The "Dishing with Donna" Show is Atlanta's Only Celebrity Food, Wine and Restaurant Radio Program. Listen every Saturday @ 4:00pm on WGKA Talk 920am to hear Donna entertain listeners with celebrity interviews such as Paula Deen, Guy Fieri, or Ted Allen - as well as the exclusive inside scoop into Atlanta's very own restaurant scene.

Listen "Live" Every Saturday at 4:00pm on WGKA 920am

Email Donna Directly @

God Bless Each and Every One of You!

Proverbs 3:5-6

Friday, May 28, 2010

Salsa - Not The Food

Well here is a complete sidebar blog for ya!  For those of you who don't already know,  I am a jack of all trades and a master at none.  I have been blessed with a wide array of talents and throughout my life, I have worked around almost every one of those oddity skills.  For example .... I have been a swim team coach, a soft ball coach, professional make up artist, a dance instructor, a counselor for foster children, tv news production assistant, a hair stylist, a model scout, a childrens book author (still waiting to be published), an advertising sales guru, and did I mention . . . . radio talk show host??  ;-)
But of all the things I have randomly done or accomplished throughout my ecclectic lifetime,  one thing in particular is a passion above the rest.  A passion that burns in my blood.  A passion that I wish I could devote more time to.   - That passion is DANCING.  I have performed and competed on a professional level of Latin Dance.   When I lived in Miami and dance was how I made my living,  I was trained on how to be an instructor.  Once evolving into a dance instructor - not just a performer - I truly found my niche!  I immediately realized that instructing is my sweet spot.   I am a better dance instructor than I am a dancer.  By far.  (isn't it weird how that works??) 

I have been asked to come and teach  Salsa classes every week at this new hip Soho studio in downtown historic Roswell, called STREET STUDIO, which was just featured on the front page of the AJC's Living section.  If you are interested in taking any of my classes .... please check out the information!

 . . . . I'm thinking of a way to incorporate Salsa dance with Salsa food.   Hmmmm.  Maybe I should throw a dance party where the entrance fee is your special salsa recipe or sample!  I could call it,  SALSA FOR SALSA!   - Not a shabby idea.  We'll have a nice little mixer of dancers and foodies!   Love it already!

Would love to meet you.  So step away from that kitchen, and come see me on the dance floor!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mouth of the South

