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.

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God Bless Each and Every One of You!

Proverbs 3:5-6

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Softer Side of Susie

If you follow the DwD Show, then you already know that DwD follows "The Next Food Network Star".  We are right in the meat of the season  (no pun intended!)  and things are getting hot on set!  I was slated to interview Bobby Flay this upcoming weekend -- but as you can assume, his schedule is quite demanding.  Things got shifted around at the last minute due to conflict of timing - but we will still get to talk to Bobby in the near future.  I can't wait!
Still great news though .... in place of Bobby,  we get the opportunity to talk to his co-Judge on the hit show, Ms. Susie Fogelson.  We all know her simply by 'Susie' - the beautiful but strict judge who can be quite intimidating at times.  I have already interviewed her and will be playing our conversation for you this Saturday.  She even got very candid and open about the 2 Atlanta finalists;  Herb Mesa and Brianna Jenkins.  Plus, it was nice to see a softer side to Susie - as she talks about the connection and bonds she makes with the finalists throughout the seasons and how that effects their overall decision for eliminations.
 . . . . .  . . . . or does it??
Tune in and listen!!  Get hungry with me for more of Food Network.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bobby Flay is in the House!

Ladies and Gentlemen,  I would like to announce that Bobby Flay is coming onto the DwD Show!!  He is still one Food Network personality I have not had the pleasure of hanging out with yet.  So I am really excited!  I just got the confirmation from Food Network this morning.   What's ironic is ... even though I've watched Bobby for a long time and truly respect his talent - I didn't really become a big fan until I became a big fan of Next Food Network Star.  (see previous blog).   He is a judge and host.  Bobby has always seemed "so serious" to me - which I understand his cooking is a craft - but I've always found myself being highly entertained by the big in-your-face personalities with extreme energy and charisma!  - Hello Paula Deen and Guy Fieri. 

Regardless, I have truly converted to a Flay-Fan since watching the softer side of him come out during this competition show, and dare I even say HUMOR.  Besides, the man is a culinary icon.  Who wouldn't be excited to announce their personal one-on-one interview with him?  It's next Tuesday morning,  although we will be pre-recording for the July 31st airing of DwD.  - Make sure you tune in!
Now the only ones left on my wish list to interview are still Rachel Ray (my twin), Alton Brown, the Neely's, and in my dreams .... Julia Child.  Sidebar:  Julia Child was once asked what was her secret for living a fullfilled long life, her answer was instantly  "Red Meat and Gin".
And these days, you can hear Paula Deen's secret for a happy life .... "Butter".

I think I'll be asking Bobby what his secret is!  I'm sure it's going to have something to do with a grill ....
Hmmmm.  Flame on!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Food Network Stars Vs. Cooking Channel

My new friends.  Returning guests from the hit show 'Next Food Network Star' - Herb Mesa (left) and Brianna Jenkins, along with the musically talented Roger Mooking (center), host of the Cooking Channel's 'Everyday Exotic'.  What an energy in the room!!  With 4 huge outgoing personalities (myself included. ha!) there wasn't a second of hesitation within our full throttle full speed conversation on air last Saturday.  We laughed, we poked, we prodded, we got nitty gritty, and even quite sentimental - plus of course we dished all about delicious food.  But first, let me describe to you what's going on with the brand new Cooking Channel.

The Cooking Channel is owned and operated by the Food Network.  So now you can start to think of it as either the newly adopted child of Food Network ... or better yet, the twin brother -- who look extremely similar on the outside,  but completely different personalities on the inside.  For example,  the Cooking Channel is a necessary extension of something that is already successful ... and therefore now needs more room to showcase all the extra talent and ideas and additional stars.  The Cooking Channel focuses on the instruction of cooking and learning - and stays away from competition reality shows and fluffy entertainment.  This is to be more technical and diverse.  There are some crossover personalities who have shows like Emeril and Rachel Ray,  but it will really embrace global cuisine and take viewers all around the culinary world.  While in the meantime,  we also are graced with old reruns of Julia Child.  It's awesome.

