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.


Radio Kitchen #1332
9:16 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Berry Tarts

May 12, 2015 - Radio Kitchen - Berry Tarts  

For fruit lovers, spring, in all its fullness, is a fabulous time to go shopping.  One of the real treats of the season are the berries that are quietly rolling into the market.  And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Waterfront Kitchen attests, there are lots of ways to enjoy fresh berries, and one of the best is to feature them in tarts or pies.    

Read more
Cellar Notes
5:30 am
Wed May 6, 2015

Kendall-Jackson Projects - 5/6/15

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent    ** = very good    *** = superb    ****= elite

Kendall-Jackson Pinot Gris, "Vintner's Reserve", California '13  *1/2  $
(Well blended PG with good melon, peach, mango flavors)

La Crema Pinot Noir,  Willamette Valley '12 **1/2 $$
(Greatly improved from 6 months ago, very complex and delicious)

Stonestreet Estate Chardonnay, Alexander Valley '12 ** $$    
(Dynamic, finesse, rich and creamy, perfect for lobster)

Stonestreet Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley *** $$
(Deeply flavored, opulent and rich, nice oak and cedar notes)

Stonestreet Cabernet Suavignon "Rockfall", Alexander Valley '10 *** $$$$
(Very expensive, but worth it; powerful concentrated)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

Radio Kitchen #1331
2:10 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Big City Farms

May 5, 2015 - Radio Kitchen - Big City Farms

As supporters of the "buy local movement" have gotten to know the local farmers who grow their food, a curious phenomenon has emerged.  Not all farmers work on farms.  At least classic farms, as we think of them.  One operation that Chef Jerry Pellegrino has know for many years is a great example of "urban farming."

Read more
Cellar Notes
5:31 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

Light Reds - 4/29/15

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent    ** = very good    *** = superb    ****= elite

Monte Antico, Toscano I.G.T '10  * 1/2
(Chianti wannabe, well balanced with lovely fresh fruit)

Boordy Vineyards Petit Cabernet, Maryland '13 **  $
(Great flowing flavors, surprising depth, perfect for spring picnics)

Lan Rioja Riserva, Rioja '08    ** $
(Good alone, better with food, very pretty aromas and flavors)

Read more
Radio Kitchen #1330
11:40 am
Tue April 28, 2015

Baby Beets

April 28, 2015 - Radio Kitchen - Baby Beets  

Maryland farmers are turning out some of their best produce at this time of year, when the emphasis seems to be on young and tender.  It's when we see a lot of the "baby" versions of our food, and one of the more interesting is the baby beet.

Read more