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Media • January 2024 • Brent’s Food Destinations

| December 31, 2023

Brent Petersen

Growing up in suburban Chicago, Brent Petersen never thought he would become one of the top foodie podcast hosts in the world.

“My first career was in radio,” he explains about his stints in Champaign, Peoria, and Providence, Rhode Island. “I wanted to find a way to get back into that audio medium because I love radio. You can paint a picture with words, theater of the mind. As a listener, you can imagine anything in your mind that the host is talking about. I love that. At the time, I was living in Hawaii, and we had traveled all over the world, so my girlfriend and I thought this would be fun to talk about all these different places in an audio format. In 2018, I launched the Destination Eat Drink podcast on the Radio Misfits Podcast Network (based in Chicago). We’ve done, I don’t know, 260 270 episodes now.”

The weekly Friday podcast takes you to exotic locations, talks to people who know that place, and sets the table with the best food and drinks.

“I love having people that are not specifically in the food industry on the show. That’s fun to do. You don’t have to be an expert because everybody eats. So, when I have someone on like Kate Pierson from the B52s, and she tells me about starting her life in Georgia on an organic farm and telling me about the real-life love shack. That, to me, is fascinating. When I have a guy like CJ Chenier, who’s the Crown Prince of Zydeco, telling me about traveling around playing his concerts and keeping a portable kitchen on the bus so that he and his bandmates can make their own special Louisiana food. That’s awesome. When I have Grammy winner Sarah Jarosz talking about her favorite gas station burrito in Texas. That’s a lot of fun. People get excited when they’re talking about their hometown when they’re talking about food. And everyone loves food. So, it means that I’m always smiling when I’m doing the podcast.”

While he features locations around the globe, he has also featured his own hometown a few times.

“I had (the late great WXRT jock) Lin Brehmer on the show once. He told me a hilarious story about inhaling helium and making a scene at one of Chicago’s finest Michelin restaurants. I also had Jonathan Porter on the show, who runs what I think is one of the most genius things from Chicago, Chicago pizza tours. He takes people around for an afternoon or an evening to try all kinds of different Chicago-style pizza, not just deep dish.”

If you are going on vacation, you should look up Brent’s Archives. It’s almost certain he’s done a show about your vacation destination. But even if you don’t have time to listen to them all, he does have two generic tips.

“First of all, go on the food tour. Any city of a decent size around the world has someone doing a food tour. And take that food tour on day one. That way, you can pick the brain of the person who is giving you the food tour. You’re going to taste all of this delicious food you’re probably going to be stuffed, but also use them as a resource. Figure out the sites that you want to see and what sucks and doesn’t because you have limited amounts of time. So that’s my number one tip: go on the food tour. The second tip that I always give is to go to the local food market, especially in Europe, because every city always has at least one market day a week. You can buy local produce, local fruits, local vegetables, and ask the vendors about the stuff because you’re gonna see fruits, vegetables, and things that you have never seen. My thing is to buy hand food, fruits, and vegetables, maybe some bread, maybe some cheese, if you’re lucky, a bottle of wine and go to a park and just set up shop in the park for a couple of hours. There’s nothing more rewarding than watching the locals enjoy their day. It’s something that you’re not going to get by going to the big tourist sites in the city.”

Brent has taken his love of destinations, eating, and drinking to the next level. A few years ago, he actually moved to Europe.

“We came to Portugal in 2019, before the pandemic, and we weren’t really thinking seriously about moving to Portugal, but then we went back to the US COVID hit. And that was really what spurred us. Who knows what the future is gonna bring? Why wait? We sold all our stuff. And we took everything that we had left in three suitcases each and moved to a small city south of Lisbon in Portugal. And it’s been a fantastic decision. We’ve been here for a little over two years now. A lot of family members and friends have come to visit us over here. And the wonderful thing about living in Portugal is even if someone doesn’t come to Portugal if they’re in Italy if they’re in Ireland, we can hop on a plane and be there in an hour, two hours, something like that.”

No regrets? Is there anything he misses about America?

“The thing I miss most is garbage disposals. There are no garbage disposals in Portugal.”

-Rick Kaempfer

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