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Fear or Faith; Anger or Peace?

When I was a child my dad would take all of us for a “Sunday drive”. Mom, my sisters, and I would pile into his 1950’s Chevy sedan with the green vinyl seat covers and off we’d go. I never knew where he was taking us or when we would arrive home. But two things I knew for sure: Dad would always keep us safe on our mysterious adventure and we would have fun. I completely trusted my father. When I became old enough to venture out on my own, I was not as calm and relaxed. Although I was a responsible driver, I would become mildly anxious as I envisioned everything that could possibly go wrong. Seems I had more faith when I was with my father than when I was on my own.

Why do we worry? One of mankind’s primary fears is that of the unknown but not for the reasons most imagine. It is not the uncertainty that we fear but rather how it will impact us. If I win an all expense paid vacation to a secret destination, I do not concern myself as to the location or nature of the trip if, in fact, I trust that those who planned it have my best interest at heart. If I believe emphatically that I will be fine and have a wonderful time, then the excitement and anticipation of my impending trip is exhilarating. Only when I doubt the motives or capabilities of those planning this excursion do I begin to worry. “What if the place is a dive? What if it’s dangerous?” For many there is a profound need to be able see and touch, to have tangible proof of the situation, in order to feel relaxed. Science relies on concrete evidence to alleviate doubt and create assurance. Faith, on the other hand, trusts in that which cannot be seen or touched. It is an inner knowing, a sense, an instinct (even when we do not fully understand) that guides us through life.

Fear erodes our sense of well-being and serenity. It’s also one of the root causes of anger. Faith, on the other hand, creates a sense of peace and tranquility, knowing there is more to our existence than what can be visually seen or physically felt. Science can often predict what will occur and sometimes prevent it based on relevant physical facts. Faith relies on the knowing that everything that occurs has purpose and value; that whatever is needed will be provided by our benevolent Creator; that even when life escorts you down a different path than you planned, you are fully equipped to successfully and meaningfully navigate your way through and beyond. A tiny seed finds itself buried in the Earth’s darkness yet it does not worry for it instinctively trusts that Nature has a plan for it. In its most fundamental state it relies on a higher power to shepherd it to its intended purpose.

Recently I had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Deepak Chopra on television. He spoke of peak experiences, those instances when a deeper truth is revealed to us, something Oprah used to refer to as an “a-ha moment”. It is in these Divine Inspirations that an issue is brought into the light, the veil of doubt is removed, and uncertainty dissipates. In an instant, our lives are forever changed as clarity and awareness expose Universal Truth that permeates our minds with a sacred peace.

Those who live in fear run the risk of angry episodes that put their health at risk, damage their relationships, jeopardize their jobs, and sabotage their happiness. Faith is the antidote to fear – trusting that God is fully aware of every situation that enters our lives and if necessary will either shield us from it or provide the resources we need to negotiate our way through.
Just as a child draws comfort and strength from their human parent, so do we acquire our security in our Heavenly Father who always and only has our best interest at heart. Only when we lose faith do fear and anxiety prosper.
Fear and Anger or Faith and Peace? The choice is yours. As for myself, I choose God every time.
Mark 11:22 “And Jesus said to them, ‘Have faith in God.'”

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Why Your Body Needs You to Forgive

I’m blessed to have parents who, early-on in life, instilled in me the importance of forgiveness. “They didn’t mean what they said.” “Your friend is probably just having a bad day.” My mom was, and still is, one who always saw the best in people and chose compassion over anger. So it has always felt very natural for me to let go of unpleasant feelings I’ve had towards those who have been hurtful or offensive. Throughout my life, this practice has served me well. However, there have been several occasions when I have failed miserably at extending mercy to others and have paid a hefty price for my arrogance. On two specific occasions, my body fiercely rebelled against my repressed anger and landed me in the hospital for surgery.
In my book, The Secret Side of Anger, Dr. Bernie Siegel states that “One’s life and one’s health are inseparable. Genes do not make the decisions. Our internal environment does. You internalize anger and it destroys you. Self-induced healing is not an accident.” Our body reflects our internal mood. It is in essence a messenger for our emotional and spiritual selves.

