There are lots of food podcasts, but none quite like our inspiring new series, “Heart to Table.” Award-winning lifestyle host Laurie March brings her genuinely emotional, richly personal perspective to bear as she explores food’s unique ability to bring together diverse people from all walks of life. It’s a holistic journey wending its way from the traditions and memories underlying the foods we treasure to the techniques and know-how needed to make them.
The podcast marks yet another chapter in Laurie’s life, where food has always played an outsized role. Growing up in Maryland, Laurie fell hard for mid-Atlantic classics like crab cakes and Thrasher’s French fries. In fact, the summertime boardwalk staple still fill her with excitement when she goes home. Her first forays into cooking began as a tween. She had one simple rule: If it wasn’t in a box, she didn’t make it. “I lived on pasta and baked every cake mix under the sun,” she says. “I got really good at packaged rice. I was a ninja at anything in a box.”
Years later, when she moved to Los Angeles, she began cooking outside the box. The shift was inspired by the planting of her first backyard garden, a 50-foot bed running along the sunny north wall of her property. The hands-on endeavor gave Laurie a newfound appreciation for food. Never a tomato fan, she found herself falling in love as she plucked the juicy red and yellow spheres off the vine to savor them on the spot. Her harvests turned into inspiration boards in the kitchen, galvanizing her to learn about different seasonings, flavorings and ingredient pairings.
Though she comes from Scottish, Welsh and Spanish stock, Laurie’s cooking isn’t pigeonholed in one particular style. She bills herself as a practical cook and self-proclaimed preparedness nerd who knows how to stock a pantry, though she still considers herself at the beginning of her food journey. “Heart to Table” allows her to continue that constant state of exploration. “It’s an exciting adventure, she says. “I learned the practicality of cooking, now I get to discover the joy. And I hope my listeners and I learn to think about food in different ways.”
I hope my listeners and I learn to think about food in different ways.Laurie March, Host, Heart To Table Podcast
Her work in the food world dovetails well with her high-profile career in the lifestyle space. That path started when she arrived in Los Angeles and was working as a maitre d’, while balancing two side hustles. A friend, who was a real estate agent, was having a difficult time tracking down contractors for jobs. Laurie volunteered to help, eventually becoming an owner’s rep who aided in finding contractors, negotiating contracts, picking out materials and overseeing projects. Whether clients were looking to patch holes in walls, interested in getting solar panels installed or needing new throw pillows for their couches, Laurie had the right people in her stuffed-full Rolodex. “For homeowners, it might be hard to get someone to pick up the phone,” Laurie says, “but for me it wasn’t hard, because I’d have 10 other jobs waiting for a contractor if it was done right.”
Despite coming from four generations of builders and having a mother who reveled in DIY home projects, she never dreamed she would work in this realm. “We don’t always picture ourselves following in our parents’ footsteps,” she says, “so as a college student, I wanted nothing to do with construction. I didn’t think it was creative. And I didn’t want a traditional job.”
She soon figured out her preconceptions were wrong. Her new career path took her in even more unexpected directions. A pitch meeting with HGTV led to an all-encompassing gig working as a lead digital talent, becoming the host and creative force behind the hit digital media property “House Counselor,” while also serving as a host for DIYNetwork and HGTVGardens.
She first dipped her spoon into the food world by co-hosting the Cooking Channel’s hit web series “Good to Know” with Dan Pashman, award-winning creator of “The Sporkful” podcast. The duo shared how-to’s, DIY projects and kitchen hacks aimed at helping viewers find inspiration and simplify their cooking regimens. So, for several beyond-busy years, Laurie crisscrossed the country, creating a wealth of lifestyle content for HGTV’s online properties.
As she reached new levels of success and broadened her expertise, Laurie formed her own production company to create engaging original content for a variety of high-profile brands, companies and media properties. Two years ago, she began collaborating with Hormel Foods on other projects while mulling over the concept that would become “Heart to Table.” “We wanted to do something personal and heartfelt,” she says. “There’s so much emotion around food. How you grew up with it and nostalgia for it; what you like to eat; what about it makes you feel good. Food affects our lives and emotions on so many levels, and we want to dive in and explore all of it.”
After many meetings, the podcast’s focus and format were finalized. “Heart to Table” features well-known chefs, authors, celebrities and food influencers sharing their knowledge and passion. Though the podcast is the centerpiece, it is bolstered by a slew of multimedia material – recipes, articles, videos, photography and more. Each episode and its associated content will be peppered with tricks, tips and techniques for listeners to put to use in their own kitchens – from a chef’s favorite knife to quick ways to take a dish to the next level.
In the first episode, Laurie chats with renowned chef Michael Mina, culinary powerhouse behind more than 30 restaurants spanning the globe, and MacKenzie Smith, founder of the acclaimed blog Grilled Cheese Social, chef, and cookbook author. Their conversations delve into beloved holiday traditions, the foods that resonate with them at this time of year, and whether gratitude can make your food taste better.
And how do you make magic when the year is weird?
Two more installments are already mapped out. For December’s episode, Laurie tackles how to create food moments that bring joy. “And how do you make magic when the year is weird?” she asks rhetorically.
To bring in the New Year, she examines the Japanese philosophy of kaizen which focuses on constant, incremental improvement. “Instead of Marie Kondo’s approach of dumping everything on the bed and throwing things out if they don’t spark joy, it’s fun to explore if some little changes might have big results in one of our busiest, shared spaces,” Laurie says. “Does storing your food differently make it taste better or last longer? Does organizing your drawers make prepping go smoother? Could putting the napkins next to the silverware make it easier for a kid to consistently help set the table?”
Expect each episode to dive deep, brim with practical takeaways you can apply to your own culinary journey, and feature some of the food world’s most recognizable stars. And expect to rethink the ways that food sustains all of us in so many ways.
So, welcome to Heart to Table. Sit down and enjoy what Laurie and her team whipped up.
It’s time to listen, learn, and love.