Part 11: It’s Always Darkest Right Before It Goes Pitch Black

This is the latest installment in a continuing series that documents my personal quest to become the host of my own cooking show. Since this is a relatively new “career,” there are no vocational programs or community college courses to prepare me for it. From what I have seen, the two most important elements in securing such a position are passion for food and plain old dumb luck. Born with a passion for food, I set out to make my own luck.

It’s Always Darkest Right Before It Goes Pitch Black

Wow! Life is great. I am actually making money writing about food and travel. Notoriety? Yep, I’ve got some of that, too. I’ve just published an interview with Food Network star Bobby Flay and my series on tailgating (Saturdays in the South) has created a bit of a buzz here in college football obsessed Alabama.

Stu w/musician Carlos FaulAfter a night out on the town with a co-worker I pop into a 24-hour eatery to scarf down some horribly un-healthy food. Nachos at 2AM anyone? I pass a table of drunken foodies who are discussing the upcoming visit of Bobby Flay to the Port City. I’m not sure exactly how but I got pulled into the conversation but one point someone asks me if I have read the interview with Flay in ‘Zalea magazine?

I wake up one day to find a voice message from my editor that asks me to call the magazine when I get a chance. I’m pumped because the last time I had a message like that it was to tell me that I was interviewing an Iron Chef. We have been efforting the great Emeril Legasse who had just opened a restaurant in nearby Gulfport, Mississippi. Could it be? Or maybe Alton Brown perhaps? His show Feasting on Asphalt 2 was taped right here in the heart of Katrina Country.

The recession really hadn’t been recognized as such yet but it was about to hinder my goals for the second time in less than a year. The newspaper that was the parent company of the two periodicals I wrote for was shutting down production on the weekly rag and cutting out freelance on the remaining monthly magazine. Once again, I was out of a job.

To make matters worse, the part-time gig I had waiting tables at a cheesy Italian chain restaurant was now my lone source of income. Big national chains are the scourge of the restaurant industry. They are a menace to locally owned restaurants, shamelessly enslave their employees and quite literally poison their customers all in the pursuit of the almighty buck. And now, through no fault of my own I was forced to prostitute myself at one of these denizens of culinary corruption.

At least I have a potential cooking show in the works. . . right?

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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