Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Real Food Through Raw Nutrition Data

November 17, 2013

Food: health, obesity, diet, choices, calories, sugar-free, fat-free, low-sodium, plant-based, high-fiber, mineral-enriched, organic, all natural, whole grain. There! – now with all these terms you should feel motivated and more informed to eat right and live healthy. No? Really? We are subjected to these words over and over and over, each and every single day from the messages we receive, all trying to influence our food choices and sway our food dollars. What kind of real information are these messages communicating? Look at the sources.

The tv celebrity or talented performer who smiles sincerely and places her hand on her newly-slimmed waist – see – she did it, you can do it! “Thank you <insert company here> for making it so easy.” Count your food points, buy the endorsed shakes-meals-supplements, and watch the pounds drop. No? Perhaps all you need is a little governance by an ultra-wealthy civic-minded decision maker who merely tries to guide by vilifying soft drinks and restricting the size of a beverage a city can buy. This will help you be healthy! No? Even in rethinking the design of the nutrition food label (2011), Michael Pollan, food writer, admits, “The focus on nutrients is probably inevitable but it distracts from the issue of whether you’re getting real food or not.”

Real food. What is real food? Where can I learn about real food?

I have tried being shamed into eating well by following diets – South Beach Diet, Weight Watchers Diet, Overeaters Anonymous Diet and I failed. I was learning portion control and what foods to restrict – not what food to eat. I have tried being gluten-free, casin-free, meat-free, animal-free, and the Paleo Diet and I failed because I get too hungry living off what is left when you take out foods I just don’t like. And the herbs, vitamins, pills, supplements – forget it. I’ve tried and the whole approach is highly unsatisfying for a person who loves the taste, the texture, the presentation of food.

Mozzarella Cheese Stick labelThe messages about nutrition are really codified. Real food doesn’t exist on the nutrition label as it is designed or in the ways we measure vitamins. Look at the nutrition label – the font choices in bold are decoys. Those calories, carbohydrates, and fat ratios will not answer my doctor who always tells me to get more Vitamin D. Where do you get Vitamin D except from gooey-looking pills which are measured in UI or international units. Why are international units not yet a part of any international systems of measurement and why do they measure potency so there can never be a standardized conversion ratio? Can’t trust the label and can’t trust the measurement so I was determined to get behind the messaging with some real knowledge. I know enough about what I shouldn’t eat but not enough about what I should. The time had come to stop self-medicating with chocolate or convenience foods when I was stressed because I didn’t know enough.

I asked my doctor for some help. My health insurance plan offers two options. For learning about nutrition, the referral nurse looked up weight-management options: “There’s two,” she explained. Between the one that had to do with buying some kind of shake and one that offered 8 weeks of lectures, I jumped on the latter. Looking a bit startled at my quick and loud “no shakes” response, she referred me to a local program with a “nutritionist.” The patience and willingness of my doctor and her staff to help me with any health concerns are very significant reasons why I trust her and have seen her for so many years. My questions are heard.

When the nutritionist at the program called me, she had a clear understanding of what she needed to tell me. My question about wanting to learn more about nutrition was absorbed and subdued into a half-an-hour response which covered where the building was, how to get to the building, where to park, and clear instructions that under no circumstances should I knock on the door because on the weekend there were nurses inside working and the nutritionist did not want them disturbed. I should bring my co-payment in a check, please. There will be about 15 others in the class and although I’ve missed week one, I should be able to catch up. Each week has a weigh-in and a lecture. We skip Thanksgiving weekend. After each week’s lecture there will be time for 1-on-1 sessions with her for questions. Did I have any questions?

Would this class help me? Who knows? I took this example of a “Certified Nutrition Specialist” or Consultant as my inspiration. Although professionals, they were just professionals because of knowing where to look for objective information as issued by USDA standards. They weren’t experts deciphering holy texts from ancient languages and they weren’t artists creating great, unique solutions to my problems. Enough! Let’s get beyond the self-promoting presentation of healthy food talk we have all been subjected to for so long and get to the underlying nutritional information and learn. No more pre-digested bits of information about food, thank you!

