The Lauren Ignited Podcast

We've rebranded! We are now The Lauren Ignited Podcast and we talk about Soul Music and Comfort Food with my new co-host, Gregory Perrine. If it makes you groove or makes you tummy swoon, we are talking about it! Follow our new podcast "The Lauren Ignited podcast" to hear our new episodes.
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The Lauren Ignited Podcast




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Now displaying: Category: food, chefs, business
May 3, 2018

Kam Franklin, lead singer for the 8-piece gulf coast soul band from Houston, TX, came on the Lauren Ignited podcast to share a few stories from the past three years. You see, three years ago, the entire band (which was 10 people at the time) all quit their day jobs to follow this singular dream of taking The Suffers to the next level.

Since leaving their jobs, they have played on the David Letterman Show, The Daily Show, The Jimmy Kimmel Show and they have toured to Australia and Japan. They are currently on tour all around the United States. 

This July, the band will be releasing their second full-length album on July 13th, our Houston Day, if you're from Houston. (713 is one of the oldest area codes for the Houston area.) Leading up to the album release, they have shared "Do Whatever" and, soon, "Mammas" both which have music videos to accompany them. I was lucky enough to be included, with my Mother, in the "Mammas" video and I can't wait to see it.

Kam also answered questions from fans on Twitter who tweeted into the show prior to airing. You're definitely going to want to hear these answers!

You can connect with Kam on Twitter at @KamFranklin. You can view The Suffers tour schedule on And you can connect with us on

Apr 24, 2018

It's been a minute since we've had an episode from Lauren & Greg. In this episode, you'll find out why. Greg was busy traveling to Houston to record a new episode with El Burro & the Bull and Lauren was busy traveling to Austin for SXSW....and then you know, getting work done.

From her most awe-inspiring experience at SXSW, to festival season in Chicago and through their shared love of kolaches, Lauren and Greg found a way to talk about Texas and Illinois in the same episode.

And, we have a new sponsor! We're happy to announce that Level Offices have joined us on the show--we'd love for you to try them out and let us know what you think! They have office space in their co-working studios in both Houston and Chicago.

Apr 17, 2018

As found on the Fat Rice website, “Fat Rice aka Arroz Gordo” is the celebratory dish of Macau. Reminiscent of paella, Arroz Gordo is a bountiful, home-style, layered rice dish usually served to family and friends on special occasions. Fat Rice’s version has jasmine rice laced with sofrito, chorizo & salted duck. It is then topped with curried thighs, char siu pork, linguiça sausage, prawns, steamed clams, tea eggs, chicken-fat-fried croutons, olives & pickled chilies, and is served with a mushroom soy and Diabo hot sauce.

But Fat Rice, nestled on the outskirts of Logan Square (2957 W Diversey Ave) is more than just the signature dish. It’s an homage to an evolving culture that once married South Chinese and Portuguese influences into an incredible fusion of flavors. 

From learning traditional Chinese dumpling recipes from her grandparents while growing up in Lincoln Park, to exploring India’s culture an cuisine in college, food has always been a cornerstone of family and friends for Fat Rice co-owner, Adrienne Lo.

After a transformative journey to India and more importantly, Sri Lanka, Adrienne found herself looking for her next adventure while holding a job at Whole Foods back in Chicago. There, a friendship with Abraham Conlon, led to starting an underground supper club, X-Marx, which ended up gaining a cult following.

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows running the supper club, and eventually, the city got wind of the operation, putting a kibosh on the gig. There, left with the decision of what to do next, the two partners decided to take things legit. A serendipitous chain of events led to finding the right location and a cuisine that is reflective of both Abraham and Adrienne’s ethnicity.

Two expansions and a cookbook later,  Fat Rice remains at the top of the “must try” places of Chicago, and continues to add to their offerings to keep things fresh. We got the opportunity to sit down with Adrienne and sink our teeth into the story behind the restaurant. Enjoy!

Mar 5, 2018

Lauren and Greg talk about their rodeo experiences and the moment Greg's father became a cowboy.

We also chatted about the difference between the Chicago and Houston food scenes, the Chef culture, and the segregations of cuisine by neighborhood.


Feb 12, 2018

Sam Trump is a multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter from Houston, TX, and has been a student of music from first picking up the trumpet at age 7. Since moving to Chicago in 2009 to obtain his fine arts degree in music, he has become heavily involved in Chicago's live music scene and is widely known as a bandleader, sideman, and curator. Wherever he is, Sam Trump is known for creating an experience that is best described as sophisticated & soulful. 

