Tag Archives: steve adubato

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.

Newark’s Christina Jackson on “Outsiders” and “Boardwalk Empire”

Newark resident and rising star Christina Jackson sat down with Steve Adubato on “One-on-One” to discuss her new television series on WGN, “Outsiders,” her role on the hit HBO series, “Boardwalk Empire,” and why she chooses call Brick City her home.

Jackson says there was not one particular moment when she knew she wanted to act. Still, she says that she “can’t remember wanting to do anything before acting came into my life.” Her parents supported her in pursuing anything she wanted to try, and acting was no exception.

While in the seventh grade at Rafael Hernandez in North Newark, a teacher named Ms. Bland changed everything. Jackson recalls standing in the school’s hallway and seeing the Ms. Bland approach her. The teacher looked at her and said, “Hey kid, do you want to join the drama club?”

Jackson joined the drama club and was cast as Frenchie in Grease. “I did not know any of my lines, I was terrible,” she recalls. “After that, I said I will never forget a line like that again.” A few months later, she was cast as Annie.

Jackson thanks Ms. Bland for helping her find her place. She couldn’t play basketball and was not interested karate, so joining the drama club enabled her to think that acting was a possibility for her.

Jackson currently lives in Newark, a fact that she is proud of. “There is a shift that is happening Newark.” She recalls seeing places that crimes once took place, where cafes and coffee shops now stand.  “There is change happening and I want that to include the residents who have been here.”

Check out Christina Jackson as Maybelle White on “Boardwalk Empire” on HBO, and be sure to watch “Outsiders” Tuesday nights, 9/8 Central on WGN.