Posted tagged ‘houston’

Paying It Forward With Noah’s Kitchen – An Interview with Founder Amber Rodriguez

April 16, 2010

I’m here with Amber Rodriguez, Founder and Executive Director of Noah’s Kitchen, a non-profit organization providing nourishment, nutritional education, and other assistance to the under-privileged in Houston. We’re going to talk briefly about Noah’s Kitchen, their mission, and giving back to the local community.

Mike: Hi Amber. I met you last week downtown via Candice Kizer, who introduced me to Noah’s Kitchen via Twitter. She mentioned volunteering to feed the homeless with you guys so I decided to join in on a whim. I’ve volunteered previously but this was my first time for this cause. Truth be told, I was genuinely touched that we were able to succeed in helping so many underprivileged people in such a short amount of time. (business lunch hour)

Amber: Aw, thanks Mike! We were so glad to have you with us and appreciate all the positivity you have been sending our way. =)

Mike: I’m sure our readers and the community at-large here in Houston would like to know a little bit more about Noah’s Kitchen. How did you get started?

Amber: Actually, I got laid off this past September. I had to file for unemployment and wanted to make the best of my free time, with my son. We volunteered for the WM Superfeast and started getting involved with Charity Chicks of Houston. Noah loved being part of something good. I started talking to various people about ideas (I’ve always loved to cook) and before I knew it, it went flying!

Mike: What motivates you to champion this cause of feeding the needy?

Amber: I honestly can’t pinpoint it. For years I have picked up an extra meal at the drive-thru to give to someone holding a sign, declaring their hunger. I know their pride has been pushed aside for their need and that must be so difficult to go through.  It always makes me so sad. I don’t care how someone got there and what they are or are not doing to help themselves. They could be someone’s mother… someone’s father… And always someone’s Child. I don’t have money to give but if I can help make somebody’s day just a little easier by feeding them, I will.

Mike: My family and I briefly stopped by last Sunday for the Viva Houston Party you invited us to. To my surprise, you were front and center volunteering and playing host for that event, which helped launch the new community mural downtown. You seem to be very involved with these types of events locally, and I’ve seen the hash tag on Twitter – #SLGT. (Support Local, Grow Together). Our network here in the DNC family shares that exact mantra – good people & organizations helping one another. Are you always involved in these types of local events?

Amber: It was very nice to see you, your girlfriend, and handsome little guy make it out to the event. If I can be a part of something good and much bigger than myself – I want in! =)  Houston is an AMAZING community. It’s pretty simple actually. If we support our neighbors – it’s near impossible to fail. As the always awesome JR Cohen says, “It’s not about me- it’s about how I can help YOU.” We are so glad to have you guys be part of us – It’s wonderful people such as yourself that are helping us grow.

Mike: How is the local community chipping in getting the word out about Noah’s Kitchen?

Amber: Gosh. It started over Twitter and truly, word of mouth is the best form of advertisement. Amber Roussel and Mark Austin are doing amazing things for us right now. They are participating in the Fiesta movement and have pledged a car to Noah’s Kitchen if they win. They are participating in FUN missions which bring together the community and showcase a lot of local talent and businesses. During the missions they are raising awareness for us, volunteers, and donations to help keep us running. We have so much love for them!    Are there any other local causes here in Houston that you personally want people to rally behind? I honestly can’t narrow that down. I’m a firm supporter in SLGT and there are so many causes that they support. I look to them to know where I need to be. 

Mike: We’re taking up too much of your time here so just a few more questions….You have a meet-up scheduled for this coming Sunday at Coffegroundz. Can you give us some details on that and volunteering for Noah’s Kitchen in general?

Amber: Absolutely. We get together and make sandwiches and put together bags with an ‘affordable’ nutritious meal including a beverage too. (As we grow we’d like the meals to be hot and completely balanced.)  We then go out in ‘safety teams’ to distribute the food to the less fortunate. Everyone has fun and it seems like we are always getting new ideas on how to grow through these gatherings.  The ‘food’ dates are listed on our facebook events page. I’m currently working on adding events to our calendar so that we can have Noah’s kitchen Teams go in the community and volunteer at other various charitable events.  Mark and Amber set up a way for people to pledge hours to volunteer here, as well.

Mike: How can others help in the future if they can’t make it Sunday?

Amber: No contribution is ever too small. Whether it be an idea, time, food, or monetary (we really DO need wal-mart/pre-loaded shopping cards to purchase food) every donation is GREATLY appreciated. If anyone would like to contact us we can be found all over Houston and here:

www.noahskitchen.org;
www.twitter.com/noahs_kitchen;
www.facebook.com/noahskitchen

Mike: Thanks for your time Amber.

