By Bill Vaughan
All eyes will be on Connie “Lovely” Jackson as she kicks off the Oprah Winfrey Network’s first cooking block of programming at noon Nov. 14 with her show “Lovely Bites.”
The series, which leads into “Tregaye’s Way” (featuring Tregaye Fraser); “Food Fantasies” (with Eddie Jackson, Nyesha Arrington, Jernard Wells and more); and “Tanya’s Kitchen Table” (with Tanya Holland of Brown Sugar Kitchen fame), is all about love.
“I want people to completely understand that if your intention is to move with love and care and joy, that no matter what you’re making, people are going to enjoy it,” she explained to Tasty Clips. “It’s all about celebrating. It’s about food that is healthy but still indulgent. It’s about creating those special little moments, especially in times like this when we really can’t see our loved ones as much as we want. When we do get a chance to do so, hopefully people will take these recipes that I’ve created over my 13 years as a professional chef and recreate them at home in their own way.”
Because of COVID-19, Chef Lovely has been denied the pleasure of meeting Winfrey but honestly feels she has had her moment with being personally chosen to do something completely brand new in the food space.
“It’s so nice just to know that she trusts me enough to be on her network, appreciates what I do and that she feels that it’s gonna change the world, because that’s how I feel,” she said. “I want to kind of bring back that family atmosphere. Celebrating, eating good food, but not taking all day in the kitchen. Being able to really enjoy your family and friends because that’s how I was raised.”
The Chicago native first made her mark in households as a contestant on season six of Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” under the critical leadership of Chef Gordon Ramsey.
“What I learned from my experience is that you have to really work together, and I think that translates past just cooking,” she said. “That’s just in everyday life. Be flexible. Be understanding, be compassionate, because we’re all working toward the same goal.”
“[Chef Ramsey’s words] didn’t sting but sometimes they did shock me back into reality,” she added. “He’s a good guy. He taught us about his mistakes so that we could learn from them. Even though his personality is big and bold and a little aggressive on TV, I did have those few moments with him where he was respectful and kind. He’s a dad. He wanted us to excel, no matter what our next steps were after the show.”
From there came a season competing on “Food Network Star” where she boasted “I glam out the kitchen. I’m culinary chic.”
When asked what her signature dish is, Chef Lovely offered without hesitation, “My shrimp and grits. I had the pleasure of making that for Nicki Minaj when she was recording ‘Anaconda.’ A lot of my clients (including the likes of “Inside The NBA host Kenny “The Jet” Smith, Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma and JaVale McGee, and singer Trey Songz) request that. It’s a recipe that I have crafted over many years before it finally got to the place where I said, this is it. This is a winner.”
As apparently is she.
CLIPPETTES: “Lights Up: A Drive-In Gala at the Rose Bowl” is the Debbie Allen Dance Academy’s 20th annual fundraiser on Nov. 14. With a giant LED Screen and a 50-by-40-foot stage, DADA will project live and pre-recorded performances featuring Sinbad, Stevie Wonder, Misty Copeland, Arturo Sandoval, Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet and others in recognition of the contributions of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Visit debbieallendanceacademy.com/gala for more info …
Also that date, “Save Tip’s,” a three-hour free live streaming event, benefits New Orleans’ world famous music venue Tipitina’s by live streaming new and never-released-before vintage performances by Fats Domino, Jon Batiste & Stay Human featuring Trombone Shorty, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Big Freedia, Juvenile, Ivan Neville, Kermit Ruffins, the Soul Rebels and many more at tipitinas.com …
Meanwhile, an all-star roster of artists including Audra McDonald, Cécile McLorin Salvant and Wynton Marsalis are featured in the Nov. 14 stream of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2017 gala, “Ella: Forever the First Lady of Song.” Visit Goldstar.com for tickets …
With raves coming from the likes of Quincy Jones, Robert Glasper and Harry Connick Jr., 13-year-old multi-instrumentalist Justin Lee Schultz has released his debut album “Gruv Kid” on the Shanachie label. The South Africa-born, Durham, North Carolina-raised prodigy went big by enlisting a who’s who of musicians including Bob James, Harvey Mason, Najee, Jonathan Butler, Gerald Albright, Pieces Of A Dream, Jeff Lorber and more for the project …
Famed blues artist Taj Mahal gives his first ever livestream performance from the UC Theatre stage in Berkeley, at 6 p.m. Nov. 17. Tickets are $20 at boxoffice.mandolin.com …
Join the Grammy Museum in an exclusive premiere of the brand-new film, “Music, Money, Madness . . . Jimi Hendrix In Maui,” followed by a live panel discussion on Nov. 18 at watch.grammymuseum.org/.
