What I Eat

A Radio Producer’s Journey From Childhood Junket to Seven Fishes with Alice Waters

Kitchen Sister Davia Nelson talks about her inspirations: food and stories

Juliette Luini
Published in
5 min readSep 4, 2019


Davia Nelson, right, with Kitchen Sisters co-host, Nikki Silva. Photo by Patrick Bolger.

You may have heard Davia Nelson’s name while listening to NPR’s “Morning Edition” on your commute. She might’ve snapped you out of your pre-caffeinated languor with food-centered stories like “An Unexpected Kitchen: The George Foreman Grill,” “Birth of Rice-A-Roni: The Armenian-Italian Treat,” or “Weenie Royale: Food and the Japanese Internment.”

Nelson is an independent radio producer and co-founder of the nonprofit production company The Kitchen Sisters — and the stories above are from “Hidden Kitchens:” her James Beard Award-winning series that explores under-the-radar cooking and the people behind it. Among other projects, she’s also behind, “The Kitchen Sisters Present,” the podcast that “explores lost recordings and shards of sound along with new tales of remarkable people from around the world — stories from the flip side of history.”

“What did you have for breakfast this morning?” I asked — an interview question she suggests as an icebreaker at her Kitchen Central teaching workshops in San Francisco. Turns out, she had a cup of coffee while driving over the Golden Gate Bridge from…