Amber: See you soon! Thank you so much for taking the time to find out more about us. I look forward to working with you again soon, too!  Cheers and #SLGT!!!

Review: Well Done Cooking Classes in Houston

February 1, 2010

For those of you in Houston that have aspirations for food beyond just constantly eating it, I have the most wonderful recommendation for you guys. Megan and I had the pleasure of trying our very first cooking class last Friday and I have to admit I left very impressed and surprised at what a good time it was.

 
What I Thought It Would Be Like
 

Prior to our “Dinner in Tuscany” class at Well Done Cooking  last week, I had no idea what to expect. I’m no stranger to restaurant life having spent time waiting tables and bartending for several years while slacking my way through college. I’ve even read Anthony Bourdain’s famed book, “Kitchen Confidential,” and admit that I have a perhaps disillusioned idea of believing I know what it’s like working in a busy kitchen. I even experiment in my own semi-regularly, looking up recipes and recreating my own versions to varying degrees of success. But I still had no idea what to expect going to an actual-hands on class for the first time!

My vague interpretation of what this experience would be like hovered between two ends of the spectrum.

On one-hand, I thought of Megan. After all, the main reason I ordered these classes was as a birthday present since she’d always wanted to try one of these. And hence, if she was happy, I would be too. For this, I imagined that would include some hands-on transfer of knowledge on cooking and then eating the fruits of our labor. The end.

On the other hand, I feared this experience would be like losing my Y-chromosome as I withered away in a corner, drinking my way to oblivion. Maybe watching a cross between something like this clip from “Julie & Julia” live and my college accounting classes. Very boring, no fun at all.

 
What It’s Actually Like
 

After stopping by our local liquor store to pick up a bottle of wine (they encourage that), we arrived at Well Done Cooking at the same time as a few other couples. The class only had 10 people total so it had a very intimate feel. It was actually very easy to socialize the entire time without losing any of what was being taught or said.

We picked the ‘Dinner in Tuscany’ class which meant we would be cooking the following:

Appetizer: Seasonal Minestrone Soup and Crusty Bread

Entrée: Roast Pork with Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Brown Butter, and Herbs

Dessert: Classic Espresso Drenched Tiramisu

Chef Celeste and Kathryn were knowledgeable and informative on the why’s and how’s of making everything on our menu. The class was very hands-on and every participant was a part of everything that was being prepared. My favorite part was rolling the Gnocchi. I truly did not know that making pasta was that easy. Nor did I know that Tiramisu was actually made with Lady Fingers. I think I could recreate that as well. And I’ve already got the Roast Pork marinated for this evening so I did in fact learn a lot that I took away from the class.

I even learned some interesting tidbits about my kitchen and Houston in general. For example, did you know that most microwaves, post -1993, take stainless steel containers with no problem? I didn’t either and have yet to try it but that was neat to find out. Also, we talked about the merits of buying fresh, local ingredients and where to get them. I never thought to buy spices in the shops around Little India (Hillcroft/59) but apparently, that’s an excellent area to get every spice short of saffron/vanilla bean  at a reasonable price. Phoenicia Deli on Westheimer apparently is too. And if you want to try some great tiramisu, try Lemon Tree, a small Peruvian restaurant in the Memorial area.

In short, the experience we had at the cooking class was very, very enjoyable.  We learned how to cook some neat dishes and had some good conversation with some interesting people. We even left a little tipsy from our bottle of wine and our bellies fully satisfied with some great food that we cooked for ourselves. Overall, a great date night for us but I’d highly recommend this to anyone who’s even remotely interested in learning more about cooking. Good times!

 
About Well Done Cooking
 

Located just off US59 & Weslayan in the Highland Village area of Houston, Well Done Cooking has served to provide Houston residents with culinary classes since June of last year. Well Done Cooking, offers classes on all types of cuisines, all of which are listed on their online schedule. They offer public and private classes and class sizes are kept small and intimate by design, which makes booking ahead a necessity since classes fill up pretty fast.

The purveyor of Well Done Cooking, Chef Celeste Terrell, a native of Louisiana, graduated from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in Massachusetts in 2004. Upon graduation, she worked for “Sel de la Terre,” a French Provisional restaurant in Boston prior to travelling abroad and living/cooking in France for a year. It was then that she decided to go share her talents and teach others how to cook in Boston. Now, four years later, Chef Terrell continues to pursue the fruits of her passion with Well Done Cooking here in Houston, TX. Celeste is ServSafe certified, a member of Les Amis d’Escoffier Society of New England and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Chef Celeste and Well Done Cooking were recently selected to host a class for the TLC series, “The Little Couple” this past November. Here’s the clip from television that was on air recently.

