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The Something About Food? Blog

This is the Something About Food? Blog, where Chef Chris Clarke discusses new podcast episodes, travel, restaurants, and more!

A blog about food, family, and travel by the mostly-vegan Chef Chris Clarke.   

Not Your Average Joe

I can’t say enough about how generous Sumi Ali is. I had multiple techinical problems getting our interview started and he had no issue with starting all over again once they were cleared up. This was just one indication of his generous spirit; the other is his way with coffee.

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Developing premium, approachable coffee is Sumi Ali’s goal. He’s also always on the lookout for excellent customer service, friendly middle of the country diners, and ribs. He wants ALL the bbq ribs. We get right to it in “Not Your Average Joe”, Episode 48 of the Something About Food? Podcast.

After a few years working as a barista, Sumi opened his first coffee bar, Condesa, while still a teenager in Atlanta’s nascent coffee scene. He moved to Los Angeles to work for Intelligentsia where his exceptional barista skills and strong sensibilities about hospitality led to him being poached as the first barista at the landmark SQIRL/G&B Coffee pop-up that spawned several local culinary empires. His excellent palate for coffee and his skills as an auto and motorcycle mechanic led to him get poached again, this time to join the roasting team at Tonx Coffee as it scaled up. He went on to learn the business of green coffee importing with Thrive Farmers (the company behind Chick-fil-A’s brews) and consulted for a number of roasteries. Sumi was the brains and the boots on the ground behind LocoL’s successful coffee program. Sumi is the co-founder and coffee roaster of YES PLZ, a direct-to-consumer coffee roaster that aims to democratize great coffee.

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 This cup of Turkish Coffee in Istanbul looks great. Yet I don’t like coffee, like, at all. So I’ll leave it to folks like Sumi to roast, brew and drink.

This cup of Turkish Coffee in Istanbul looks great. Yet I don’t like coffee, like, at all. So I’ll leave it to folks like Sumi to roast, brew and drink.