Real food and raw nutrition data can be found:

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/guide/vitamins-and-minerals-good-food-sources

www.healthaliciousness.com (Top 10 lists for foods offering essential nutrients and vitamins)

http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/whats-your-plate

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all/

www.chpp.usda.gov

Online, the choices that frequently come up in searches seem to be designed predominantly on intake measured in calories, fat, carbohydrates, sodium and fiber.  These include apps and online programs. Know before you sign-up. Eating sugar-free, fat-free packaged food isn’t going to help the way that vitamin-loaded foods will! Look at that government regulated food label again. The more significant information about vitamin and mineral values is at the bottom. Inform yourself about how much you need of essential vitamins and nutrients for your gender and age. As we get older, the need for nutrients and vitamins changes in amounts. Remember your essential vitamins and look at the top 10 lists. And thank your doctor for listening. It is a rare qualification in a professional. Real health comes from knowledge, not mass-marketed programs.

I’m feeling much better and eating much better.

LA Weekly Picks at its Indian food in W. SFV @tasteofindiala @Anarbagh1

July 22, 2013

ImageOnline this week, the L.A. Weekly blog, Squid Ink, included a suggestion of Indian restaurants in Los Angeles,  “where there are dozens of wonderful and popular Indian restaurants.” Sadly they gave up the role of culinary sleuth only to pander exclusively to one region, West San Fernando Valley. Investigating and posting about Indian restaurants throughout Los Angeles would have been more worthy of the truly great hidden gems that deserve attention. Journalist, Emily Dwass, has no voice in the online quirkiness that online editors have chosen to post her article. For those trying to read or navigate this list online, be prepared for an excess of visual noise pollution – ads, photos, bad programing.  http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/2013/07/10_best_indian_restaurants_in.php

For those with a taste for Indian and can afford the gas tank to head for West SFV, please enjoy!

Dilli Express:
When we wandered into Dilli Express, we actually were looking for another restaurant. It turned out that the prior place had closed, and there’s now a new name, owners and menu, described as fusion and Indian. While the décor is a work-in-progress, the food is ready for its close-up. You order at the counter, either from a large list on the wall (including unexpected dishes like chicken curry taco and spinach chole burrito) or from that day’s buffet, which is the best bargain. For $8 you get an all-you-can eat combo of mostly North Indian specialties. There are even cheaper vegetarian combos, as well. We’re not always fans of self-service buffets, but props to this buffet, where there’s a shield of glass separating hungry folks from the food. The wait staff fills your plate, but don’t let that discourage you from going back as many times as you want. 8406 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park; (818)347-6900.

Taste of India:
The first thing you’ll notice upon entering this cozy restaurant located between Ralphs and Sprouts, is how dark the interior is, with such low lighting that at some tables it’s hard to read the menu. Never mind. You can close your eyes and point to any page and find something to enjoy, especially if you’re an adventurous eater who is not intimidated by dishes like pudhina mutton (goat meat cooked on a slow fire, with a ginger, garlic and mint gravy) or nargisi kofta (lamb meatballs.) There are many signature North Indian specialties, such as onion kulcha, a naan stuffed with onions and seasoned with a mild mint sauce. Desserts include mango ice cream and gulab jamun (savory, deep fried cheese balls with rose syrup.) The best bargains are the combination dinners for around $15, with two entrees, rice, naan and salad or raita. On weekends there’s an all-you-can-eat Champagne buffet for $12.95. 21833 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills; (818) 999-0600. http://tasteofindiala.com/

