Dan Pashman from The Sporkful Talks Food and Style
We recently had the chance to chat with Dan Pashman, host of the hit food podcast The Sporkful, about his style. Find out what he wears out to eat, what his daily work uniform is like, who his dream dinner date is, and more.
We’re big fans of you and The Sporkful. Can you tell us about how and why you started the podcast?
It was always my dream to host my own radio show. I worked as a producer on a bunch of shows, but they kept getting canceled. I lost six jobs in eight years. Friends of mine were starting podcasts, and I figured if I started my own show, at least nobody could cancel it but me! I always loved to eat and had a lot of opinions about food, so I decided to do [the podcast] about that. It began as a side project on nights and weekends for the first few years. Then I got a book deal, then four years in the show was picked up at New York Public Radio—that's when it became a real job.
When we listen to the podcast, what are you usually wearing? Do you have a work uniform that makes you feel confident when interviewing the best and brightest in the food industry?
I usually try to wear something that will help me connect with my guest and make them comfortable. So if they're a very casual dresser, I'll dress casually, too—a T-shirt and hoodie perhaps. If they're more glamorous, I'll put on a nice shirt and dark jeans so I look at least a little respectable.
We know you love to go out to eat. When it’s time to hit a new restaurant, do you have a go-to outfit?
It's always jeans and nice sneakers. The top is where I change it up. Lately, I've been wearing more thin layers… more versatile [pieces] and I'm always comfortable. So maybe a T-shirt with a light sweater and nice jacket.
You have a lot of helpful tips and tricks when it comes to eating. Any suggestions for handling messy foods when dining out?
Where you run into problems is when you're trying to eat, look good, and carry on a conversation. Nobody can do it all! Something has to go. So, you might have to be a little anti-social. Focus on the food, enjoy it, keep it off yourself, then get back to chatting. Also, drinks with straws allow you to take sips without having to pick up the glass with your messy hands.
On that note, do you have any tried-and-true stain-removal remedies?
If I get a stain on my shirt, I freak out. I can't think about anything else… I immediately go to the bathroom and wash it thoroughly before it sets. Then I return to the table with a gigantic wet spot on my shirt that, as my wife Janie will point out, looks MUCH WORSE than the original stain. But I feel much better.
We recently ran a survey and want to get your take. One-third of Americans think choosing what to wear is more difficult than deciding where to eat. Which choice do you find more difficult and why?
This is totally dependent on my mood. Sometimes I know exactly what I'm in the mood to eat, or I open my dresser and I know exactly what I feel like wearing. Other times you can stare into the abyss of the fridge or the closet and not know what you want. Life is hard.
We also found that 72% of Americans won’t wear sandals or flip-flops to a restaurant. Do you have any clothing that you’d never wear out to eat?
A thick sweater. They seem cozy in theory, but either they're keeping you warm and toasty or you're sweating your butt off. And all you have underneath is a T-shirt, so when you take the sweater off you're too cold. Thin sweaters for life!
If you could go to dinner with anyone, who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you order? What would you wear?
Michelle Obama. Do I really need to explain why? I would go wherever she wants to go, I just want to meet her and talk with her (and in a dream scenario, interview her for The Sporkful)! As for what I would wear, well I'd probably spring for that Eleventy blazer [I tried on] when I visited your New York Clubhouse.
How has your style evolved over time?
I wear more dark colors and contrasting colors now. I definitely wear tighter clothes, I used to wear my clothes much baggier. I'm also a little chubbier than I used to be, so now that I think about it maybe I just got bigger and my clothes stayed the same size. When fashion icon Simon Doonan was on The Sporkful, he said everyone should just aspire to dress like themselves. I think I do that pretty well.
What’s next for you and The Sporkful?
More live shows, more podcasts, and a special secret project about pasta coming in 2020!