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Fr. Ian Delinger

Host of "Playing with Food" on Issues & Ideas

Fr. Ian Delinger currently serves as Rector at St Stephen's Episcopal Church in San Luis Obispo. He was born on the Central Coast, and was raised in both rural western Nebraska and on the Central Coast. He studied Chemistry at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. Then, he moved to the Silicon Valley where he was as a project manager in a consulting firm which specializes in environmental, health and safety issues for the semiconductor manufacturing industry and other high technology industries, followed by a couple of stints in corporate events management and marketing.

Fr. Ian left the Silicon Valley after nine years to train for ordination at Westcott House Theological College in Cambridge (UK). He was then ordained in the as a Deacon in 2004 and as a priest in 2005. He trained in a parish in Manchester, and then served 8 years as Chaplain to the University of Chester.

Preparing and sharing food have been at the heart of both Fr Ian’s family life and his ministry. Fr Ian firmly believes the preparing and sharing of food to be a spiritual activity, sanctioned by God, and demonstrated throughout the Bible. He illustrated this in a reality cooking show on BBC2 called ‘Instant Restaurant’ in which he turned his home into a spirituality-themed restaurant. (And made a good profit!)

Fr. Ian has dabbled in other media, including, print, BBC Radio and currently for the University of Chester’s Radio Station for which he hosted a weekly radio show, which has been nominated for and has won the Jerusalem Awards, recognizing Christians in Broadcasting.

Ian is very interested in showing the Church and active faith in a positive light in the public arena, including in the media. One of Ian’s dream jobs would be to host a Saturday cooking and meal sharing show, as “Fr Ian” to combine his passion for food and his wish to show the Church positive, enriching and a source of spiritual nourishment.

  • A Central Coast hobby farm is raising sheep and goats for high quality meat. Just south of Salinas, part way up a hill overlooking America’s Salad Bowl sits Turning Leaf Ranch. The Playing With Food Team was very interested in this small-scale animal husbandry and the flavors that result from it.
  • Hard candy…it’s just sugar, water and flavors, right? Yes, it is…but…it takes some technique to turn it into what you want. But what if you want words inside your candy? It’s pretty simple, apparently. Craig Montgomery of Sticky Candy how simple playing with candy is.
  • The Peace Academy of the Sciences and Artssummer camp included preparing and sharing food. Having the kids playing with food was a small part of their week-long program. But like all the other elements of the program, the Peace Academy leadership knew that preparing and sharing food is a vital element in achieving their pillars and values.
  • Wandering through the Botanical Gardens was yet another eye-opening experience of just how much edible bounty there is here on the Central Coast.
  • Beer has been around for a long time, about 13,000 years. It’s since been refined into stouts, pale ales, hefeweizens, lagers and other classic styles. But recently, the craft beer explosion has led to some pretty interesting flavors: Belgian fruited beers, milk stouts, orange wheat, habañero IPA, chocolate stouts and many more. Central Coast Brewing in San Luis Obispo has a very popular Peanut Butter Stout. Playing With Food met up with George and Matthew at CCB to find out how a Peanut Butter Stout is made…and why.
  • Some people made handmade tortillas every single day. In King City, Isabel Garcia does just that. Her experience, skill and love produce amazing tortillas with just a few ingredients.The song in this segment is "There's No Tortillas" by Lalo Guerrero.You can listen to the full song here:
  • Foraging for mushrooms is a fun way to get exercise while hunting for food. However, with California's lack of rain, there are more mushroom graveyards than there are mushroom fields. Some have taken an entrepreneurial approach and are growing them in their homes. Note: if you forage in the wild, be sure it's legal to do so where you are looking.
  • The siege on Ukraine is an atrocity playing out before our very eyes. How are local Ukrainians coping? Canadian-Ukrainian Annie Capelli makes Ukrainian Borscht for Fr. Ian as she describes the scene in Ukraine that her family and friends are endeavoring to endure.
  • During the George Floyd Black Lives Matters Protests, food blogger and podcaster Jaime Lewis decided to remove from her deed the restriction that read: No person of any race other than a Caucasian race shall use or occupy any building or any lot. She worked with Race Matters SLO to document the process in a film titled "Restrictions Apply". Jaime and Race Matters SLO Executive Director Courtney Haile share their journey of racial justice since the completion of the film over a dinner of salad, paella and apple empanadas.
  • Imagine if we could use a food source that is naturally abundant and doesn’t consume another scarce commodity (ie, water). Centuries ago, the native peoples of California used the food sources available to them. One of those was the ever-abundant acorn!