Jen Chen | KCUR

Jen Chen

Associate Producer, Central Standard

Ways to Connect

Segment 1: A look back at Kansas City soul music.

Johnny Starke goes hunting for old 45s — recordings of soul music made in Kansas City. He's the subject of a new film that followed him on his quest to find the perfect record. We also hear about KC soul music and why it's almost a "secret history" to some.

Tim Finn

Jun 18, 2018

Tim Finn has been a fixture in Kansas City's music scene since the late 1990s. As the Kansas City Star's music critic, he covered local and national acts from 1996 until he was laid off in May.

  • Tim Finn, music critic

Segment 1: Kansas City's New Arts Festival.

For nine weeks, starting in August, KC's parks, galleries and stages will be transformed into a massive city-wide arts festival. Hear more about Open Spaces.

Pirate's Bone / Facebook

Vegetarian options pop up on a lot of Kansas City menus, from high-end restaurants to brand-new coffee shops … and yes, even at barbecue joints.

“Now, it’s just part of everybody’s diet. You don’t have to ask for something vegetarian. It’s just a dish without meat or fish or whatever,” KCUR food critic Mary Bloch told host Gina Kaufmann on Central Standard.

Seg. 1: How to cut vegetables.

At the Overland Park Farmers' Market, after you buy your vegetables and fruit, you can get them chopped up by a professional ... for free. The Vegetable Butcher stops by with some tips on how to cut produce.

Seg. 2, beginning at 16:02: The best meat-free dishes in town.

Segment 1: The changing relationship between working artists and the Crossroads.

The Crossroads is a lively place, filled with condos, wine shops, doggie daycares and yoga studios. But back in 2000, it was much more quiet, inhabited by artists who brought their quirky vibe to the area. Now, the building that houses YJ's Snack Bar has been sold — and the longstanding café is moving. Is it the end of an era? What's next for the Crossroads and the artists?

Italian Food In Kansas City (R)

Jun 4, 2018

Hear the story behind a classic Kansas City restaurant, then visit a new cafe that's located inside an antique mall. Plus: we revisit our Food Critics' search for the best Italian food in and around KC, from beloved old-school favorites to interesting new takes on the cuisine.

Guests:

Segment 1: How a sea voyage inspired a fashion collection.

Her grandparents immigrated to America from England in the hull of a ship. Hear how that journey helped inspire a collection at this year's West 18th Street Fashion Show.

  • Amani Skalacki, jewelry designer/stylist

West 18th Street Fashion Show, 8 p.m. Saturday, June 9 on West 18th Street between Baltimore and Wyandotte Streets, Kansas City, Missouri 64108.

Segment 1: The latest on the resignation of Missouri governor Eric Greitens.

Misouri governor Eric Greitens has been at the center of a whirlwind of scandals, which culminated in his resignation yesterday. Catch up on what's going on.

Segment 2, beginning at 6:42: How to combat fake news.

Aixois Bistro/Facebook

Kansas City might be known as a meat-and-potatoes town, but fried chicken has long been popular here.

“Fried chicken is popular because it’s inexpensive, usually, and it tastes good,” Charles Ferruzza told guest host Brian Ellison on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Besides that, Ferruzza said, “It travels well — it’s just as good cold as it is hot.”

Segment 1: How to grill sausages and burgers.

It's almost Memorial Day weekend, and many Kansas Citians will be pulling out the grill for backyard cookouts. The owner of a butcher shop/restaurant shares his tips on the best way to cook sausages and burgers on the grill. Plus, a local chef on how he went from cooking in fine dining restaurants to opening a fried chicken joint.

Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

As a kid growing up on his family’s farm in Louisburg, Kansas, David Wayne Reed just wanted to perform.

He wore his mom’s heels, a cinched-up shirt as a dress, and a wig to entertain visiting seed salesmen. He also choreographed dances for the hay crew.

“As kind of a slightly effeminate little kid, (farming) was hard, it was masculine, and I didn’t know that I really fit in. I kind of felt like a little bit of a square peg,” Reed told guest host Brian Ellison on KCUR’s Central Standard.

David Wayne Reed

May 18, 2018
Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

He's an actor, writer, storyteller ... and now, filmmaker. While growing up on his family's farm in Louisburg, Kansas, David Wayne Reed used to dress in drag and perform shows for the hay crew and visiting seed salesmen. He became a founding member of KC's Late Night Theatre. And in his new film, he returns to his farm roots.

Segment 1: From Abilene to KC: The history of Sprint.

It's a multi-billion dollar company with thousands of local employees. But did you know that Sprint got its start in Abilene, Kansas? Over a century ago, a farmer-turned-businessman started stringing lines through town and bought up local independent telephone companies. Hear how the company grew from there.

715 Restaurant / Facebook

Noodles are having a moment Kansas City.

“There’s an awful lot of chefs in the city right now with small pasta menus within their main menu,” Jenny Vergara told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard. “It’s because they’re making it in-house and they’re very proud of it.”

Vergara, along with fellow food critics Mary Bloch and Charles Ferruzza, searched out the best noodle dishes in and around town.

Segment 1: How to prepare trout.

Chef Martin Heuser is a fan of trout; he grew up fishing and eating it in Germany and Austria. Plus, it's the only dish on his menu that hasn't changed since he opened his restaurant six years ago. Now that it's trout season, he tells us why it's so versatile, and he shares tips on how to cook it at home.

  • Martin Heuser, chef/owner, Affäre

Segment 2, beginning at 10:44: Noodle dishes in Kansas City.

Karen Almond / KC Rep/Facebook

In his new play, Nathan Louis Jackson draws on his own life to tackle the issue of gun violence.

Brother Toad” tells the story of two men who are related but going down different paths.

“Each path ends with the decision of ‘how do I protect myself and the ones I love?’” Jackson told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Segment 1: A new play about gun violence in Kansas.

Nathan Louis Jackson's new play, "Brother Toad," is set in Wyandotte County and Johnson County. It's about two men who are going down different paths when it comes to protecting their families. Hear more about the play and about Jackson's changing views on guns.

Jen Chen / KCUR 89.3

Dana Tippin Cutler and Keith Cutler aren’t your typical Kansas City couple. The two practicing lawyers are the hosts of “Couples Court with the Cutlers,” a reality TV show.

“(The show) combines our experience as a couple for 35 years now along with our legal experience,” Keith told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard. On the show, the Cutlers said they preside over real cases with real people in real situations. All of the featured couples have some element of alleged infidelity. 

Café Provence/Facebook

Many people consider French cuisine to be the ne plus ultra in the culinary world. And French culinary techniques are considered to be standard in many restaurant kitchens.

Whether it's hearty stews or delicate fish dishes, airy pastries or baguettes with crackling crusts, French-inspired dishes are on menus all over town.

On KCUR's Central Standard, our food critics searched out the best French food in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

JC Gregg/Facebook

Segment 1: Meet a home baker who puts his own spin on classic French desserts.

He's a self-taught baker who competed on "The Great American Baking Show." Hear JC Gregg's story — and find out why he experiments with baking in the middle of the night.

Segment 2, beginning at 14:47: Exploring French food and drink in KC.

Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

When Alvin Brooks told his father that he wanted to be a police officer, his dad’s first response was, “Why do you want to get into that mess? You know how they treat us.”

Brooks was determined. He became one of Kansas City's few black officers in 1954.

Segment 1: The National School Walkout In North Kansas City.

A check-in with our reporter, who covered today's National School Walkout from Oak Park High School.

Segment 2, beginning at 5:41: A Portrait Session with Alvin Brooks.

Unicorn Theatre / Facebook

The Unicorn Theatre's staging of a play with an all-Asian-American cast is “a landmark event,” according to one member of that cast.

Speaking with Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard on Wednesday, Andi Meyer described "Vietgone" as a “sex comedy” about how playwright Qui Nguyen’s parents met at an Arkansas refugee camp.

Meyer said the Unicorn’s artistic director, Cynthia Levin, had been thinking about featuring an all-Asian-American cast for several years.

One More Cup / Facebook

Kansas City's coffee shop scene has really blossomed over the past few years.

In addition to coffee and tea drinks, a number of shops have also been serving great food: pastries made in-house, breakfast, light lunches and grab-and-go snacks.

From quiet spots to linger to more convivial spaces to meet up with friends, KCUR's food critics searched out the best coffee shops in and around Kansas City.

 

Here are their recommendations:

 

KC Coffee Shops

Apr 13, 2018

Over the past few years, the coffee shop scene in KC has really taken off. Whether you're looking for a quick cup of joe or a place to linger with pastries and food, we've got you covered. The food critics search out the best coffee shops in and around town.

Tanner Martine

In 2016, Simon Fink and his band, Under the Big Oak Tree, performed a holiday concert in their hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri.

One of the songs they played was “The Little Drummer Boy,” which was composed by Katherine K. Davis. As it turned out, she was born and raised in St. Joseph.

Segment 1: A new art exhibit encourages people to write down their wishes.

A group of local artists has created a public altar at the Kansas City Public Library, where visitors are invited to write down their wishes and leave objects of personal significance. One of the artists behind this project shares his vision for it.

Segment 1: South Kansas City is changing.

A revamped Red Bridge Shopping Center, a new Cerner campus, Wonderscope Children's Museum moving in ... the southern part of the metro is changing. What exactly is South Kansas City and what's going on there?

Segment 2, beginning at 24:45: A novelist on writing cross-cultural romances.

Scott's Kitchen and Catering / Facebook

Burritos and wraps are glorious things.

Just about anything can go in a tortilla. And voila, a complete meal that's portable and ready to go.

But what's the difference between a wrap and a burrito?

"A burrito is typically warm or hot, and a wrap is generally cold, in my experience," food critic Carlton Logan told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard.

Logan, along with fellow food critics Jenny Vergara and Charles Ferruzza, searched out the best burritos and wraps in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

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