Food for Thought

Summertime is here

It is almost the middle of July, and we’re in for a hot time for the next week or so. We’re used to seeing hot (100+) temps June through September, but the first few runs are brutal. One of the challenges in the hot weather is figuring out what to eat. I have just the solution you need for several meals: roasted corn, poblano, and chicken salad, chicken lettuce cups, and an easy chicken Waldorf panini. The video and recipes will be up in a few days, so make sure to try them out and let me know what you think.

Favorite Chef contest – 2023

There are times in your life that you need to grab for the brass ring, though they aren’t always obvious. I’ve had that happen once or twice – both grabbing for and missing a unique opportunity. The Favorite Chef contest with Carla Hall is a chance at a brass ring, albeit it is about popularity votes and being judged on plating skills instead of someone actually tasting what I fix. As the first round of elimination winds up (it ends 7pm PDT on 6/22) I have to have faith that the wide range of dishes I fix will hold weight down the road.

You see, I love to cook and bake. It doesn’t matter what time of year or what is in season. I can pull random things together to make a delicious meal. As my number one taste tester can vouch, he gets very good food at home. Several times a week he’s eating on china or a fun bowl or plate, while I’m totally over it after plating his and just land my food on an appropriate dish. I work in an office during the day, and cook or bake at night, so being a chef is not my primary job.

I decided to enter the competition to show that home cooks can make as delicious a dish as a trained chef. I have never had an actual cooking class, but I do talk about food with everyone. I would love to win the $25,000, a trip to New York, the two-page article in Taste of Home, and a cooking experience with Carla. I survived three times on stage with Alton Brown, I think I can keep my composure around Carla. Well, after the first few seconds of “is this really happening?!?”. If you follow HFWT on any of the social platforms, I hope that you decide to vote for me. As of the writing of this post, I’ve been moving between 7th-10th place out of around 85 in our group. The next round starts tomorrow night and goes for a week, at which time they cut it down to the top 15 per group. I’m including the link for my entry page, and I hope you vote for me. Let’s help this little food groupie make it to the top on this one.

You can vote once a day for free and purchase additional votes to use on one or more contestants. The tax-deductible donation will go towards helping the James Beard Foundation celebrate, support, and elevate the people behind it. Since 1986, the Foundation has been working to create a more equitable and sustainable future in the restaurant industry through annual awards, industry and community-focused initiatives and programs, advocacy, partnerships, and national events.

Vote for me here.

Long time, no see….did you miss the food?

The spring semester is over, and fall will be here before you know it. I keep checking the Fresno Fair page daily to see if they have added the competitive exhibits book for 2023. So far, no go. There’s always tomorrow.

I’ve been super busy this spring. I work full-time as an office manager for an undergraduate program at Fresno State and go to school part-time. I was accepted last year into the College of Social Services Honors program, so this spring was full of doing research and interviews, writing an undergraduate thesis, and covering both old and new desks at work. I also presented at the Southwestern Anthropological Association convention in April, where I placed second in the poster competition. I presented my project a total of four times in the span of a month, and one was recorded by the campus. Pretty cool if I say so.

I’m putting the final touches on my thesis, and it will be ready for the final turn-in within the week (fingers crossed). The topic is pertinent, and I learned quite a bit about the research and interview process. I’ve already set my sites on next year. I won’t be in the Honors class, but I can still conduct research and present it at the SWAA conference next spring.

And now, on to upcoming fun. I will have my first in-person cooking demonstrations for the Fresno County Library in June and July, plus a new video that will be released on July 1st. I think it will be a lot of fun, and the best part is snacking on the goodies afterwards. We are going to film them and post on the HFWT YouTube channel so you can watch afterwards. You can always send an email to if there is something that you want me to make. If you are in the Fresno/Clovis area, swing by the Fig Garden or Pinedale branches and watch the demo. It’s free and open to all ages.

There’s also a fun cooking challenge that I’ll be joining in a few weeks, and I’ll post more info as it gets closer. No spoilers, but it should be a blast.

Where did the year go?

It seems strange to say the end of 2022 is only a few days away. For whatever reason, the last few months have flown by in the blink of an eye. I’ve wrapped up the first semester of an Honors program, submitted a research proposal for approval, and (mostly) managed to keep up with Meatloaf. He’s a silly dog that is continuing to grow at 14 months; he’s around 110 lbs and getting bigger. Thank goodness he’s a happy boy, though he loves driving Bella a little crazy.

Most recently, we had to make a quick scramble to find tickets to Alton Brown’s Beyond The Eats show when the Fresno performance was cancelled a week before the event. Luckily, I was able to find good tickets for the Northridge show, although I was bummed that all of the VIP tickets were gone. It worked out fortuitously though; Jet and Ali Tila happened to be sitting directly in back of us, so I was able to say hi and take a picture with them. Another chef and baker checked on my food groupie list to meet. They were very nice, and I hope I get a chance to run into them again. I didn’t get picked for Alton’s game show this time (he chose people that were in the VIP section). At least I can say that I’ve probably seen his live show (five times), and been onstage with him (three times) more than anyone. It was really cool to see his wife, Elizabeth, play bass during the show. She has gotten a lot more comfortable performing over the last year.

The new year brings in a few fun things right off the bat. Food Groupie Cinema will start in January, and I’ll post more information ahead of time. The other big thing is a new season of Worst Cooks in America! The new recruits are social media personalities, but being tech savvy does not mean they can find their way around the kitchen. Tune in to Food Network starting January 1st for the new season, and don’t forget to get your bingo cards! New cards will be posted the week before each new show.

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