TasteMakers: Tara Miko of Happy Hemp

Tara Miko Grayless // Happy Hemp TasteMakers Interview from www.aidamollenkamp.com

I first met Tara Miko last fall when I headed to Austin for my book tour but it feels like we’ve known each other for years. Our mutual friend introduced us because she insisted we absolutely had to know each other and, all I can say is, she was right.

Tara Miko worked in the fashion world but had recently moved from Los Angeles to Austin to change things up and to start her hemp seed company, Happy Hemp. It’s an unlikely path with a highly misunderstood product but she’s made quite a name for her hemp — and many fans — in the short while she’s been at it. Read on and I’m sure you’ll quickly understand why Tara Miko is this month’s TasteMaker.

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TasteMakers: Jennifer Tyler Lee

Jennifer Tyler Lee TasteMakers Portrait

Jennifer Tyler Lee is on a mission to prove that getting your kids to eat healthy can be simple and fun. She knows that changing the way we eat is a multi-layered, complex problem, but, with a little creativity and a simple change at the dinner table, this Mom of two has been successful in getting her own kids (as well as many others) to eat healthier. She came up with a fun, engaging food-related card game that her kids immediately took to and eventually evolved into Crunch a Color™.
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TasteMakers: Brianna Beaudry

TasteMakers Brianna Beaudry portrait

For this month’s TasteMakers interview I wanted to share the unique perspective of those phenomenal food people who work behind the culinary scenes. One such lady is Brianna Beaudry, a culinary renaissance woman who works in food photography and television as, depending on the day, a culinary producer, food sylist, and/or recipe developer. 

We first met a few years back when I needed some help cross-testing recipes for “Ask Aida” and, even though we just talked over the phone and email, it was clear she was a smart, talented lady. Today Brianna is pulling back the curtain of her world to show us behind-the-scenes and share some of her hard-earned lessons about food styling and recipe development. 
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TasteMakers: Dave Caldiero

Dave Caldiero portrait

Having spent the last few weeks in Hawaii, it only seemed appropriate to spotlight a Hawaii-based food person as this month’s TasteMaker. Dave Caldiero immediately came to mind not only because he’s a friend, but also because he’s at the front lines of the local, organic, sustainable food movement in Hawaii.

Dave is a native New Yorker and his cooking reflects both where he’s from and where he’s been. As the chef de cuisine at Town, a restaurant started by chef-owner Ed Kenney, Dave has embraced the flavors and ingredients of Hawaii while paying homage to his Italian-American upbringing. The crew at Town has been so successful in creating seasonal, local food that they have become synonymous (along with sister restaurant, Downtown) with Hawaii’s local food movement. As the next generation of chefs bring a new voice to food in Hawaii, Dave and Ed continue to lead with their mantra: “Local first, organic whenever possible, with Aloha always.”

Here’s a bit about Dave and what makes him tick; and be sure to check back tomorrow, when Dave shares his top ten essential kitchen tools.

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TasteMakers: Dani Fisher

Photo by Mia Locks

Have you ever heard someone’s name again and again before you’ve ever even met her?

That’s how it was for me with prop stylist, Dani Fisher. People kept assuming I knew her and would go on about how great she was to work with, what a fabulous eye she has, and her fabulous prop collection. It wasn’t until this summer when we were shooting cookbooks down the hall from each other that my friend, food stylist, Lillian Kang, made a proper introduction. Then, not even a month later, we ended up working on the same shoot. Not only are we both California girls and both went east for school, but we’ve also both worked at magazines and are now forging our own freelance paths. Dani was a shoo-in for this month’s TasteMakers interview because I wanted her to give us some tips for tableware shopping and table setting during this, the height of the entertaining season.

Be sure to check back tomorrow when Dani will share her tabletop gift ideas.
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TasteMakers: Delilah Snell


I strongly subscribe to the belief that we should never stop learning and I’m fortunate to have fabulous people in my life who help make that happen. They’re some seriously talented folks and have all taught and inspired me in some way. I realized it was no longer fair to keep them all to myself, so I’m starting a monthly feature I’m calling TasteMakers where I’ll be sharing their amazingness with you.

The first TasteMaker is the fun food wonderwoman (or, funderwoman, as I call her), Delilah Snell. She may be the most prolific person I know with her hands in numerous activities at once, not to mention she’s also a Master Food Preserver, of which there are only a handful of in the nation. Master Preservers evangelize the lost art of putting up your food, which I’m drawn to it because it helps us learn more about where food comes from, how to respect it, and how to make the most with what you’ve got (a good philosophy for life, no?). When she’s not busy spreading the good word about preserving you can find her dabbling in one of her other activities be it her store, her preserves line, her blog, or one of the craft shows she has helmed. But let’s hear about Delilah’s adventures in her own words. Oh, and be sure to check back in tomorrow when I’ll post a recipe for her Hot Mexi Pickles.

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