People and their stories about food.

Dawn Garcia

in The Others -
So happy to be featuring the  mighty Dawn Garcia, creator + CEO of ATOD Magazine, print Editor of Lapalme, writer, screenwriter, host, mom and entrepreneur. 
Dawn Garcia
Mike met Dawn about a year ago, while in LA for the Academy Awards; he loved her instantly and just would not shut up about her energy, social skills and overall badassness. When we went to Cali for our honeymoon, she was at the top of our list of people we wanted to spend time with. When I finally met her… honestly, forget about her accomplishments and the very many hats she wears professionally; the most amazing things about Dawn are her generosity, warmth and adorable family. We spent an evening with them in their beautiful LA home and in no time, I felt that deep admiration, kinship and connection, that exquisite bond women share with each other, which is both empowering and an extraordinary driving force.
A charismatic hostess, whose charm was non the less surpassed by her delightful daughter Barcelona, Dawn also possesses two of my favourite things in the world: a great sense of humour and a gorgeous kitchen. Oh, and mad professional skills too.
Here’s what she’s up to currently: ‘There’s a TV Show in development about traveling, eating, culture and finding the connected tissue that connects us all. A book too, a story about how I fell in love with every bite … We are also in discussion to turn ATOD Magazine into an annual print edition as well!! Finally, in development are two feature films and one short film.”
 Her secret to being a proud, hands-on mom, maintaining a very successful online magazine and keeping up with all those projects?

Oh boy, I don’t think I can honestly say I’ve figured it out but I guess somehow I just decided life was chaotic and I had to find a way to work within it rather than try to control it. If you’ve ever seen the Pixar movie, “UP”, sometimes I feel like the dog, Doug, who can be in the middle of a conversation and suddenly a squirrel comes and he stops, mid-sentence and says “SQUIRREL”! The point being, I’m tragically easily distracted. I work on multiple projects a day but when I’m really trying to keep my head about me and accomplish a ton in a single day, I practice the 25/5 theory. I came across an article in INC. magazine that said to turn your phone on “do not disturb” and set the timer for 25 minutes. In that 25 minutes, focus on a single task. When the timer goes off? Stop for 5 minutes. Check email, do social media, make a call, grab coffee, whatever. At the end of the 5 minutes, reset the timer to 25 minutes and start all again. When I do that I find that I’ve actually finished articles in that time, written a good 5 pages of a screenplay, drafted a presentation for a show or sponsorship deal, written four or so pages of my book or planned the next great ATOD adventure. All that said? I definitely need to practice that WAY more!

As for how I see myself professionally, that’s a tough one. I’d love to say I’m Superwoman and I’m accomplishing everything I set out but truthfully, I just want to manage integrity. I work really hard (probably a workaholic) but I do it all so I can see my dreams materialize and make sure my daughter Barcelona understands that as a girl, she’ll be able to do whatever she wants in life. The one thing I can say about myself professionally is I’m tenacious as hell. No is an answer I don’t like hearing so I do all I can to make certain it’s a word I hear as infrequently as possible!

Dawn Garcia

3 favorite ingredients:

Does wine count?! Spices: turmeric, sea salt, chipotle raspberry spice (this is AMAZING!) and food: foie gras, mixed greens, cheese

What do you always have in your fridge?

Crunchy unsalted peanut butter, mixed greens, broccoli, cucumber, blackberries and cheese

Go- to snack:

A gluten free wrap with beets, cucumber, mint, parsley, feta cheese, greens, micro greens, radish and Lemonette Curry-Cumin dressing or 18 year-old aged balsamic. The key is to spend one day chopping it all and then putting it in a container so it’s already mixed and ready to throw on the gluten-free tortilla! Otherwise it takes more time and those corn tortilla chips start calling my name.

Which ingredient do you consider overrated?

Honestly? Sugar.

3 favourite places to eat in LA:

Experience Intro, 71 Above, Trejos Tacos

  • 3 places you go to for your grocery shopping:

Trader Joes, Handy Market (a small little local produce + meat market in Burbank), Ralphs

Dawn Garcia

 food memories:

Smelling my Grandma Garcia cook French toast in the morning. It would take ages because she would peak the egg white like a meringue and add powdered sugar and cinnamon. The process of separating yolk and egg white was easy but it was the whipping the egg white by hand that took forever! I make it now but only when I’m prepared for a thirty-minute process and hand cramps!

My Grandpa Evans (Jack, everyone called him) always was an early riser so whenever I spent the night at their house, I’d wake up super early to sit with him. He bought these awful pecan rolls that came six to a package. I say awful because they probably were just a mouthful of sugar. But we’d sit at the kitchen table, just the two of us, and he’d drink his coffee and eat the pecan roll and I’d take a pecan roll and unroll the whole thing and eat it bite by tiny bite. It would make time last a little longer and I could sit and laugh with him before everyone else woke up.

The first time I left the US I went to a third world country, Belize. We stayed in these beautiful huts in the middle of the rainforest and one evening, a local tribe, called the Garifuna, brought us fresh fish. It had been speared that day and wrapped in banana leaf cooked with the most exquisite mole sauce I’ve ever had (to this day I’ve never tasted mole that was that phenomenal!).

Find more of ATOD on facebookinstagram, youtube & twitter.

