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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

07/31 - The Worlds of Spice and Sport

We all want to spice up our lives!  Whether it's through playing with the world of spices and discovering new flavors, learning an instrument, how to paint, or pursuing a goal to be a winning sports person.

We have one of the country's leading spice experts teams - Ronit & Shuli Madmone - to tell us their own personal "spice stories" and enlighten us on some unique spices to broaden our culinary repertoire.

With the Olympics in full swing, we thought a few guests to inspire our inner sportsperson would be timely.  We talk to Emily Cocks, an Olympic swimming trial qualifier, who then discovered Triathlon and is a dedicated coach for young athletes.  And finally, we'll hear from Russell Hamby, a professional cyclist turned Napa Running Company manager, and his wife, Keri Hamby, a marathon runner, now firefighter. Be sure to look them up at

So, sit back, enjoy the show, and prepare to be inspired in the kitchen and getting active!

Ronit and Shuli in their store with
their other pasion - their kids!
Ronit and Shuli Madmone
Whole Spice - Oxbow Public Market

Shuli grew up in Israel, his family farming paprika, onion and other spices, drying and grinding them to sell at their spice shop that his brother still runs.

 Ronit’s family came from Morocco, moving to Israel, and her mother stayed true to her Moroccan roots using the aromatic spices in her dishes.
The Daily Grind
They revived their family’s tradition in  2000, starting “Whole Spice” first to sell spices at Farmers’ Markets, sharing their favorite recipes to customers and a growing crowd at their dinner table, then through grocery stores and restaurants.  Next was a website, and soon they were selling all around the country.

In 2008, Ronit and Shuli opened their first retail space at the Oxbow Public Market in Napa offering over 500 spices, herbs, salts and flavored sugars, in bulk glass containers so customers can smell the fresh aromas and taste.

Emily Cocks - Olympic Trial qualifier, Swim Coach, Triathlete

Emily Cocks has enjoyed huge success through her sporting career - as a swimmer in her teens and early 20s, and, after graduating from Albion High School in the Detroit area. She swam for the University of Michigan from 1995 to 2000, was an Olympic Trials qualifier in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1996 and 2000, and was an assistant coach for the University of Illinois-Chicago swim program from 2007 to 2010.

Swimming has been but a third of each competition since she debuted in her new sport at the 2004 Chicago Triathlon.

Cocks — who is sponsored by Rolf Prima Wheels, PowerBar, BlueSeventy, Napa River Velo and Focus Bikes — now competes in eight to 10 triathlons a year, (She’s raced in 44 this day) and trains all over Napa Valley. She often bikes along Silverado Trail and in Pope Valley, swims at Synergy Wellness Center, and runs at Alston and Skyline parks.

Monday, July 23, 2012

07/24 -= Exploring the New World of Sauvignon Blanc

There are few wine varietals that have so many different names, or express the terroir of a region as much as Sauvignon Blanc.  Originating in the Bordeaux region of France, the grape most likely gets its name from the word "Sauvage" (wild) and "Blanc" (white).  Depending on the region, the wine can vary from intensely grassy to fragrantly tropical.  It's mostly always elegant, crisp and vibrant.

Sauvignon Blanc is widely cultivated in France, Chile, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, Moldova and California.

In old world terms, there's Pouilly-Fume from the Loire Valley with smokey minerality from the burnt oak barrels; to Sancere with its clean, bone dry, aromatic and intense peach and gooseberry notes.  The very balanced food friendly Bordeaux variety has the contribution of it's partner grape Semillon to bring some lush body, as is found in most varietals from the Margaret River and other regions of Australia as well a few "undisclosed-on-the-label" US wines.

In this episode of Slow Living Radio, however, we'll learn more about New World Sauvignon Blancs especially those of Australia, New Zealand and the US.  Michael Scholz, who was raised in South Australia in a wine-making family and is now winemaker at St Supery in the Napa Valley makes wines in both locations, and has travelled Europe and other global regions to select build his signature varietals.

David Strada will bring us the history, regions and nature of the renowned New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Kiwi Chef Mark Raymond who has been a chef and worked "wine" in New Zealand, Spain and London will bring us some food pairing with International flair.

