Retirement for Lynne Rossetto Kasper

I’ve never been to Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s house for dinner, and I’ve only met her a handful of times in the 21 years she’s hosted American Public Media’s Splendid Table, but that was enough to know that she was the real deal — the personality you heard on the radio was the real-life person when the microphone was off.

She’s also one of us, a St. Paul resident making good on a national stage.

But, she’s retiring, she announced yesterday.

For over 50 years, curiosity and outright obsessiveness have led Lynne Rossetto Kasper down many different paths to explore food, and she has spent the last 21 of those years delighting audiences as host and guiding light of The Splendid Table. Lynne’s inquisitive spirit is now leading her to explore new paths, and we are sad to share that she will be retiring from The Splendid Table at the end of 2017. You’ll continue to hear Lynne’s voice along with our many contributors and guests until her full retirement at end of the year. The Splendid Table team will miss Lynne dearly, especially her laughter, curiosity, and kindness, and we can’t wait to hear what new adventures await her.

Francis Lam, of New York, gets the gig.

These are bittersweet times for old-timers in the public radio business. What’s left of the first generation of worker bees who helped build the public radio system are retiring — Eichten, Keillor, Rosetto Kasper — and the new kids are taking over.

They’re younger, hipper, more diverse, and usually not from St. Paul, and they bring an entirely different perspective to a now-mature medium. That’s all to the good, of course.

But we’ll miss them, particularly since — in the world of radio where signals disappear into space — it doesn’t take long before there’s little evidence the pioneers were once here. Our lives were significantly enriched by the fact they walked among us.

Lam’s first broadcast as host will be Friday March 10.

  • John O.

    //What’s left of the first generation of worker bees who helped build the public radio system are retiring — Eichten, Keillor, Rosetto Kasper — and the new kids are taking over.

    Add a guy named Collins to that list of first generation worker bees (but has not yet retired).

  • Jack

    Don’t forget Michael Barone and Pipedreams. I’ve enjoyed hearing him perform live.

    • Barone, the last original member of the MPR staff, hasn’t retired yet.

      • Al

        Pipedreams is my everything. It’s why I became an MPR member in the first place, half a lifetime ago.

      • JamieHX

        I have wondered what Barone has been up to. Haven’t heard him on the air for a long time. I think he did The New Releases in addition to Pipedreams, and I suppose all kinds of other things. One of the earliest public radio names I can remember. The New Releases theme is playing in my head…

    • Jeff C.

      And don’t forget about Leigh Kamman (who died in 2014).

  • Gary F

    You’ve never been invited to her house for dinner. Well, you know where you rank.

    If I worked at the same station as hers for 20 years I’d be finding a way to get invited over for something.

    • I sit next to the Splendid Table department in the cubicle farm. When they moved in, I thought I’d be getting a lot of food.

      Nope.

      • Gary F

        Invites to lunch? I’d be hoping to gain ten pounds and wear stretch pants cubing up next to them.

      • Zachary

        That’s because it’s a cooking show on the radio. Now – if it was TV, then you might have gotten something.

  • wjc

    And that laugh…

    We’ll miss Lynne, but Frances Lam seems like a quality pick.

  • Gary F

    As the old guard at MPR retire and the station working hard to replace these icons, I am impressed by the music line up on Prairie Home Companion. I’ve listened more in the last few months than I have in years. Jason Isbell, Lake Street Dive, Amos Lee, Ryan Adams, to name a few, the Americana music theme has been terrific.

  • Anna

    The thing I will miss most about Lynne Rosetto Kasper is that wonderful joie de vivre in her voice that delightfully animated all of her broadcasts.

    No question was ever too small or silly. She was gracious, kind and so very knowledgeable.

    Gourmet cooking enthusiasts everywhere are going to miss her terribly, including this one.

    • rallysocks

      She induced me to try many different dishes (tiny meatballs with sour cherries!) that I would never thought I would. I am going to deeply miss Turkey Confidential the most I think.

  • Mike Worcester

    And here I thought they’d hire Ana Gastayer and Alec Baldwin as the new hosts. Wait….wrong show…

  • Jeff C.

    //she was the real deal — the personality you heard on the radio was the real-life person when the microphone was off.

    You got that right. I had the pleasure of working with her some. She was wonderful to work with – kind, caring, funny. I ran into her once in a shop on Grand Ave. in St. Paul. I said hello to her – I don’t think she remembered me but I don’t think a stranger watching our interaction would have known – she was so gracious. (Bob – when I told her that I worked with her at MPR in the 90s she said a bit wistfully, “Those were good times….Good times….”)

    • They were great times. What a crew! Everybody knew everybody!

  • JamieHX

    Is that Maria Jette in the photo with Lynn RK above?

    • Sally Swift. Producer who started the show.

  • KTFoley

    Wow, twenty-one years. I’m equally taken aback to realize I’ve been listening to her show from the beginning. Some things do stick out:
    – The piece that she and Al Sicherman would do about making a meal from five items in a caller’s refrigerator.
    – Responses on Turkey Confidential that range from Wolfgang Puck to “do you have a hacksaw?”
    – Her equal enthusiasm for questions where she has bang-on expertise at the ready and where the food item is entirely new to her.