*Photo credits: (1st) Michael Paleodimos, (2nd) by “a beautiful Japanese family in Tokyo. They asked me if I wanted a photo while at Imperial Palace and voila!”,  (3rd) Tram Tran

COCO-MAT Hotel Athens

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COCO-MAT Hotel Athens

COCO-MAT Hotel is located literally opposite my parents’ house in Kolonaki. Ever since it opened, it filled the street with vibrant colours, new faces and beautiful wooden bicycles. I’ve always been a big fan of Cocomat products (seriously, the best mattresses you’ve ever slept on) and aesthetic and since we’re neighbours, last time I was back home, I popped in for the inside scoop. [READ MORE]

Rocabella Hotel Mykonos

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One of the best hotel experiences I’ve ever had was in Rocabella Mykonos: gorgeous views, beautiful architecture, bright, clean rooms tastefully decorated and the friendliest staff I’ve ever come across. And don’t even get me started on the menu and cocktails! I’ve only been to this one, but judging from photos, its little sibling in Santorini must be equally stunning. Lucky for me, it just so happens that one of the people running this family business is my friend Roy Kalfopoulou. I met Roy years back in London and she’s one of the kindest, warmest and most generous people ever. She’s been around the hotel since day one and lately has been focusing on all press related actions, as well as everything regarding the hotel’s image and style. Not surprisingly, when I visited the hotel a couple summers ago, her hospitality was spot on, a perfect match for the hotel’s gorgeous serenity and impeccable service. The secret to their success? Read on…

Rocabella Hotel Mykonos

Rocabella Hotel Mykonos [READ MORE]

40ft Brewery

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40ft Brewery

First I met the Irish, Steve (founder of Root & Bone), then one of the Swedes, Andreas. They’re both photographers, working at the large Dalston studio where Mike often spends the better part of his day (and night). Both are funny, sweet and polite and, as I find out soon after, they’re also making their own beer. How awesome is that? Since I’d never met any beer makers before, I naturally wanted to know more. [READ MORE]

Nassia Matsa (FAQ FOOD)

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Nassia Matsa, Editor of FAQ FOOD & working full time at the advertising department of WIRED (on the side: production coordinator for the documentary platform The New British / drummer for EX-PRESIDENTS), from Athens, Greece, lives in Hackney

I met Nassia about a year ago through mutual friends. I was immediately taken in by her energy, social skills and enthusiasm about food. That first night we met ended very appropriately (and very late) with pizza at Voodoo Ray’s (one of Nassia’s favourites)- were we had our first of many conversations about ingredients and trends, food porn and London, favourite childhood food memories and new-found exciting dishes.

One of these conversations took place at her cool pad, a converted warehouse opposite The Dolphin. It started with strong, freshly brewed coffee and ended up with Nassia’s delicious ‘drunken’ risotto. Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to start and end a conversation- can you? [READ MORE]

Adrienne Katz Kennedy

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Adrienne Katz Kennedy, PR & Special Events Manager at the School of Wok, from Cleveland, OH, lives in Kingston

I first met Adrienne back when I was doing an MA in Dance Anthropology; she was one of the first people I met and we instantly clicked. I thought she was cool, funny and interesting and after 8 years or so, I still do. Years later, we’ve found ourselves sharing similar interests once again: Adrienne has turned her passion for food into a career (I think she has the coolest job and I’m constantly proud of her for going after it) and I’ve turned my never-ceasing appetite and curiosity about food into a blog. Speaking of blogs, Adrienne’s Season and Sprout combines two of the things I mostly love about her: beautiful writing and delicious recipes. [READ MORE]

Agathe Cerezo from Champagne + Fromage

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Agathe Cerezo, Assistant Manager of Champagne+Fromage, from Metz, France, lives in Bethnal Green, London

As clearly indicated from last week’s posts, cheese is only one of my absolute favourite things to eat (baked camembert anyone? or a bite of an ever so fancy comté grilled cheese?). So when I discovered Champagne + Fromage in Brixton, about 6 months ago, it quickly became one of my go-to destinations both for shopping and for a relaxed night out: the cheese and charcuterie platters are a ‘best of’ of what’s in store and the small dishes they offer, such as the champagne/ pear crostini, are delicious and taste even better with a glass of champagne- or two. [READ MORE]

Manolis Zografakis

in The Others -

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Manolis Zografakis, entrepreneur (founder and managing director of Broke in London), from Athens, Greece, lives between Berlin and London.

I first found out about Broke in London a few years ago, through a friend and I was hooked almost instantly: I appreciated the website as an online community, a constant source of inspiration and a reminder that one can discover a London which is inspiring and interesting, without being wildly expensive. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Manolis, through mutual friends; he is very cool and loves to cook- so I could not wait to further discuss living in London on a budget, both in general and in regards to food. [READ MORE]

Linda Papadopoulos

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Dr. Linda Papadopoulos, research scientist and practising psychologist, from Canada & Cyprus, lives in London

When I first met Linda, a few years ago, I had no idea who she was; I only knew her as the soft-spoken mom of Jessie, the most awe-inspiring 7-year old I had ever met. I admired how sweet, peaceful and easy-going she always seemed and was happy (but not surprised) to see that her soft demeanour also comes across in the articles she writes for various publications. After reading a specific piece she did for Cosmopolitan a few months ago, where she discussed women’s relationship with food, I could not wait to ask her more about it and also pick her brain regarding issues related to body image. [READ MORE]