Oklahoma City is the "fattest" city in all of America,  according to a recent news report on msn.  Followed by 3 southern cities; Birmingham, Memphis, and Louisville.  I didn't appreciate the stigma that this report is giving to all 'us southerners'.  Other than Oklahoma City,  the south is fat!   ... "The south will rise again!!" ... Did they mean - on the scale??
This report has encouraged me not to be a statistic and to attempt to get back on my fitness program.  As my followers already know,  I put myself on what I "endearingly" call - a nazi diet.  Trying to gear up for bathing suit season, 3 months ago - I started a personal training regime.  Which, by the way, I was not looking forward to.  I'm very much results-driven,  but not necessarily driven to do what it takes to get to the results.  Hey,  at least I'm honest!  My goal was 30 pounds in 3 months.  (yeah, right).  I am one week away from the 3 month mark,  and I've lost a total of 12 pounds.  Um . . . . not even half of my goal!  At first,  I enjoyed blaming my trainer.  I didn't think he was pushing me hard enough and we weren't getting along personally either.  We had very different opinions about what would work!  Of course, I thought I was right.  What's new.  But then eventually I had to swallow a thick chunk of humble pie  (- mmmmm,  pie -)  and admit that I was not the professional.  I agreed to shut that big hole in my face and finally do whatever he said.  AND, shutting that hole in my face was also directed towards food as well.  - The 'diet' part of dieting is where my frustrations explode.   I LOVE FOOD!!!  I am a food host for a profession, for crying out loud!  - You want me to only eat veggies and proteins???   Really???  - You can't possibly be serious.   I'm a Puerto Rican Southern Belle who obsesses over Italian.   Does any word of that sound like I would be okay with an imprisoned meal plan??   - Survey Says .....  NO.
However,  as I mentioned,  I decided to throw down the gauntlet and test this trainer's theory.  A trainer who I referred to as 'Caveman' for the whole first month.  But sure enough, I dropped 10 lbs suprisingly quick.  I looked at the scale with wonderment.  I hated to admit it at first,  but he was right!  -- It motivated me!  It excited me!  It energized me!   .....  It starved me.  I was at a crossroads.  Do I continue to deny my foodie responsibilites but lose the weight .... or do I enjoy the foods that make me happy,  but stay inside a thick girl's body??  What to do what to do.  For those of you reading this,  if you've ever struggled with your weight before,  then you know the frustrations I'm talking about.  Amen??  And if you are blessed to be fit naturally ... well ... you can kiss my grits!    (Mmmmmm,  grits)
Oooh!  Sidebar -- Dogwood Restaurant in downtown across from the Fox Theatre has the most amazing flight of grits on their menu!  They call it the "Grits Bar".  Delish!!
Back on track -- so my whole point here is, my 3 months are up.  For those of you who have been following my progress  (or lack thereof)  I officially lost 12 lbs in 3 months.  - Not bad,  but not good either.  Today was the first time I've worked out pretty hard in a while.  I will admit,  the gym and I are not friends.  I would rather be out running on a hiking trail in the woods instead of on a boring machine of torture.  However!  I did go to the gym today.  I pushed myself  really hard.  And I walked out of there drenched in sweat,  probably smelly, and with my muscles aching already.   - And ladies and gentlemen .... it felt fantastic!! 
Unfortuantely,  Caveman has found another cave.  My trainer - who I can now call my friend and he knows I'm just playing - was offered an incredible ownership position at a new gym in Sandy Springs.  So as much as I need him to help me finish off these other 18 lbs,  I found myself today channeling my inner Cavewoman.  Dieting is not easy.  In fact,  it's the hardest thing I've ever tried to do.   And it irritates me.  I CRAVE pizza and french fries on a daily basis.  (Go to MAX'S by Centennial Olympic Park for the best pizza in Atlanta!!)   But I actually bought a naughty little bathing suit,  which I totally do not fit into at the moment,   and hung it up on my dresser mirror.   Staring at that thing has lit a new fire under my bum.   So join me  (again)  in my Part II of the nazi diet.  Any suggestions or recipes you could offer me would be so helpful and welcomed!

Oklahoma,  congratulations on being the fattest city in America.  As for me,  time to shut my pie hole!
(Mmmmm,  did I mention I love pie?!?!)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Kessler in a Crisis

John Kessler had my pulse racing.  There's a first time for everything, and this was the first time in history that I thought I was going to be stood up by my guest on show day.  And not only stood up .... but stood up Live on air!!!  Ever heard of that saying  "the show must go on?"  I have now experienced that definition too up close and personal.   - John Kessler, AJC famous food columist, was my featured guest on yesterday's radio show.  We've been so excited to have him come on and have been promoting it like crazy!  In case you are not aware,  he is quite a local staple here in the Atlanta food scene.  His name is both feared and respected throughout restaurants everywhere.  So I knew we would have so much to talk about when he came onto the show.   .... That is,  if he made it.
I wasn't sure at first because the program is Live at 2:00.   At 1:59, I was about to panic.  The entire content circled around his interview to kickstart the show,  and Kessler was nowhere to be found.  And I'm sorry,  but I had NO BACK UP PLAN.   It's not every day you think your guest is going to forget you.  - At that moment, I realized I hadn't checked my email all day.  When I quickly pulled it up ... AS THE MUSIC BEGAN TO PLAY  ... I saw that Kessler had emailed me from his blackberry saying that he was stuck in road work traffic and there were major delays!  I had to stall.
Stall????  It's live radio!  Really??
With relief running through my blood finally, by the sheer grace of God, I had my sponsors already in studio and we were able to thankfully go ahead and chat with them in the first segment instead.  So all was fixed.  Whew!   . . . . .  or so I thought.
Ten minutes go by.  Commercial Break #1.  My sponsors are done with their segment, and we will be back on air again in 3 minutes.  - Still no Kessler.  -- What????  Now the second wave of panic starts to grow.  We called and found out that he was just down the street, but even then, the traffic was barely creeping.  It could take another ten minutes.  So!  Atleast knowing he was almost here, I was able to calm my nerves - but now the music is coming back up again and I have nothing prepared to talk about without Kessler!  What was I going to do for another ten minutes of live talk time??   -- I was told to do what I do best .... jabber!  Luckily,  I can do that.  But under such pressure!??!  So I actually pulled up this very blog on my program screen in the studio,  and started discussing my previous blog entry about becoming a professional food critic.  It fit quite nicely into a great fly by the seat of my pants introduction,  because without any notice .... in flies Kessler like a long haired tornado, blows right past me, jumps into his seat, throws on his headphones, and says 'ready'!  - All in about one nanosecond

