Tag Archives: life and living

Shaun O’Hara on the Shaun O’Hara Foundation

Shaun O’Hara, former NY Giant great, sat down with Joanna Gagis on “Life & Living” to discuss the Shaun O’Hara Foundation, which was set up to help fight cystic fibrosis and other life-threatening diseases.

O’Hara started the foundation in 2009 along with his wife Amy. He states that the foundation wants to “help increase knowledge and education in life-threatening diseases that affect children.” They hoped that after helping to cure cystic fibrosis, their main benefactor, they could then move to another epidemic.

“I got to know a young man named Sean Squires when I was playing,” O’Hara states. He recalls meeting Squires and knowing him for a year before knowing about his battle with cystic fibrosis. This inspired him to learn about the disease and to begin fighting for a cure.

Cystic fibrosis is an orphan disease, meaning it impacts less than 200,000 individuals in our country. “Yet, the orphan disease label comes from the fact that it gets zero federal funding. Our government doesn’t give any money towards research and towards finding a cure.”

He goes on to say, “My wife and I said, this is something we can get behind. Let’s use my name and our contacts to try to make CF stand for Cure Found.”

To learn more about the Shaun O’Hara Foundation, head over to their website.

Ninamarie Bojekian on Rocco’s Dinner Party & Ooh La La Catering

Ninamarie Bojekian sat down with Joanna Gagis on “Life & Living” to discuss her experience on Bravo’s Rocco’s Dinner Party and her various duties managing Ooh La La.

This NJ native  is never too far from the kitchen, having spent time on Bravo’s Rocco’s Dinner Party and ABC’s The Taste, as well as being Chef and Owner of Ooh La La Catering.

“It was such a crazy experience,” she says of Rocco’s Dinner Party, where was put against identical twin brothers who she recognized from Iron Chef. She finished as the runner-up. “The whole thing was fun,” she explains. She was selected to be on Anthony Bourdain’s team on The Taste, which she says “was huge.”

“I love that I’m in an industry where there are so many unique and fun things you can do,” she says. “That’s what I love about this. I never know what the next opportunity is going to be, and that’s what really motivates me.”

To learn more about Ninamarie Bojekian, check out her Ooh La La profile.

Celebrity Chef Amanda Freitag on “Chopped” and Her New Book

New Jersey-born celebrity chef Amanda Freitag sat down with Joanna Gagis on “Life & Living” to discuss her life-long passion for food, her role as a judge on The Food Network’s “Chopped,” and why she calls her new book, The Chef Next Door.

Freitag says that her love of cooking came from a love for eating, with food being “the answer to everything” growing up in Cedar Grove. “It was a typical suburban upbringing in New Jersey,” she explains. “My parents both worked, so they didn’t have time to cook a lot.” So, she set out to find good food. She started working in a restaurant when she was a teenager and fell in love with the energy, vibe, and adrenaline.

This Jersey girl has spent 20 years in food industry, and has written a new book for all different levels of cooks. She knows that many people are afraid of the kitchen when they first start cooking, and even has a chapter in her book titled, “The Scary Stuff.” Her advice? “Just do it.” Her book is an instructional tool, a home chef’s own personal cheerleader.

Freitag says that her experience as a judge on “Chopped” has taught and inspired her. After 396 episodes, she says “it has been fantastic.” Some of the ingredients used in the chef’s baskets are new to her, prompting her to try to cook with them herself.

Freitag is a big part of the Montclair Food & Wine Festival, calling Montclair her “backyard growing up.” She cites some wonderful restaurants in Montclair, and states that she loves “the chefs and the community.”

“This book was a long time coming,” she states, calling it  “a love letter to the home cook.” To order the book, head over to Freitag’s website. To learn more about “ Life & Living,” head over to their official Facebook page.