Michael Scholz
V.P., Winemaker
St Supery Estate Winery and Vineyards

 "The winemaker's choice of oak is like a chef's choice of ingredients. The barrels—we use only seasoned French oak—give us an opportunity for enhancing expression and encouraging structure and maturity with our Cabernet Sauvignons. The natural combination of the soil, the harvest season and the oak form the future of what you'll taste two years or many years later."
— Michael Scholz

During his first tour at St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery, Michael created the distinctive style that made St. Supéry Napa Valley Estate Sauvignon Blanc a California benchmark for this varietal. Michael and vineyard manager Josh Anstey started replanting St. Supéry’s Estate vineyards in the late 1990s. In 2001, Michael took an eight-year hiatus exploring other wine valleys, including his six-generation family vineyard in Barossa Valley, Australia. In 2009, Michael returned to St. Supéry Estate and the mature, fully estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon he helped plant. Michael is responsible for blending all 2007 and 2008 red wines from St. Supéry Estate and the active vintages starting in 2009.

 After consulting at St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery with Michael, celebrity global wine consultant Michel Rolland, of Bordeaux, praised the dual hemisphere, four-continent winemaker; "Michael Scholz is on my list of great winemakers from around the world," Rolland said.

 Michael completed his Bachelor of Science in Oenology in 1985 at Roseworthy, Australia's first agricultural college (now a part of the University of Adelaide). His winemaking career began with his family's single-vineyard Barossa wines at the Willows Vineyard in the mid-1980s.
Willow Vineyards, Barossa, started by the Scholz family in the 1880's

Wine has taken him to the United States, France, and South Africa. Always looking for great wine horizons, he progressed from family cellar hand to vice president in charge of building a state-of-the-art winery.

David Strada
US Marketing Manager
New Zealand Winegrowers

New Zealand is a land like no other. New Zealand wine is an experience like no other. Our special combination of soil, climate, and water, our innovative pioneering spirit, and our commitment to quality all come together to deliver pure, intense, and diverse experiences. In every glass of New Zealand wine is a world of pure discovery. Welcome to our world.

 New Zealand extends 1,000 miles from sub-tropical Northland (36˚ South) to the world's most southerly grape growing region Central Otago (47˚ South). Vineyards benefit from the moderating effect of the maritime climate (nine of the ten grape growing regions are coastal) with long and bright sunshine hours and nights cooled by sea breezes.

 New Zealand wine is distinctive for its purity, vibrancy, and intensity. The long ripening period, a result of cool temperatures, allows flavor development while retaining fresh acidity, a balance for which New Zealand wines are renowned.

 David StradaNZW. Wineries that export to the US are represented by NZW across the country through marketing and promotional efforts, media and public relations assistance, and educational programs to teach Americans about New Zealand and its wine regions and wines.

Mark Raymond
Mark’s The Spot Food Truck

Mark Raymond is the real deal. With cooking credentials throughout the North Bay, he’s the king of mobile food “prepared slow, served fast.” – Press Democrat

 Mark is a Kiwi and a trained chef.  He’s cooked all over the world in New Zealand, Australia, London, Spain and Sonoma. He was even an opening chef for Roxanne’s Living Foods restaurant in Larkspur.

 Mark also spent five years working in the wine industry, and has done everything from cellar work to national sales.  He is now the owner and chef of a successful catering business and a fine food truck, and is pleased to offer hand-made, farm fresh, locally sourced, mostly organic fare all around wine country.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

07/17 - CARING: Our Minds, Our Bodies, Our Food & Farms

Gibson Thomas
Editor–in-Chief and Founder
Edible Marin and Wine Country Magazine

Gibson Thomas grew up in the South and only made her way to Northern California 13 years ago.  A “reformed” attorney and a mother of a 9 year old son, she was the leader of the Slow Food chapter in Marin County and Petaluma for eight years before starting Edible Marin & Wine Country.  Through Slow Food, Gibson became friends with many of the extraordinary food producers in Marin County and longed for a way to turn her mission to help spread the word about these amazing folks into a vocation.  She found a way to do that through Edible Marin and Wine Country, a quarterly magazine that celebrates the edible (and drinkable!) bounty of Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties.  The magazine just celebrated its third anniversary and is available in print, online in the digital version and in our app for the iPad.  She is also the host of The Drink Tank on edibleRADIO ( 

