Al Spoler | WYPR

Al Spoler

Host, Cellar Notes and Radio Kitchen

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.

His most rewarding immersion in cooking came through his work as a television director at MPT.  Spoler served as off-line editor and assistant director on two series featuring the legendary French chef Pierre Franey.  He also worked with Mexican chef Patricia Quintana, and with Bed and Breakfast expert Gail Greco on her series "Country Inn Cooking". Al says traveling all over the US visiting country inns and taping recipes that they prepared in little makeshift television kitchens was an incredible education.

Spoler's tastes in cooking are influenced by regional tradition and contemporary casual French fare. Never slavish to recipes, he is never happier than improvising a Sunday dinner with whatever ingredients come to hand.

david mcspadden/flickr

Languedoc is in the southwestern region of France. Al and Hugh say the quality of wines from this area is increasing. Click on the image for the recommendations. 

Chuck Falzone/flickr

Most of us have been grilling for several months now, and although we've loved our burgers, steaks and ribs, we might be looking for something new, something a little exotic to toss on the grill.  So Chef Jerry Pellegrino and I look to Latin American and the Caribbean for a lot of inspiration, because the folks down there really know how to grill.

Viognier

Sep 13, 2017
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Click on the image for the wine list. 

Colin Houston/flickr

The more time I spend in the kitchen the more I become enamored with trying different seasonings.  All that talk about spicing up one's life can be taken literally.  A deft command of the spice rack can give you unbelievable culinary powers.  But as Chef Jerry Pellegrino tells us, there are some handy shortcuts spice lovers can take advantage of.

Click on the image for the recommendations. 

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Click on the image for the recommendations. 

Personal Creations/flickr www.personalcreations.com

There's an enormous variety of veggies out there in our Maryland markets and grocery stores.  And as students at La Schola cooking school can tell you, one of life's treats is to go shopping with Chef Jerry Pellegrino and fill your basket with whatever captures your fancy at the farmers market.

One thing you can do is whip up a vegetable-heavy summer casserole. 

Click on the image for recipes. 

Long Meadow Ranch

Aug 30, 2017

Click on the image for the list. 

L.C. Nøttaasen/flickr

As the grilling season reaches its climax with Labor Day next week, we thought it might be fun to take an in-depth look atone of our favorite cook-out foods. We think the humble hamburger is just about a perfect... and perfectly satisfying food.  Jerry has thought a lot about the perfect hamburger.  Here are his thoughts.

Click on the image for more. 

Megan Cole/flickr

Click on the image for the wine list. 

Mark Bonica/flickr

For Maryland white corn lovers, this is high season, a treasured slice of time when life is as good as a buttery, salty ear of fresh corn on the cob.  Although corn on the cob is arguably the best way to enjoy it, there are a lot of other iterations of corn that are pretty wonderful too. And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino points out, one thing that always makes our eyes brighten is the mention of corn pudding on the menu.

Click on the image for instructions. 


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