Streets of India Cafe:
This family run café in the heart of the Encino business district features homemade specialties from South India such as dosa (savory pancakes) and also from the north (tandoori dishes.) There are Indo-Chinese options, like chili chicken and other daily hybrid specials. Save room for the made-from-scratch desserts, including chikki, a candy with almonds and pistachios, and grajjar halwa, a lovely carrot pudding. You can order a variety of curries a la carte, but the best deal is the very popular weekday lunch buffet for $8.75 (on weekends and holidays it’s $10.75.) There’s also a dinner combo for $11.95. 16260 Ventura Blvd., Encino; (818) 325-2500. http://www.streetsofindiacafe.com/

Anarbagh:
Before anyone gets upset, we’re aware that half of the west SFV residents are on Team Anarbagh and the rest are on Team Shalimar, which is down the street. We’re not going to take sides — we think both restaurants are nice places to go for an evening out or a special lunch. Bring a friend with you to Anarbagh, because there are a lot of deals for duos, starting with a mixed vegetarian appetizer, with onion bhaje, vegetables, samosas and pakora, for $6.95. Midday, there’s the Executive Lunch for two, for $18.95 (not to be confused with the Business People Lunch for two, $16.95.) There’s a big selection of chicken, lamb, seafood, as well our favorites: more than two dozen great vegetarian entrees. We especially like the sag paneer, spinach and cheese cooked with onions, tomatoes and herbs, the best version of this classic we’ve had anywhere. Dishes can be ordered from very mild to very hot. We found medium pretty intense (in a good way) — so be warned. 22721 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills; (818) 224-3929. http://www.anarbaghindiancuisine.com/

Shalimar:
This family-owned restaurant has been on the boulevard since 1983, with chef Salik Miah running the kitchen. The menu represents multiple regions of India, with traditional tandoori dishes, Punjab-style lamb and beef and a big selection of Bengali fish and seafood. We tend to go overboard on the appetizers, especially the vegetable samosas (with an order of mango chutney on the side) and savory papadam (lentil wafers), which are highly addictive. There are distinctive breads, including one that is grilled and stuffed with spiced potatoes and cauliflower (aloo gobi paratha). Monday through Friday there’s a lunch buffet for $7.99, which is a good way to sample the eclectic cuisine. 23011 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills; (818) 225-7794.http://www.shalimarwoodlandhills.com/

Royal Delhi Palace:
The first time we visited here it was barely noon on a Sunday and the car thermometer read 99 degrees — no one in their right mind should have been in the mood for hot, spicy food. Yet the place was packed, which tells you something about how popular it is. When we arrived, a party was just beginning in the adjacent banquet room. As we watched the steaming trays being brought in, we were seriously tempted to crash the festivities and made a mental note to someday have a party there, or at least wrangle an invitation to one. Until then, we’ll be happy to keep sampling the many North Indian dishes offered in this family-run restaurant. We especially like the entrees from the clay oven, such as tandoori vegetables. While these look deceptively simple, each bite brings a burst of mystery spices. There are more than a dozen breads on the menu, including Peshawari naan, stuffed with cashews, raisins, cherries and coconut. Big crowd magnets are the daily lunch buffet for $7.49 and a Saturday and Sunday Champagne brunch for $10.95. 22323 Sherman Way, #11, Canoga Park; (818) 992-0913.

India Sweets and Spices:
Selfishly, we’re kind of reluctant to spread the word about this incredible place, because it will just get more crowded. Once you eat here, you’ll be back for more. This is a no frills, vegetarian, cafeteria-style eatery connected to a grocery store. The line is typically chaotic — and that’s part of the fun. Try to scope out what you plan to order before it’s your turn, because you won’t make any friends if you engage in a long discussion with the servers about what’s what. Trust us, it’s all great, even if you don’t know what you’re eating. For about five bucks you can get one of the specials, which will give you an overflowing plate. The masala dosa (stuffed pancake) and chai are considered some of the best in town. For the sweets part of the equation, pick something from the bakery case or get yourself a popsicle in the grocery store. 22011 Sherman Way, Canoga Park; (818) 887-0868. http://www.indiasweetsandspices.net/

