Jordan Wright is an accomplished writer on food, spirits, travel, and theatre. Her clients have included the tony Georgetowner and hip sister publication the Downtowner, the Washington Examiner and San Francisco Examiner, as well as LocalKicks.com, DC Metro Magazine, Washington Life Magazine, Washingtonian Magazine, MDTheatreGuide.com, Indian Country Today On-Line and Print Publications, The Alexandria Times, Hartkeisonline.com, and now DCMetroTheaterArts. Her articles feature restaurant openings, food and wine events, food-oriented film reviews, food trends, restaurant reviews, food memories, new food products, hotels, spas, resorts and interviews with the country’s leading chefs – from Jose Andres and Top Chef’s Carla Hall, to CakeLove’s Warren Brown and Top Chef’s Spike Mendelsohn. She has also interviewed famed chef and TV star, Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert, cookbook author Joan Nathan, and director Robert Kenner for an in-depth article about his film Food, Inc.
Photographs by Wright accompany many of her articles and NBCNews.com has picked up and used several of her stories. Jordan Wright hails from three generations of show business. Her grandmother, Betty Morton, was a Ziegfeld Follies girl; her step-grandmother Corinne Griffith, a noted author and silent screen star wrote Hail to the Redskins; her father, Georgie Price, an entertainer and founder of The Lamb’s Club in New York, as well as a CBS radio show host, songwriter and vaudevillian; her sister, Penny Larsen Vine, a theatre critic both on radio and in print for Variety, a former longtime member of the Outer Critics Circle, and a lead performer in countless national touring companies; one brother, Peter Price, appeared in leading roles in over 16 major motion pictures for MGM; while her other brother, Marshall Price performed at Carnegie Hall. Niece, Stephanie Vine, was the final Annie in the original production of Annie on Broadway, and niece, Liz Larsen, has received two Tony nominations and a Helen Hayes award for lead actress in Sunday in the Park with George. Wright sang with Columbia Records in New York and Barclay Records in France. In the sports world her grandfather was the original owner and founder of the Washington Redskins football team. Wright has traveled throughout four continents and currently resides in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.
Jordan Wright – A home cooked meal, via private chef
Special to LocalKicks.com
On a hot afternoon, in her stylish townhouse on Old Town’s swank south end, private chef Jordan Wright welcomes a sweaty writer into her sitting room and serves a cooling goblet of hyssop-infused, honeyed iced tea.
Then in her soft cultured voice, she begins to hold forth about her favorite subject: cooking. In her case, as quickly becomes clear, we are not really talking about cooking, however: we are in fact talking about cuisine. We are talking about a dying part of life: culture. The fact that Wright is the granddaughter of Redskins football team founder and thirty-year owner George Preston Marshall, would leave a dyed-in-the-wool fan reeling and begging for tales of reminiscence about the “Hogs”. Even so, her passion for cooking seems to easily outdo her fondness for the team.
Indeed, it is clear that Wright could easily spend her days on the golf course with a very well heeled set; but as a woman of culture and passion for life, she rolls out of bed at a working man’s hour to provide home-cooked meals to a number of local families who comprise her growing clientèle. Wright grew up in a home with a full-time French chef, and has analyzed food and culinary traditions across the globe during her travels through Europe and Asia. Wright is self-taught, as many successful chefs seem to be (Food network stars Paula Deen and Rachel Ray spring to mind). She builds her menus around what is fresh in the market—namely, Whole Foods and Balducci’s—eschewing heavy sauces for dishes with a clean finish. Wright’s assurance o f quality stems, she says, from her reliance on organic local ingredients and her eye for balanced nutrition. Wright also swears by fresh herbs, which she says make her dishes “sing to the food heart of my clients.” Off the record, of course, and just between you and me, let’s just mention that one certain presidential candidate’s mother is addicted to Wright’s unique recipe for meatloaf.
Wright’s clients palates never become bored, either, thanks to the broad diversity of her menus. They include a repertory of hundreds of dishes from France, the Mediterranean, Asian, and of course American regions. A number of families in the Metro area pay Wright a set fee for visiting their kitchens on a weekly basis. During an average week, Wright visits McLean, Georgetown, Potomac, and Alexandria to cater to the needs of her clients. Unlike some full time chefs, Wright does not travel with her clients, although some have requested that her creations be vacuum sealed and sent via airmail to their vacation homes.
Contrary to intuition, employing a private chef such as Wright is not an exorbitant expense or even an unnecessary luxury for many families. The pressures of time can make having a private chef a very feasible option for busy people who still understand the value of sitting down as a family to a home cooked meal in the evening. In fact, comments Wright, the quality of ingredients that a private chef will use is higher than what most restaurants use.
In addition to expanding upon her eight years of experience as a private chef, Wright is working on a forthcoming book about food and wine pairings.
Kiki Obadal is an Alexandria-based writer, and is available at email@example.com.
Evening Star Café And Taqueria Poblano Win Taste Of Del Ray Awards
By Katie Smythe
Of the 12 vendors at this year’s Taste of Del Ray, Evening Star Café earned the judge’s top vote and Taqueria Poblano won the People’s Choice award. The Happy Tart and Cheesetique were the other award winners at the June 9 event.
The celebrity judge, food/theater/travel writer and Old Town resident Jordan Wright, stopped at every vendor to sample their fare. As a former chef and restauranteur, Wright said she keeps these parameters in mind when judging. “Is it tasty, is it creative, does it have a well-thought out concept, have multiple techniques been employed, is there a proper balance of flavors, are the ingredients fresh and seasonal, is it modern or classic, and are the colors and presentation appealing.”
