The Truth Of The Spoken Word
I love a good challenge. So when my dear friend Keri Tombazian made this comment on a cupcake photo I posted on Facebook, I was immediately intrigued:
What grabs me about this challenge is that these two flavors would not be my initial choices to pair together, but more on that later. I’d love for you to meet Keri.
Keri is a remarkable woman and a powerhouse talent. For decades she’s been a permanent fixture in southern California’s radio landscape as an Air Personality. If you’ve spent any amount of time in SoCal, you’ve no doubt heard her smooth, engaging style on her evening show at KTWV, Los Angeles. But living in LA is not a prerequisite to hearing her work—she’s also a voice actor and you’ve likely heard her on national commercials and promo spots for TV, radio, other non-broadcast projects and the occasional on-camera appearance like this one. For the benefit of those who don’t know, voice overs (VO) are typically the spoken words you hear but don’t see being delivered, particularly in regards to visual media. I know Keri’s voice well; I’ve been hearing it on one medium or another since the mid-80s.
Our paths crossed in 1997. I was taking an introductory VO workshop series at a studio in Hollywood. Keri was a guest instructor for an evening. My objective was to transition a radio DJ career (another story for another time) to one of VO. Having similar work experiences, a kinship ensued; she became a mentor. With her careful guidance and well-tuned ear, Keri was pivotal in launching my career, from coaching and directing my audio demo, to opening the door for representation with my first talent agent. By Hollywood standards, that was a feat in of itself. I was truly blessed to have anyone be so gracious of their time to me, let alone someone of her caliber.
What struck me the most about working with Keri is her commitment to getting to the truth of the spoken word; her articulation of nuances and coloring of phrases is spot on. She’s also a stickler if you don’t get the read just right. She’ll let you know it with the best nurturing kind of tough love I’ve seen; the kind usually reserved between best friends, or that which comes from a mother to her child. I think that’s why I adore her because she called me out on all my old radio habits—the kind of habits that can hinder a good read on a piece of copy. Her endearing candor still benefits me to this day.Something I didn’t know about my friend until recently is that Keri is a gastronome. Her recipes have been added to chef’s menus. She’ll readily admit, however, that baking is not her forte.
This is where I come in and it makes an ideal segue back to the challenge on the table. When I think of cakes and combinations of flavor, lemon and chocolate was not on my “go to” list. I had limited exposure to this combination; a foggy remembrance from childhood recalls a hard lemon candy cane or stick that had one end dipped in dark chocolate. More recently, I saw a program in which Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, host of Food Network’s Alex’s Day Off prepared a lemon and chocolate cake. By deduction I’m able to know that this pairing is not new. I also have reasonable assurance that if this combination of flavor profiles falls within Keri’s radar, it had to be good.
What then, was my response to my friend?
This original recipe was written for you. It was tested and re-tested over the course of recent weeks to the delight of my family and friends. I hope it serves your family and friends for generations to come. Thank you for your friendship and all the wonderful things you’ve done for me over the years. Happy baking!
This post marks my return to the blogosphere—a surprising move that I hope my foodie comrades will embrace with open arms. Over the past 8 months I started a business and I’ve made terrific strides towards a successful operation. Thank you for stopping by and I hope to see you soon!