Author Archives: Mitchell Davis

About Mitchell Davis

I'm the Executive Vice President of the James Beard Foundation and a consummate foodie, who loves to cook, eat, and think about food. I was the Chief Creative Officer of the USA Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015, the theme of which was American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet. I've written five cookbooks, My Provence (with Laurent Gras), Kitchen Sense, The Mensch Chef, Foie Gras...A Passion (with Michael Ginor), and Cook Something. My articles on food and restaurants appear in The Art of Eating, Gastronomica, and GQ. I've worked in restaurants, as a restaurant critic, as a consultant, a cooking teacher, you name it. I completed a Ph.D. in Food Studies at NYU, looking at the influence of restaurant reviewing on taste. I'm always striving to get people to cook and eat better, because I think everyone, no matter how much money they have, where they are from, or what they like, has a right to eat well.

New York City Hosts International Workshop

DXE20267As the sun shone brightly on the Big Apple, some 60 people gathered on Roosevelt Island for the annual NYC Tri-State International Workshop on June 28-29, 2014. Canada, Mexico, California and branches from the Northeast Region were all represented. Against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline, participants pushed and dropped and toryued their way through two days of instruction from International Director Judy Millen.

Situated in the East River between Manhattan and Queens, Roosevelt Island is a bustling residential development. Reflecting the ethnic diversity of the city, workshop meals featured Greek, Indian, and Jewish foods.

During the evening session on Saturday night, participants shared what their practice of danyus and toryus (i.e., Taoist Tai Chi) taught them on a personal level. Themes ranged from patience and perseverance, to letting go and opening up. Some had personal health recovery stories. Others believed the machinations of the Society showed them different ways to be in the world.

All in all it was a refreshing and rejuvenating weekend of hard work, personal health, and good fun.

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Bay Area Banquet for Chinese New Year

On February 22 and 23, 2014 the San Francisco Bay Area branch hosted a regional intensive led by Theresa Roll to celebrate The Year of the Horse. About 50 California tai chi-ers participated in instructive and eye-opening sessions—with many “ah ha!” moments—at our headquarters in Pleasant Hill, a beautiful town in the East Bay, about 25 miles from San Francisco. Our gala New Year’s banquet was held at Three Brothers from China, one of our favorite local Chinese restaurants.

We invite everyone to join us on April 5 and 6 at an international workshop to celebrate the 1-year anniversary of our Pleasant Hill branch center. Transportation and billeting can be arranged. For more information, call (925) 979-5509 or email us at pleasanthill.ca@taoist.org.IMG_2630

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Horsing Around in NYC

_MG_5335The NYC Tri-State branch held its 8th annual Chinese New Year event to mark the arrival of the Year of the Horse on Sunday, February 16. More than 90 participants gathered at the historic culinary landmark, the James Beard House, for a Chinese banquet prepared by branch volunteers. The weekend festivities began Saturday with a regional intensive led by Carol Anne Gallagher from the Syracuse Branch. Sunday, cooking started in the Beard House kitchen at 8 am. Guests arrived at 6 pm and immediately begin bidding on the robust silent auction. More than 120 items valued at a total of $12,000 dollars were on offer. NYC Tri-State’s new branch president David Goldberg welcomed everyone and spoke about the symbolism of the year of the wood horse. Between dinner courses, members gave testimonials about the value of the community of Taoist Tai Chi and its invaluable contribution to personal health. The world-class musical entertainment after dinner ranged from classical to folk. All in all it was tremendous success.

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Prague Rings in Chinese New Year

089More than 50 people gathered in our club in Prague to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Members of Prague’s branch were joined by people from other branches  to help with preparation and to celebrate. What’s more, honored guests from Prague 1, including the city manager and the director of the Centre of Social Services, came, too, and stayed with us whole afternoon. We were happy to serve and eat around six new round tables we purchased for the club at Christmas time. Everybody enjoyed a big menu prepared and cooked in the morning in the club´s kitchen: a two course menu accompanied by salad, spring rolls and homemade desserts. In the course of the banquet we learned all about the Year of Horse and what it brings, health benefits of tai chi, the meaning of coins in Chinese history, and more. After the raffle and a tai chi set, the club´s choir sang a new year‘s song “gong xi.” In the tradition of “what eyes see, hands do,” we cleaned up the club very fast. The Czech branch wishes all a very Happy New Year of the Horse.

