The Big Apple’s very own Michael Muñoz is on his way to being the next big thing in the culinary world.
Michael has been delighting audiences for years by being a multi-talented force that centers on his influential queer voice in all things food.
He’s a master at many things including cooking, hosting, writing and leading the way in an amazing podcast for queer foodies called In Yo Mouth. His labor of love, which he calls “the gayest food podcast on the airwaves,” keeps his audience up to date with everything going on in the LGBTQ food scene while interviewing our shape shifters who continually change the game in this fascinating industry.
Michael and I hung out at a fabulous Hawaiian restaurant in the Lower East Side called Noreetuh recently where we chatted about his career thus far, how COVID has changed things for him and what’s next for the self-proclaimed “Andy Cohen of Food”.
What inspired you to want to enter the culinary writer and influencer world?
It was 2009 and I found myself out of work during a recession and living with my mom. I was watching a lot of Food Network back then and the type of shows that were popular included these beautiful but very reserved personalities. I longed for the days of Graham Kerr where the style of show was a bit more fun and carefree.
I also realized that there was no one who looked like me anywhere on that network at the time. I longed to see myself represented and for the jovial times of the old food show style to reappear. Thus began my journey in creating a space where queer people of color would be represented in a food sphere.
I know you have been a lifelong NYC resident. Do you think that The Big Apple has the best food in the world?
I am a true New Yorker indeed and I will always be NYC proud. But NYC is one of the many Mecca’s of food. I’ve been very lucky to have traveled a lot. There is amazing food to be found wherever you go if you know how to find it.
Outside of NYC what has been your favorite place to visit to for all things food?
San Francisco is a great food destination. I’ve had really amazing food in The Canaries too.
Is there an all-time favorite dish or restaurant that you have tried or been to over the course of your career?
One of the best meals pre-pandemic was at a restaurant called Atomix on the east side of Manhattan. It was an experience like none other and the tasting menu was probably one of the most incredible I’ve ever had. There was also a restaurant in San Francisco called Rubicon that was killer but unfortunately has been closed for some time.
You also have a fabulous podcast! Can you dish on what it’s about including all the fab celebs you’ve interviewed?
In Yo Mouth is the only LGBTQ food focused podcast on the airwaves where I not only bring you the best in food news but also celebrate the stories of the LGBTQ food community. I started it almost three years ago and it has evolved into this beautiful Queer food space for people to share their stories in a way that hasn’t been explored before.
My guests are also the best! I have had everyone from amazing Drag Queens that cook, hey Astala Vista & Marti Cummings, to some of the biggest names in the LGBTQ food game. Being a custodian and entrusting them with their stories is what makes it so special for the audience but especially for me. They don’t call me the Andy Cohen of food for nothin!
What has been the biggest shift in your career since COVID hit and are you hopeful that it will take a turn for the better in the upcoming months?
I was on a huge upswing before the pandemic, probably like a lot of people were. I lost a lot of hosting/demo/cooking work for PRIDE etc and the print magazine for who I was writing for went down.
Since the beginning of my food journey I’ve had to reinvent myself many times and this is no different. I am just one of the many people. especially in the LGBTQ community, who have had to step, ball change and pivot into making new things happen. To be honest without the pandemic I don’t think the podcast and the amazing people I have met would be so far along as it is. The food scene is changing and I too have had to change with it.
Who knows what this holds for me when COVID is over. But I’ve been in this game since 2009 and a leader in creating space for us as a community to thrive in so I am excited for what lies ahead.
What does the future hold for you and what are you most hopeful for about it?
Right now I’m focused on staying healthy mentally, physically and in general all around. In Yo Mouth has been getting so much love lately and it brings me a lot of joy to give a platform to Queer people in a specific genre that may not have had that opportunity before.
As for what’s to come? I can’t wait to really step into this title of being the “Andy Cohen of food” further. I love uniting us as a community and food is at its basis is where a lot of major moments in our lives happen. I long for the day we can all be together to cook, laugh, and spread some joy whatever that may look like soon!
Keep up to date with Michael by following him on Instagram here.