You're working from home. The supermarket has been sold out of toilet paper for weeks. Your favourite restaurant has gone delivery-only. You're cooking arsenal consists of only cans and dry-goods. It's not a good time right now, but there's no shame in looking for a distraction in a COVID-19 society (especially if, like me, you're stuck at home in self-isolation for the foreseeable future). So, here are a bunch of great food and drink podcasts to keep you informed, inspired, or just take your mind off things for an hour or two.
From American online food publication Eater, editor Amanda Kludt and multimedia producer Daniel Geneen do a brilliant job of hosting this US-based food podcast on a normal week, but their ongoing coverage of how COVID-19 is affecting the restaurant industry, not only in America but across the world, has been second to none. Delving through the extensive back catalogue is a great way to fill in some time, too. Check out Five Ways to Be a Better Diner (from November 2019) for tips on how to behave in public when this health crisis is over.
One for the kids: a semi-educational food podcast from Alice Zaslavsky. Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen
This slick podcast from Alice Zaslavsky – TV host, author, Good Food contributor and founder of food literacy program Phenomenom – will go some way to keeping the kids entertained, although it's suitable for all age levels (especially if you've always wanted to know just how much vitamin C is really in Ribena, or why fermenting makes food taste so delicious). The eps are snack-sized, so they're great for busy little minds with short attention spans. There's even a quiz at the end to make sure you're paying attention.
James Atkinson shares his affinity with spirits to the world. Photo: Supplied
Not all print journalists have a natural affinity for radio, but Melbourne-based drinks writer James Atkinson has done a great job of crossing the divide. His Drinks Adventures podcast covers all kinds of booze, although it's clear he has an affinity for spirits – get into this if you're a whisky fan. He's attracted some great talent in five short seasons, check out his interview with legendary wine critic Jancis Robinson for starters.
Irish chef JP McMahon features on The Menu podcast. Photo: Supplied
If the closing of the world's borders has curtailed your holiday plans this year, check out Monocle magazine's weekly guide to the world of food and dining. There are weekly half-hour episodes that'll take you to Ireland with Galway's top chef, JP McMahon, Portugal for new and interesting wines and to Helsinki to check out a boundary-pushing new restaurant. But the real fun is in the five minute "neighbourhood" specials, where Monocle journos get super local. Not quite like being on holiday, but not a bad substitute.
Learn about the history of Korean fried chicken and other now-global Asian dishes. Photo: Jessica Dale
This award-winning English language podcast from the South China Morning Post is a great source of investigative food features that go beyond the usual restaurant reviews. In each episode hosts Bernice Chan and Alkira Reinfrank deep dive into an Asian food that has gone global, from Korean fried chicken to sushi. The podcast is Hong Kong-based, but brings in chefs, bartenders and restaurateurs throughout the world. If you've ever wanted to know why the world is obsessed with bubble tea, this is your chance to find out.
Highly Enthused talks about the coolest things to consume. Photo: Supplied
Sydney-based hosts Sophie Roberts and Sophie McComas have turned their love of scouring the internet in search of consumables into a witty podcast. They've just launched season three with a joyous look into shopping in the age of Coronavirus wrapped in a bunch of other fun, lighthearted often food-related content, from $25 bottles of vinegar to book recs to who to follow on Insta. If you can't get out to see your mates because of social distancing, the Sophies will be your pals.
Ale of a Time surveys the beer scene in Melbourne and beyond. Photo: Wayne Taylor
If you didn't pick it from the name, this one's for beer lovers. The brainchild of Luke Robertson (author of recently released beer bible Keg, Bottle Can) and Dave Ellis has been at the forefront of what's new in the Aussie beer scene – with a definite Melbourne lean – since 2013. They're all over the latest releases and there's a great roster of talent, from brewers to bar owners. This year they welcomed two new hosts – American expats Tiffany Waldron and Lindsy Greig.
Josh Niland features on Lee Tran Lam's The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry podcast. Photo: Rob Palmer
Food writer and Good Food contributor Lee Tran Lam's New South Wales-centric podcast takes an interview format as she cruises around Sydney chatting to local restaurateurs, chefs and bartenders about their food war stories, dining habits and favourite places to eat. Recent guests include Josh Niland (with some helpful tips for prepping seafood at home) and photographer Luke Burgess, who waxes lyrical about the best pizza in Tokyo and the lifespan of his now shuttered Hobart restaurant, Garagistes.