Normally I would never ever ever put up a picture like this of me laughing so hysterically  (Come on ladies, you know what I'm talking about! Not exactly 'pretty')   - but it just truly catches the moment.  I guess you had to be there to truly appreciate this story .... the panic .... the stress .... the drama ..... and then the whirling tazmanian devil entrance to break the tension!  It  really was hilarious.  And it all happened on live radio.
Needless to say,  once engrossed in conversation --- John Kessler was one of my absolute favorite and best interviews of all time.  He was effortless to talk to and we laughed, swapped stories, found out what truly disgusts him in restaurants as well as his own kitchen disaster stories and even unspeakable animal body parts he has had to eat before!  It was fantastic.  In fact,  there was such good chemistry going on that I've invited him to come back as often as he wants to.  I even had someone call in and admit  "I don't know who this man is,  but I'm loving this interview!" 

We are uploading this interview on Facebook if you'd like to watch the video.  Unfortunately we did not have the camera rolling when he came bursting in the studio, because my Director of Operations was downstairs letting Kessler in the building instead.   - Shoot, that would have been priceless.  (although, he is probably thankful!)  I want to officially thank John Kessler for being my most witty, colorful, intriguing, and enjoyable guest.  And I look forward to more unpredictable tazmanian moments!

(oh, and yes - I am a victim of airbrushing.)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Degree in Food Criticism

I couldn't be more excited about my next radio program this upcoming weekend!  I have the one and only, feared yet respected, John Kessler of the AJC coming on air and we are going to get up close and personal.  I had the absolute pleasure of having lunch with John last week in Dunwoody at the E. 48th Street Market (go read his blog), which was quaint and lovely.  To my surprise, he whipped out his camera phone and was taking pictures left and right from start to finish.  - I loved it, because it was so under the radar and yet he was quick and effortless about it.  Never missing a beat of our conversation.  I'm not sure what I exactly expected John Kessler to be like in a one-on-one personal situation ... I will say on a sidebar that I have met several uppity food critics who act as if they built the restaurant industry with their own two hands ... but I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by John with a huge friendly smile, a casual air, and a humble non-aggressive personality that just made the whole dining experience so comfortable and enjoyable.  (- is that enough adjectives for ya in one sentence??)  Because he is so interesting and so easy to talk to.... I am looking forward to our radio interview this weekend all the more.

Furthermore, meeting John Kessler motivated me to learn more about what it takes to rise to the top as a professional food critic.  - So I did some homework!   (and no, ladies and gentleman -- I am not a food critic.  I'm a host who interviews those who are.)  So!  After some research,  I decided to share with you the information I learned.  What DOES it take to become a food critic??  -- Other than having a large appetite and a big mouth.