From creating his own music before he was 10 to being offered 7 full-ride scholarships after high school to touring with his bands, Sam has always been in love with music, and it shows. Hear more about what goes on in the studio to create the music of Sam Trump.

Jan 27, 2018

It's restaurant week, and we could not be more excited to share with you some insight into one of the participating restaurants, Tanta

World-renowned chef, Gaston Acurio, wanted to bring Peruvian cuisine to Chicago in a way that showcased culture and flavor. In his words, "Our menu is like traveling throughout Peru from the Pacific Ocean to playing in the desert to touring the Andes mountains, the reflection of the Lake Titicaca over the Altiplano, through the amazing colors and sounds of the Amazon Jungle... traveling, celebrating, sharing the flavors and joys of Peru and having fun with respect and gratitude to the Earth."

At a glance, the menu looks like a fusion of Latin and Asian cuisine, but in actuality, that is EXACTLY what Peruvian cuisine is. Take one of our favorite dishes the Pobre Niguiris Nikei. Perfectly seared skirt steak is topped with a fried quail egg, and slightly spicy sauce and acidic Ponzu gel. Presented on sushi rice, it's a bomb of flavor that literally explodes in your mouth. An order comes with two, and after you taste one, it'll be hard to share the other, so it may be smarter to order two per person.

And don't forget the drinks. Local to Peru, Pisco can be found represented in a multitude of different fashions on the menu. In this episode of the podcast, we hear a little about some of the intricacies of Pisco and how it is used in more than just a Pisco Sour. If you are not a Pisco fan, go for our favorite cocktail, El Chingon. This cocktail with a kick is a beautiful blend of Jalapeno Tanteo Tequila, Mezcal, lime, and cilantro, but it doesn't stop there. Tanta infuses rocoto pepper, indigenous to Peru, into a spherical ice cube that melts as you drink it creating a lasting burn.

For restaurant week Tanta is doing both Lunch and Dinner specials. If you have been curious about what Peruvian cuisine is about, this is a great chance to experience a variety of what the culture has to offer. For $22 a lunch consists of a choice of one of four main courses, and one of two desserts. For $44 dinner is three courses with three first course options, four second course, and two desserts. There are also daily wine specials at $9 a glass.

Albeit cold outside, the vibrancy, cuisine, and culture inside the doors at Tanta will be sure to give you a little escape from January in Chicago. Make your reservation now and be sure to take advantage of the Restaurant Week Specials through February 8th.

Jan 23, 2018

In this episode of the Lauren Ignited Podcast, Greg and I caught up on our holiday stories and shared which restaurants you should definitely check out during this year's Chicago Restaurant Week!  And, Greg and I share the details on how to reset your healthy habits in 2018.

Dec 16, 2017

In this episode, I give Greg a special gift. Spoiler alert: hilarity ensues. We also chatted about Christmas traditions in Chicago that have got to go and I share an opportunity for you to volunteer with me in Houston! Tune in!

Dec 1, 2017

Passionate is an understatement for the wife and husband duo Jodi and Devon of Eden Restaurant & Paramount Events in Chicago. For having only been in business since 2011, the company has been able to establish themselves as a force in the Chicago catering scene, open a restaurant, launch a venue, and raise over 2 million dollars to support breast cancer research.

Eden, which opened earlier this year, merges farm fresh ingredients with international flavors. The Umami Donuts are insane. Think of something that’s between an empanada, a hushpuppy, and a filled doughnut. Rotating seasonal fillings like pork confit or miso mushrooms are wrapped in house made dough and fried to golden brown before being coated with a savory dust of spices. Served with a side of Raclette sauce (yeah, that’s the cheese you’ve been seeing flambéed and scrapped off onto everything on Facebook), these things are out of this world.

Chef Devon told us that what makes them even better is that he literally uses “catering scraps” for the fillings, reducing overall waste -- Literally the tastiest bits of scraps, we’ve ever had. 

Jodi is a woman on the go! Between overseeing all operations of the business, she also is an insane philanthropist, not just supporting non-profit organizations with funds, but providing them with a venue to host an event, leading the charge on annual fundraisers, and being an active board member. Check out the Paramount website HERE to see what organizations they are all about, and how they are giving back.

With a greenhouse in the parking lot, a beautiful urban facility nestled near the green line, high expectations, big plans, and an incredible drive. Paramount and Eden are going to continue to aim high and make an impact on Chicago with both delicious food and community support.

