Food lovers in St. Louis can sample a new culinary adventure in town — for free and from their homes.
Danish American chef Lasse Sorensen will host a new series on Nine PBS, premiering on July 13, which explores the diversity of the St. Louis food scene by following the roots of its cultural influences. In each episode, Sorensen, an immigrant from Denmark, spends time in the kitchens of some of the city’s most celebrated restaurants, learning more about the people behind the food.
“Food is what connects us all together,” he said, “no matter where we come from.” He says the restaurant scene in St. Louis rivals that of any large city in the country.
In the series premiere, Sorensen meets Munsok So, owner of the sushi spot, the Drunken Fish. So, who also opened the Korean fried chicken venture Kimchi Guys, talks about the changes in public awareness of foods like kimchi and his experiences growing up in St. Louis as an immigrant from Korea.
The series is more than just recipes and tempting dishes.
"There is a lot of heart that goes into the food at these places," Sorensen said. His curiosity about kimchi finds him sharing a family dinner in the home of So’s Korean parents.
Sorensen opened his own fine dining restaurant, Tom’s Place, in DeSoto, Ill., 22 years ago. He followed his dream of owning his own restaurant after several years of working as a chef in LA. His wife, Maryjane, who helps run Tom's Place, is originally from the area.
He is hoping the series encourages people to try new area restaurants and helps the industry struggling to survive during this pandemic.
“We talked about a lot of other stuff besides cooking” on the show, he said. “We’re going for the stories behind the chefs.”
The series gives the viewer an intimate look into the cultures that influence the St. Louis food scene and shares the backstory of the neighborhoods that support them. Sorensen takes viewers around places like Laclede’s Landing and Bevo Mill to better understand how these neighborhoods are shaped by the people who settled there.
The 13-episode of "Food is Love" premieres on Nine PBS at 7:30 p.m. July 13 and streams at ninenet.org and the PBS Video app.
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