Wil Anderson

Wil Anderson is a leading consultant in the Body/mind field serving a wide audience across the globe. He has appeared in the Master Level Psychocalisthenics DVD by Oscar Ichazo and has just released a new relaxation CD, Balance Point Relaxation. He has helped individuals and groups needing an accelerated method for total health that creates a change in 15 minutes. For over twenty years he owned and operated the Veranda Club Spa in Yountville. Wil is in collaboration with other leading health specialist integrating movement, body awareness techniques, theories on the nature of the unity, and designing movement/philosophy curriculum for schools. His years spent in the Napa Valley have also included time spent supporting Non-profits reach their stated goals.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

07/10 - Globe Trotting in Carmel

Carmel-by-the-Sea is one of the country's most charming beach "hamlets".  With a very Euro-chic feel,  a glorious beach brimming with every kind of dog imaginable frolicking in its waves, distinctive Edwardian cottages lining the tree-canopied narrow rows of streets, wonderful food and wine for every taste and age, and accommodations ranging from luxury boutique hotels to cozy guest houses - all with their own unique charisma.

The town engulfs you in relaxed charm and elegance, and is the perfect spot for "people and dog watching" as you sit in one of the many outdoor cafes and restaurants and watch life go by!  Let the kids wander through the Cottage of Sweets in the truest British tradition, grab a micro brew pint at Jack London's, nibble on true Parisian breads and French fare at La Bicyclette or enjoy the fine salumi and gelato collection at Luca Salumeria.

What many don't know is that this quaint community is also a playground for globe trotting shopping. In this episode of Slow Living Radio, we hear from some of the more unexpected and colorful individuals that have helped shape Carmel-by-the-Sea into the destination it is.  A store with one of the countries largest collections of pens, paper and everything for writing, at Bittner - The Pleasure of Writing.

Southern Latitude is a store that show co-host, official Australian Wine Geek, Sally James, has dubbed the best selection of Southern Hemisphere wines she has found in the country. And as a bonus you may encounter the store mascots, their two beagles! And, finally, a local haunt for International cheese, wine and gourmet food lovers, The Carmel Cheese Shop.

One of the most historic and newly renovated hotels, the La Playa, has an enchanting history that we'll hear about!  Not to mention its magnificent grounds and rooms!

Located in the heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea, just two blocks from the village and beach, La Playa Carmel is a 75-room historic luxury boutique hotel, recently restored to reclaim its past glory and modernized to meet today’s expectations. Perched above the Pacific Ocean with expansive views, the hotel features fully renovated guest rooms and interior spaces, colorful gardens, tranquil patios and courtyards perfect for catered events, and a terrace swimming pool. This special place that has lured guests with its charm, beauty and hospitality since the turn-of-the century, today beckons you to experience the same and make a little history for yourself.

An enchanting history that carries on today...

La Playa Carmel in Carmel-by-the-Sea has a rich, colorful and romantic history. What is now the main entrance of La Playa Carmel is the building that once stood as a luxurious mansion, designed in 1905 by artist Christian Jorgensen as a gift for his wife, a member of the Ghirardelli family.

Jorgensen, best known for his painting of California landscapes, envisioned a mansion of stone and heavy sand-hued beams, reminiscent of the Carmel Mission. But the real lure of the home was its location. Nestled atop a tree-lined bluff, the site looks out across the Pacific Ocean and its rugged coastline with Cypress trees and Pines.

The Grand Dame

Romantic and breathtaking, this view has captivated artists, as well as owners of the property throughout its long history. In 1916, it became a hotel under Agnes "Alice" Signor, an early San Francisco hotelier with an East Coast bearing, known for her hospitality.  Over the years, as the property has exchanged hands and ownership, it has undergone several expansions. The original section of the building that still stands today, features a star-shaped stained glass window facing the street, and steps leading up to a decorative bell tower - design details reminiscent of the early missions. The agricultural fields said to have flourished on adjacent property are long gone, but the commanding view remains the same today. It was this view and the Jorgensen's hospitality that brought guests, including numerous artists and writers, again and again to Carmel. It continues that tradition today.