Mother India Restaurant:
Drive here from outside the SFV, and you’re going to feel like you’re traveling to the end of the earth. Look on the bright side — if you start on Topanga Canyon by the ocean and take it all the way to Devonshire Street, you will experience a multitude of microclimates. Make it a road trip. You can sharpen your shopping skills at the Westfield Topanga Mall or get a different kind of workout hiking or rock climbing at Stoney Point Park in Chatsworth. Either way, bring a hearty appetite for lunch or an early dinner (they close at 8 p.m.) to this small, family-run eatery. We’re big fans of the Mumbai street food, especially pani puri, little puffs filled with potatoes, garbanzo beans and chutney. Another favorite is the uttapum, soft crepes topped with vegetables. Owner and chef Bharati Gholkar often stops by the tables to help you figure out what you want to order, and she’ll tweak the menu if you have any dietary concerns. 21032 Devonshire St., Chatsworth; (818) 534-8267.

Agra Tandoori:
Say what you will about the Kardashians, they (or someone on their team) have good taste in restaurants. On one of their infernal shows, the clan came here for dinner, helping put this Tarzana restaurant on the map. Even without reality television, Agra Tandoori already had a loyal following, with good reason. Not only is the food great but, of all the restaurants on our list, this is the nicest room in which to linger over your meal, especially when seated in one of the large, circular booths. We try to order something new whenever we’re here; so far, our favorites are chicken mango masala, mushroom biryani and eggplant bharta. There’s a good selection of Indian beer and a decent $4 glass of wine (how often can you say that?). The manager, Frank, is always charming and remembers you if you’re a repeat customer. (And he’ll graciously give you the discount, even when you forget your coupon.) 19560 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana; (818) 342-2290.

Taj Mahal:
Located on the upper level of an awkwardly designed Encino plazo, Taj Mahal is definitely worth the trek up the stairs or the elevator ride from the free parking structure. Family owned and operated since 1993, there’s a pleasant dining room and also an outside patio. Start off a winning meal with a chilled lassi yogurt drink (sweet, salted or mango) or share one of the four Indian beers. All of the reasonably priced entrees come with basmati rice and raita. Our favorite dish is malai kofta, round vegetable fritters in a tomato and onion sauce. Also popular is fish vindaloo, Chilean sea bass cooked with potatoes and hot spices. Monday through Saturday there’s an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet with some 15 choices, for $8.95. On Sunday the buffet has more than 20 items and unlimited Champagne for $10.95. 17815 Ventura Blvd., suite 201, Encino; (818) 345-2215. http://www.tajmahaldining.com/

 

Health Risks with Mom’s Tamales

December 27, 2012

I must have gone on a bad day for the staff but SO MANY things are wrong I removed this restaurant from my blog! AVOID MOM’s TAMALES and tell your friends to not put their health at risk.

Frozen vs. precooked tamales are $18 cash (instead of $20). No big savings there. The cost of making this failure right – DOUBLE.

I placed a phone order the day before and when I went to pick them up at the time they said the order would be ready, I had to wait 25 minutes while they assembled my order. Really? Calling ahead wasn’t enough advanced noticed? No instructions came with the tamales. If I had not reviewed the website I would not know that they took more than an hour to steam.

Tamales are handed to you in a plastic bag each wrapped in foil. You cannot microwave steam them, since the foil is not just wrapped on the outside but TUCKED into the corn husks. YOU CANNOT remove the foil before steaming. Each handmade tamale I have ever had came in a waxed/parchment paper which freezes and microwaves easily. The tamales were less than 4 inches long, open on one end and NOT completely wrapped in corn husks. They are not plump and tasty, they are skinny and look unprepared. Runts. My tamales were all runts. When you steam these tamales IF you are able to not break a nail pealing foil off, the MEAT AND SAUCE oozes out, IS MINGLED WITH FOIL and ends up coating the inside of your steamer.

