Interviews

Chef Mary Sue Milliken

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What interested you about ‘America Cooks with Chefs’ and why did you join?

I love sharing my passion for food with others, and I’m very interested in how diet can contribute to a healthier body and planet. ‘America Cooks with Chefs’ was such a great opportunity to share good tips and pointers on what I’ve learned over the years with home cooks around the country.

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Bill Phelps

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There is something rather magical about a photographer that is able to tell a story through a single snap of the shutter. One whose ability to captivate the essence of the person behind the lens can compel you and invite you into a very honest part of themselves. Meet Bill Phelps.

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Chef + Restaurateur Michael Mina

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An Avid supporter of his Chefs, Michael, in spite of being one of the youngest chefs to receive a Michelin star rating (in his 20’s), is a down-to-earth visionary, husband, and father who truly believes in creating food that makes people happy. It’s simple and admirable and flawlessly executed. A Four-Star Award Winning Chef, Mina is not the typical celebrity chef. His passion and desire to always strive to give a remarkable customer experience is unparalleled. Chef Mina takes pride in the dishes he has created and with multiple chefs working to bring his vision to life, he gives his heart and soul to his craft.

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James & Arthur Waugh: ORION IN THE TRADEWINDS

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Arthur Waugh is a poet and documentarian whose works were found in literary journals in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. He is also my father. On May 18th 1988, on the cusp of having his first book of poetry published, this book, Orion in the Tradewinds, he suffered two massive cerebral hemorrhages leaving him with extensive brain damage, short term memory loss, terrible aphasia, and an inability to do the thing he loved most — write poetry.

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Melanie Newcombe

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2013 has been one of the most creative years I’ve ever encountered and it seems fitting to close off the year by telling you the story of a truly gifted sculptor. Melanie Newcombe. The very essence of art is its ability to move you. The details, the unspoken emotion, the movement, the material tend to all be secondary. Until you come upon Melanie’s work. Made of cold, seemingly emotionally vacant materials of aluminum and metal, you are warmed by the very sight of her sculptures and find, that without pause, you are becoming entangled in the swell of feelings it provokes.

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Photographer Tim Brown

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We are not alone. Nor are we absent of space and time, emotion or truth.

We are infinitely surrounded by beauty and warmth in spite of shadows cast or the thick fog of doubt creeping into wrangle us down to the ground. We are on an adventure. The kind where our inner fearless child shakes off worry and places our feet on the bottom of a cart, seemingly idle and we see the greatest ride of our lives. Our feet rest on the bar underneath, our hands grip the cold bar above, one leg pushes off and without hesitaiton, we feel the air brushing past our cheeks, the brisk whisper of freedom liberating our very soul, and we feel, as if a magical pull has grasped into our cheeks, we feel each corner of our mouth curling upward until, without pause, our entire being is smiling.

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Andy Comeau and Dawn Lewis

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Andy Comeau is one of my favorite actors. If you don’t know his name, you are missing out. If you’ve ever watched Showtime, you may be familiar with the infinitely well-written, astoundingly performed, screwed up family drama, Award Winning HUFF starring Hank Azaria, Paget Brewster, Andy Comeau, Anton Yelchin, Blythe Danner, and Oliver Platt. Andy played the most endearing, mentally disturbed, heart-wrenching, heart warming brother, Teddy. HUFF is based on Dr. Craig “Huff” Huffstodt played by Azaria who has a teenage patient kill himself in his office. It causes an onslaught of story that unravels through 25 episodes. Teddy, played by Andy Comeau, is a character that to this day is one that deeply impacted me. He was so easy to love and empathize with in spite of the transparent imbalance of his psyche

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David Arthur + Laura Long of David Arthur Vineyards

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Soon after that event, I ran into David at the Pacific Wine Food & Wine Festival. The one thing you should know about David is he is one of the nicest men you’ll meet and he is a sheer pleasure to talk to. He has this uncanny magnetic draw that makes you want to stay and talk about wine, life, and really, anything as long as possible! He invited me to join him and his group of travelers and friends at Newport Beach’s 3Thirty3 and I happily did. I arrived and was sat inside with David and Antonello’s Sommelier Steve Ebol, a familiar face, Thaddeus Forret, and a group of David’s friends and colleagues. We all enjoyed wines that David graciously brought and poured because to him, what is the point of being around friends if you don’t enjoy wine, share stories and just live in the moment?!

