The Food Podcast That Doubles As A Pandemic Lifeline

Dyke Michaels didn’t intend for his podcast to be a check against a virus-ravaged world. The former Beast food truck owner and Irvington brunch legend, who’s also a regular on the roster of performers at Red Flag Comedy, started the cheeky interview show Harder Brunch in late 2019 as an excuse to invite chefs, bartenders, and fellow comedians into his house to share some laughs over a home-cooked brunch and a few cocktails.

When the industry insiders he had on the show started feeling the crunch of the quarantine last March, the rollicking, extemporaneous podcast became a chance for guests to air their frustrations. In many ways, the show became exactly what Michaels loves about podcasts. “It’s not like a TV interview where you have bullet points to get through,” Michaels says. “You can be silly.”

The journey to foodie podcaster has been a winding one for Michaels, who started his cooking career as a summer-camp food service assistant. In 2012, while still in culinary school, he got the opportunity to start a brunch program at Black Acre Brewing Company, where customers lined up for the one dish he made each week. But running Beast food truck taught him the importance of  balancing work with his personal life. “My entire livelihood was tied to the food truck. I worked as hard as I ever had and was nearly homeless,” he says. “In that world, you just forget about self-care. Now, I can do things on my own terms. And I get to be a professional clown.”