1.)  DEVELOP STELLAR WRITING SKILLS AS A REPORTER.  - You may have the most acute and trained palate in the world,  but if you cannot communicate your skills effectively and properly .... then you could easily be discriminated against as a poor source for judgement - even if your food knowledge outweighs that of a well known food critic.  Taking journalism classes is a strong recommendation, or even English courses to strengthen writing skills.
2.)  MUST BECOME FAMILIAR WITH THE RESTAURANT BUSINESS.  - It is very practical for a food critic to have previous restaurant experience, especially behind the scenes.  At the very least,  you should know how the industry operates from the front of the house to the back of the kitchen.  It's not just about the food ... it's about the industry as a whole.  Educate yourself.  Surround yourself in the restaurant operating business. 
3.)  TEST THE LIMITS OF YOUR PALATE.   - To be a legitimate food critic, you must have an eager and adventurous palate.  Be prepared and willing to taste every kind of food and drink in every culture cuisine.  This may require you stepping out of your comfort zone and being brave.  But that is where the adventursome palate comes in to play.  No matter how strange or how foreign, go ahead and try anything that you come across and then record your opinions as descriptively as you can.  Think of it as training your tastebuds, as you would train for a sport.  You must "exercise" the limits of your palate. 
4.)  BECOME A FOOD EXPERT.   - Your goal should be to know the most, to taste the most, to experience the most, to appreciate the most, and to continually learn the most.  A few tips on how to accomplish this is actually quite simple.  a) Study cookbooks.  b) Travel  c) Learn how to cook yourself with a variety of cuisines and levels  d) Build your culinary vocabulary!  e) Know wine.  Take classes  f) Find your niche and immerse yourself in your chosen foodie field.  Such as: desserts, pastas, italian vs. french, etc...  g) Take every opportunity to go to food festivals, wine festivals, cooking demonstrations, foodie events, etc...
5.)  RESEARCH OTHER FOOD CRITICS AND CHEFS.   - This is a given.  Every career should know their competitors and allies.  Period.  Compare other writing skills, techniques and subject matter.
6.)  WRITE REVIEWS.   - Practice writing a review.  Or volunteer to do it for a local paper or even websites.  When writing reviews, it's good advice to take friends with you and collect different impressions.  Pay close attention to the ambience and service.  Make a mental checklist of everything you would want to read about in someone else's review or what is important to you.  Try not to bring attention to yourself.  Failing to maintain anonymity will impact and interfere with the overall genuine experience. 
7.)  CREATE A PORTFOLIO OF YOUR ARTICLES.   -- Food critics must have an active collection of your work.  Schedule writing at least one article/review per week to start off with.  Consider writing a Blog.  Editors will expect to see mulitple examples of your work across an entire platform of food, wine, restaurants, chefs, festivals, food trends, etc...
8.)  APPLY TO NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES REGARDING FOOD COLUMNS.   - A large part of any food critic's life is writing for newspapers.  Be prepared to start at the very bottom and work your way up.  Take any job/story that they assign you.  The freedom to write whatever you want will come later, higher up the ladder.  Landing a writing job will require your own hardwork and efforts in the steps already listed above.

So to all my favorite foodies ... whether you want to become a feared, respected, and powerful food critic as John Kessler is known to be,  or simply want to expand your personal culinary and industry knowledge ...  then here's a quick list of some ideas to get you moving in the right direction.   (thank you to WIKIHOW for providing this list. - which I slightly improvised)    Great starting point!

Unfortuantely for me .... I'm the world's pickiest eater.  I officially disqualify myself due to Step #3.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


This blog is way overdue.  My apologies to the readers .... as you just read in my Holy Computer entry,  I have been without a computer for quite some time and let me tell you something -- I don't know how society ever functioned without them!  I have felt lost, helpless, powerless, and have thrown a pity-party more than once.  - But alas,  my computer has been returned and I'm back to the land of technology.  Finally!   (will write more on this experience soon) (and MAN, has it been an experience!)

However, I am officially behind in my blogging now.  So I will be playing catch up over the next few days.    MMmmm.  Ketchup.  Which means french fries.  Mmmm.
-- Woops!  Just had vision of what I remember those tasting like . . . . .  .  dang diet.  (more on that to come too!)
Ok Donna.  Focus. 
ITALY.  The one place on this beautiful planet that I dream of visiting someday.  The one place that I have visions of going to for the scenery, the wine, and of course .... the food.  My favorite.  Italian.  Which, as I've mentioned before, is so strange that I obsess over italian food because my heritage is actually Puerto Rican and Sweet South American.  But yet - it's italian food that my palate craves.  Go figure.  So I love searching out restaurants with authentic italian cuisine.  I'm not knocking on Olive Garden and other restaurant chains  (ok,  well maybe I am)  but that is NOT authentic italian food.  Don't fool yourself.  And more often than not,  the small quaint unassuming restaurants are the best places to dine if you're looking for quality of food. 
That's exactly what I delighted in when I found TAVERNA FIORENTINA.  The most incredible Tuscan food I've found in my searching.  In fact,  I was in such foodie bliss that I decided to bring the owners onto my show! 

Taverna Fiorentina is located in the Vinings, tucked away in a little shopping plaza area.

