Seattle Foodie Empire Honoree: Som Kesa

Good food has no boundaries
— Som Kesa, Foodie Empire Honoree

It has been a labor of love for several years now and I'm so happy to introduce another video on the brilliantly talented Som Kesa. Som's cooking is hands-down, at the top of my list of best food I have tasted anywhere. I am so grateful to Som and her husband Larry for opening their home to us for many meals and experiences, and I am also grateful to Meg for being there and bringing her creative talents to make this feature happen too. Finally, to Jim and Michele as always for their creative inspiration and partnership. This was a great experience for me, it brings back many happy memories, and I hope you enjoy this feature on Som in addition to the other stories we've done on her! 

Foodie Empire Honorees: Rob and Donna Dughi

It’s so easy when your friends are so great.
— Rob and Donna Dughi, Foodie Empire Honorees

I am thrilled to showcase Seattle foodies Rob and Donna Dughi! I not only love how they live downtown so are able to walk to Pike Place Market for all of their ingredients, but I also love all of their amazing stories about their travels that includes the cuisine they've feasted on and the people they've met along the way... It is an honor knowing Rob and Donna as they are so generous with their friendship and so welcoming to everyone... I hope you enjoy their feature!

Seattle Foodie Empire Honoree Geoff Kann Episode

It is an honor to finally showcase the amazing Geoff Kann and his culinary talents through his feature, shot at his home in West Seattle (with a cocktail outing or two as well)! We cherish Geoff immensely as this is where Foodie Empire began; My vision to tell the stories of brilliant home chefs and how they create beautiful meals for loved ones. As I began looking for foodies to highlight, Geoff was the first one to take a chance on the venture and say "Yes!" thanks to his friendship with Meg Andrews who introduced us and helped organize his episode. If you haven't met her yet, you will also get to meet Rebecca Staffel who is well-known in the Seattle food scene. Rebecca provided the voice-over talent for this episode, along with lots of good insight on picking wine and hosting a Wine Tasting at your dinner party.

I also want to give a shout-out for the musicians in this episode, including Danny McCarthy, who wrote the theme song for "League of Legends," Seattle DJ Yung Futon who created an extensive, custom mix for the series, and Bazile Mills out of Omaha whose lead singer, Dave Mainelli, has been a friend of mine since Grade School. Other band member Tim Rozmajzl and his wife Katie have been friends since High School.

Thank you to everyone for the collaboration, including Jim and Michele McCarthy for whom this series wouldn't be possible without. They have been key to making this happen and have an amazing way of igniting the fire within you to unleash the best of you through beautiful products. 

Thank you so much Geoff and Rick for opening up your worlds and sharing it with all of us! Now on to his magic, which features a gorgeous meal including steaks cooked with a blow-torch! (Yes, you must see this...) xo  

How to Choose Wine for a Wine Tasting at Your Dinner Party via Dinner Guest + Friend Rebecca Staffel

I hope you enjoy Geoff's episode and smile at his amazing talents... Thank you again Geoff and Rick for opening up your home to us, it is truly an honor getting to know you! You can see more on Geoff on his dedicated page here.

Up next, I'll be working on Seattle KEXP Leon Berman's episode which features him creating quite the feast for football coaches and their families! Catch a sneak peek here.

Daring + Delicious Ice Cream Flavors by Seattle's Balleywood Creamery

Daring + Delicious Ice Cream Flavors by Seattle's Balleywood Creamery

I am always impressed with people's creativity, especially when they take risks to put themselves out there with their craft. This most certainly is the case with Karen Kinbar, creator of Balleywood Creamery and how she pushes the boundaries with flavors for her ice creams. 

I recently had the pleasure of spending some time with Karen for an ice cream tasting and wine pairing... What a perfect afternoon! And with flavors such as Szechuan Carrot, Silk Road Squash with Indian Spices and Sweet Potato Streusel that Karen has served up, I knew I was in for a real treat. Thank you Karen for sharing your world it is amazing! 

