(DOUG JESSOP, ABC4 NEWS – SALT LAKE CITY, UT) You may have heard the phrase “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” I coined a similar phrase, “Small Lake City,” when it comes to how I end up connecting serendipitously with people to interview from other people I meet.
In this episode of Jessop’s Journal I had the pleasure of visiting with Waylynn Lewis. She’s most widely known as a celebrity chef and judge on a number of shows on The Food Network called “Cake Wars.”
It didn’t hurt my feelings when she came bearing gifts of homemade salted chocolate chip cookies and Strawberry Buttermilk loaf. (Yes – they tasted as good as they looked).
True confession, I did talk with Waylynn a little on the phone before we met for the first time for our interview at the Church & State Building in Salt Lake City, Utah. The most important question? What hat and outfit colors are you going to be wearing in the interview? You see, I found out that both Waylynn and I get our hats made by the same folks at JW Custom Hats. Yep – TV people really do talk about color coordination.
I actually heard about Waylynn through a really cool photograph on Instagram from a gentleman that I had recently interviewed. You can see the full interview with photographer Chris Dickinson by CLICKING HERE.
Back to the photograph… It featured a bald-headed guy on a 1930 something Harley Davidson panhead along with a woman wearing a hat, long hair blowing back in the dust as she races on horseback. The juxtaposition of the iron horse and the real horse racing through the dust really spoke to me. You could almost hear the Harley and the thundering hoofs of the horse.
Waylynn shared with me the backstory to that picture. Come to find out that Waylynn has been around horses for most of her life, starting with a family business training racehorse in Southern California. In the “interesting similarities department”, I spent a fair amount of time at the horse racing tracks in Southern California as a youth. There has been a certain amount of drama in Waylynn’s younger years that are best explained by watching the interview. I appreciate the candor and vulnerability that she shared in our time together.
In her younger years she did lots of things as she was exploring who she wanted to be. Come to find out that Waylynn had worked in the fashion industry, including a place called the California Fashion Mart. Coincidence time once again, my aunt was the Director there when I was a teenager.
Of course, we talked about how she became a chef. She told me that it is the running joke in her family that she couldn’t boil water as a kid and now here she is a celebrity chef.
She created an incredible bakery called Fonuts in Southern California. Think donuts that are baked instead of fried. She shared a very interesting story about her experience that you are not going to want to miss.
With regards to her Cake Wars judging on The Food Network, I asked her to pick a cake and baker that stood out to her. She smiled and gave interesting details about a special Girls Scouts Trail Mix Cake. Here is a link to the recipe.
Last coincidental connection, way back in the day I was a country music DJ. I teased Waylynn if she knew “Waylon, Willie and The Boys”. She laughed and told me something I didn’t know; the country music legend Waylon Jennings just so happens be her Godfather. Translation – her name was going to be a version of Waylon no matter what. Coming back to that picture of her racing her horse…his name is Hank. (You have to be “of a certain age” and a country music fan to get the joke). Yep, Walynn is a “Country Girl.”
I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”
You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.
Jessop’s Journal is something special when it comes to broadcast news. I have the honor of being able to do longer in-depth interviews that you don’t normally see with people from all walks of life.
A big shout out goes to my collaborator, Ed Wilets, who does a great job as my videographer/editor for all my stories. I invite you to watch each episode of Jessop’s Journal at www.ABC4.com/Journal and share these stories with your friends and neighbors. Your feedback is always welcome at DJessop@abc4.com
Stories have power. They help us understand each other. With another entry into Jessop ‘s Journal, I’m Doug Jessop www.dougjessop.com , ABC4 News.