Members of the media and PR pros can be friends. Yes, really. That sentiment is the basis behind the “Media Moment,” a Q&A that gives our blog readers a better insight into some of our favorite journalists, reporters and media personalities. We ask some questions and our media pals weigh in.
Now, enough about us! Let’s welcome Melanie Young and David Ransom, hosts of “The Connected Table” radio show on W4CY. This culinary couple goes together like prosecco and parmesan, dishing out all the latest news in wine, food, and spirits from around the world.
Can you tell us a bit more about The Connected Table? Who came up with the idea?
Melanie: I came up with “The Connected Table” after closing my first company, M. Young Communications. I wanted to reinvent and focus on writing, speaking and storytelling first. The radio show came about after we both guest hosted on another show and realized we have a lot of chemistry on-air (not to mention off-air!).
The Connected Table airs live on Wednesdays, 2 p.m. EST and is permanently podcast to iHeart.com and the free iHeart App. Our audience is national and our guests are international. We like to say, “The Connected Table Live profiles the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine, spirits and hospitality around the world.”
Who is your favorite type of guest to have on the show?
Melanie & David: Someone with a compelling story, background and expertise on a subject, and great personality. No one too stiff or corporate. For example, a vintner, chef, restaurateur, master distiller, cider maker, author. Or perhaps a farmer, grower or opinion leader.
What is the most memorable interview you’ve done so far?
Melanie & David: So many! Definitely we were honored to have the legendary dining doyennes of New Orleans, Ms. Leah Chase (Dooky Chase) and Miss Ella Brennan (Commander’s Palace) and the global “flying oenologist,” Michel Rolland, who is very hard to pin down. Some of the leading wine producers we have interviewed from as far away as Australia, Israel, Italy, France, Spain, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile have been a real honor.
What is your favorite wine and cheese/food pairing?
Melanie: A soft ripe brie or camembert with Champagne. Goat cheese and chablis.
David: Stilton & Vintage Port.
Describe a few fun things that the average listener wouldn’t know about you.
Melanie: I launched and produced The James Beard Foundation Awards, the “Oscars” of the Food & Beverage industry, for 16 years. I also launched New York Restaurant Week in 1992. Now there are Restaurant Weeks all over the USA, including the Hudson Valley, thanks to the original program.
David: My family owned Rivendell Winery, an award- winning winery in the Hudson Valley, for many years
Melanie and David: In 2006, David surprised Melanie with an on-stage marriage proposal at The James Beard Foundation Awards. You can still watch it on YouTube at this link.
Melanie, can you tell us a little bit about your other radio show, Fearless Fabulous You?
Fearless Fabulous You! on the Women4Women Network provides helpful information on healthy living and spotlights women who have reinvented their lives. Both are topics close to my heart. My guests include medical experts, nutritionists, authors, wellness experts and inspiring women entrepreneurs. I am Certified Holistic Health Coach.
David, we know you’re writing for a few different outlets in the food/beverage space. What are you working on currently?
David: As East Coast Editor for Tasting Panel Magazine and The SOMM Journal, I regularly write about news and people in the beverage alcohol industry. I also write columns. The Ransom Note in Tasting Panel Magazine covers events and The Ransom Report in The Somm Journal features my impressions on places I have traveled and wines I have tasted.
Anything else interesting either of you are working on?
Melanie: I am a regular contributor to Wine4Food.com and Santé Magazine. I just published a story in Wine4Food about New York State Hard Cider. I write about wine regions of the world, most recently Valpolicella, Chablis and Champagne. For Santé I am writing about chefs who make healthy changes and how it impacted their approach to cooking.
Tell us––we promise not to hold it against you––what’s your PR pet peeve?
Melanie: Having worked in PR for close to 30 years and owned an agency for 20, it is interesting now being on the other side. Most definitely impersonal, generic and poorly-timed pitches that clearly show the publicist has not done his/her homework about our shows and content. We are very clear about our mission and focus.
David: Pitching me stories on topics I do not cover. Like fashion. Also, sending me samples of wine or spirits without technical sheets and suggested retail pricing.
What do you love most about living and working in the Hudson Valley?
Melanie: Fresh air. Open spaces. Amazing light and vistas. The quiet sound of a breeze in the trees and walking barefoot in the grass. Taking long country walks. The apple orchards and the scent of apples blossoms in the Fall. I could do none of that living in Manhattan.
David: Its natural year-round beauty and laid-back atmosphere. It’s a great place to enjoy outdoor sports like rock climbing, hiking and mountain biking.
Name one “hidden Hudson Valley gem” that all locals and visitors ought to check out.
Melanie: Any of the cideries in Orange and Ulster County. Especially Angry Orchard or Brooklyn Cider House, both just short drives from where we live. Many host fun special events and tastings. Also, the Rail Trail Café, a tiny food truck, more of a camper, located on the Rosendale Rail Trail that serves vegetarian fare and hosts live music on summer weekends.
David: Mountain Brauhous at the corner of Routes 299 and 4455 is where many climbers hang out when they come off the cliffs and locals go for hearty German fare. What many may not realize is there is also an excellent farm-to table menu that includes many vegetarian options, which Melanie loves. The beer selection is excellent, and the owners work hard on their wine list.
If someone wants to follow The Connected Table and/or you, how can they connect socially?