Mary Crowe

General Manager

La Playa Hotel, Carmel-by-the-Sea

Mary Crowe has been appointed General Manager of La Playa Carmel, a member of Classic Hotels & Resorts. Ms. Crowe brings a strong hospitality background and impressive experience to La Playa Carmel. The historic boutique hotel, formerly known as the La Playa Hotel, located in the heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation and will re-open to guests in July 2012.
With more than 20 years of years of experience, Ms. Crowe has held diverse positions at hotels and resorts throughout California, most notably as the General Manager of the acclaimed Villagio Inn & Spa located in Napa Valley. During her tenure, the boutique resort received Travel + Leisure’s prestigious awards as one of “Top 50 Hotels in the United States.”
Ms. Crowe attended Cornell University’s world-renowned School of Hotel Administration, started her hotel career at Sheraton Hotels and assisted in opening Seascape Resort & Conference Center in Aptos, California. Crowe has since held leading roles at some of California’s most regarded hotels, and has taken an active community role at each of these properties. Crowe served for four years on the California Hospitality and Lodging Association (CHLA) Board of Directors.
“It’s an honor to return the Carmel community and I look forward to welcoming the next generation of guests to La Playa Carmel,” said Crowe. “Carmel-by-the-Sea is one of the most attractive destinations in America and we look forward to celebrating the region’s rich and beautiful history for years to come.”

Detlef Bittner
Bittner ~ The Pleasure of Writing
Bittner ~ The Pleasure of Writing has travelled the Seven Seas to bring you the finest writing instruments, accessories and stationery from around the world. Their boutique on Ocean Avenue in beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea is also known as "Pen Haven" among many customers, collectors and friends.

Bittner is a mecca for the writing enthusiast.
Encompassing a vast collection of the finest writing instruments, rare collectibles, fine papers and note cards, hand bound journals, specialized inks, seals and seal waxes, engraved stationery, watermarked and handmade papers, Bittner has gathered a truly remarkable and world class collection for you.
Their knowledgeable staff has over 60 years of pen experience and look forward to helping you with all your needs in the world of writing. We have an incredible creative business and corporate gift program, from customized leather products to custom designed pens and special editions.

The Bittner Collectors Club is an amazing resource for even the most discerning collector of the finest writing instruments, may they be solid gold, adorned with precious stone, Japanese Maki-e lacquer art or extremely rare.

R. Kent Torrey
President & CEO*
(*Cheese Eating Oenophile)
 The Cheese Shop, Inc.   

Carmel Plaza, Carmel-by-the- Sea California

Question: What provides your senses with delectable eye candy, sensual smells, all while tantalizing your taste buds? Answer: Everything at The Cheese Shop!
Simply put, Kent and his staff of The Cheese Shop Inc, in downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, ROCKS when it comes to their selections of wonderful world class wines, their incredible array of cheeses, and gastronomic gourmet foods. A visit to Carmel is just not complete without a stop at this world-renowned store!
On any given day you will find Kent and his extremely amiable staff sampling from over 200 different cheeses from around the world, passing along to the customers wonderful insights from the history of that particular cheese’s origins, to its use in intricate dishes and tips on throwing great wine & cheese tasting parties. A particular specialty... how to pack a romantic picnic full of their goodies to be enjoy while watching a stunning sunset at the Carmel beach. Hearsay has it that many marriage proposals were the results of such picnics!
And alas, to the bemusement of his staff, Kent will always be offering up one of his litany of “cheesy” jokes to both entertain and make you groan all at once. Life is just too short not to have fun, and when it comes to eating and drinking, The Cheese Shop is all about enjoyment.
Being from the state of Hawaii, Kent has infused the “O’hana” spirit into this family oriented business, which has celebrated 39 years of eating and drinking! Kent’s mantra: “Eat Cheese, Drink Wine, Live Life Happy!” 

Kerre Dubinsky and  Annalisa Wood
Southern Latitude Wines
The store mascots, Flinders and Taz

A trip to Australia and Kerre Dubinsky and partner Annalisa Wood were sold.  Australian wines, lifestyle and old family owned wineries.  They happily filled their rental car with treasures from each winery they visited.  Not so easy was the journey home for these wines however – three months in customs and a few favors along the way, and at last they were able to enjoy their collection.

