Listen to Marcus's Top 5 Songs

Photo Courtesy of KCRW Tune into KCRW's Guest DJ program or download the podcast of Marcus taking over the airwaves with DJ/host Mathieu Schreyer to discuss the Top 5 songs that have made an impact on the chef's life. Check out the list then scroll down to watch the videos:

1. Massive Attack – “Unfinished Sympathy” 2. Queen and David Bowie – “Under Pressure” 3. Big Mama Thornton – “Little Red Rooster” 4. Eric B and Rakim – “Paid in Full” 5. Prince – “Mountains”

Massive Attack -- "Unfinished Sympathy"

Queen and David Bowie -- "Under Pressure"

Big Mama Thornton -- "Little Red Rooster"

Eric B and Rakim -- "Paid in Full"

Prince -- "Mountains"

5 "Must Eats" in Chicago

2972076679_f69304f7d2_z Sweet home, Chicago. There is no better city in the world to me. From the downtown skyline to the cool beaches, Chicago has so much to offer and will always be my home base. With a large metropolitan area, Chicago boasts some of the best restaurants around the city and surrounding areas. The diverse population in and around Little Italy, Jew Town, Chinatown, Andersonville (known for its Swedish roots) and hundreds more neighborhoods has created a burgeoning food scene, yet I am not locked in by any of these boundaries. I enjoy trying foods from all over the city and there are always new ones cropping up every week. Being in New York now makes me miss my local stops, but that shouldn't prevent those of you in the Windy City from all the tastes in town.  Here are a few of my Must-Have eats whenever I'm in Chicago:

  • Chuck's Manufacturing- 224 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL. 312-334-6700


I stumbled upon Chuck's for a lunch meeting with some of my MBA classmates before I got to New York. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into the restaurant with the misleading name. The décor consists of white PVC pipes as handrails with white polyurethane tables and bright colored chairs and couches. The space is very large to accomodate large groups and they offer a wide array of dishes, along with the ability to “Manufacture Your Own Lunch”. I decided to do just that ($18) and I put together a delicious plate that included “Carrie’s Mac”, their Roasted Pepper Soup of the Day, and a Turkey Club. All in all, this is definitely one of my new favorite locations for lunch. They close at 11pm every night so head there for happy hour or a late night meal.

  • Heaven on Seven- 111. N Wabash, Chicago, IL. 312-263-6443


The best Cajun food I have encountered outside of Louisiana. The minute you step inside you will feel like you are at a Bourbon Street restaurant because of the Louisiana-inspired decor, Mardi Gras beads, and tantalizing aroma that fills the space. With an average plate ringing out at about $11 for lunch and $17 for dinner, this establishment is not skimpy on the portions. The menu consists of a variety of Cajun-inspired pastas, soups, omelets, crab cakes, and more. Their motto is "not everything is spicy" so do not fear this place if you can't handle spicy foods. I would suggest going here with a few people so you all can get entrees and taste several different dishes at once.

  • The Scout Waterhouse and Kitchen- 1301 S. Wabash, Chicago, IL. 312-705-0595


This quaint restaurant and bar is situated on the corner of 13th and Wabash and has plenty of outdoor seating for when we get good weather in Chicago (still waiting on that). I chose to highlight this one because the majority of patrons that frequent this restaurant are regulars and live only a few blocks away. This neighborhood is full of people walking around because of the local shops, grocery stores, and parks. Last time I took a friend here for his birthday and ordered the Black Bean Burger topped with avocado, sour cream, onions, and red peppers. It was one of the best burgers I have had in a while. The Fish-n-Chips platter boasts huge pieces of fried fish and plenty of fries.

