Friday, December 14, 2012

Following a Culinary Dream: A Chance to Help Sandy Victims

Vol. I, No. 5

Many of you have asked how to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. Here's a chance to do just that, and help someone rebuild his dream. 

Brad McDonald was in college studying business when he realized he didn't want to be studying business. As a kid, he'd wanted to explore the world. He had no idea that he'd one day fulfill his dream to explore by becoming a chef - and experiencing culture through cuisine.

While still in school, Brad changed his major to something a little more creative, and he began cooking. As a matter of fact, he cooked full-time while earning his degree. And we all know a thing or two about doing what you love: when you don't have any time for it, and you make time for it anyway, magic begins to happen.

Eventually, Brad's magic arrived in New York. He began to open restaurants, teaming up with people just as passionate as he is about the exploration of food. Earlier this year, they opened Governor in Dumbo, Brooklyn. And it was the kind of success that gets The New York Times' Pete Wells gushing.

And then Hurricane Sandy hit.

Photo courtesy of Michael Harlan Turkell

Five feet of water in the restaurant destroyed pretty much everything: wood finishing, electronics, kitchen equipment, decor.

Photo courtesy of Michael Harlan Turkell

Brad and his team were devastated, but not without perspective. As Brad has commented in an interview with, "We don't want to lament our own fate too much without realizing that there are other people out there who have lost far more than we have. We can recover from this."

So, I'd like to propose a toast - to a beautiful attitude, to pursuing a dream, and, for those of us who can, to helping Brad and his team getting back on their feet. In fact, Brad says it best when he talked to me about teamwork: "When others believe in you, it is far more achievable to believe in yourself."

All you dreamers out there, let's help Brad and his team. Here is a link to donate to the rebuilding effort for Governor.

And here is a link to helping One Girl Cookies, Governor's next-door neighbor and home to the best cupcake I've ever, ever eaten. (Why? Crumb you can sink your teeth into, decadent and rich icing.)

Finally, if you're in the neighborhood of Dumbo this weekend, there will be a pop-up fundraiser for Almondine Bakery. Some of New York's finest pastry chefs (Le Bernardin, Bouchon, Boulud)) are rallying in support of Herve Poussot, owner of Almondine and one of my favorite pastry wizards (if you haven't had his blueberry muffin, you haven't lived).

Pop-up fundraiser: Saturday & Sunday, 12/15-12/16, 10am-6pm. At 85 Water St in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

Brad McDonald and his team, photo courtesy of Michael Harlan Turkell

Friday, December 07, 2012

Lang Lang: From Child Prodigy to Concert Pianist

Sinovision's WE Talk airs on Sundays at 8:30PM on WMBC 63.3

Special Edition

Lang Lang is one of the world's most celebrated classical pianists. But he's only thirty years old! Watch my WE Talk interview with this extraordinarily talented artist, who had to overcome quite a painful struggle before even his tenth birthday. If you've ever believed in something, even when no one else did, you'll enjoy watching how Lang Lang continued to believe in himself. 

Follow WE Talk on Twitter. Follow WE Talk's host on Twitter (that's me!).