How can forgiveness protect our physical health?
1. Forgiveness lowers stress levels and the production of cortisol, a stress hormone. For years, doctors have warned us that the number one cause of disease is stress. Therefore, lowing anxiety through forgiveness helps to preserve our physiological well-being.
2. It’s not only Cheerios that are good for the heart. So is forgiveness. Those who are more empathetic and compassionate have lower heart rates.
3. Having a forgiving heart may lower both emotional and physical pain. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that those suffering from chronic back pain and chose to let go of their anger experienced lower levels of pain. Less stress (tension) = less pain. Makes perfect sense to me.
4. We all know that anger, stress, fear, etc. can raise blood pressure. Letting go can have the reverse effect.
5. Holding on to grudges can take years off your life. People who choose the path of forgiveness tend to live longer and healthier lives. They are typically happier, more serene, empathetic rather than judgmental, hopeful and agreeable – all affirmative mental characteristics that translate into positive physical benefits.

Medical research has shown that non forgiveness can negatively impact our cardiovascular and nervous systems and that by extending mercy to others those affects can be reversed. Like most life skills, forgiveness can be taught and absolutely must be practiced. Research has revealed that the benefits are significant and long term. Perhaps that’s just one of the reasons the Lord instructs us to forgive – to protect the one and only physical body we’ve been given for this lifetime.

Buddha said, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

Whether on an emotional or physical level holding onto grudges is just plain unhealthy. It is you, not the other party, who suffers. And don’t you deserve so much better than that? Let it go. You will not only improve your physical health but you will rediscover inner peace as well.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

If you or anyone you know needs help forgiving, visit for a very inspiring video.

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Educators and Mentors on The Connected Table LIVE! Feb 25

Give a man to fish and you feed him for the day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. – Chinese proverb

This week’s show spotlights two individuals whose culinary careers are rooted in education and who have served as mentors to many in the industry.

Southerners are very proud of their culinary heritage; recipes are carefully passed down generation to generation, and nothing beats a southern spread of country ham and biscuits, pimiento cheese on toast and a deep dish casserole served with sweet tea. Melanie grew up in Chattanooga and started her career in Atlanta in the early 1980s.  Back then there was one go-to person to learn about southern cooking….Nathalie Dupree.

Nathalie Dupree

Nathalie Dupree

For nearly a decade Nathalie founded and ran a cooking school in Rich’s Department Store in Atlanta which turned out more than 10,000 students in classes and apprenticeship programs, attracted a stellar list of guest instructors and produced graduates who’ve gone on to earn their own acclaim in the food industry. In 1984 Nathalie was elected president of the International Association of Cooking Schools, now the International Association of Culinary Professionals, with an agenda to set standards for the accreditation of cooking schools across the country.

Nathalie became the first women to have more television cooking shows than Julia Child– over 300 shows for The Food Network, PBS, and The Learning Channel. She is a best-selling author with 13 hardback and two soft back cookbooks. Her best selling book, New Southern Cooking, started an entire culinary movement. She has won James Beard Foundation Awards for Southern Memories and Comfortable Entertaining as well as her most recent book co-authored with Cynthia Graubart, Nathalie Dupree’s Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.MasteringTheArt-330

In addition to hosting her own television shows, Nathalie has appeared on “NBC Today,””Good Morning America” and CNN, among others. She has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune,  Bon Appétit, Food and Wine, Southern Living, Coastal Living, Better Homes and Garden, Cosmopolitan, and Good Housekeeping.

