Coarse Grind Week: Interview with Shawn Rosler

Welcome to Coarse Grind Week, where we talk about my friend’s podcast, the Coarse Grind Podcast. Here’s an interview I did with him.

So, who are you, and what’s your day job?

I’m Shawn Rosler, and I’m your high school sweetheart. KIDDING…but we were as good a friends as geeks can find in high school, neh? By day, I’m a Lead Analyst/Project Manager of Computer Based Training centered around an Electronic Health Record for a major health system in Pennsylvania. And, yes, it’s as boring as it sounds.
By night, however…*cue dramatic intro music*…I’m the host/creator behind the ever increasingly more popular (which is about as vague a slew of adverbs and adjectives as you can get) Coarse Grind Podcast.

What is the Coarse Grind Podcast?

HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW THIS SINCE YOU’RE MY SWEET, SULTRY, SVELT PRODUCER?!?!

Sorry…was that out loud? It was typed, so I guess that’s kind of a yes. Seriously though, the Coarse Grind Podcast is my project of going on 3 years now that is a talk show featuring food as art, and the culinary presence behind it (chef, artisan, etc.) as artist. It’s a look into foundations, souls, and skillsets that push some of the most beautiful dishes you can possibly imagine, as well as being almost a cathartic outlet for culinary artisans who (I’m sure) wonder if they’re ‘gotten’ the way they wish they were as much as they hope they are. Make sense?

What got you so into cooking?

I don’t know if it was so much a thing that got me into it, as it was more a lack of thing(s) that got me into it. See, knowing where we grew up, I don’t have to explain it to you, but for folks reading this I’m thinking I might. I (We, really) grew up in a town called Honesdale, PA…cool that it’s the birthplace of the American Railroad (true story)…NOT so much that high cuisine came from the bar/restaurant across from our high school (used to be Jack Trainor’s…changed since then several times over). I really feel it was the deficit we were in, coupled with an unreasonable adoration of cooking shows on public television (Jeff Smith/Frugal Gourmet, Martin Yan/Yan Can Cook, Julia, Jaques, etc.) that made me realize that there was a SHIT TON more out there than I had ever been able to realize based off of my immediate surroundings. And once the first discovery was made (Sushi on a field trip in…9th grade, I want to say?), the rest was history.

What have learned about cooking, and chefs, since starting this podcast?

Better off asking me which of my 3 kids is my favorite…easier answer (depending on the day, it’s REALLY easy…I digress). I think one of the coolest things/concepts I’ve gotten to with those kind enough to do the show is the fact that for as varied a background as they all have (and JESUS H do they), there’s this common thread through them all – Famous, local, etc. – that speaks the same volume: Food is love. Food transcends being a biological necessity in their eyes, and they take it a step further by dedicating their lives to creating it for us…the humble diners. It’s thankless, but they do it because of a feeling…a passion. And, I was never able to put that into words until I started doing this show – That food was more emotion/experience than just substance. And, while I don’t do THAT for a living, dedicating a good number of years (so far) to this show has certainly made me feel a similar vibe.

What have you learned about podcast, and interviewing people, since starting the podcast?

Awesome question, as my wife and I were just discussing over dinner this very growth spot for me. When I first started, interviewing Chef Dakota Weiss from Top Chef Season 7, and the first several…I thought it was important to make sure *I* was heard equally with my guest…that as the host, I had to be “ON” constantly. Personally, I’ve always been a shitty listener (again, just ask my wife), and I’ll never forget her listening to the first couple episodes and giving me feedback to that end. As wise married men do, I took my wife’s words to heart and, in time, learned to let the guest lead. I mean, hell, I’ll get the intro out there, bring them on…but once I ask the first question? LET EM GO…let the guest be the guest and talk about the guest. Gentle nudges to try and stay on track, but, then again, off roading kicks ass. Anyway, I learned it’s not about me, and it’s not about control.

What has been your favorite part of doing the podcast so far?

My ABSOLUTE favorite bit of it all is simple – It’s talking to people I’ve met (and in some cases, become friends with) about something we love. Now don’t get me wrong – It’d be REALLY easy for me to say that fanboying as I talk to people I love on TV is the *favorite* part…it’s DAMN close. My cheeks were BEAMING red for the first ten minutes when I interviewed Casey Thompson, and I nearly vomited 5 minutes before talking to Chris Kimball. Being able to see these people in my call history, talk to them from time to time (Hi, Chef Breedlove) and even have them Like pretty much EVERYTHING about your sweet kids (Looking at you, Josie)…that’s unreal for a fan like me. BUT…none of that fame or fanboying means a damn thing if we can’t talk about what we love. And, truly, THAT’S what matters most to me…the lifelong friends I’ve made because of this show…because of food and drink.

Who is your dream guest? Anyone, anytime, living or dead, factional or fictional?

I should have mentioned I’ve got about a bottle of Prosecco in me right now, so this answer could go CRAZY off the rails. Dream guest…damn…again, ask me favorite kid…easier. Gun to my head, and potentially cliché as it would be, I have to say Bourdain. He was the one who made it okay for me to like food AND be a dick about it. Like, not necessarily MEAN, but to make sure that what I was getting was as good as it could be and truly was executed properly. He made it cool to be a traveler, vs a tourist (story about Belize and our honeymoon for another interview, there) and to be inquisitive as well as immersive. And, perhaps extending myself a bit, I feel like after the first five minutes, it would sound as natural as old friends…fan as I am, I feel like I “get him” and, in turn, he’d likely get what I was trying to do with the show. Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay are 1st and 2nd alternates for nearly the same reasons.

Now, if I can have an alternate universe answer (Bizarro World) there (and this one goes WAY out), it would have to be Action Bronson from VICE Land/F*ck That’s Delicious/Ancient Aliens, etc. This one is DEFINITELY not on straight culinary merit, but rather the sheer entertainment value it would be. Again, in a weird way, I feel like he’d get what I was going with the show, and believe me…having been a chef (there ya go, if you didn’t know), he’d know his shit. But MY GOD…what a ride THAT would be.

Anything big happening with the Coarse Grind Podcast in the near future?

The big, live 50th Episode will be at the Alvina Krause Theater in lovely downtown Bloomsburg, PA on Monday January 30th, starting at 730pm. All proceeds will benefit the Bloomsburg Food Cupboard, and the evening promises to be entertaining – Games, in-show imbibement, inappropriateness…what’s not to love?!?! Beyond that, we’re starting in on the next 50 with the 51st episode featuring a very controversial guest…

Where can people find out more about you and the Coarse Grind Podcast?

More about me? Google search, but you’ll more than likely get 99% e-learning stuff, and that’s likely not what you’re going for. If you want to know more about me and the show, check us out on our YouTube Channel, Facebook page, or search for us on iTunes! Reach out, message me, I reply to everyone (although, sometimes it takes a little longer than I’d like)…means a lot to me when people look at food differently because of an episode of my show!

 

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