Chatting with Ricardo Talavera on the Eve of his Fight at Legacy Fighting Championships

November 6, 2009

Ricardo from Lonestar Beatdown 2DNC Members, Houstonians, and MMA Fans everywhere,

We’re sitting here with our very dear friend and fellow ninja, Ricardo Talavera, who is finishing up final preparations for his Mixed Martial Arts fight at the Legacy Fighting Championships, this Saturday at the Arena Theater in Houston.

Ricardo, how are you feeling heading up to this fight?

Oh man, I feel very, very good. Very well prepared, physically and mentally.

You’re set to take on Danny Taylor of Bushi Ban. How much do you know about this guy? Do you feel that there is anything specific you need to prepare for?

I dont know much about Danny Taylor. He fights out of Bushi Ban, a very good and well-known gym. Bushi Ban is a very good gym, their fighters are pretty aggressive, they like to bang, love to strike and come ready to fight. So, to prepare for this fight i have been including a lot of Muay Thai training, Boxing and of course always to my basics, BJJ. I have been preparing to take care of Danny anywhere. If he wants to bang, then we bang, if he wants to clinch then we clinch, ground, he’ll be crazy. Whereever he wants to go, i am going to make sure he pays for it.

Who’s helped you prepare for this fight overall? What team are you training with and how have those guys prepared you for Danny?

I fight out of ELITE MMA. I train under Eric Williams and Hai Nguyen mainly, however, for this fight we have also included the instruction of Romelle Agra to take care of my Muay Thai training and also Pat Swan for my Boxing. To add to this, Coach David Campbell has been the one taking care of our conditioning out of hell training. plus of course all my teammates at Elite MMA that some how have given me and helped me through out my training.

Any predictions on how the fight will end?

Lights out. whether I choke him out, or KO him.

Are you looking forward to any other fights on the card?

Definitely, I want to see my teammate Sting Ray Blodgett kick some ass. I also want to see Robo’s fight to see what the whole fuzz is all about.

Anything else you’d like to say to your fans and loved ones before you step into the cage?

To my beautiful wife and momma to be. I am sorry for all the long and lonely nights i have put you through, Thank you for your love, patience and support. I love you.

And to my fans, thank you for the support and push through out the years…let’s get this win over with and go eat and party!!!

Ricardo Talavera is an Undefeated Professional MMA Fighter with a 1-0 record.  He is also a Petroleum Engineering graduate of West Virginia University and a die-hard Mountaineers fan. When he’s not fighting, Ricardo works as a software consultant for the oil & gas industry. You can hear more about the life and fights of Ricardo Talavera by following him on Twitter.

Women’s Self Defense and Assault Prevention Classes in Houston

August 28, 2009

Attention Greater Houston Area Residents:

womensselfdefenseIt is imperative in today’s society to learn the tools necessary to keep out of harms way, protecting yourselves and your loved ones.

Specifically in the city of Houston, violent crimes such as aggravated assault and murder are over 1.5 times the national average. Burglary is also at 150% the national average. (source: cityrating.com)

 Empower Yourself – Learn the Tools Needed to Protect Those You Love

DNC Worldwide’s own Chad Kight is currently offering classes for Women’s Self Defense and Assault Prevention classes and seminars in the Greater Houston Area, including Houston, The Woodlands, and Sugar Land, TX.

About Your Instructor

mma-elite-8Chad Kight has been practicing Mixed Martial Arts, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Jeet Kune Do Concepts for over 11 years.

He has a keen understanding of what it takes to stay out of harmful situations and how one should react to protect themselves when confronted with violent and potentially deadly situations such as assault, rape, and abuse. Learn more about Chad here.

  • Certified RAT program Instructor (Rapid Assault Tactics)
  • Women’s Self Defense Instructor
  • Professional trainer and conditioning coach
  • 2009 Naga Expert Bronze Medalist                                                                          
  • 2008 Naga Expert Silver Medalist
  • Division winner Battle of H-town 2 consecutive years, 06,-07.
  • Brenham Vale Tudo division Champion
  • Dungal Fighting division Champion
  • Party Slam division Champion
  • Competed in Gracie BJJ World Championship
  • Competed in Relson Gracie Challenge
  • Placed in many city and state tournaments 

Reserve a Spot in the Next Class

chad-2

Call today to book a spot in the next Women’s Self Defense Seminar/Class or set up your own private group classes. Spots fill quickly!

For more information: Contact the instructor, Chad Kight, by calling (979) 578-1894. You may also email Chad and visit his website chadkight.com.

Ninja Birthday – Vincent’s 23rd Birthday Album

August 27, 2009

We celebrated the 23rd Birthday of our own Vincent Rivera a week ago with dinner at Miyako followed by a night on the town. Below are some of the pictures from that very ninja evening.