  • Chicago's Home of Chicken and Waffles- 3947 S. King Drive, Chicago IL, 773-536-3300


This spot is all about down home Southern cooking in the heart of Chicago. Chicago's Home of Chicken and Waffles is a small restaurant that is always packed yet worth the hour-long wait to be seated. My favorite dish on the menu is the Carol's Treat, which includes 1/4 dark fried chicken smothered in gravy and onions with 2 waffles. This combination is filling and bursting with flavors that satisfy your craving for sweet and savory at the same time. You can also order classic Soul Food dishes here ranging from fried chicken, mac and cheese, greens, and beans n rice. Make sure you order Grandma's Peach Cobbler, too.

  • Toppers Pizza- 2 E 8th Street, Chicago IL. 312-226-6664


This list wouldn't be complete if it didn't include a pizza place. Of course, when you think of Chicago pizza your mind goes to the famous Gino's East deep dish pizza, or Lou Malnati's. However, Toppers Pizza is my number one for a small neighborhood pizza joint. Toppers is open late, they deliver, and they have all different types of pizza choices. My favorite is the Philly Cheesesteak pizza covered in steak, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese. They also offer a mac-and-cheese pizza, gyro pizza, and a taco pizza. This is why I love this place. You can also get half and half of these specialty pizzas so you can try two at once.

While visiting Chicago make sure you stop at as many of these restaurants as you can during your stay. Of course, there are hundreds of fabulous places to dine in the city, but these are my Top 5 Must Eats.

For more City Eats:

Wanderlust: New Orleans

The Bars Mleczny of Poland

Wanderlust: Senegal

Wanderlust: Macau

Five Cool Food Projects On Kickstarter Right Now

Crowdfunding is the newest, hottest way to get creative projects off the ground. On Kickstarter, individuals invite friends and strangers alike to donate money for the realization of their great ideas. Kickstarter has been especially successful in helping food entrepreneurs-urban gardens, food trucks, and artisanal sodas have been launched from the Kickstarter platform. For more about Kickstarter's success with restaurant-related ventures, check out Food Republic's article Kickstarter Kicks Restaurants Up a Notch.

Here are a five cool food projects on Kickstarter right now:

1. Coffee Joulies: Getting coffee to the prefect temperature is tough-either it burns your tongue or cools down too fast. Coffee Joulies use a special material to keep your brew at a perfect 140 degrees. An example of a technology-based food project, Coffee Joulies have already been featured on ABC News, Popsci, and Gizmodo thanks to an overwhelming crowd response on Kickstarter.

2. Carolina Ground: Connecting farmers, millers, and bakers in North Carolina, Carolina Ground wants to make bread a simple, local product. The project responds to rising wheat prices to keep bread affordable and sustainable. Super fresh and super local, Carolina Ground bread will reaffirm the importance of farmer and bakers.

3. Arcadia's Mobile Market: In Washington, D.C., "food deserts" exist in low-income neighborhoods where fresh, affordable food is relatively unattainable. Arcadia's Mobile Market wants to use their Kickstarter money to transform a school bus into an education center and food distribution point. And it'll run off used cooking oil!

4. Heritage Seed Co.: Supermarket produce can't compare to the fruits and vegetables that once grew across America-those local, unique varieties of tomatoes, plums, watermelons, and potatoes are rapidly disappearing. Heritage Seed Co. intends to build a community around saving heirloom seeds. They focus on plants listed on Slow Food's Ark of Taste, a collection of varieties especially endangered.

5. Spoke N Spoon: A University of Michigan student's senior thesis, Spoke N Spoon is a company that delivers local lunches by bike to Ann Arbor businesses. The project tries to frame local food as more attractive than fast food options.

Top 5 Zoo Food Spots

Last week, a rogue Egyptian Cobra, to be named by the public in upcoming weeks, escaped from New York City's Bronx Zoo. She was on the run for six days before being found in the Zoo's Reptile House! Zoo's are a favorite destination for all ages, but sometimes it's hard to find a satisfactory meal if you're not into animal shaped chicken nuggets or soggy French fries. Here's a list of recommended restaurants near some of the world's favorite zoos:

Bronx Zoo , New York * Home of a now entirely contained snake collection, this large zoo on the outskirts of New York City is free! Nearby Arthur Avenue in the Belmont neighborhood is home to a host of old-school Italian restaurants. Roberto's and Trattoria Zero Otto Nove are both solid choices for classic Italian-American favorites from calamari to thin-crust pizza.