Then of course .... we have the Food Network.  And one of my all time favorite shows to watch is 'The Next Food Network Star'  (which I will now be referring to as NFNS) and it's a competition show to the likes of Top Chef on Bravo.  The winner wins their own show on Food Network!!  Hence, the name.  For this year in Season 6, Atlanta has 2 contestants fighting for the finale - both still here at the midseason point - and that's our very own Herb and Brianna.  Two magnetic, charismatic personalities and I was proud to have them on my show again to give us an update.  Just like the first time,  we had so much fun and the hour was over way too fast.

After the program was over and we were all hanging out in the other studio just laughing and talking about salsa dancing as we were closing up ... Herb and Brianna invited us to their viewing party that night at the swanky restaurant Room inside the Twelve Hotel.  It was stunning.  I took my mother, my sister, and my aunt for a little Girls Night Out - family style.  Herb saw us and ran over to us immediately offering us food and his signature drinks!  It was fabulous.  Brianna looked absolutely beautiful.  Gorgeous.  -- I had no idea by how much fun we were having that Brianna was the one who got eliminated at the end of that night's episode.  Everyone gasped as it played on screens throughout the restaurant.  I think Brianna even teared up a little.  -- I know Herb did!  She had the microphone and said a thank you/goodbye speech and then hugged me as soon as she turned away.  It was definitely a bittersweet moment and yet still a fabulous night.

Lookey who it is!  Even Eric and Robin Gagnon, Presidents of We Sell Restaurants, my sponsors came out to play.  It was a lovely evening.  Room itself was impressive.  And as sad as I am to see Brianna be eliminated from the show,  she has definitely made a name for herself now!, and a big congratulations for Herb who is still in the running!!  Watch NFNS every Sunday night on Food Network at 9:00pm.
And you can watch Roger (above) every day on the Cooking Channel with his show, Everyday Exotic.  (times vary).  I myself had an energetic and entertaining show with these guests last week.
Stay tuned because there's always something new and fun every DwD show.  - We're like a box of chocolates ..... you never know what you're gonna get!
(but it's sweet every time)

My only question left is ................................ when am I going to get a tv show of my own?!??!   C'mon now people!  ;-)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Oprah who??

Many of you know already that I was deep into an audition process to star on Oprah's upcoming new tv reality show called "OWN".  It is Oprah's attempt to find America's next famous talk show host.  I guess she finally succombed to the depths of reality tv.  Hey,  if Trump can do it - why not the big O.  Sources say the show will actually be similar in feel to that of 'The Apprentice'.  - Not that I would know because I did not make it to L.A.    (I say that with a teeny bit of disgust in my tone)
After everything I went through to make it past the first few rounds of auditioning - plus the 3 hour application process alone - yeah, I'm a little jealous.  - Although I did make it far enough to have an on-camera screen test!  What an experience that was!   Let me set up the scenario for you.  It's quite the covert spy operation!

