Chef Tom – On That Note…Everybody Dance! And OMG Salad!


Dance is the Siamese twin of music. They’re connected at the beat.

I have always loved dancing, starting with doing the twist with my mom in my PJ’s in my living room listening to Elvis Presley.  American Bandstand, high school square dancing, sock hops, the crawl, the hustle, the jerk, the bump, disco, the electric slide (man was that fun getting the whole dance floor going), the carlton (which is how you danced all the way through the 80’s) and finally, yes, I did my share of slam dancing in the punk clubs (although in those days I was skinny as a rail and it was fun the first dozen times, then it just hurt).

These days I love watching dance contests on TV. I’ve seen every episode of So You Think You Can Dance since they started in ’03. Every season, without fail, I end up falling in love with the contestants, wanting them all to win, but choosing my favorites nonetheless (I know, I’m a teenage girl, what can I say).

It’s been wonderful to watch them incorporate the many dance styles of today, from contemporary to hip hop, broadway to Bollywood, jazz to tap, African to Irish Step, and so on – stretching the dancers into unfamiliar styles and having them blossom into incredible artists. Over the past fifteen years I’ve also watched many of these young folks come up through the industry. So satisfying. Like watching one of my kids make it in life.

Travis Wall

One young man in particular was the second place winner for the very first SYTYCD. Travis Wall. He was my fave of that first season and I felt robbed when he got second place. But, unlike the season’s winner, Travis went on to build an amazing career. He’s become one of the best choreographers in the industry and has taken home no less than three Emmy’s for his beautiful work (see his winning dances below).

For SYTYCD I’m a serious fanboy. But there are other dance programs that have also caught my eye. There’s a place called Urban Dance Camp. They’re always posting videos of young folks demonstrating their training in all kinds of well-choreographed styles, though mostly hip hop. One of the very cool things they do is show their appreciation to the dancers by tossing their shoes and hats onto the dance floor. Some dancers are completely bombarded!

Mariel and Koene Madrid

Over the years I’ve watched many of them appear in dance competitions worldwide and win awards. I’ve included a couple of my favorite videos, including one from two well-loved instructors at UDC, husband and wife team Mariel and Koene Madrid. I first noticed them in the vid they did to Bob Marley’s “This Is Love.”

Les Twins

Another pair worth watching is twin brothers Laurent and Larry Bourgeois, stage name Les Twins, a French hip hop duet that has taken the entertainment industry by storm. Model-handsome, naturally funny, with incredible musicality, and towering over their colleagues at 6’4”, these charismatic brothers are rapidly rising stars. I’m including two vids from these guys, too.

Travis Wall

“The Mirror,” with dancers J.T. and Robert ()

Group Routine “Send in the Clowns” ()

“She Used to be Mine” with dancers Tate and Kathryn   ()

Urban Dance Camp

Bonus Track

There is a dance style from the poor black communities of South Africa called Pantsula. Originally a form of resistance to Apartheid, danced by men, it has since spread throughout Africa and is practiced by both men and women. The word pantsula is Zulu, and refers to “waddling like a duck.” This flat-footed move with the buttocks sticking out is commonplace in the dance form. I love watching it.

Take a look here () and read about it here.

It’s What’s for Lunch


Chef Donal Skehan

This recipe is inspired by my recent New Chef discovery. Touted as the Jamie Oliver of Ireland, meet Chef Donal Skehan. For such a pup, the man has chops. I love his easy style and his recipes are deee-lish.

Pear, Parmesan and Bacon Salad\


Serves 4


2 whole firm-ripe pears, quartered

4 large handfuls arugula

4 pieces cooked bacon, crumbled

2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

Small handful of parmesan shavings

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup walnut pieces

Quarter pears and trim away seeds and stem. I used firm-rip Bartlett’s and left the peeling on. Toss the pears with ½ the vinegar and sautée in a hot pan with a splash of olive oil, until starting to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool.

Toast the nuts in a dry pan.

Combine the 2 tablespoons olive oil with the rest of the balsamic and dress the arugula. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve greens topped with pears, toasted nuts, bacon pieces and parmesan shavings. Serve with crusty bread and good butter.


Chef Tom is currently Resident Chef for a small tech firm in San Francisco. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities. His motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

Check him out at

2 Responses to “Chef Tom – On That Note…Everybody Dance! And OMG Salad!”

  1. WOW!!! Love dance too….you forgot the Continential 😉

  2. Peter Montreuil Says:

    Thanks for another informative column! Great work. I dance like a dumpster on casters, I should add.

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