Nov 22, 2017

The Ignited team is super thankful to the amazing listeners, like you who tune in and support the show. We will continue to bring amazing stories of how music and food effects the lives of those we are interviewing, and also our own lives. We can’t express how grateful we are that you are along for the ride.

In this slightly ADD episode, find out what's been keeping Lauren busy, how Greg utilizes his vocal jazz performance degree to serenade his dog, and how Lauren almost chose to study French horn in college. Hear some amazing ways to prepare a Turkey (although it’s too late to start some of these for Thanksgiving), and also hear how a King Ranch casserole destroyed Thanksgiving. 

Whether you are prepping a Thanksgiving feast, or commuting out to see family, grab your mulled cider, your stretchy pants, and pop this episode on for a listen. 

We’d love to hear your favorite or least favorite Thanksgiving memory. Feel free to shoot us an email or leave them in the comments below.  


Happy Thanksgiving y'all

Oct 30, 2017

I had the chance to host The Outer Vibe, a 5 piece band from Nashville, at a Sofar Sounds Show in Chicago in the Spring of 2017. They blew me away. Not only were their musical abilities breathtaking, they were some of the nicest people I had met in a long time. 

We brought them on the show to talk about their behind the scenes stories of what really happens on tour, the truth behind their popular song "Fiona," and their favorite comfort food. 

Take a listen and let us know what you think in the comments!

Oct 30, 2017

“There are good days. There are bad days. And there are crappy days,” says chef and owner of Whisk, Son of a Butcher, and soon to open Point and Feather, Rick Rodriguez. Rick sat down with the Ignited team to chat through the story of Son of a Butcher, the challenges of operating two restaurants, and what’s on the horizon for the Whisk team.

You may remember from our last run-in with Chef Rick that he was born in Mexico City, where he was introduced to food through prepping recipes with his grandmother. After moving to Chicago, Rick got a taste for corporate fast food, McDonald’s. This is where he realized that he could make a living in the food and hospitality industry. After working for other chefs, learning the ins and outs of how to operate a kitchen, he finally made the call to go into business with his brother David.

Chef Rick’s goal is to create approachable food with a Latin flair. This is perfectly summed up in the Masa Steak Fries at Son of a Butcher.  Potatoes are mashed and coated with Maseca (Mexican cornmeal), and fried to a crispy golden brown. The fries are then topped with perfectly cooked Arrachera skirt steak, house-made salsa verde, sour cream, and queso fresco. Think a Latin version of Poutine, crispy on the outside, and melt in your mouth in the middle with an explosion of Latin flavor in every bite.

Rick says it’s the responsibility that keeps him going. He is currently employing about 40 people between the two restaurants, and that number will be growing as the new Point and Feather endeavor gets underway. Even on those “crappy” days he knows that what his business and passion is providing for employees, families, and friends, and that keeps him powering through.

The sky is really the limit with Chef Rick, who told us that he could one day see himself opening and running a small boutique hotel, crafting a memorable and approachable experience for guests, complete with amazing Latin-inspired room service.

Listen in and find hear it from the man himself!

Aug 30, 2017

Diana Dávila, Executive Chef and Owner of Mi Tocaya Antojeria, is showing diners a glimpse into her heritage and soul through every dish. Dávila grew up in the kitchen, working for her parent’s taqueria since she was 10 years old. Being part of that world, she didn’t want to open her own restaurant at first. After years of cooking for prestigious chefs and restaurants, then moving to D.C., where she was recognized as a “Culinary Rising Star” and “Female Force”, Dávila came back to Chicago. She wanted to create a place where she could express herself through her food and so Mi Tocaya Antojeria was born!  Explaining the word, antojo, as longing or craving, Dávila’s dishes are meant to be a taste of home.  She wants to share with diners that feeling of nostalgia and belonging, and you can feel it when you’re at Mi Tocaya; whether it’s the deliriously delicious small plates, their tasty drinks, or the colorful and homey atmosphere, you feel like you’ve been invited inside a cultural insider’s house.  If you’re looking for innovative food that references the traditions and comforts of Mexican culture, then Mi Tocaya Antojeria is the place to go! Find out more about Diana Dávila in this week’s episode of Chef’s Coast to Coast.


A look into Mi Tocaya Antojeria


Dávila's signature dish, Peanut Butter Lengua



Pick your poison



The best guacamole ever


Connect with Mi Tocaya Antojeria through Instagram and Facebook.

Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of Chefs Coast to Coast. Don’t forget to catch up on past episodes or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play! We are now sponsored by Audible and happy to announce that you can now download a free book of your choice! Happy Reading!