Sunday, August 15, 2010

Q&A Interview with Nicole Boxer, Consulting Producer of Top Chef and Board Member of Headcount.org

It's been a crazy busy year for Nicole Boxer. Not only did she act as a consulting producer for Top Chef DC and consult with Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, she also became a Member of the Board of Directors of Headcount.org! In these two roles she is managing to flex her creative muscle as well as make a difference in voter participation through music! Listen to what she had to say when we sat down with her.


Q: You were brought on as a consulting producer for Top Chef DC in part because you are so connected with the DC political scene. Did Nancy Pelosi enjoy being on the show and is she a foodie?

A: Yes, I was brought into the Top Chef world early on in the process when the show's creators, Magical Elves, were considering doing a season in DC. I feel so proud to be associated with the show, especially when it comes to showing off my " adopted" home city. Speaker Pelosi is a major lover of cuisine and a huge get for the show. Being from San Francisco doesn't instantly qualify you as a foodie, but it's pretty close. I have never seen a person so beautifully portion out her bite of food, gracefully manipulate it on to a fork and taste with elegance and self-confidence. Her criticisms were on point and the blue team was victorious!

Q: Who is the most interesting person you've met so far while working on Top Chef?

A: The great thing about Location TV is it's like a small city comes to town; in this case, it was "Top Chef City"! I loved every single person working on the crew of Top Chef, from the Hosts to the Executive Producers to the P.A's and Craft Service. They are quality people who work their asses off, a bunch of bad ass, L.A. hipsters. The person who was a real gem to meet was Andy Cohen of Bravo and host of "Watch What Happens". Andy has one of the greatest jobs in show business and he deserves it, he is lush.

Q: Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution which focuses on the fight against obesity in the U.S. was just nominated for an Emmy. What was your roll with the show?

A: Jamie Oliver is totally committed to changing the way we look at food in the schools and it is way past time we did that. I was brought on as a Consulting Producer, to help potentially navigate or explore the political waters for Jamie Oliver and his Food Revolution. I had a very small role on Jamie's show, in fact, my dream DC scenes never happened! We could not get Jamie or the crew in or out of DC during the planned shoot due to the "snowpacolyspe" and we lost a key window with Lawmakers. Despite my failed efforts the show is nominated for an Emmy!

Q: Do you think Jamie's campaign against obesity will have a lasting impression and actually change eating habits nationwide?

A: I believe that one person can change the world. Jamie Oliver is having a much needed conversation with American families about what kind of food we put in our bodies, how and why that food is killing us slowly-- and the need for our public schools to provide nutritious alternatives that also taste good to children. I believe in that.

Jamie also taught the community in West Virginia where the show was filmed, how to cook simple dishes, thereby empowering people with new found skills. That man knows how to make food taste good, using simple fresh ingredients. Jamie really cares about people and I hope people will follow his lead.

Q: Congratulations on being made a Member of the Board of Directors at Headcount.org. Tell us who they are and how that came about.

A: It feels good to be involved in two things I really care about combined: Live Music and Voter Participation.

Headcount is a non-partisan organization that registers voters at concerts and makes civic participation part of the live music experience. Artists such as the Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, Jack Johnson,The Dead, Phish, John Mayer and Wilco have helped us register over 160,000 voters. It is an absolute blast thinking about ways to engage younger votes and convince them to get the voting booth!

Q: What would you say to young people who think their vote might not matter?

A: You are sadly mistaken if you think your vote does not matter! All you need to do is go back to the BUSH V. GORE decision, every vote counted (or in that case, some were discounted). We have a chance to have the kind of country we imagine, if we take an interest and commit. A country that is even more compassionate, creative and resourceful. If you don't vote, you can't be a part of the solution. Try it out; it feels good to be counted.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do in DC?

A: Hard to pick just one so here is how I would spend a "perfect day": Skateboarding with friends at the Skate park (in Arlington, sorry, DC needs to get on that) then, head over to We, the Pizza, for a tasty slice in my neighborhood, (thanks Top Chef Alumni Spike Mendhelson), on Capitol Hill. Then you'll find me down to the 9:30 Club for some dancing, hopefully to Thievery Corporation. In my mind, the 9:30 Club is still the best place to see live music in DC, hands down.

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