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Denver’s “Galloping Gourmets” Welcome Year of the Horse

Welcome tableThe Year of the Horse began auspiciously for the Denver, Colorado, branch of the Taoist Tai Chi Society, despite a wrenching Denver Broncos Super Bowl loss. About 100 members, friends and honored guests attended the Denver Chinese New Year Banquet on Saturday, February 1. It was the first New Year’s celebration banquet at the branch prepared entirely from the organization’s onsite kitchen.

Branch Council Member Bob Tank emceed the evening, introducing several political guests including Councilwoman Debbie Ortega , State Senator Irene Aguilar, Commander Pazen of Denver Police Department, District 1, and a representative from Senator Mark Udall’s office. Several of our local neighbors were also invited as honored guests.

Local singer/songwriter Cole Dillingham played the guitar and delivered heartfelt vocals for the evening entertainment. Branch members decorated tables with centerpieces made of horse photos, equine lollipops and Chinese stickers. Horse temporary tattoos were given out to members in search of a little New Year’s “street cred”.

 Virginia Amos led a seven-person kitchen team that included Ukiko Maxwell from Portland, OR. The crew created corn soup, pork adobo, salmon with black bean sauce, rice, salad, baby bok choy with Chinese mushrooms and mango pudding for the feast. Whole mushroom tops were included in the dinner for “good luck” in the New Year.

Virginia led an intensive focusing on foundations and single whip the day after the banquet. Forty-two members attended the intensive.

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Czech Republic Hosts 1st International Workshop of 2014

The Czech capital of Prague was the site of the first International Taoist Tai Chi Workshop from January 11 to 12.

IWS Praha 2014 3

Some 215 participants representing nine European countries came together. The workshop was led by Judy Millen. Martina Pavlovicova from Slovakia, and Robert Szaj from Poland, both regular instructors and members of the European Council assisted her.

Judy came back to Prague after several years and we welcomed her with almost spring-like weather with great pleasure. After the twenty-hour flight from  frozen Canada she took the lead of the workshop with unbelievable energy and vitality. We managed to exercise our bodies, quiet our spirits and sharpen our brains. All together and later in small groups of twenty we practiced monkeys, separations, kicks and also a lot of donyus, toryus and snakes. Judy was able to be strict and witty at the same time and thanks to her the whole workshop had a very focused and relaxed atmosphere.

IWS Praha 2014 5But the workshops are not only about practicing. Thanks to Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism the participants had opportunity to learn other aspects of Taoist arts. For example, the participants of this workshop had a chance to try the lying meditation and morning chanting. Workshops are also interwoven with telling stories and this one was no exception. This time we got an opportunity to discuss the eight virtues, first in small groups under the supervision of our group leaders, and later all together. It was amazing to watch how the hall during the discussing became full of mutual understanding and solidarity.

The first workshop of this year was really successful. All participants took home a lot of new knowledge of the practice, new personal tasks and as we hope also a feeling of pleasant weekend. Big thanks to all organizers and especially to Judy Millen for her amusing and energetic leadership of the workshop. We can only hope to we meet her again soon.

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Ithaca Celebrates Chinese New Year

The Ithaca, NY, branch celebrated the second day of the Chinese New Year with a banquet at our studio.  There was a full house of participants, family and friends, who enjoyed the catered Chinese food, home-made desserts, musical entertainment, raffle draw, and most of all the fellowship and high spirits of everyone there. President Laurie Hultberg led us in a seated jong at the end of the meal, helping us digest the good food and letting our guest sample the good feeling that our practice brings.  The Ithaca Branch wishes all a very Happy New Year of the Horse.

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