San Diego Zoo, California * This zoo is known for its incredible variety of animals and the high standard of animal living. Meercats, pandas, baby gorillas, dozens of bird species - basically, you name it, and this zoo's got it. Located in the same park, Balboa Park, is the Prado, with a lively atmosphere and outrageously good twists on traditional American food. For a more eclectic menu, try the sustainability-oriented Cucina Urbana a few blocks away.

Atlanta Zoo, Georgia * Atlanta Zoo is home to panda cubs and much, much more! Nearby Six Feet Under is a place with unique local flavor, from the ambiance to the menu - they have great seafood and Tex-Mex options. If you're in the mood for some Southern culinary hospitality, try Ria's Bluebird for some of the best pancakes in the country and fantastic vegetarian options.

Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington D.C. * This zoo is known not only for its free admission and happy animals, but also for its spectacular views of the nation's capital. Nearby, Spices Asian Restaurant & Sushi Bar with both tasty sushi and Asian fusion options, something for everyone. For great service and charming modern American fare, try Ardeo.

Taronga Zoo, Mosman near Sydney, Australia * This adventure down under can even include a few hours behind the scenes with a zoo keeper. See where the animals' food is made and even help feed the animals in their enclosure among other daily zookeeper activities! Bathers' Pavillion has some of the best service, wine, and food around, and even epic views of nearby beaches. Another great local secret is The Tearoom Gunners' Barracks for an amazing selection of teas and teatime nibbles that draw from a range of cultures.

To read more about the cobra naming competition, go here.

Top 5 Neapolitan Style Pizzas in NYC

Within the world of pizzas, there's a huge difference between the styles. Do you like Deep Dish, thin crust, Chicago-style, Neapolitan? If the latter is your favorite, here are the Top 5 Neapolitan Style Pizzerias in New York City. For Food and Wine's Top 25 List of Pizzas in the Nation click here.

1. Luzzo's: At Michele Iuliano's pizza spot, Neapolitan pizzaiolos prepare pies with ingredients imported from Naples. Featuring one of New York's oldest pizza ovens, Luzzo's serves a crispy, crackling crust covered in traditional toppings. Try the anchovy and basil speckled Napoletana or the Salsiccia, a sausage and mozzarella pizza. 2. Keste Pizza and Vino: located in the West Village, Keste consistently courts a crowd of pizza lovers and curious food enthusiasts. Chef Roberto Caporuscio grew up an hour from Napoli, and Keste serves as the official United States location for Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani, which preserves Neapolitan style pizza. Check out the Pizza Del Re, a truly decadent combination of prosciutto, truffle spread, and mushrooms. 3. Motornio: Famous for charred crusts and long lines of hungry customers, Motorino operates out of both the East Village and Brooklyn. Stick with the Margherita pizza, the tomato-mozzarella-basil classic that defines Motorino as a master of technique. 4. Di Fara: Dom DeMarco's New York pizza institution, Di Fara serves a delicious $5 slice. Although the wait can be interminable, Di Fara's is worth a trip to Brooklyn. Serious Eats recommends that first timers stick with a plain pizza, but the artichoke option is popular, too. 5. Paulie Gee's: A self-proclaimed "Greenpoint Pizza Joint," Paulie Gee's pizza tends towards the complex side of the topping spectrum. The Porkpie White involves cow's milk mozzarella, hot sopressata, sweet Italian fennel sausage, sliced red onion, chopped garlic, and fresh basil. Less adventuresome eaters might want to start with the Brian DeParma-Italian tomatoes, Parmigiano Reggiano, and mild Aleppo chili oil.