It’s finally here! After multiple trips to the west coast, straight weeks of shopping, prepping, beautifying food, traveling, and shooting tv we have made it! PowerHouse Productions is so thrilled to share this series and I am so grateful to be on the team! A redesign show with a food element is the best of two worlds collided. Design and food connect through creativity and passion for the basic human needs of comfort and joy!
Get more information and recipes by visiting My CLEO TV.com!!! But first check out the promo !!!
Watch their show every Saturday at noon on My Cleo TV! Get more information and upcoming recipes by visiting the mycleo.com
PowerHouse Productions finally wrapped the first season of a design and food show after many trips to California and back! I am always grateful to be a part of their team as Associate Culinary Producer.
My first meal back on the east coast this time was a little lazy, because well, I was trying to catch up on dozen of hours of sleep I had missed so badly (only with slight exaggeration). I sautéed a red onion and red cabbage with turmeric and smoked paprika- 2 of my favorite spices- tossed in spaghetti I had broken into quarter pieces and poured over a little bit of coconut milk and a spoonful of miso! It was pretty darn good for a one potter.
My days after a long trip are filled with writing lists to catch up on what needs to be done! So I like to lounge around grazing on food, usually something I made a smallish pot of and then begin crossing things off my check list… like this blog post that I’ve been needing to write for so long!!! And the fact that I am awaiting a large package of pasta any day now! Soon I will be able to elaborate on what this is all about. Stay curious!
Also, I am very excited because I will be going to Wisconsin of all places at the end of this month! I received a scholarship from Jones Dairy Farm through the CIA some time ago and have been invited to a retreat of sorts. I cannot wait to meet Mr. Jones and his family and tell you all about it. I have heard so many lovely things about the family and the farm. Any time I go to my local Gristedes and see their products I think, wow, how cool is this!
This is a super awesome time! New Soul Kitchen is airing this week on Saturday, March 16th. Cleo TV will be featuring a new series with Jernard Wells and Porsche Thomas highlighting soul food in their own very unique ways. Porsche Thomas will create her version of soul food, through a vegan lens! Very interesting, actually, and a great show to watch if you are looking to transform and still want to eat yummy, rich foods. Her co-star Jernard Wells is such a hoot and I always looked forward to his silly commentary on set.
I really enjoyed my time working with the talent! This was my first major shoot and it was a TOTAL whirlwind, shooting 12 smaller episodes in just 3 days. And, It happened, it really did. I’m talking about all-nighters, fighting off an intrusive cold with nasal spray- which actually worked it’s magic in only a few hours, and juggling food shopping, recipe reviews, photographing beauty shots, and setting up and breaking down three sets a day. It was like a crash course of sorts and I had to juggle leadership with perseverance. It was an incredible challenge.
But this sweet series is finally here and I cannot wait to share more!
Pack and repeat. Car rides and unloads. Vegan gluten free and all natural food coloring. Does it make sense? I feel like it’s been ages since I wrote! I was in an LA time warp for two weeks and could not find a quiet moment when I wasn’t dozing off to write. In fact, now that I have returned I still can’t believe I was there for two full weeks. It went so fast because so much was condensed into this time.
Oh my goodness! Those days made me realize how incredibly important it is to journal. The places I go, the people I see, the creativity of developing and making food, the things I learn, everything is an experience and it’s part of a larger story I am telling. As I traveled from the Grove market to Sprouts Market and Pavilions I wondered the difference in the quality of food on the west coast versus the east. I also realized how much these people love their Trader Joes! If you couldn’t find one item at Whole Foods you have four other places to ponder which makes working in LA quite versatile for a food gal.
Although the days were packed with organizing and travel, setups and pack ups, I found light in the smaller things. Like getting to work outside under an avocado tree or decorating a kitchen with oblong- plump oranges or lemons or limes from the nearest citrus trees.
Those are the little things that make you go…oh!
When I started with PowerHouse Productions in September of this year I had not a clue what I would be exposed to, who I would meet, and what it would be like leading culinary on projects that my bosses and Executive Producers Rochelle Brown and Sonia Armstead produced. I was granted the opportunity to travel to California a few times already to work with them and their team of producers and crew members to create unique content for TVOne. To create memories that cannot be transformed into a better time. To laugh way too much and sleep way too little.
I would love for you to tune in this evening for the premiere of Living by Design Holiday Special with Jake and Jazz Smollett. Every family has a way of recreating the holidays for their families or friends so Jake and Jazz will show you how they create theirs. Their pink speckled wooden tabletop will be covered with champagne and smothered chicken and surrounded by friends (inclusive of some unique guests).