When asked to be this year’s judge, Wright blogged, “How will I be able to select a winner from a slate of 12 very qualified competitors vying for just one trophy.” She seemed to manage to get through all the tastings without too much difficulty and without wilting in the steamy heat. The wide-brim straw hat with big pink flower made her easy to spot as she visited each vendor booth. At the end, she had a short list of her three favorites.
The following vendors received 2013 top honors with their prize-winning entries – as selected by the judge and by the patrons.
Celebrity Judge’s Awards
1. Evening Star Café – tomato sorbet with orange zest, basil and banyuls vinaigrette
2. The Happy Tart – gluten-free cake and chocolate cream puff
3. Taqueria Poblano – Baja fish taco
People’s Choice Awards
1. Taqueria Poblano
2. Evening Star Café
3. Cheesetique – mac n’ cheese
Last year, Evening Star Café won the judge’s award and Del Ray Pizzeria garnered the popular vote winning the 2012 People’s Choice award.
By all accounts, the event was a big success. Karen Johnson, Taste of Del Ray coordinator, said “We are very happy with this year’s turnout. Our pre-event ticket sales were double the amount of last year. This is our biggest Taste of Del Ray ever.” One vendor figured they served more than 700 people … or perhaps some were repeat customers who came back for seconds or thirds.
Wright described Taste of Del Ray as one of the smoothest and most fun events full of joy and camaraderie to all those who participated and attended. She said, “Bringing people together with food is the most effective way to reach out to a neighborhood’s spirit and their ‘food heart’.”
The annual food festival, sponsored by the Del Ray Business Association, is now in its fifth year and third year at the current location – in the lot behind Virginia Commerce Bank on Mt. Vernon Avenue. “This year the event expanded to the full parking lot, which helped alleviate long lines that created such a bottleneck in previous years,” said DRBA President Mellenie Runion.
Taste of Del Ray included many of the neighborhood establishments offering Southern / Modern America, Mexican / SoCal-Mexican, French and Italian cuisines plus assorted sweets and bakery items. Three vendors were new to this year’s event – Swing’s Coffee, Del Ray Cakery and Rosemarino d’Italia.
The entry fee covered unlimited ‘tastes’ from the various vendors and included a ticket to vote for a favorite entry. Some of the favorite food items mentioned by patrons were avocado soup (Del Ray Café), shrimp and grits (Del Ray Pizzeria) and ravioli (Rosemarino). Kids and adults alike enjoyed the sweets – cake pops (Del Ray Cakery), chocolate milkshake (Holy Cow) and ice cream (Artfully Chocolate) – to top off the afternoon. The most difficult part for some was choosing between flavors and toppings. Rebecca Underly of Del Ray Cakery, a specialty custom-order baker, said she made 1,000 cake pops, 250 of each flavor – mocha chocolate chip, lemon, vanilla pistachio and birthday chocolate cake.
If popularity was determined by length of the line, Rosemarino would have been the hands-down favorite. Their four pasta/sauce selection was more complicated and time consuming to prepare than some of the other entries, but patrons were willing to wait to sample fare from the newly established restaurant.
Music by I & I Riddim in the farmer’s market area provided the entertainment – a bit of a preview for the Del Ray Music Festival on June 22.
Afterward, judge Jordan Wright said, “I can only hope that Taste of Del Ray will continue to grow and prosper alongside the exciting and evolving restaurant scene in Del Ray.” No doubt, the organizers will start making plans soon for next year’s Taste of Del Ray with the hope of adding a few more new vendors to the mix. Mark your calendars for June 2014.
By John Arundel
ALEXANDRIA, VA. – Taste of Del Ray is back, and tastier than ever.
On the afternoon of Sunday, June 9, participants Artfully Chocolate, Cheesetique, Del Ray Café, Del Ray Cakery, Del Ray Pizzeria, Dos Amigos, Evening Star Café, Pork Barrel BBQ, Rosemarino d’Italia, Swing’s Coffee, Taqueria Poblano and The Happy Tart will be bringing their best forth at Taste of Del Ray, at 2401 Mount Vernon Avenue at the corner of Mt. Vernon and Oxford Avenues.
|Photo courtesy of Houndstooth Gourmet
The Del Ray Farmer’s Market.
The event occurs from 1 pm to 3:15 pm.
Following in the footsteps of Carla Hall and Rock Harper from the previous two years, Local Kicks’ own food and restaurant columnist Jordan Wright will be guest judging this year. Wright has been a resident of Old Town Alexandria for 28 years and written about many of Del Ray’s restaurants.
In addition to the judge’s decision, participants will vote for their favorites for a People’s Choice Award” announced by Sheriff Dana Lawhorne, and event organizer Mellenie Runion. The festival will include live music.
While Wright does not plan on singing for the thousands expected to attend, she will be casting a critical eye on food taste and presentation.
Wright is an accomplished writer on food, spirits, travel, theatre, film and TV. Her media outlets have included Washington Life Magazine, as well as LocalKicks.com, DC Metro Magazine and Indian Country Today Magazine.
Articles are accompanied by Wright’s photographs and feature restaurant openings, food and wine events, food trends, restaurant reviews, cookbook reviews, winemakers, brewmasters, new food products, hotels, spas, resorts and interviews with the many of the country’s leading chefs – from José Andrés and Top Chef’sCarla Hall, to CakeLove’s Warren Brown and Top Chef’s Spike Mendelsohn. She has also interviewed Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert, cookbook author Joan Nathan, and director Robert Kenner for an in-depth article about his film Food, Inc. Thousands of readers follow her “Nibbles and Sips Around Town” column each week, which may be found at http://www.WhiskandQuill.com.
Tickets are available at the Del Ray Farmer’s Market, or can be found here: