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Chicago Just Lost A Few Great Food Podcasts, Including 'Chewing The Fat' [UPDATED]

By Anthony Todd in Food on Sep 16, 2015 3:00PM

We're really disappointed to hear of the demise of three of WBEZ's podcasts.

Strange Brews, Chewing the Fat and General Admission, all food and arts podcasts from the local station, are ceasing production, Robert Feder reports.

In particular, we'll feel the loss of Chewing the Fat very hard. Aside from the witty name (a combination of the names of hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng), this podcast was a great opportunity to hear food stories in another medium that is not often used by restaurant reporters. The two hosts, both food geeks with very different angles (Chu is more of a chef/restaurant person, while Eng is a health and policy expert) brought a high level of sophistication to the 33 episodes of the podcast. Eng joined WBEZ from the Trib two years ago, while Chu has been a regular freelancer for WBEZ for a while.

Strange Brews has done more than 70 episodes covering the local brewing scene, and has a perfect five-star rating on iTunes.

WBEZ's Ben Calhoun told Feder that the shows just weren't successful enough.

"But the shows have not developed and grown to a point of sustainability. They may have core ideas that we may revisit — a beer show or a food-focused show — but the right decision for us at the moment is to stop production on these projects.”

Eng told Feder that they plan to launch an independent podcast before the end of the year. Chu posted a statement to Facebook this morning that confirms their plan.

Combined with Airwaves Full of Bacon's hiatus in production, this means there's a big hole in Chicago's food podcast universe—the last big food podcast standing is Steve Dolinsky and Rick Bayless's The Feed.

9/16/15, 10:47 a.m.: We reached out to Louisa Chu, co-host of the Chewing the Fat Podcast, about the cancellation.

"We can't thank our listeners enough for their support and patience. Chewing the Fat will release two more episodes at WBEZ this fall, then Monica and I will produce the podcast independently by winter. By the way, we need a new name. Chewing the Fat was Monica's idea: Chu + Eng = Chewing. Winner joins us for our game Will She Eat It? Any suggestions?"