Samira Mohyeddin wants you to think about the food on your plate. Where did it come from? How did it get there? And what are the politics behind it?
“It's not a benign industry. It's fraught. There's a lot of issues in it,” said Mohyeddin, a Toronto journalist, longtime restaurateur, and host of new CBC Radio One show Unforked.
The show aims to unpack those deeper cultural and political issues through something all of us can relate to: the food we eat.
Unforked, which premieres June 28, will explore themes like the stigma against MSG, why some people get so fired up in owning certain foods — like hummus — and how Canada earned the moniker “Saudi Arabia of yellow peas.”
“So things like looking at racism, how marginalized communities are further marginalized through food, looking at who's actually cultivating our food, what is on our plate, the people who work in the food industry,” Mohyeddin said.
How to find Unforked
About the host
Mohyeddin's experience in the restaurant industry has given her a unique perspective on matters of food. She's owned a restaurant, along with her brother and sister, in Toronto's west end for the last 16 years.
Before that, Mohyeddin worked in restaurants throughout university and graduate school, while her brother was in culinary school training to be a chef.
“After I finished my master's, I said to him, 'Why don't we open a place together?'” Mohyeddin recalled. “Because what else are you going to do with a master's in Middle Eastern history other than open a restaurant?”
Ten years after starting the restaurant, Mohyeddin, who had already been writing articles for small outlets, decided to go to journalism school and has since worked for CBC, Vice and CTV.
“Food and journalism are my two passions. And to be able to sort of bring them together is really like living the dream for me,” she said. “I think that food provides topics that are endless.”
People shouldn't just be passive consumers. We play a role in how our food gets onto our plate.– Samira Mohyeddin
In Unforked's debut episode, Mohyeddin talks to Indigenous chefs and activists across the country — like Rich Francis, a finalist on Top Chef Canada — who are decolonizing their diets and asserting autonomy through food.
Unforked — serving up food for thought
3 days ago
Samira Mohyeddin has been in the restaurant business as long as she’s been a journalist. Her curiosity and passion for food and politics is the secret sauce behind this new CBC Radio show. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s on the menu… 1:51
“We thought it would be really great to … [have] the first episode be with the First Peoples of this land and [ask]: Who gets to claim or define what Canadian cuisine is?” Mohyeddin said.
Throughout the season, she hopes that listeners will have a better understanding of the food industry.
“People shouldn't just be passive consumers,” Mohyeddin said. “We play a role in how our food gets onto our plate, and I think more awareness is really my mission with this.”