After waking up at 2:45am to be at the audition site by 4am,  then getting a call back for a small group audition at 8am, which then led me to a phone call saying I had been chosen for another call back - etc... I finally had to show up at a hotel for the on-camera screen test.  However!!  This is how it was described to me:  in an email by Oprah's people,  I was given the information along with some specific directions.  The directions said at the end,  "DO NOT GO TO THE HOTEL DESK.  DO NOT SPEAK TO ANYONE THAT WORKS AT THE HOTEL.  GO STRAIGHT TO THE LOBBY AND WAIT FOR YOUR CELL PHONE TO RING.  DO NOT SPEAK TO ANYONE.  IF SOMEONE ELSE AUDITIONING APPROACHES YOU, DO NOT SPEAK TO THEM.  WE WILL CALL YOUR CELL AND TELL YOU WHERE TO GO NEXT".
 - Um,  are you kidding me???  I felt like I was in a James Bond film.   And yet on the flipside,  it was thrilling!!  So my cell phone finally rang and I was told to go to the 3rd floor and someone would meet me at the elevators.  At this point, I was escorted into a hotel room that had been drastically changed to look like a mini studio set - with professional lights everywhere and cameras and pieces of tape on the floor to tell you where to stand,  floor to cieling backdrops of Oprah and the show .... etc....
Surreal!  The casting agent began asking me my questions and without a shy bone in my body -- I rocked it.  (or so I thought).  What irritates me is that the casting agent said the same thing!  She said I was fabulous and "have nothing to worry about".   ---- What does that mean??  She was visibly impressed and even squeezed me tight on my way out.  She lastly told me to wait for "THE CALL".   (I put that in caps because over the next week and a half .... 'the call' was the only topic of conversation amongst all the people in my life.)  My cell phone immediatly became an appendage of my body.  If I went to the bathroom,  so did my cell.  If I walked outside to get the mail,  so did my cell.  If I went to mow the lawn,  so did my cell.  - It became an obsession!  I couldn't dare miss "the call"!    Because this was it!  That phone call was the vehicle to put me on a plane and out to LA and to Oprah.   Friday night, July 9th was the cut off.  If I didn't get the call by then,  then I would know I did not get chosen for that very last round.
Obviously,  since I am still here writing you this blog ... I think we all know the outcome.
It was a major disappointment.  I'm not going to lie.  I'm a girl,  I cried.  I would like to take this opportunity and blame the casting agent who auditioned me.  (lol)  If she hadn't told me "I have nothing to worry about" in terms of being chosen for LA .... then I think I would not have had such faithful expectations.  Because when the call did not come in -- I admit,  I was crushed.
Granted,  I came a long way!  I am proud of myself for that.  Definitely.  I beat thousands and thousands of other hopefuls just in the first audition alone!  Which is amazing to think about.  I know this.
So I know I baked my cake!  But man .... the icing would have made it so much sweeter.
After my pity party had ended,  I realized that I have a new fire under my bum to go out and give it 10 times more effort to continue this adventure!  -  I love where I am at,  but there's still a ladder to climb.

Thank you to all those who have been supporting me and cheering for me along the way!  What a crazy past few weeks.  Maybe I should be thankful that I'm not going to meet Oprah and be on her show. -- I wouldn't want to be in her sights when I go and steal all her thunder!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Great Cupcake Smackdown

I love my sweets.  I crave sweet fattening goodness as other people crave saltiness.  I'll run to all-things-sweet before I ever even consider anything remotely healthy.  But if I ever look at another cupcake again ... it will be too soon!  (yeah right, I say this knowing full well I could have another one tomorrow!)  But after eating over 20 cupcakes in one sitting earlier today ... if I sneeze, I swear icing is going to come out my nose. 
The event was called the Great Cupcake Smackdown and it was fascinating!  I was blessed to be one of the judges for this restaurant/bakery competition.  The event was a smashing success, held at Bradford's on Bishop in downtown, and I want to say a huge thank you to Shameeka Ayers - aka "Broke Socialite" - for putting this event together.  You can follow Shameeka on twitter or on facebook, like I do,  or simply go check out her fun and sassy website which is: 

I am hoping to collaborate with Shameeka on some future foodie events, so stay tuned!  But as for today,  the judges table unanimously voted for the Marie Antionette cupcake as our overall winner!  It felt as though we were eating half cupcake - half creme brulee, with a flame toasted sugary top.  It was addictive!
 - As soon as I touch base with Shameeka ... I am going to come back and tweak this blog entry with the accurate information of winners, judges, and more pictures!
Until then ... my insides are one giant cupcake,  and I'm about to go "smackdown" on my bed and let it all digest.   -- After 20 cupcakes,  this could take a while . . . . .  Go go gadget abdomen!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Heaven at the Capital Grille

I'm kicking myself for not writing this blog earlier.  Last month, I was blessed to have one of the most exquisite dining experiences I've ever had here in Atlanta.  The food was divine, the service was superior, and the best part about the evening ... was my tour of Italy.  -- Ok, ok, California and New Zealand were also being toured,  but for me personally - I could drink my way through Italy without having to try a single other wine.  What I am talking about, my friends, is the Master Wine Tasting Event going on right now at the beautiful Capital Grille restaurant in Buckhead.    This special event is from Jun 7-July 25.  Let me just share with you what I experienced in hopes that you'll treat yourself (or a special someone) to the same edible luxury.