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Spotlight: Meme Made + Going All In to Inspire Others Through Healthy Cooking, Coaching and Meal-Delivery in Seattle

I wanted to put the spotlight on Marie Montemayor, "Meme" as we all know her! Meme is a totally inspirational person in so many ways, but most recently, she left the corporate and startup world, and went all in on her own business, Meme Made (meal delivery) and Flourish (health coaching). Venturing out on your own takes loads of courage and I applaud Meme for this! Here is what made Meme take the leap: 

I love working with women to create change on the plate and in the heart. My goal is to take the guilt out of food one meal at a time. My relationships with my clients go much deeper than emails, prep tips and Instagram photos: I help them create calm in the chaos of life. I call this SOULwork.
— Meme

Congratulations Meme on your new venture and we are so grateful to you for sharing your story and talents with the community. Below are examples of Meme's style of cooking which is incredible! You can also follow her on Instagram here.

(Left): Sweet + Savory Avocado Toast Topped with Kite Hill Cheese and Vanilla Bean Flake Salt from Jacobsen Salt Company (Right): Lemon Garlic Zoodles with a Runny Egg, Sauerkraut and Green Juice

(Left): Spicy Sweet Potatoes Topped with Poached Eggs (Right): Marinated Flank, Bone Broth, Daikon Radish Noodles, Cabbage, Corn, Onions, Sesame Seeds and a Six-Minute Egg "Dinner is done dude!"

For more on Meme, her coaching, meal-planning and meal delivery, visit her site here.

Cheddar Salmon Patties by KEXP's Leon Berman

Cheddar Salmon Patties by KEXP's Leon Berman

Thank you to KEXP's Leon Berman, who is an incredible cook (and an award-winning grill master!) for sharing a recent meal he made. Leon's food is totally delicious and he definitely thinks outside of the box when it comes to combining different worlds in his cooking. (For example, while filming his episode he made "Smoked Lap Cheong Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers" and "Chorizo and Pepper Jelly Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Sliders with Gorgonzola Sauce.") NOM - Below, Leon shares a no-fuss dish for Cheddar Salmon Patties. Enjoy!




6 oz. Can Skinless/Boneless Salmon (Costco has the best), Drained

1/2 Stalk Celery, Diced

2 T. Diced Sweet Onion

1 Large Egg, Lightly Beaten

1/4 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning

Good Pinch of Black Pepper

1/3 C. Shredded Extra-Sharp Cheddar Cheese

2 Heaping T. All Purpose Flour

1/4 C. (about 6 crackers), Crushed Ritz Crackers

Vegetable Oil for Frying

"In a bowl, combine the salmon, celery and onion. Stir in the egg and the seasonings. Stir in the flour and the cheese. Place the crushed crackers on a plate. Heat about 1/4" oil in the bottom of a 10" skillet over med. high heat. Take a spoonful of the salmon mixture (I just use a soup spoon) and drop it in to the crackers, carefully roll around in the crackers and then place in the heated oil and flatten out just a tad. Repeat with remaining mixture. Fry for about 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel lined plate."

Thank you again Leon for sharing, and please stay tuned for more on his episode, including how his cooking was influenced by growing up in Seattle's Rainier Valley.

Be sure to catch Leon Friday night's on KEXP for his show, Shake the Shack. You can get a sneak peek at some of his culinary creations here on Foodie Empire

Spotlight: Inspirational Dishes by Som Kesa This Week

Look at these beautiful, amazingly creative dishes recently made by our Honoree, Som. 

(Top Row): Coconut Sticky Rice and Home-Cured White Anchovies (Bottom Row): Anticuchos with Herb Salad and Aji Amarillo Sauce, and Steamed, Stuffed Shrimp with Two Sauces, Garlic Oil, Fried Pickled Shallots, Stuffed with Shrimp Meat, Garlic, Lemongrass and Coriander.

