Of all the titles listed on my business cards, “hugger” is the one that raises the most eyebrows. Nestled in between “owner, author, blogger, radio and TV host, chef, producer, traveler, eater, drinker” and “coordinator, speaker, listener, teacher, student,” it always sparks a conversation. 

And that was by intention. 

To me, what I do represents more than just a cheerful embrace, though those never hurt. Hugging is part of my philosophy and indeed part of my business. It’s not all about the money. It’s about trying to make a difference in people’s lives in any way I can. That’s why I do whatever it takes to be as involved as possible in my community.

Now, I serve on the Dean’s Advisory Council for LSU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences and on the Advisory Board at the Louisiana Culinary Institute. Each year I organize a team to compete in Hogs for the Cause, a New Orleans charity cook-off benefitting families of children with pediatric brain cancer. I work with organizations like Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge and the Baton Rouge Epicurean Society. I promote fundraising events like the Capital Area United Way’s Jambalaya Jam and the Mary Bird Perkins Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center’s The Taste. I support numerous non-profit groups such as Triumph Kitchen, the Boys and Girls ClubBig Buddy, the Emerge Center, Heritage RanchLighthouse LouisianaHAARTBaton Rouge Community Radio, and more.

Get in touch if there’s anything else I can do to help make the world a better place.