episode 01: Matt Gross

heatstories 01, in conversation with Matt Gross, currently in Hot Pursuit of the chilli around the world (begun with Kickstarter).

Matt used to write the Frugal Traveler column for the New York Times, was editor of BonAppetit.com, and many more publications, and works as freelance digital editorial consultant.

Restless & hungry. Writing about travel, food, parenting, and culture all over the place.” as he puts it in his Medium byline.

As a journalist and writer, and now with an eye towards documentary video making, Matt has a spicy eater’s and documentarian’s perspective on the chilli.

With experience around the world, including Latin America, Europe, and Asia, his views go a tad deeper than they often do. Witness, in our talk:

“There is no such thing as ‘Thai chillies’… it’s a meaningless term, usually used for what the Thais call ‘mouse-dropping chillies’. ‘Mouse-shit chillies’. … You go to Thailand, and you ask for Thai chillies, they are going to ask you ‘Well, which ones?’ There are about 10 different ones that people use on a regular basis.”

Matt Gross

On China/Chongqing… “It’s an always-boiling hotpot. Always the same hot pot, always changing ingredients.”

On trying new foods: “I had this epiphany where I realized that, if I didn’t like a food, it wasn’t the food’s fault, it was my own failing. And that I had to learn how to like what the food was for what it was, and not for what I wanted it to be. And once I realized that, it sort of flipped the switch in my brain and I realized that I could like – and enjoy! – really anything, because the food was what it was supposed to be, and not what I wanted it to be.”

Cogito, ergo Capsicum!

Ways to Follow Matt:

Matt on Twitter: @worldmattworld
Instagram: @worldmatt (also @_hotpursuit)

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