I loved it immediately.  Paolo Tondo is part owner and brings homemade recipes straight from Tuscany, which is his hometown.  You want to talk about authentic??? Just try to talk to him . . . his accent is so thickly italian that it was almost difficult just to understand what he was trying to say in english.  He oversees the culinary expertise of his restaurant with an accute talent for cuisine.  I was in foodie heaven.
Jasmin Reyes is the house-Sommalier,  although she is currently receiving several other wine titles as well.  Growing up at her family's winery in Spain, Jasmin has had superior knowledge of wines since she was a child.  Her deep appreciation and expertise has allowed her to be the other co-owner of Taverna Fiorentina.  This powerful culinary duo marry their skills and palates together to create a cuisine that is beyond italian compare.  - Not to sound like a commercial,  but if you are craving delicious unique authentic italian food ... then jump over to the Vinings and get lost in Tuscany!!  Because ladies and gentlemen,  Florence has a new zip code!
Also joining us for the wine portion of my radio show was Todd Rushing of Concentrics Restaurant Group.  He is a friend of DwD and a welcomed regular.  Todd was excited to talk about seasonal Rose's and how to pair them with the dishes of Taverna Fiorentina.  - We even discussed what wines to pair with Rabbit.

If you are interested in dining in Italy  -- I mean,  Taverna Fiorentina --  ;-)  -- then feel free to snag a Half Off gift certificate from my website.  It's my 50% Off program.  Just for you guys.  Whether you eat the black eyed pea ravioli or the shaved octopus with lemon .... you are in for a treat!
And you don't even need a passport.

                                                                click for their website
                               click here to purchase a 50% Off Gift Certificate to Taverna Fiorentina

Now did somebody say french fries?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Holy Computer

Ok.  I am giving you the heads up,  this will not be an entry about food.  However!  Let me tease your appetite for something still fulfilling.  Rather than be stuffed in the gut,  how about being stuffed in the spirit.  God works in mysterious ways my friends - and sometimes it isn't even about us, but that we are being used to fill someone else's prayer.  Right?  Well in this particular case,  I'd like to introduce you to . . . . . . my computer.  I'm personifying it because quite frankly,  it's been possessed. 
Last week I suffered the dreaded Trojan Horse Virus - my horse was on steroids - and literally sat and watched as it ate away my hard drive bite by bite, file by file.  After a couple days of desperately trying to perform microchip CPR,  I had to finally close my eyes and accept that my computer has flatlined.   -- It was more than a death.  It was a murder.
Those viruses are planted by people you know!  And I'm just going to go ahead and say it out loud .... THAT IS JUST PLAIN EVIL!!   Evil people!
I have experiened all 5 of psychology's "Stages of Grief".  1) Denial.  You think it would dawn on me to call a PC Repair place BEFORE the damage continued to escalate.  But nope.  Not me.  I was in denial that this could be fatal.  Hmph!  I could fix it!   2) Anger.  Um .... that is an understatement!  I hope all those trojan soldiers get their own hard drives nuked!  3) Bargaining.  This was done repeatedly several times on a rotating 10 second schedule.  "Please just save all my work documents and I promise never to sin again!"   4) Depression.  I cried.  I did, I admit it.  - I lost everything.  Everything!  I have no more pictures. (years and years worth).  I have no more data.  No more work documents.  Not a single work file.  No resume.  No paperwork.  No history of anything.  Gone.  All of it.  Forever.   -- Yeah.  I cried.   5) Acceptance.   . . . . . . . . not there yet!

So.  Time to find a PC Repair place.  This is the part where God comes in.  I had the crazy idea that perhaps there would be a business out there who would be willing to ressurrect my crucified computer, even if it takes a miracle, in exchange for some advertising on my radio station.  I thought it was a shot in the dark,  but my father always taught me that it never hurts to ask.  - Here goes nothing -
My business partner, Dan Hott, was kind enough to make me a list of all the local repair places around me.  I called the first one and there was no answer.  I called over and over and over but no one would pick up.  - Weird.  I kept persisting on this particular place because it's where he got HIS computer fixed not too long ago  (although his didn't have the Headless Horseman's Trojan Nightmare Virus) - but atleast it was a good way to get my foot in the door.  Finally I just had to give up though. They 'oddly' never picked up.  So later, I called the second business on the random list.  A gentleman named Britt answered the phone from US Gaming Center.  After we spoke for a bit,  he said YES to the trade and I thought I had just won the lottery!   But here's the chilling part . . . . .  Britt tells me that he and his wife (also business partner)  have been praying for an opportunity like this!  He tells me that they have spent so much money on expanding their facility and doing all these amazing things  (tell ya that in a second) but they didn't have any extra money available for advertising, and had been praying for God to help them find a way to still get exposure.
HELLO!!  Not only that,  but he continues on to say how unbelievably strange this is because his store was not yet opened for the day.  He had some emergency where he had to be at the store despite the fact that it was closed.   ---- And then here comes my call.