To follow Som's creations in the kitchens, please check out her Blog here and stay tuned for some exciting news she has coming soon!

Spotlight: Seattle Foodie Jason Pedwell and KETO Eating

I am long overdue in giving recognition to Jason Pedwell, who loves Foodie Empire so much, he is helping to promote us through Instagram. I adore Instagram and it's one of my favorite platforms for sharing experiences, but it's just another thing I find little time for! I am so grateful to Jason for stepping in and just taking over here. A little about Jason: He helps businesses grow and acquire new customers, generally with success rates of at least 200% ROI with their marketing spend.

And the proof is in the pudding.... Jason has helped us grow our Instagram from 25 followers to over 600 in just a few months.

The other thing about Jason is that he and his wife Katie love being in the kitchen and getting creative. However, they always have "health" in mind and do a lot of cooking the KETO way. I wanted to share some of that here and thank you Jason for sharing your culinary world with us!

By Jason Pedwell:

We’re big believers in clean eating. We both love all types food and everything that’s not good for us, but we’re really big into health. Katie is a Beachbody coach and I am also into fitness and nutrition. About 80% of the things Katie and I cook are recipes we decide on together and sometimes we cook together. Our approach is how can we make it fun and delicious but also want to make healthy too, so our focus is on eating clean, oftentimes Ketogenic (low-carb, high-fat), trying to eat mostly natural foods, organic, greens and proteins.

Favorite Magical Ingredient Right Now

One of my favorite things lately is the "Organic Riced Cauliflower" from Trader Joe's. It's the best cooking hack for substituting pasta and/or rice and is a magical  replacement ingredient for just $2 a bag. It's just hard to find because people store up on it! 

When eating healthy you have to make it interesting.
— Jason Pedwell

(Left) Spicy, Fresh Arugula Salad with Pastrami, Garbanzo Beans, Red Onion, Slivered Carrots and a Simple Olive Oil and Balsamic Dressing (Right) Turkey Burger with Onion, Pepper, Bacon and Avocado + Brussel Sprout and Kale Salad.

Bang Bang Shrimp and Beef Bourguignon the KETO Way

To find out more about what Jason and Katie are cooking up, you can follow him on Instagram at "liftdad." You can also find out more about Jason's work on his website,

Foodie Empire Honoree: Larena Hatley Trailer

Please say hello to our final Season One Honoree, Larena Hatley. Larena holds an annual fundraiser for Food Lifeline called "Nerd Night Out" at the Columbia Tower and hails from Texas so does brilliant, authentic Tex-Mex at home. Thank you Larena for sharing your story! Here is a sneak peek into her world.

Offalicious Dinner: A Challenge to Eat Every Part of the Animal

Offalicious Dinner: A Challenge to Eat Every Part of the Animal

I was invited by Karen Kinbar who found me at Seattle Foodies to join. They have an idea that we should eat every part of the animal. I took this as a challenge to make these odd bits delicious. I don't get a chance to cook these things much since I had no audience before. My family and my friends are not crazy about eating these things. My family likes tongue, cheeks, pig head, chicken hearts, tripe (my son mainly) but now it's a chance for me to branch out to see if I can transform offal into something delicious.

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Magical Vietnamese Grilled Pork (Thit Nuong) by Frank Edgington

Magical Vietnamese Grilled Pork (Thit Nuong) by Frank Edgington

The basics that go in this thang, thit nuong, is you need pork (sliced thin), fish sauce, lemongrass, garlic, sugar, lime. There’s other things that go in there but you’ve got to basically come up with a mixture that works for you and your palate. It gets marinated for a day or two, then rock it on the grill. If you don’t have a grill or the weather is being very Seattle-like, you can just do in an oven and broil it at the end on the top rack to get the charred action going. I’m not here for recipes, that’s what Google is for. I’m here to give you a dose of reality of what it takes to make something delicious and at home.

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