Master Sommelier George Miliotes (one of 170 in the world) has carefully assembled a spectacular collection of famous wines you may know and insider wines you’ll want to know from California, Europe and even Down Under. Master Miliotes selected this summer’s wines in part because they represent some of the finest vintages from each region, but also because they make for a nice study in comparing and contrasting similar grapes from vastly different regions.  (see website: )

Here is how it works.  You order your meal as standard.  No matter how much or how little you order ... for a separate cost of only $25.00 - you can enjoy 10 of these chosen wines.  Yes, ten!  It's an incredible opportunity to expand your wine knowledge and tastings.  My favorite, by far, was the italian wine Sella & Mosca Marchese di Villamarina, Sardinia, 2003.  -- To which I later found out ... cost about $120.00 per bottle!  - Yeah, leave it to me and my taste buds to love the most expensive thing on the menu.  I didn't know!!  - But yes, it was superb.  I'm grateful I was able to enjoy several glasses of it - plus so many others, for only 25 bucks.  You can't beat that!  And then to top it off with my favorite meal of the year so far . . . .
I became a glutton of fine cuisine that night.  I ordered the special of the evening, which was Maine Lobster stuffed with colossal lump crabmeat and steaming hot cheeses.  (my mouth is salivating just thinking about it)  Not to mention the deliciously thick lobster bisque as my appetizer along with calamari and hot cherry peppers.  I was in heaven!

Dear God,  please have the Villamarina wine ready for me to toast my arrival someday, and if you could please make sure that the Executive Chef from Capital Grille will also be coming ....   ;-)

Foodies, treat yourself to the Master Wine Tasting Event at Capital Grille this month.  You too will experience a little bite of heaven.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Celebrating with the Williamson Bros!

I have officially reached a milestone!  This past weekend was my 2 year anniversary of being on air.  Yep, this July 4th holiday weekend was the first time "Dishing With Donna" was broadcasted in '08.  I still remember it like it was yesterday.  It started out as a 30 minute show and was pre-recorded.  What that means is I would go into the radio studios around 6:30am 3 times a week.  I only had 2 hours each morning to use the studio and in that time,  I interviewed my guests, recorded myself, edited, produced it, and turned it in as a complete ready-to-air show.  The first episode ever was my kickoff July 4th BBQ Special.  I interviewed Shane Thompson of the nation's SHANE'S RIB SHACK restaurant chain, and after a high energy conversation about barbecuing and grilling tips and all sorts of fun foodie expertise ... I then gave a couple quick recipes of my own.  I remember talking about how to grill the perfect corn on the cob and then trying something different for a change and baking your greenbeans in olive oil and garlic.   -- And that was it!  Show #1. 
Luckily for me,  it was a hit!  The problem was, I got way too comfortable pre-recording all my material and editing it every week to sound perfect.  I didn't want to promote myself going Live on air.   - It was actually an internal struggle (comically) between me and my business partner for a long time!  I was being so stubborn.  - Little did I know,  that going Live would actually become an addiction ... my "drug of choice", if you will.  There is such a thrill for me to be on live radio!!  I simply love it!  Can't believe I put up such a fight for so long!  (Sorry John!)  These days,  my program is now a full hour and yes my favorite foodies ... I AM live.  And loving it!
     This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of interviewing Danny and Larry Williamson of the infamous Williamson Bros. BBQ - and we opened up the phone lines in order to let YOU GUYS ask them all your own cooking out or grilling questions.  It was wonderful, the calls came flooding in, and we even had BBQ giveaways.  I decided it is only fitting to keep the BBQ theme going every anniversary - and a big thank you to Dreamland BBQ of Roswell who came to be my experts last year.  Even Sam Huff of BBQ-1 has gotten in on a piece of the action.  -- Lastly, I produced a long montage of all my favorite clips from the past 2 years from guests who had been on the show.  Clips from people like;  Paula Deen, Guy Fieri, Kevin Rathbun, Ted Allen, Richard Blais, Todd Rushing, Bob Tuschman, Daisy Martinez, Emily Sailers of Indigo Girls, and more ....   I worked hard on putting that little montage together, and I was proud to air it.

So here is to 2 years and counting!  CHEERS!!  And thank you so much for helping be a part of my growth and success.  I can't have success without listeners ... so other than God being my ultimate provider,  it is you guys who are making this happen!!
Cheers to you!!

Buen Provecho!