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Stacey Wells – An Artist with Abandon

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Stacey’s art is unapologetic, which is why she has been commissioned by so many and continues to be a name no one can forget: both in and out of the art world. In every stroke of color and every intended line, the complexity of story is ever present. Whether she is painting a bottle, canvas, immortalizing a rock star or Hollywood icon, there is a caveat of feeling: sexuality, strength, vulnerability, and exhilaration.

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Comic Rajiv Satyal

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The first time I met Rajiv Satyal was at the Eat Your Words Event at the Standard Hotel Downtown. When Greg Walloch introduced Rajiv, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Up until this point, I hadn’t had the wonderful fortune of seeing him on stage. But when I did, it was clear I had to interview him. He stood up in that Cactus Lounge and didn’t give some overly comedic performance. Instead he actually gave us a look into a part of his life that was honest, relatable, and oh so real: Dating, falling in love, and things not working out. It begins with a candid and endearing tale of him being interviewed by a journalist in India. She is beautiful and intelligent and, as luck would have it, agrees to go out with him after his friend oversleeps for their dual interview. They hit it off and their relationship begins.

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Garrett Backstrom and Collin Ford

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I had the pleasure of sitting down with two of what I believe will be the actors to keep your eye on in the coming years: Garrett Backstrom and Collin Ford. Invited to attend the Red Carpet DVD Release Event of Michelle Danner’s “Hello Herman”, I was asked if there was anyone attending I’d want to interview. While the list is always interesting, I wanted to interview someone I felt hadn’t really had an opportunity to be seen outside of their realm. For the first time ever, I interviewed two, under 18, rising stars in Hollywood. Both 17 years-old, both with a rather successful career already under their belt, and the endless potential that will no doubt make them household names very soon.

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Sitting Down With UB40

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The story of UB40, and how this group of young friends from Birmingham transcended their working-class origins to become the world’s most successful reggae band is not the stuff of fairytales as might be imagined. The group’s led a charmed life in many respects it’s true, but it’s been a long haul since the days they’d meet up in the bars and clubs around Moseley, and some of them had to scrape by on less than £8 a week unemployment benefit. The choice was simple if you’d left school early. You could either work in one of the local factories, like Robin Campbell did, or scuffle along aimlessly whilst waiting for something else to happen.

By the summer of 1978, something else did happen, and the nucleus of UB40 began rehearsing in a local basement. Robin’s younger brother Ali, Earl Falconer, Brian Travers and James Brown all knew each other from Moseley School of Art, whilst Norman Hassan had been a friend of Ali’s since school. Initially, they thought of themselves as a “jazz-dub-reggae” band, but by the time Robin was persuaded to join and they’d recruited Michael Virtue and Astro – who’d learnt his craft with Birmingham sound-system Duke Alloy – the group had already aligned themselves to left-wing political ideals and forged their own identity, separate from the many punk and Two Tone outfits around at that time. The group had nailed their colours to the mast by naming themselves after an unemployment benefit form. Their political convictions hadn’t been gleaned secondhand either, but cemented in place whilst attending marches protesting against the National Front, or rallies organised by Rock Against Racism.

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Tastings with Chef Shawn Cirkiel PART 1

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Wearing his special order bright pink VANS with black eyelets, a soft pink button up, jeans, and a smile that seems to extend to you, Chef Cirkiel is your every day guy with impeccable taste, a hands-on approach to his craft, an eagerness to experiment, a calling to push himself further, a willingness to encourage his staff to be proactive and innovative, and a charm that allows you feel as if you’ve known him for years. Jane readies her camera and we dive right into conversation…

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Andrew Zimmern

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Andrew Zimmern (born July 4, 1961) is an American television personality, chef, food writer, and teacher. He is the co-creator, host, and consulting producer of the Travel Channel series Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre World. For his work on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern he was presented the James Beard Foundation Award in 2010. He also hosts the show Dining with Death, which explains some of the foods that could cause death.

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William Pilgrim

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But at the same time, I found it very therapeutic. Ish and Phil from William Pilgrim take songwriting and making music to its essence. It seems as if they do not do it for others, but still do to put their art out there for others to hear. Although it may sound selfish, their music is not selfish. They create it for themselves and for others at the same time; that is a truly non-selfish act. I listened to their album prior to the interview, and I listened to their album after the interview with a whole new perspective…

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