I ordered three of 4 different kinds. The Sweet tamales with pineapple disintegrated into pulp – inedible PULP. The cheese with spinach spewed cheesy goo all over the inside of my steamer. The chicken mole were tasty but not plump. The beef were average.

I was so frustrated and disgusted that I went to In and Out and count myself lucky that I had real food to eat.

Perhaps the dine in experience is better.

The health department will be hearing from me about their take-out, to go food preparation! I am truly sorry I suggested it on my blog. http://momstamales.com/ RUN FAR AWAY!

Fearless Art of Food for Pleasure #cookforJulia @TheAcademy

August 13, 2012

It is with absolutely no intended disrespect that I confess that my childhood impression of legendary Julia Child was that she…was a female impersonator; a male comic in pearls wielding a knife. My respect for her since then has dwarfed such a foolish notion. I have learned much from her remarkable gift for making cooking pleasurable and validating the fact that loving good food requires no pedigree or certification. I see Child as an inspiration for Pixar’s Ratatouille (2007). Think back where restaurant critic Anton Ego concludes: ” I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto, “Anyone can cook.” But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere*.” @PixarTalk Was it Julia Child who launched the modern foodie movement with her “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” cookbook and television show? Learning that August 7-15 was dubbed Julia Child Restaurant Week (by Knopf her publisher, of course) set me scrambling to celebrate.

This year marks her would-be 100th birthday (she passed in 2004). What better place to raise a glass to Julia Child’s contribution to foodies the world over than near her Pasadena upbringing, in Los Angeles. Okay, it’s a stretch but you want to hear why.
Los Angeles offers the experience of TAIX French Restaurant, where a special prix fixe menu features a Julia Child inspired meal. Savor your choice of signature dishes prepared a la Child: sole meuniere, boeuf bourguignon, or coq au vin. Your meal also includes an amuse-bouche, a salad or soup (TAIX vegetable soup is legendary), french bread (don’t expect sourdough), and a dessert of floating island. Order a glass of your favorite red wine and enjoy.

TAIX vegetable soup

TAIX vegetable soup

TAIX opened in 1927 and relocated to its current location in 1962. Before you start out for 1911 W.Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles 90026, note that you’ll be looking for the Glendale Blvd, Sunset Blvd. and Reservoir Street intersection in Echo Park region. Valet parking and atmosphere await you. The Julia Child menu is offered as a special only through August 15. TAIX is celebrating a milestone of their own, 85 years in business, and the roast chicken dinner is $10 but only Sunday through Friday until August 31. Make a reservation using @OpenTable and ask for Bernard.

“The French Chef” – PBS television series which created my first impression of this tall, jolly, alto-voiced chef – is available for viewing online at http://food.americanhistory.si.edu/. @PBSFood A reconstruction of her home kitchen which doubled as the actual tv show set is on display at the Smithsonian’s national Museum of American History. Although, according to the Wall Street Journal, it has been closed for renovations earlier this year, it will be open from August 15-September 3.

Meryl Streep channeled the bon vivant spirit of Julia Child in 2009 and won an Oscar for “Julie and Julia.” The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been hosting “Oscars Otdoors: Summer Film Series” this summer. By pairing food trucks (organized by @RoamingHunger) with with a outdoor picnic setting for weekend film screenings, the Academy has created a signature L.A. recipe for summer entertainment. The surprise addition and concluding film is “Julie and Julia” – not in keeping with Child’s 100th but in honor of fellow fearless creative femme, Nora Ephron. The film was adapted from the book of the same name where the author/blogger was inspired to fearlessly cook hr way through Child’s own cookbook. Fearlessness inspires art and this reason above all seems an ideal one to celebrate!
Bon Appetit!

Food Truck Festival this Saturday at Santa Anita Park

January 28, 2012

Food Truck Festival | Santa Anita Park.

@FoodNetwork, Troy Johnson rocks from print to broadcast with Crave – mediabistro.com

November 15, 2011

Hey, How’d You Land a Show on the Food Network, Troy Johnson? – mediabistro.com Content.

