the power of food to tell a story


I never know when I ask the guest to be on the show where they will choose as their favorite restaurant. Our team is ready and willing to go wherever they choose even if that means Barcelona, Spain with Chef Jose Andres or Wando’s Bar in Madison, Wisconsin with Team Rubicon Founder Jake Wood. Michelin stars? James Beard Awards? Yelp reviews? It matters little compared to how much the guest looooves the place. A passion for the restaurant trumps all. A hole in the wall? A dive? GREAT. Let’s go! Let’s let the place and the food and the guest’s reaction tell the story. When acclaimed movie director M. Night Shyamalan chose an Italian restaurant in a townhome in Philadephia, I didn’t know why. Marc Vetri is a master chef and his longevity in the Philadelphia restaurant scene is a sign of his talent and persistence…but there are a lot of fantastic restaurants in Philadelphia. Why did Night choose that place specifically? The answer is so revealing. He chose Vetri Cucina because when he ate there for the first time he was in awe of the Chef’s attention to detail in every aspect of the restaurant experience. From the music. To each artfully prepared course. To the service and the way the restaurant makes the person feel. Making something intangible tangible. He sees the work of Chef Vetri as parallel with his work as a writer-director. On set, his work is that of a conductor…guiding so many different forces and people to the same end result: a great story with a unique POV. A well told tale. A phenomenal meal. A masterful experience that is a creative expression.

Jake Wood told me he just loved the beer and the burgers at Wando’s. Oh and the cheese curds! For those of you who don’t know –that’s delicious fried cheese! The former Marine created a world humanitarian organization called Team Rubicon by putting Veterans to work helping in natural disasters. His idea is simple and powerful. Harness well-trained Veterans to do what they do best: help and serve. The setting of this college bar in Madison, Wisconsin was the perfect place to tell the story of this former college athlete from Bettendorf Iowa who was inspired to join the Military after September 11th. Wando’s wasn’t just a place to have a burger with Jake. It was a place that revealed who Jake was when he made that decision to join the military when he was a young and hungry kid who thought he “could save the world.” It was that bravado that actually propelled him to try. Food. And the story it tells…..