By Rebekah Duntz
Photos provided by Tight Line Productions
What is the one thing that brings everyone together? You probably guessed right: food.
That’s exactly what Lori Halbert intends to do with her show, “Political Food for Thought.” It’s a combination of food and politics that lets the audience learn a great recipe and a little something about our elected Florida politicians.
“Political Food for Thought” is a nonpartisan show that airs on Wednesdays at 7:30 a.m. on Sun Sports Network, Channel 31 on Bright House Networks.
“The idea came from having people over and talking politics in the kitchen,” said Lori Halbert.
It was July 4, 2011 when one of her friends said, “You should have a cooking show.”
She said it’d have to be different from others, and eventually she came up with a meshing of the two things she loves: cooking and politics. In order to have the show, she had to prove that it was nonpartisan, and people were skeptical at first. It took a year for the pilot to get on the air and she is now getting ready to air their fifth season this September.
Lori invites Florida politicians such as senators, representatives and commissioners from either state or federal government to come on the show. They cook a delicious meal together and have fun while talking about local political issues.
Guests speak about what they’re going to do in office, what they’re passionate about and things they are currently working on. The show is strictly non-adversarial. “Let’s hear about what you’re going to do,” said Lori. “I don’t let them speak about the opposition.”
The most important thing Lori wants the audience to know when they’re watching is that every politician is a person with a family, goals and a passion for what they’re doing.
She said that people always have a reason for supporting a bill and everyone has a story.
“I think we forget our elected officials are people,” said Lori. “We’re not supposed to be just Republican or Democrat. We’re supposed to be Americans.”
Lori doesn’t even label her guests as Republican or Democrat when they come on the show, so the audience can strictly get to know the people as they are, rather than by what party they represent.
What’s interesting about the show is that there is no script, and it’s only lightly edited. Instead of “speaking politician,” as Lori called it, they’re concentrating on dicing and stirring, which allows for a real conversation with real reactions.
But has Lori always been comfortable in front of the cameras? Lori laughed, “I was scared to death. I was very uncomfortable in front of the cameras. Now it’s easy. It’s a learned skill.”
At the start of the fifth season, that began September 17, the audience grew even larger as they transitioned into a national television show.