However a new problem arose. They loved these wines, but couldn't find a good selection in the U.S. Suddenly, like the proverbial bolt of lightening, the solution became clear - to open a wine shop, assemble a collection, and sell wine themselves! What could be simpler? Right.

Nonetheless, as youthful albeit middle-aged professionals, they were ready for a change. So, despite the best efforts of friends, who repeatedly advised that they were insane, Kerre and Annalisa opened Southern Latitudes Wines in May 2004. Much to their delight and immense relief, so far so good.

Realizing that “Southern Latitude” encompasses many more great wine regions than those in Australia, the couple venture to South Africa for an intense wine convention and have trekked through New Zealand visiting famous and lesser known wine regions to bring the best from these countries to their cellar.

That allows them to stockpile a large selection of inexpensive wines that often set trends, since those areas can exploit looser laws to apply innovative winemaking techniques sooner than the Northern Hemisphere.

“We wanted to be different and realized it’d be a good focus, since there are so many great values down there,” Wood says. “It’s also nice to have an excuse to travel.” Their commitment has earned bottles others can’t get. “When focusing on an area, you get more access to limited-production wines,” she adds. Customers reap the benefits.

More recently, the addition of South American wines have graced the shelves and these destinations are next on the ladies agenda!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

07/03 "The Glass" and "The Art of Glass"

Whether it's the glass we select to pour our beverage of desire, or the glass we select to give your us aesthetic pleasure, glassware has been with us for centuries and is still revered with the same awe and respect.

Our first guest is renowned Master Sommelier, television personality, author and speaker, Andrea Immer Robinson.  Andrea has created a glass for those of us who would like both to enjoy our wine in a glass that enhances the experience, yet want to simplify our dinner parties (and the washing up) and have more room in our cupboards with fewer glasses.  The One Glass by Andrea Robinson brings the solution.  Listen to find out her secrets.

We welcome back Kris Margerum, Head Sommelier for the beautiful Auberge Du Soleil in the Napa Valley, who worked with Andrea in the glasses design will tell us about Auberge's Friday night wine events that will feature the One Glass.

From our palates to our eyes, we will learn about the art and technique of glass blowing, by renowned glass blower, Ed Breed of Breed Glass.  Think you'd like to try to create your own glass, visit the studio for a "taster" class!

The One Glass by Andrea Robinson

Wine can be complicated. Wine glasses don't have to be. Discover The One glasses. One for reds, one for whites, each perfect for all varietals.

The One Glass by Andrea Robinson eliminates the guesswork and complexity from stemware selection, and rivals the finest European stemware for both grace and performance.

Designed to bring out the best in all red and white wines, the carefully engineered shape of The One glasses emphasizes the fruit, spices and tannins with incredible mouth feel.

About Andrea Robinson

Andrea Robinson, one of the country’s leading wine educators, is one of only seventeen women in the world to hold the title of Master Sommelier. The first woman designated as Best Sommelier in the United States, Andrea is also an honors graduate of the French Culinary Institute and Sommelier for Delta Air Lines. She is the winner of three James Beard awards and was selected by Bon Appetit Magazine as Wine & Spirits Professional of The Year in 2004.

Andrea has written four top-selling wine and food books, including Everyday Dining with Wine, which won the prestigious IACP cookbook award.

Andrea's first book, Great Wine Made Simple, was an enormous success, and quickly established her as one of America's top wine writers. The book was a James Beard Award nominee, and has been lauded for its original, real-world approach to wine by numerous publications including The New York Times and Wine Spectator. She subsequently published, Andrea Immer's Wine Buying Guide for Everyone (published in 2002 and updated annually), Great Tastes Made Simple, and her most recent book, Everyday Dining With Wine. Andrea's new television show, 'Pairings with Andrea' currently airing on the Fine Living TV Network, compliments her first show 'Simply Wine', also currently airing on Fine Living.

As a contributor to popular magazines such as Bon Appetit, Real Simple and Robb Report, Andrea shares her knowledge with thousands of consumers and professional each month. She consults clients such as Brinker International restaurants, Hilton Hotels and Olive Garden. Andrea also speaks regularly to the National Restaurant Association, dozens of major corporations, consumer wine groups and top hospitality schools.

