The Food Stalker: Interview by Marketing Eye

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Food_Stalker_Red_Carpet_63-1944061981-OWhat inspired me to write a blog? I want to “Go to Oz” like Dorothy did and share my passion for food and fashion. All of my time spent traveling the world relate directly to finding a human face to associate with my destination, the food I eat and the memories. In a time of fast growing technology I think we are all seeking ways to truly connect, encouraging us to find through the universal language of food a genuine human connection. Documenting my experiences and creating a blog seemed like a natural way to connect with the world. My most memorable experience was meeting Wolfgang Puck for the Oscars.

What obstacles have you had to overcome to get where you are today? Technology has been a challenge for me. I am not a techie-person and learning new programs and how they work has driven me to have a cocktail before 5pm! It has been important to align myself with people who have a shared vision without ego (Ego stands for Eliminates Growth Opportunity). In the beginning it takes time to find your voice. Things must grow organically and it takes time.

Who inspires you the most? My husband Joe. He’s the one I am always “ditching” to chase for that next adventure, but behind the scenes he is my rock. He is a great father, friend and brother. When we met he shared his “Rocking Chair Theory” with me and once I was sold on the idea, we’ve been on a hell-of-a-ride ever since. ( Yes, that we would be in those proverbial rocking chairs, on the same porch, proud of the family legacy we created together.) Not content with lounging on the shore waiting for his ship to come in, he has reached deep inside, pulling himself up by the bootstraps to become a successful, self made man. He’s a fighter and has the emotional tools in his toolbox to repair the cracks and dents life brings (let alone deal with this crazy blog-a-holic). He continues to put his family first, always, and rises each day making himself available to help others, living his life in a way that makes me proud.

What should every person who visits Laguna Beach, California, experience? Laguna Beach offers miles of soft sand and surf, has a small town feeling and as far as I’m concerned is simply paradise here on earth. (just don’t tell anyone). It’s half way between Los Angeles and San Diego and offers year-round activities for art lovers, nature enthusiasts and beach lovers. In summer the town is flooded with visitors to see the world-renowned production “The Pageant of The Masters” which has been combining theater and art by creating “living pictures” of some of the world’s most well known works of art in an outdoor amphitheater under a starry sky. Nearly 100 galleries are sprinkled around the town and The Sawdust Festival in the Canyon is another great event each summer. There are art museums, Patriot Day parades, Music in the Park events, Playhouse for live theater, hiking, biking, boating and surfing. Laguna has something for everyone, with a more laid back feeling than Los Angeles and it’s been a great place to raise our son. He has fallen in love with the ocean and loves to skimboard which was started here in the 1920s. There are wonderful restaurants, cafe’s and The Montage Resort offers delightful views and incredible cuisine. The Laguna Beach Farmer’s Market is a great spot on Saturday mornings.

Where does your passion for food and fashion come from? Early childhood memories of playing dress up, modeling and being a creative person have fueled my passion. My Mamie and mother always had great style and were good cooks. Growing up part Italian and marrying a man who was 100% Italian for my first marriage, I had those remarkable experiences in the kitchen that were priceless, learning “old school secrets” from grandmothers who were eager to share.

Tell me about your blog in 200 words: It’s where food and fashion collide. Half of the stories are how I get there, gaining access and making something happen. It’s not easy and if everyone could be doing it they would. The other half is “the reward”, getting to meet the chef, restaurant owner, top designer, red-carpet, etc. Placing a normal person in abnormal situations and watching the fireworks explode. Most importantly, sharing the stories.

How far would you go to get what you want? When it comes to food, I’m willing to ditch my husband and wade through the ocean in my Louboutins to join a band of local fishermen in search of the best “Catch of the Day”. I’ll chase trains, planes and automobiles to get to that next food story. Sometimes you just have to take a chance, no matter how many designer shoes you loose, because only those willing to risk even their husband’s sanity get what they want, and no one wants that tale more than me. There is always a story behind the story. Whether a five-star chef with a penchant for truffles or an aged olive farmer in the groves of Tuscany, each has an imprint on the foods we love and long to learn about. Except this huntress is willing to risk her marriage and her designer wardrobe to get to them, and doesn’t care what it requires, even the aid of an utter stranger. Savvy, adventurous, with a sense of humor and an insatiable craving for life in general, you’ll never know where I’ll turn up next. So grab your fork and knife and get ready for the wildest food adventures ever with this wild fashion-crazed, food-seeking gal because once the scent strikes there’s no telling where it’ll take me –or how many therapy sessions my husband might need!

If you were to be someone else for a day, who would it be and why? Although comfortable in my own skin I would say Oprah Winfrey. She rose from a childhood so poor it sounded like a punch line for a joke and yet through it all she has risen to become one of the most powerful women in the world. Her philanthropy in founding a school in Africa, Oprah’s Angel Network which gives educational grants and personally donating $10million to rebuild homes after Hurricane Katrina are nothing short of remarkable. Her endorsements have the power to make careers and change lives. That must feel pretty incredible and oh, over all the years of interviews, the rich stories she must have.

Who is your role model? Kathy Ireland. She is still as stunning as she was when she appeared in 13 consecutive Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues. With three children and two dogs she fronts the Kathy Ireland brand with credibility and manages to balance a career and a family effortlessly with class and style. “Please” and “thank you” are part of her every day vocabulary. She was an entrepreneur long before she was a model. As a child she painted stones and peddled them door-to-door and sold crafts at art fairs. At age 11 she applied to an add beckoning newspaper deliverers stating “Are you the boy for the job”? She wrote a note to the editor stating she was the girl for the job, and got it. My kinda gal. Considering she barely graduated high school, her success is staggering. Her business is about investing in people and ending up on the cover of Forbes Magazine in February 2012 is an inspiration for all women to follow your dreams and reach for the stars. Chef Andre Carthen of Kathy Ireland Worldwide is just dreamy too!

What makes you successful? Hard work and no fear.

Special thanks to Mellissah Smith of Marketing Eye – a leading marketing consultancy firm for small to medium sized businesses.  They help small businesses that are looking for growth without having to employ the fulltime services of a marketing manager in-house.

With an Italian background, she cites her Mother and grandmother ( Mamie ) as the major influence of her love for food.  Yes, homemade pasta hung from the clothesline in the kitchen and rolling 100 meat balls for a holiday dinner was the norm.  Raised in Pennsylvania. she spent time in Atlanta, Georgia and ultimately settled along the stunning coast of Laguna Beach, Ca. Self taught in everything, she learned to appreciate the amazing flavors, scents and uses for exotic herbs and spices and applies her knowledge to cooking today. Despite enjoying other creative endeavors like painting, photography and clothing design, she realized she would never love another career the way she loves all the stories surrounding food.  And it's capturing those stories that has not only become her greatest passion but a culinary drug worth passing around!  After all, food is a shared experience and no one better to share it with than the entire world. And thus the Food Stalker was born, utilizing all that passion and her fearlessness to capture even the most impossible stories. It's one thing to write about food, but far more exciting to actually capture it and all those stories that make every scent come to life.  And once she sets out, there's no stopping her, because no one follows that scent better than her---and no telling where she'll end up next.  

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