What happens when you take a witty, music journalist-turned-food writer and place him in front of Food Network cameras?
You get Crave, a food road show with a sense of humor — something normally absent from the network catered to stay-at-home mothers and aspiring chefs. Hosted by San Diego native Troy Johnson, the Riviera Magazine senior editor spent eight weeks traveling the country and providing viewers with a variety of 30-minute food biographies.

Johnson is no stranger to the TV camera. He hosted a local award-winning music show for six years called Fox Rox and was the host of the San Diego Padres pregame show. Until his boss at Riviera assigned him the beat, food was the last thing on Johnson’s radar; at the time, he jokingly said it’s “for people that are one Ambien away from death.”

Yet, his transition was a smooth one, as he won multiple writing awards in San Diego and Orange County and proved that great writers can adapt to any environment.

How does a music writer land a TV show on the Food Network?
I sent them gold bouillons, uncorrupted DNA and first rights to my first-born child with the contingent that she wasn’t ugly. I switched to food about five years ago and I didn’t want to do it at first, at all. I came out of the music scene and wrote a little bit for Rolling Stone, mostly online. Did more stuff for Spin magazine. I hosted an underground TV show; it went for six years. We won a couple of Emmys and we did a pretty good job. We got canned after six years because of the economy.

I took a real job at a magazine that said you’re going to handle arts, culture and music, but we also need somebody to handle food. I thought, “Food? Screw food.” That’s for people that are one Ambien away from death. Since I didn’t like it, but had an acute sense of self-preservation, I studied it. And studied it. And studied it. I made flash cards and read Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen from cover-to-cover, almost twice. I read everything I possibly could and discovered that I really loved this. There’s history; there’s science; there’s culture. I thought nobody was writing about it with edge. I brought that semi-punk rock view towards food. I made a tape for Food Network and they said we think you’re OK, why don’t you come to New York? I said “Absolutely!”

“There’s nothing natural about TV. You just have to hopefully put a little bit of humanity in it.”
When did you first discover your passion for food?
It wasn’t too far into it. To caveat that, I’ve always been a home cook and I’ve been interested in cooking since I was 18. I make my own béchamel and I get really inventive and I grow my own food. But I had no interest in writing about it. I thought it wasn’t edgy enough or exciting enough. About six months into it, I was actually editing a guy who wrote about food for The New York Times. I was helping him hone on these stories but also learning from him at the same time. About six months in, it was love from familiarity. I started going around town and really getting to source the chefs and philosophizing on why certain foods became huge. And plus, it just tastes good in your mouth.

What chefs or writers have influenced you along the way?
Most of the writers have been music writers like Lester Bangs, who was a psychotic meth-addled rock ‘n’ roll guy… David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs for just the pure humor of it all. In terms of chefs and writers, I like [Anthony] Bourdain, Bill Buford, Gael Greene, M.F.K. Fisher, but I mostly get my real drive for writing from humorists and people who appreciate the darkly, funny side of life.

How does hosting a TV show about food compare to writing about it?
Hosting a TV show, you have 22 minutes to get in as much information as possible with a minimum amount of exposition. You have to fit what you thought in a paragraph in one line that you have to deliver on camera. It’s tough, to be honest with you. The camera points at you, you’re with a chef, and you have to get in a certain amount of information. You have two more shoots that day, and you have a limited amount of time to get all the information you need. It doesn’t always lead to the most natural conversations. There’s nothing natural about TV. You just have to hopefully put a little bit of humanity in it.

Humor is something Food Network shows normally lack. How do you balance the humor with information hardcore foodies are craving?
That’s what I’ve done in my writing. I wrote a book about growing up with a gay parent, and I got information across, and I talked about news about gays and AIDS, but I also threw humor into it. “Mother Teresa Has an Active Vagina” is the title of one of the chapters and “God Hates Fags” is another chapter. I’ve just always been able to throw humor into real, factual writing about whatever I do. Again, this sounds kind of pretentious. I’m not saying I’m the funniest dude on earth. Some of my jokes suck, but I always liked writers who can get real information across, give you the nuts, the bolts, the history, but also perspectives. I respect food, but I also think we treat it too preciously sometimes. Have fun with it. It’s still food.