TASTY QUIP: “I think America needs five years of atonement. I challenge you to do that. To take the time out, look at the wrongs and the things that have happened, and say, ‘We’re going to fix this.’” – STEVIE WONDER on Apple TV+’s “The Oprah Conversation”
TC ON TV: Nov. 13 – “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (Netflix): Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose and Ricky Martin are featured in David E. Talbert’s sparkling musical film. “The Life Ahead” (Netflix): Oscar winner Sophia Loren makes a triumphant return to acting as a Holocaust survivor who bonds with a Senegalese boy (Ibrahima Gueye) in this movie directed by her son, Edoardo Ponti. “The View” (ABC): It’s Whoopi Goldberg’s birthday celebration (and Tasty Clips will be in the audience)! “Live with Kelly & Ryan” (ABC): Lenny Kravitz “Wendy Williams” (Syn): Charlie Wilson “The Tonight Show” (NBC): Post Malone, 2 Chainz
Nov. 14 – “Turkey Day, Sunny’s Way” (Food): Sunny Anderson celebrates Thanksgiving and being named the first guest editor of Food Network Magazine by making her Grilled Butterflied Turkey with Lemon Pepper Glaze and her Crowdsourced Stuffing. “Behind Every Man” (OWN): Tammy Franklin and her husband, gospel music legend Kirk Franklin. “Austin City Limits” (PBS): Jackie Venson, Mavis Staples, Bonnie Raitt
Nov. 15 – “Rock Legends” (AXS): The Ronettes and The Shirelles “The People’s Choice Awards” (E!): Tracee Ellis Ross, Tyler Perry and Jennifer Lopez are honorees in the ceremony hosted by Demi Lovato. “The Good Lord Bird” (SHO): Last call at Harper’s Ferry in the offbeat miniseries finale. “Christmas Doctor” (HMC): Holly Robinson Peete and Adrian Holmes star in this holiday revelation. “DMFM: The Home Of Boom Bap” (SHO): Desus Nice and The Kid Mero transform their studio into an old-school radio station for a one-hour special featuring special guests Busta Rhymes, Sheila E, City Girls, Juicy J and Cam’ron, along with calls from listeners.
Nov. 16 – “Blood On Her Badge” (TV1): Inspired by true crime events, this film details the journey of an ill-fated romance and stars Rayven Ferrell (“The Hate You Give”), Tequan Richmond (“Boomerang,” “Everybody Hates Chris”) and Miguel Nunez (The Family Business). “The Neighborhood” (CBS): In the third season opener of the sitcom starring Cedric the Entertainer and Tichina Arnold, the Butlers and Johnsons unite when a member of their community is the victim of racial injustice. “His Dark Materials” (HBO): The series with the spirit animals based upon Philip Pullman‘s epic fantasy trilogy returns for a second season with Clarke Peters, Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy and Lin-Manuel Miranda. “The Story Of” (VICE): “Shaggy’s It Wasn’t Me”
Nov. 17 – “Kevin Hart: Zero F—s Given” (Netflix): The comic/actor presents his latest set recorded in L.A. in September. “Big Sky” (ABC): David E. Kelley (“Big Little Lies”) created this mystery about the search for a serial killer. Kylie Bunbury (“Pitch”), Ryan Phillippe and John Carroll Lynch co-star in the series based on the books by C.J. Box.
Nov. 18 – “black-ish” (ABC): Pops (Lawrence Fishburne) and Ruby (Jenifer Lewis) are getting remarried though plans go awry when Uncle Norman (Danny Glover) unexpectedly shows up. “Smoke: Marijuana + Black America” (BET): Narrated and executive produced by multi-platinum rapper and entrepreneur, Nasir “Nas” Jones, the two-hour special features testimony from Vice President Kamala D. Harris, Sen. Cory Booker, rapper B-Real (Cypress Hill), award-winning music artist Ty Dolla $ign and others.
Nov. 19 – “For The Love Of Jason” (UMC): B.J. Britt (“Being Mary Jane”), Brely Evans (“Ambitions“) and Jackée Harry star in this series which looks at being single in your 30s from the male perspective.
TASTY QUIP: “As we approach the end of 2020, don’t be 2 hard on urself 4 not accomplishing much this year. Making it out of 2020 with either your life or your sanity is huge achievement.” – ERIC BENET
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at email@example.com, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.