Salt + Spine: Stories Behind Cookbooks

At Salt + Spine, we tell the compelling stories behind cookbooks.

Our weekly podcast features one in-depth interview with a cookbook author. We dive into the heart of the craft—their life story and inspiring forces, their foray into cookbooks, the intriguing aspects of production, and opportunities for broader conversations about the cookbook or restaurant industries, home cooking, political advocacy, and more. We approach interviews from a conversational and journalistic perspective, looking to tell compelling stories, share unique information, and invite you—the listener—into our conversation with an informal and energetic dialogue.

We also bring you excerpted recipes and bonus content from featured cookbooks each week, along with special essays, behind-the-scenes photos and videos, and more.

We record in the San Francisco Bay Area and often host live recordings of our podcast and special events. If you’re a local, stay tuned for upcoming dates!

The Podcast

You can find a full index of podcast episodes here (link tk).

The Recipes

You can find a full index of recipes featured on Salt + Spine here (link tk).

The Salt + Spine Team

Brian Hogan Stewart | Substack

BRIAN HOGAN STEWART is the host and creator of Salt + Spine.

A once-budding chef, Brian passed on a culinary school degree to pursue journalism. He's not a professional cook nor a cookbook author—but an avid home cook and an enthusiastic cookbook collector, with a collection now in the hundreds. (That may seem like a lot to some, but he envies Diana Henry’s 4,000-book library almost daily!)

In addition to podcasting, Brian has extensive experience leading public relations and storytelling efforts for numerous food & beverage and hospitality brands, non-profit groups, and advocacy organizations. After working as a journalist in Iowa and leading one of the state’s highest-circulation newsrooms, he led communications for the Center for American Progress’ youth engagement arm and then oversaw public relations for during both the 2016 and 2020 presidential races. In his senior public relations roles at af&co. and bread & Butter, he has led campaigns for a range of hospitality clients including the James Beard Foundation, the MINA Group, the San Francisco Ferry Building, New Belgium Brewing, Mr. Espresso, Ramen Nagi, TETRA Hotel–Autograph Collection, and more.

Brian has worked extensively in journalism and new media, conducting hundreds of interviews throughout his career, including time spent covering food culture and personalities in the Midwest. He is a native of Iowa, where he studied journalism, English, and American studies.

CLEA WURSTER is the producer of Salt + Spine.

SARAH VARNEY is Salt + Spine’s resident Kitchen Correspondent.

A huge thank you to all of those who have made Salt + Spine possible, including:

  • Our studio is at The Civic Kitchen cooking school in San Francisco. They offer in-person and virtual classes for home cooks and a beautiful space for private events. Plus their cookbook library evokes real envy!

  • Our friends at Omnivore Books, including the inimitable proprietress Celia Sack, are great partners in our live events and providing guest commentary. As you support local bookstores, ensure Omnivore is on your list (and check them out when you’re in San Francisco).

  • Paula Forbes provides excellent and knowledgeable commentary, and her Stained Page News Substack is a must-subscribe for anyone who cares about cookbooks.

  • Our theme song and music were created by Brunch for Lunch.

  • Thank you to Alison Sullivan, Madeline Forbes, and Nina Earnest for providing production and audio support.

Subscribe to Salt + Spine

Salt + Spine is the leading podcast on stories behind cookbooks, featuring in-depth interviews with cookbook authors. ‍Plus find featured recipes from favorite cookbooks, join our Cookbook Club, and more!


Host, Salt + Spine podcast
I study Philosophy in Berlin and write creatively about experience, food and culture.