San Antonio’s Eastside neighborhood was the first area in the country chosen for President Barack Obama’s Promise Zone Initiative, which makes federal grant funds available to cities and nonprofits for neighborhood revitalization. I met with two chefs on the Eastside: lifelong resident David Arciniega of Amaya’s Cocina, and newcomer Shane Reed of Dignowity Meats. The two talk about some of the struggles of running a successful small business in the changing neighborhood, and the hopes they have to bring good food to the community.
After you watch the episode, read more about the Promise Zone program and see how David and Shane are doing here.
Interstate 35 cuts right through the heart of Austin. On one side, the west side, Austin’s neighborhoods are booming with activity. There’s the state Capitol building, the financial district, and the University of Texas at Austin–and they’re driving business to places like Rainey Street. But on the other side, the east side, what was once a majority-minority area is now undergoing its own revitalization, albeit more slowly.
I met with food truck chefs on both sides of the highway to see how their changing neighborhoods influence the food options on the block. Fun fact about this episode: we had a shorter stop in Austin after our train was delayed due to the Texas flooding in May, so I shot this entire episode handheld to save time. Come along with me on this wild ride to Rosewood Avenue on the east and Rainey Street on the west as I search for the next “Great American Cooking Story.”
*Special Note: After the episode was filmed in May 2015, Raymond Tatum shut down the Three Little Pigs on Rosewood Avenue and moved northwest to Burnet Road. Three Little Pigs held its grand reopening in late November 2015.*
Los Angeles’s Chinatown is experiencing a food revolution. Only the eateries making a name for themselves aren’t Chinese, they’re Thai, Korean, Mexican… and even Southern. In episode one of The Great American Cooking Story, I explored two of the restaurants shaping the future of L.A.’s Chinatown: The Little Jewel of New Orleans and Chimney Coffee House. Join me on my adventure of great food made with local ingredients and sold at affordable prices as I explore the role that these two restaurants are playing in Chinatown’s revitalization.
When I got back from my whirlwind trip across the country, I knew I had a story to tell, but I wasn’t quite sure how it would come together. Filming wasn’t perfect, and with only 5 hours or less in each city, it was hard to know whether what I captured would amount to anything at all. Over the last few months I’ve watched hours of footage, crafted story lines, and mixed and re-mixed the sounds of the kitchens with the soundtrack of each city. I’ve been hungry for months–the shot of a delicious burger never gets old!–but I’m so excited to finally be able to share the finished product with you. Thank you for joining me on my journey so far. I can promise you that it’s only just begun.