When I got there later and met the lovely wife,  she shares with me some of her faith and her favorite radio station is 104.7 The Fish.  -- Mine too!!  It all just "fit".  And I took a big swallow of humble pie.  -- Here I am frantic about my own situation and blinded by my own selfishness, and yet all along - maybe God meant for us all to help each other.  And that what I bring to the table can be used to help someone else and their needs too.  (not that I appreciate losing my computer to help someone else, lol, but I get the bigger picture)  It's awesome to see how the web works!  Miracles happen everyday.  In the midst of our chaos and drama and schedules and responsibilites and clutter . . . . we often miss the quiet hand of God, orchestrating little webs of favor all around us.  Start paying closer attention.   - You'll see!


--- I will be writing more on U.S Gaming Center next!  Stay tuned to Part 2.
I'm waiting to get my computer back . . . . . let's see what happens!   (- or doesn't)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Paula Deen's Dressing Room . . . .

This past weekend,  I had the pleasure of watching Paula Deen get her hair and makeup done while I was privately hanging out with her in her dressing room.

 . . . . Well.  Sort of.
The lovely Ginny McCormack  (see "Cooking With Energy" blog post)  offered me complimentary tickets to the Metropolitan Cooking Show held at the Cobb Galleria Center where Paula Deen, Bobby Flay, and Mario Batali were there for entertainment cooking demonstrations.   What a day I had!!  I did not receive any passes to go into the very expensive private show of Paula Deen.  My free tickets were general admission only, to the vast array of vendors and booths.  But little did they know ....  I was on a mission!!   Oh yeah,  I was NOT leaving there without getting to meet Paula Deen.  Period.   She has been on my radio show several times in the past,  and the last time was just recently - along with her Atlanta cousin, the charming Johnnie Gabriel of Gabriel's Desserts in Marietta.  Johnnie  (long time friend of the DwD Show)  was also determined to help me meet her cousin Paula.  Boy, she was on the phone with Paula's publicist, her manager, and even her bodyguard!  (Hi Hollis!)  (-- her bodyguard.)    But nothing seemed to be working.   Paula was just too busy.  Even Johnnie couldn't make anything happen, despite her continuous efforts.
 -- So!  I knew it was time to take matters into my own hands.  Operation Deen was underway!
My business partner  (Dan Hott)  found the woman who was in charge of the entire Metropolitan Cooking Show, racing around with a walkie talkie.  I charged right up to her, mid run, and spouted off quickly about who I was and if there was any chance I could "poke my head into the private Celebrity Cooking Theater", even though I didn't have a ticket.  Well to my surprise,  she simply said - "Follow me".
Next thing I knew, at warp speed, she was walking us right up to the front row of the entire theater!!  Passing a million security guards and ticket takers.   - I admit,  it made me feel good and even pretty dang excited.
Oddly,  we chose however to sit way in the back.  And good thing we did, because next thing that happens is a large friendly man comes and sits back there next to us.  (we were kinda in a hang out area) Turns out ... it's Paula's direct business partner!!  He was quite talkative and seemed intrigued with our conversation.  After he learned that Paula has been on my show several times WITH Johnnie .... he insisted that we must meet her!    (Hello!  Thank you God!)  Sure enough,  when Paula was finished with her hour on stage ---- absolutely hysterical by the way,  talking more about wetting her pants every time she sneezes, coughs, laughs, or farts  (her words!) (her EXACT words were, "I'm at that age where I dribble pee-pee alot!)   and now has to wear Depends  ---- but that's beside the point.  She was a raging ball of laughter .... and when it was all over,  she was rushed quickly by an entourage of staff from one room to the next, like a tornado.  Even her business partner couldn't get close to her. 
It looked like my chances were slowly fading away as time kept passing.  Johnnie couldn't get through to her either!  I was doomed!
 . . . . Until  . . . . Hollis.   Hollis the Bodyguard.  - Hollis was guarding Paula's dressing room a couple hours later and after putting on the charm  (thick-style!)  the man actually poked his head in for us and asked if Paula could see me really quick.    Lo and behold ... Hollis comes back out and says "OK!" 
Next thing I know - I'm being escorted into Paula's dressing room and there she is.   Her head is unable to move because she's got her makeup artist busy working on her face, and her hairdresser right behind her with his hands all in her hair and spraying enough hair spray to collapse our Ozone layer.    -- I introduced myself and whether she remembered exactly who I was or not, she played it off like she had known me for years.   She was grasping onto a pack of cigarrettes for dear life  (I didn't know she smoked)  and was trying to talk to me through lipstick applications.   It was actually quite comical.  We took some pictures and then Hollis walked me back out. 
I was beaming!!!
I think I'm still beaming.   :-)   What a little adventure!  It was a moment any foodie could appreciate.  I think I almost pee'd in MY pants!