When staging the set and setting up each food segment everything had to be perfect. Herbs were hit with a little extra spritz, veggies were squeaky clean, and the overall organization of ingredients landed on the island in a way that Jake or Jazz could easily determine which one needed to be used next while simultaneously cooking and entertaining the camera. Smothered Chicken and Collards, Pot Roast and a crabby Potato Gratin, and the luscious finale of Peach Cobbler created their perfect holiday meal.
I wasn’t quite sure what story to lead on Cinnamon tea for the month of October. Not to mention I am a bit behind on this post now that we have landed in November. But I feel this is all for good reason. I think that the last two weeks of straight work on and off set has written the story for me.
Cinnamon is a universal flavor to almost everyone. It’s one of the all-American spices that highlights the foods we find in the average supermarket; cinnamon toast crunch, cinnamon buns, coffee cake, red hots, French toast- the list can simply multiply itself 5 more times. It’s universal in other cultures too; Vietnamese cinnamon spice, Chinese 5 Spice, Cinnamon in Arabic spice blends, heck my Italian Grandmother even cooks with cinnamon! Harney and Son’s cinnamon tea is the best example of the usage of cinnamon. It’s sweet when paired with sugar, it’s bitter when you’ve steeped it for too long, and it’s savory all on its own. It channels itself through food in many ways. But, I also believe that it can relate to the themes of life. And I finally realized why this tea was perfect for October. There was a moment of realization while away on the west coast last month, working for nearly 2 weeks straight. There were moments that I realized life was like cinnamon- savory, sweet, and bitter. Moments that taught me so much.
The all nighter I pulled alone while everyone went to bed responsibly. I carried glass carafes full of liquids and heavy props up and down the stairs quietly. I got maybe two hours of sleep in before the alarm rang for another 15-hour day. That was Bitter. Yet all those moments of laughter over compensated for the intense days we had. Those long delirious laughs kept me going, even when I didn’t know what I was laughing at anymore. I sound crazy right? And altogether I savored the experience to its fullest. The shows, the talent, the 15 plus hour days, my team, the beautiful home we stayed. Everything. And literally, after it’s all said and done this week, I WILL be drinking a cup of cinnamon tea, pretending that it feels like fall on the east coast although I still feel like I am on the west coast. Cinnamon too has a story to tell if you can find the relationship.
It’s unreal. All that I have seen and what I have gotten to do in the first seven days of my new job. As I sat on the last flight of the first week, tapping away at my keyboard and snacking on extra generic trail mix I recapped the week over again and again. Although I practically worked night and day for nearly ten days straight, I am in love. I love my team, I love my responsibilities, and I love the seemingly constant adventure. I have always imagined a career that was wrapped around so much possibility, amazing people, and travel. I think that those who know me, already understand my world is about food and media, but for me, there is so much more to it than those simple terms. I have been so ready to dive deep and learn all that those are willing to teach me, while still being mentored from the successful people that have guided me to the present.
My time in Italy came before I ever traveled to the other side of this country. For a while, I have been imaging the west coast and how different it is from my New York habitat. Quite different if you know what I mean (you’re supposed to chuckle here). We stayed at the foot of Laurel Canyon in Hollywood, in this insane house that doubled as our promo shoot workspace; actually, pretty clever thanks to Rochelle and Sonia. As the Culinary Associate Producer, I didn’t have time to explore much, but instead did things like prep a pink cake, craft props for a set like my jar of lemons, and shop as the evening ritual aside from running around the house and taking calls each day. We worked and laughed and enjoyed everything even though we spent most of our time at Whole Foods and Target slowly becoming delirious from the time change and sleep deprivation. And yes, that day on the beach in Malibu shooting some B- roll was crazy cool too!
Birmingham (the ham)
Not even 24 hours after arriving in NYC I had to fly back out again. Waiting for that call telling me about a 6 a.m. flight was truly thrilling. I was on a roll! Two flights to Birmingham later and I began to prep for the Twilight Supper fundraiser event that Jones Valley Teaching Farm hosted with Chef JJ Johnson- whom I was assisting. My very first day of work I began to help coordinate this event with Rochelle and Sonia, so seeing it all come together two weeks later on site in Alabama was incredible. I learned to make the infamous Afropot, by Chef JJ and watched the making of Black China Coconut Lime Rice and Okra Fries. What's more, I sang a tune from one of my favorite artists “ I Feel For You” by Chaka Khan with Dolester Miles, who was awarded Best Pastry Chef by the James Beard Foundation this year. Dolester brought her fluffy, perfectly piped lemon meringue tarts to the event for the dessert course and I could not hold back any longer. I had one for dinner. Following the event, I knew I had one last trip to make and that was to visit an old friend, Dave, over smothered chicken and biscuits with a side of sweet tea. I would not dare leave the south without a proper southern meal.
I wish for the best adventures to come yet! And very grateful for this time.