You mentioned the writing was awful for Crave. How much input did you have during the rewrites of the show?
All of that writing is mine. I was told ‘don’t go this certain direction.’ There was one time where I said, “Pork butt is the Jesus of meat. It’s all forgiving.” They said you can’t compare pork butt to Jesus because we will offend three-quarters of our audience. I realize that some people don’t have as loose as a personality about religion like I do, but they did give me guidance. I wrote every single scrap in there.

“I respect food, but I also think we treat it too preciously sometimes. Have fun with it. It’s still food.”
Jonathan Gold was the first food critic to win a Pulitzer Prize in 2007. As a fellow food critic, is that something you strive to accomplish one day?
Oh God, I mean it would be amazing. If the Pulitzers call, I definitely won’t block their number. At the end of the day, my knowledge about food — even though I’ve studied it for five years and I’ve eaten out three times a day for five years — my knowledge of food is still dwarfed by someone like Alton Brown or Michael Simon. I’m still learning this craft. A half-decade of studying does not make you a master. I want to bring that David Sedaris/Mark Twain kind of humor to food. I think a real sense of humor has been lacking in the food genre. If that lends itself to some sort of award down the road, well shit, I have a really dusty mantle for it to fit on.

How much weight did you gain during your eight weeks on the road?
We did three trips — two three-week trips and one two-week trip. I gained seven pounds every single time. My philosophy on this is you have to eat two bites. The only way to have my body not eclipse the sun is if I’m eating two bites and then I’m done. I know there are six more courses coming or I have to taste four more things that day. It’s the only way to survive. It’s not that I’m trying to be precious about my body image or be Kate Moss’ boyfriend, because gout I heard is not pleasant. I’ve heard about people using spit buckets on shows like that because at the end of the day, you have to eat so many burgers from so many different angles. I never used a spit bucket, although at some point on my trip, I did painfully pine for one.

Troy Johnson’s tips for transitioning from print to TV:
1. Free for All. It’s not unlike what drug dealers do (note: I hate drugs. Don’t do drugs). Give it away for free. Then charge them for it once they’re addicted. Every writer has three minutes of valuable content/research/information that would be valuable to viewers, and local TV has a lot of air time and little budget to fill it. If you do well in that spot, you’ll grow.

2. Talking Heads. If you’re a sports columnist, read national headlines every day. Then, if there’s a local angle to that national story, pitch it to the producer of a local news station. They’re always looking for voices/experts/pundits to talk on stories, especially if you can detail your perspective and make it unique/weird/different.

3. YouTube, Dude. Learn the basics of FinalCut and make a three-minute story package. Even if one person in the world sees it and they leave you a comment about how much you suck, it doesn’t matter. The real value in that is learning to film a story visually, writing for video, speaking the copy into the camera, etc.

4. Trial by Teleprompter. There are a few [software programs] out there, but learning to sound natural on teleprompter is a long process. My first year on TV, my producer put me in a chair for hours at a time and ran the teleprompter. He also made me wear headphones where he’d play bird noises, sex noises, TV clips, bad German techno, some sexy dude saying something in French. He taught me to read prompter even through distractions.

NEXT >> Hey, How’d You Use Social Media to Crowdsource A Cookbook, Food52?

Marcus Vanderberg is co-editor of FishbowlLA.

© WebMediaBrands Inc. 2011. All Rights Reserved.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. The foregoing is the sole property of WebMediaBrands Inc. The opinions and views expressed in the interviews and/or commentaries are solely those of the participants and are not necessarily the views of WebMediaBrands Inc., its affiliates or subsidiary companies.