Operation Deen = mission completed.

Monday, May 3, 2010

What is it like to be Ryan Seacrest?

For those of you who do not know ... Ryan Seacrest is an Atlanta native.  Yep!  If you're around your mid 30's and have grown up around town,  then you could have very well been sitting next to Mr. American Idol and had no idea.  Ryan is a graduate of Dunwoody Highschool.  His parents still live in Dunwoody and have always been very community-friendly.  And here's something else I bet you didn't know .... every morning at the highschool,  someone would come over the loud speaker to give all the annoucements to the school.   That would be Ryan.  Also,  a certain young student just happened to land a job on-air at Star 94 while in highschool.  That would also be Ryan.  -- His dream?  To be a famous radio host.

Everyone has a dream!  And everyone has to start somewhere.   Ryan got his start in highschool ... being the voice of entertainment.  I got MY start quite a bit later of course,  but I have a dream nonetheless!  If gawky Ryan Seacrest from Dunwoody, Georgia can rise to global stardom  --- then shoot,  why can't any of us do the same thing!?!?!?!  Everyone has different dreams,  but for me - my dream mirrors that of Ryan Seacrest.  He just got to it before me!  (little bugger!)
Hosting a radio show is not easy.   It looks like fun on the outside,  but there's so much more that goes into it than what the outside world perceives.   (-- which I'm sure is true for most any job).    The preparation is so time consuming, and post production can last for ungodly hours on end.   For example,  I was couped up in a tiny studio all by myself for 9 hours . . . . NINE HOURS STRAIGHT . . . . just to edit/produce 15 minutes worth of sample footage for the Food Network.   9 hours!

And there is definitely 'study time' too.   For example,  I hosted the Taste of Marietta recently, and if you saw me on stage --- it looked like I was just having a good ole time chatting away and having fun with the audience.  -- But that's what over-preparing does .... it makes your job look effortless.   I spent hours studying the Bio's of every person I had to introduce and talk about all throughout the day.  I had to know their personal information as well as their business information forwards and backwards.  I had to study their recipes for the day and know those backwards and forwards  (21 recipes to be exact) - and I have to be able to talk about them just as naturally as if they were my own recipes.   I had to study the sponsors and know their businesses and specific information.  I was handed lists of last minute information only moments before going on stage and be expected to talk about that stuff from memory too.  I had to study 5 pages of food trivia and memorize most of those.  I'm expected to stay energetic, happy, and entertaining ... even when I'm exhausted, hot, and miserable.  

--- Not that I'm complaining!!!!  I love what I do and I am so very blessed.   Luckily,  I'm living my dream.   This IS my passion.  This IS what I want to do with my life.  And all of the extra work is exactly what I signed up to do.  So the last thing you will hear from me is complaining.

But working my way up the ladder right now just makes me wonder .... I wonder how many of these type of events did Ryan Seacrest do???  How many hours did he spend editing his tapes to send out to networks???   How much useless momentary information did he have to cram and memorize right before walking onto a stage???  -- And don't even get me started on the whole other aspect of embracing your own confidence and personality in order to truly entertain hundreds or thousands of people with nothing but ..... YOURSELF.
Uh,  hello pressure!  

So Ryan Seacrest ... if you're reading .... ;-) .... can I get an AMEN!!

- I recently had someone ask me what is like to be on the radio.  I thought I would use my blog to answer that question and say that there's much more than what meets the eye.  (- or should I say ear)   Just like any other career,  it takes work.  Hard work and dedication.   Period.
I think my new dream is to someday have someone write a blog and title it,  "WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE DONNA RODRIGUEZ?"

Move over Dunwoody ....  cuz Roswell is comin' to beat ya!
Hornets can sting a Wildcat any day!