Community Culture & Cuisine

Posted July 26th, 2013 by Danielle Alex

My vision in creating Community Culture and Cuisine Web Series, was to inspired people to go out into the world, try something new, meet new people and to gain new perspectives via the 3 elements. No matter where you go in the world, wether it’s a small town in the USA or all the way across the world to Hong Kong, wherever you find one of the three you will always find the other two.

Living abroad as a young American and speaking a few different languages, was an interesting experience to say the least. I found that people quite often wanted to categorize me and put me in a box, but to their surprise I did not fit the stereotype of an America. I love to travel, try new food, experience new cultures, learn new languages and meet new people even if it is not always “comfortable.” I seemed to somehow know that I was always going to learn something, gain a new perspective and/or gain some new friends along the way. This is how I knew I had to give back to my community, because the rewards I received by simply stepping out in faith, into the unknown, exceed far beyond what I could imagine.

Find out what Community Culture & Cuisine is all about in this brief trailer from my trip to New Delhi, India.


In the United States people come from an array of backgrounds and upbringings. Some are privileged with more opportunity than others, but still this is a fee country. I’ve visited and lived in places where it is difficult to just travel around a country, let alone leave it. Some kids are too busy trying to help add to their family’s income, instead of getting an education. Here in the USA, if you grew up in the penthouse or in the projects, you still have a lot more opportunity than many others will in a lifetime living in other countries.

When we start to get out of our comfort zone, when we are no longer scared of making a new friend with different beliefs and views than we have, that is when we ourselves are able to fly. This is where new ideas are born, you might get the key ingredient to creating the next hot invention or finding a cure for a disease.

The full webisode of Community Culture & Cuisine: New Delhi, India.


Only one full webisode has been shot. I plan to travel to various parts of the world, meeting up with friends that I have met along the way. Some friends I met in school in the USA and abroad, some I met along my travels and through other friends. I will dive into a culture and see how life really is in different parts of the globe. I want to put a young and new face to food and travel. I want more people to be able to relate to what we are doing and want to go out and try it themselves.

I will see what is going on in the community and look at organizations or people who are actively giving back to their communities and looking for ways to better various communities. In India we looked at an NGO, ETASHA that helps the youth in disadvantaged  neighborhoods with job training, building confidence and job placement. Their facilities are not at all glamorous but they use what they have.

I was blown away because after ETASHA found out I wanted to see the work they were doing, a few students volunteered to have me over and offered to make a few typical Indian dishes. By the time I entered the 3rd and final house I was already stuffed, but the hospitality was incredible!

Every house we visited was amazing. The food was incredible but the hospitality was unparalleled! Each house I visited wanted to give me the world, a stranger they had never met. The third and final house I visited, the house of Shahvez Rizvi,  was one of 5 boys.  


Shahvez is to the right of me, surrounded by his family. Far right, Brian and Brad (film crew).

Shahvez’s  mother was an amazing cook. She cooked a very special dish for us Lamb Biryani. Even though we were stuffed, we kept eating.


Everyone outside, in front of the kitchen. Brian still in go mode.

After dinner we sat around and talked while the Rizvis showed us family photos. But our day ended with a very special treat. Before I got to Shahvez’s home, I was told he was an amazing singer, so we were lucky enough to have him sing for us. It was the perfect way to end a great day!

So where to next? I would love to go to Peru, China, Germany or maybe back to Vietnam. Filming in Seattle or down in Louisiana would be a lot of fun too. For now I guess you will just have to wait and see.

Remember, never let anyone put you in a box. Keep them guessing and wondering, what great thing you are going to do next?  Travel, see what is going on in other communities around you. Break bread with new friends and explore a new culture. There is so much out there for you. Just take that first step, reach out and grab it. You might surprise yourself and help others along the way.


Have questions or interested in investing? Contact me at

If you are interested in learning more about ETASHA and would like to help, click here.

Videos produced by Fools Gold Productions.

Tea in London, Friends in Paris, Family in Lille

Posted July 23rd, 2013 by

I was recently in London for a conference, but  wanted to take a closer look into tea culture while I was there. I have always loved tea, and I have fond memories of drinking tons of it with my grandmother when I was younger. I rented a beautiful little London flat/loft in the Notting Hill neighborhood. This was the perfect location, because I was right around the corner from the famous Portobello Market. Therefore I started my research on tea in the market, surrounded by old teapots, silver strainers, teacups and various antiques.

