning. Because that whole weird like you had to pay for YouTube. You know, whatever, when it first came out, like you'd pay for YouTube, like, I don't know, I don't feel like paying for YouTube. And then once it hit Netflix, I was like, Oh, I'm all in. This is like the best show and I probably should have been paying for it from the start because it's amazing. So then I like I already steal a Netflix password so I can watch it now. Yeah, I mean, the YouTube days were sad because this show was out and we all knew it was out and we knew was this magical show. But no one was watching it. Because we'd be like, you got to watch this show. It's on YouTube bread. Yeah, like they're trying to get people to subscribe to YouTube. Like that was probably their their Big marketing thing is like, we've got The Karate Kid show, like, Come pay for YouTube. Right? Yeah, that's what they tried. But what ended up happening is everyone would pay for the 30 day free trial, and then just like cancel after bingeing the show. Yeah. Well, I'm looking forward to the next season of that. But yeah, I mean, you've you've done so many interesting roles. You seem to be I don't know his character actor the word for it. I'm not in the acting world. I mean, you always have these really interesting characters that you play. I love playing weird characters. I mean, it's it's my favorite thing, because maybe it's just because I'm not like that good of an actor that I can just play normal. Oh, you're a good actor? Come on. So I like to, I like to hide behind the veil of a character for sure. What's it? What's it like working for Disney? Was that an interesting experience? Like, did you enjoy working on a Disney show? Yeah, I mean, look, it had its pluses and minuses. But the best thing is, that was my first acting job ever. So it basically I was kind of under the radar, learning how to act and learning how to act on a TV show with cameras and, you know, hitting your mark, and directors and you know, stuff like it was sort of like acting bootcamp for me. So I really loved it for that aspect. I mean, it was also like, just weird to be suddenly super famous to like, five and six year old kids. You know, because kids, like, kids don't get that you're an actor playing a role. Like when they see you. They think you're the actual guy, which got me in trouble. I was I was at a mall, and this little kid was walking with his dad, kid sees me, let's go his dad's hands and just start sprinting towards me grabs onto my leg, and it's like, Oh, my God. I can't believe it's the dad runs over is like, whoa, whoa, son. Who is this man? I'm like, sir, it's okay. I'm just an actor. No, he's not. He's falafel. Phil. I see him in my room every night at eight o'clock. So now I'm on parole, Chris. Yeah, I've got I've got a twins who are eight years old, nine years old ish. And they like binge watch whatever's on Disney. Like they just work through. They'll watch like seven seasons of a show. Like they'll just find a new show. And they'll watch every single episode in a row. But it's amazing. Even the stuff that I'm just watching out of the corner of my eye. Like, they're all well known. You know, like, now I'll be watching a show on NBC where someone's like, 24 years old, you're like, that's that girl who was on that show that my kids were watching for seven seasons. You know, it's just really interesting like that. And they'll pick up on that sometime. They're like, Oh, that's so and so from whatever Show. I'm like, Oh, I didn't even realize that. Yeah, it's true. I've worked with a bunch of Disney like former Disney stars. And there's there's a, there's someone who's Her name is Paris, burrell's. And she was on a Disney show. And she's on the crew, this Netflix show that I'm on. And she's like, you know, she comes in is like so fun and nice. And this and that. And we all find out she has like 6.2 million followers on Instagram. Yeah, my kids were just watching her show. It's like her in some friend or something like that. I think it's two girls or something. Yes. I think my kids just spent like the past month watching that one. That's hilarious. Yeah. So what do you want to leave our audience with? Before we get out of here today? Any words of wisdom things about food? I mean, look, you guys are you guys are my new people. And I'm just hoping that you welcomed me with open arms. I'm really trying to make inroads in the food world. Because you know, in the comedy world, I've got my people. And now I got to get my people in the food world. So I hope you I hope you've listened to my podcast, green eggs. And Dan, I hope you follow me on all the socials at stand up, Dan. And if you're in LA or if I'm in your town, come come watch a live show. It's a it's very fun. I will do food specific bits that will alienate most of the crowd, but you will you will love them. Yeah, I mean, look, this is uh, this is kind of a new venture. For me. It's a new world for me. And oh, and watch the Food Network show raid the fridge. So yeah. Just if you've listened this far, you've already done me a huge favor. So thank you very much. Well, we're a very supportive community. I'm sure you'll have a lot new fans here. People who didn't even know you were in the food world. And I can't wait for stand up. Like to be able to go out and do things again. Right. But like I haven't been to a show and forever. And hopefully if you come out this way on the East Coast, I'll catch you at a show sometime. You know, it's crazy. I was just in DC two weeks ago. What? Yeah, doing a show. Yeah. At the Arlington Drafthouse in Arlington, Virginia met. How did I not know we already even scheduled your your show at that time. next? Next a bummer. Next time, I promise. Yes. Well, thanks so much. To all of our listeners. This has been Chris with the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast. Thanks to Dan. And as always, you can catch us at Chefs Without restaurants.com.org and on all social media platforms. Thanks so much, and have a great week. Thanks for listening to the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast. And if you're interested in being a guest on the show, or sponsoring the show, please let us know. We can be reached at Chefs Without email@example.com Thanks so much.