Tamar Poyser, from Keasbey, and Angela Shaghaghi, from Wyckoff, will be competing on Rachael Ray’s ‘Hey, Can You Cook?! All Stars’ beginning today at 10:00am on NY’s WABC Channel 7 and Philly’s WPVI Channel 6. We got to ask them a few questions so we could get to know them before the shows start. Make sure to tune in to Rachael’s show today to watch our Garden State ladies cook their hearts out in Mexico!
In case you’re not a regular viewer of Rachael’s show here’s a rundown of what’s happening. Six veteran contestants of past ‘Hey, Can You Cook?!’ competitions will compete against each other in a series of unique cooking challenges in Mexico. The other All Star contestants are: Donna Ranucci from Coventry, RI; Jennifer Pallotta from Cuyahoga Falls, OH; Madison Mayberry from Grinnell, IA; and Timothy Morris from Woodway, WA.
The first “Hey, Can You Cook?!” challenge takes contestants to beautiful Oaxaca, Mexico where they embark on a chocolaty challenge led by Chef Marcela Valladolid. The second elimination challenge takes the contestants to San Miguel, Mexico where they are asked to cook a meal using the staple foods of the native people. The native ingredients used in the challenge include corn, radishes, squash, cactus, beans, chilis and verdolagas, that are all to be cooked on a traditional Brasero grill.
We were able to ask the two NJ ladies a few things this week so we could get to know them a little before watching. Both Tamar and Angela aren’t originally from New Jersey so we asked them what brought them here. Tamar has lived in New Jersey since 2009 when she moved here after getting engaged to her fiance Keith who was born in Perth Amboy. She says, “when we met he was helping to take care of his grandmother and he wanted to stay close to her. I thought that was the sweetest thing ever so we purchased a home in Keasbey. My favorite thing about New Jersey is how beautiful it is, before moving here I wasn’t quite sure why it was called the garden state. I thought it was just malls and highways, but I was so wrong. As soon as you start traveling south all of a sudden there all these picturesque farm lands, gorgeous homes, and endless coastline with the most beautiful beaches.” We couldn’t agree more, Tamar! Angela says about her move to New Jersey: “I moved to New Jersey over nine years ago from the BIG Apple because we wanted the suburban life for our three kids! Complete with a white picket fence:) I love the people, and the way the moms RUN the schools around here is AMAZING!!! They should all run for the white house!”
The next thing we wanted to know what what is was like cooking in Mexico for the All Star episodes. Both Tamar and Angela said that they had to change their strategies due to the locations however Angela seemed more comfortable with the change. She said that she is already used to cooking in uncomfortable situations (she is a cooking teacher when she’s not on TV) including running a cooking class in a hallway so cooking outside and in all kinds of weather conditions was something she could take in stride. Tamar notes that her perception of Mexican food was basically limited to what we know as Mexican in America. So, she only knew about a small portion of the Mexican food culture. She said, “[v]isiting Oaxaca, and San Miguel de Allende you experience the rich Mexican traditions that have been practiced for thousands of years. So I had to forget about what I thought I knew and just embrace the culture the best way I can.”
Both Angela and Tamar said they loved being on the Rachael Ray Show. The staff was really nice to them and work really hard. We also wanted to know how their lives have changed since winning their original series. Angela said that it’s really helped her business, “Creative Cooks,” grow and get recognized due to being a local celebrity. She loves working with kids and she looks forward to teaching them about food and feeling good about themselves. Tamar also mentions that the Rachael Ray experience has opened a lot of doors for her. She’s working on trying to open a family style Caribean restaurant (she was born in Savanna La Mar, Jamaica) so her celebrity should help her down the road once the business is open.
Good luck on the show, Angela and Tamar! We’ll be watching today!
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