Check out this brief 3C webisode about tea culture in London

This particular webisode is entitle 3C because it is shorter than the normal Community Culture and Cuisine webisodes. 3C webisodes will not necessarily dive as deep into all three categories (community, culture and cuisine).

We had a lot of fun filming this episode, despite the cold and the wind that morning. Typical of London weather. I was so happy when I saw that we could actually spend a little time inside, where it was warmer, in the arcades. The next time I’m in London, I will most certainly be stopping by the market! I love antique/ estate jewelry and they have some fun vintage records.

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The Tea House

When we made our way over to The Tea House in London. I was shocked to see how busy it was right after opening its doors that morning. It is located on a very quaint pedestrian street, that is lined with great shops. The shop opened 30 years ago and is still family run. Katharine Smith, the current owner was so kind to show me all around and let us film, even though it was busy. Its amazing how much they can fit in that in that shop! Andrew Broadstock taught me some interesting stuff about the history of tea. I also loved the old scale he used to measure out some of my loose leaf tea.

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Needless to say, I left The Tea House a very happy camper!

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After leaving London, I headed to Paris with 3 of my girlfriends to show them my old city. When we first arrived, I wanted to take them to one of my favorite quartiers (neighborhoods)…Saint Germain.  This area is loaded with great restaurants, bars, shops and movie theaters. We ended up meeting with a few of my friends I went to school with in Paris and had a great dinner at one of my favorite spots, Le Pub Saint-Germain.  My American friends got to probe my French friends about life in France. And what a great way to connect with life in Paris?!?!


Mes amis française (my French friends).


As we walked back after dinner, I showed the girls where you could rent bikes in the neighborhood. I loved renting bikes on the street of Paris, after the subways closed, it was the perfect way to get home. I would ride my bike from Saint-Germain, crossing in front of the la Tour Eiffel, cross the Seine, to arrive at my tiny studio in the 16eme arrondissement.

Showing my girlfriends around Saint-Germain was the perfect opener, before we hit all the tourist spots: Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées, Louvre Museum, SacréCoeur etc.


After running around the beautiful city of Paris and being blown away by all of the amazing architecture, it was time for the true French experience. So I took them to Lille to meet my French host family.


A piece of my heart will always be in France, especially Lille.  I visited France twice before I went to live there at the age of 18. This was when I truly became immersed in the culture. I learned to enjoy eating meals in courses with family and friends, cheese after a meal, and how to break baguette with others, leaving crumbs all over the table. I went to pastry school, where I learned how to make croissants and other French pastries. My host father Philippe made me appreciate a good vinaigrette, he is the king of amazing vinaigrettes. And my host mother, Martine, oh Martine…and amazing cook! She taught me the pure joy of simple French dishes like quiche Lorraine, cauliflower gratin, stuffed tomatoes and leeks wrapped in ham, covered in béchamel sauce and cheese and baked to perfection. It was at this point of my life, when I truly fell in love with France, its food and dining! I already loved food and new I wanted to cook before Lille, but this whole experience took my love for food to the next level.

So of course I had to share that with my friends! What did we do in Lille? Eat! And eat everything in sight! Thank God we walked a lot, so it all pretty much balanced out in the end. We walked right around the corner to where I did my first ever, stage (internship) at Fonseca Bakery.


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We walked the streets of Vieux Lille, this is the oldest neighborhood in Lille. There was a farmers market. Farmers gave us fruit to try, we also sampled cheese and bought a roasted chicken!

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Lunches and dinners at the house were always the highlight. Good wine, good food and great company. We sat at the table for a few hours and enjoyed each others’s company, shared new stories and plenty of laughs. I did a fair amount of translating but Martine speaks great English. I loved being able to share a true French community, culture and cuisine with my friends. I can’t wait for anther round, next time we will have try try out another country.


Me and Philippe (I’m clearly feeling at home, look at my hair. Haha)


Martine and Lou (her granddaughter)


The dinner table

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Photography by Kerri Lynne Photography. Thanks for all of your lovely photos!

Thanks to Carl Jones-Schropshire for producing 3C in Lodon. To learn more about his company check out