A native of South Carolina, Nathalie lives in Charleston with her husband, Jack Bass, who is author of nine books on the American South. She is The Founding Chairman of the Charleston Food and Wine Festival, a founder of the Atlanta and Charleston Chapters of Les Dames d’ Escoffier, the American Institute of Wine and Food and the International Association of Culinary Professionals, of which she was two- time President. Nathalie was awarded the prestigious “Grand Dame” recognition by Les Dames d’Escoffier and 2013 Woman of the Year by a prestigious organization of French Chefs in America. She is also a founder of the Southern Foodways Alliance which established a Nathalie Dupree Graduate Fellowship program in 2014.



Richard Grausman

Richard Grausman

Richard Grausman, one of America’s most respected culinary educators, credits cooking  lessons with late James Beard with inspiring him to turn what had been an extra-curricular hobby while working in the import business into a full fledged career. Richard has “paid it forward” through the non-profit he founded, Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) whose students find rewarding careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

In 1967, Richard enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, where he decided on a career in teaching. He earned the coveted Grand Diplôme and so impressed the school’s owner, Madame Elizabeth Brassart, that she made him Le Cordon Bleu’s first exclusive ambassador for Le Cordon Bleu. In that role Richard taught in major cities across the United States, conducted travel seminars in Paris and the French Riviera, made television appearances and write recipes for top U.S. food and lifestyle magazine.

After the school changed ownership in 1985 Richard  spent the next few years teaching and writing independently. His cookbook, At Home with the French Classics (Workman, 1988) was met with commercial success.  After eight printings, it was redesigned, revised and released in 2011 as French Classics Made Easy.

In 1990, Richard piloted a program in twelve New York City high schools to teach French cooking in home economics classes. His intention was to teach American youth about the satisfaction and value of home cooking. The schools were all inner-city high schools filled with under served students. He soon realized that many of these students lacked job skills or college prospects.

To fulfill this need, Richard created C-CAP with the mission to enhance the culinary arts curriculum in public schools and better prepare under served students for college and career opportunities in the restaurant and hospitality industry. C-CAP provides teacher training, cooking competitions for scholarships, job training and internships for outstanding students, college and career advising, and product donations to classrooms. C-CAP works with over 165 public high schools, and the more than 220 teachers we support through professional development reach some 18,000 students annually in their classrooms.

Since its inception in 1990, C-CAP has operated continuously for two decades and awarded over $43 million in scholarships. While New York City remains the headquarters and flagship program, the C-CAP National Network now includes Arizona (statewide); Chicago; Hampton Roads, Virginia; Los Angeles; Philadelphia; and District Of Columbia/Prince George’s County, MD.

Many C-CAP students find rewarding careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry. We’ll also speak with Kelvin Fernandez, C-CAP’s youngest Executive Chef at 22.

C-CAP Graduate Chef Kelvin Fernandez

C-CAP Graduate Chef Kelvin Fernandez

A former high school baseball player, Kelvin attended a cooking class at Long Island City High School in Queens and decided to make food his career In 2003 Kelvin entered the C-CAP New York Cooking Competition for Scholarships and was awarded a  $40,000 scholarship to attend the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in upstate New York.

Today,  Kelvin is the Executive Chef of La Marina Restaurant. He also serves as a FitChef for the NBA, is a judge for the C-CAP Meatless Monday Recipe Contest and has appeared on Food Network’s  “Chopped.” Kelvin regularly visits his high school culinary arts classroom to host cooking demos and also trains C-CAP students in his restaurant.

Kelvin says “C-CAP is one of the best things that has happened to the culinary industry. C-CAP gives young kids the opportunity to find a passion in life while still young.  If it wasn’t for C-CAP’s guidance, I would never have become C-CAP’s youngest Executive Chef at age 22.”

C-CAP Connect:

Kelvin Fernandez Connect:


Melanie Young and David Ransom, Hosts, The Connected Table LIVE!

Melanie Young and David Ransom, Hosts, The Connected Table LIVE!

Join Hosts Melanie Young and David Ransom Wednesdays 2pm ET/11 am PT on The Connected Table LIVE! on W4CY radio and any time on demand at Food and beverage industry insiders Melanie and David are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple who bring you the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine, spirits and hospitality.

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