Andrea has appeared on more than 100 episodes of the Food Network's “Cooking Live Prime time,” “Hot off the Grill” and “Emeril Live” shows. She was featured on Working Mother magazine's cover as a Working Mother of the Year, and she has been profiled in People, Glamour, Elle, NBC Nightly News, CBS This Morning, The New York Times, Food & Wine magazine, and others.

 To learn more about Andrea, visit her website at

Head Sommelier
Auberge du Soleil

As Head Sommelier at Napa Valley’s Auberge du Soleil, Kris Margerum follows a simple philosophy when selecting wine for the inn’s Michelin-starred restaurant: One plus one can equal three. The right wine complements the food, and together, they create an unforgettable experience. Margerum has been in pursuit of the perfect food and wine pairings at the iconic wine country inn for more than 25 years, during which time he has developed close relationships with the top wine makers of Napa Valley. His wine list currently offers 1,500 selections from a 17,000-bottle cellar and has been awarded Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for the past five years.
Margerum works in partnership with Executive Chef Robert Curry to create exquisite food and wine pairings for the six-course Chef’s Menu and all of the other dishes Curry dreams up for the Restaurant and the more casual Bistro and Bar. Margerum is also responsible for the restaurant staff’s wine education and conducts wine tastings and advanced-level winery tours for them on a regular basis.
“A few years ago, I started conducting blind tastings,” recalls Margerum. “This allows me to evaluate each wine on its own merits, without prejudice. I taste more than 100 wines a week to find four or five that meet my ideals and make the wine list and hope our guests can benefit from knowing that each wine has been hand selected.”
Margerum has developed wine lists for a number of other Auberge Resorts’ properties, including the opening wine list for Esperanza in Los Cabos, Mexico and for Calistoga Ranch in Napa Valley. More recently, he turned his attention to Auberge Spa, where he pairs wines by the glass with the floral or herbal notes in a selection of spa treatments to create the ultimate wine country spa experience. His newest project, a collaboration with Auberge pastry chef Paul Lemieux, showcases Margerum’s passion for Madeira wines and Lemieux’s talent with confections in an after-dinner presentation of Madeiras and house-made chocolates.

Margerum’s career with Auberge du Soleil spans more than 25 years. Prior to being appointed head sommelier in 1999, he acted as the restaurant’s assistant food and beverage director for six years, helping to oversee daily operations, planning, budgeting, forecasting, hiring and reviews, monthly inventories and guest satisfaction management. Before that, he acted as assistant restaurant manager for the Auberge and was promoted to restaurant manager after a year. He began his career at Auberge du Soleil in the dining room as a server.
Margerum is a graduate of the Sterling School of Service and created the Napa Valley Sommelier Society, which meets quarterly at various Napa Valley restaurants to discuss common issues and strategies – and, of course, to taste wine.

Ed Breed
Breed Glass

J. Panter, Thistlecreek Studio

"The process of transforming hot molten glass from the furnace to the beautiful and seductive finished form seems like a life long journey condensed into minutes rather than years and just as quickly it brings with it the frustration of failure and the exhilaration of success. I truly love the call to the challenge, the unexplored paths of beauty and the chair in the garden at the end of the day."
Ed Breed.

Mesmerized by the roar of the glory hole and the challenge of sculpting molten glass, Ed has pursued his passion for glass and light studying with T.C. Roberts on Whidby Island, WA., coursework in kiln formed glass at the Bullseye Glass Factory in Portland, Oregon and specific training in blowing at Red Deer College in Canada. He was chosen to assist at R. Strong Glass in Berkeley, has studied at San Francisco State University with Elin Christopherson, at Public Glass with Johnathon Schmuck in the Australian roll-up technique as well as coldworking and at BAGI with Treg Silkwood. He also is a participant in the annual Napa Valley Open Studios.

After receiving a BFA in lighting design from the University of Southern California, Ed began work on the Hollywood sound stages and TV studios then accepted a position as a lighting and production assistant with Shipstads and Johnson Ice Follies. He went on to work for George Lucas at Industrial Light and Magic on the Star Wars and Indiana Jones series of films as well as many others. With his own company, The Costume Factory, he honed his three-dimensional art and presentation skills designing and building complex corporate performing advertising characters, including Kool-Aid Man, Pillsbury Doughboy, Jelly Belly, and many Disney parade characters.