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About John

Journalist, radio host, author and playwright John DeMers ate his way through 136 foreign countries before discovering he could get all the same food right here in Houston. A native of New Orleans, John grew up with parents who read cookbooks to each other after dinner while drinking cans of Dixie beer. They also cooked most meals together, a trick that John later learned from his own relationships is not the easiest thing in the world. After studying history at Boston University and earning his BA and MA in journalism at Louisiana State University, John embarked on the predictable career writing for newspapers. He had no idea how unpredictable a career writing for newspapers could be.

Currently, John hosts the weekly Delicious Mischief food and wine radio show Saturdays on NewsRadio 740 KTRH and on Austin’s Talk 1370, as well as the weekly Sunday show Houston ArtsWeek, covering the performing, visual and literary arts.

Among his most formative experiences were eight years as a reporter and editor for United Press International, before being laid off as part of UPI’s regularly scheduled bankruptcies: covering plane crashes and Mafia trials, elections and oil rig explosions, Super Bowls and championship fights. And that was before he transferred to UPI’s overnight Foreign Desk in Washington or became UPI’s globetrotting food editor almost without knowing such a job existed. Asked (especially by his children) what he did at work, the best John could ever come up with was, “I go places to eat things.”

Commerce raised its ugly head with increasing frequency. John ended up spending five years as Director of Promotions and Public Relations for the Fairmont Hotel in New Orleans and then almost 15 years creating his own magazines New Orleans Hospitality, EasyFood, CoastFood and finally Texas Foodlover. Of that experience he invariably reports, “You go to bed at night an editor – and you wake up the next morning a salesman.” It was a return to newspapers, his first love, that brought John to Texas to follow the beloved Ann Criswell as food editor of the Houston Chronicle. By the time that job went away, his longtime New Orleans food and wine radio show Delicious Mischief had made it onto the airwaves here – and he saw no reason to let himself be run out of town. By then, in other words, Houston was home.

At present, John is the author of 40 published books, including “Follow the Smoke: 14,783 Miles of Great Texas Barbecue,” reflecting the total distance he drove to overeat in 119 different places. Upcoming books include his first mystery novel, “Marfa Shadows,” as well as “Lone Star Chefs,” both from Bright Sky Press. He is a constant contributor to Houston and Prime Living magazines, as well as to his own Houston ArtsWeek.  He also writes for United Airlines’ Hemispheres magazine. His article in Hemispheres about the heartbreak of seeing his hometown after Hurricane Katrina won that year’s Lowell Thomas Award for “cultural travel writing.” John insists he doesn’t know much about any other kind.

As part of one mid-life crisis or another (or perhaps just hoping for a different way to put his four kids through various colleges and graduate schools), John rediscovered his inner musician. Decades after playing in a rock band as a teenager, John starting writing one-man shows for the stage (and even a one-woman show, for an African-American actress) and finally created two musicals about Texas. The first, a love story titled “Deep in the Heart,” enjoyed its world premiere at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts before touring Texas cities. The second, titled “Texas at Heart,” is a series of musical vignettes from 175 years of the state’s colorful history. It is currently awaiting production. Then again, asks John, isn’t almost everything?

14 responses

  1. Good Morning John.

    Do you have a radio show in San Antonio? I am with KTSA 550 AM News Talk Radio. KTSA reaches 99 counties
    in and around San Antonio. Let me know if you would be interested in a paid program on KTSA.

    Thanks for your time today.

    Anne Hyman 210-654-5169

  2. Andy Reisberg

    John, I was videotaping your interview in Terlingua TX last year with Tom Nall & Ken MacKenzie, co-founders of Republic Tequila. That was Friday, Nov 6, 2009.
    Now I am finishing up a short film for my good friends at RT, and to give you proper credit for your segment please clarify for me which station this was subsequently aired;
    “Talk Radio KJCE 1370AM, Austin”, and/or “News Radio KTRH 740 AM, Houston”, or otherwise.
    Also, is this piece still accessible in the archive, I’d love to hear it.
    Send me a mailing address, and I’l send you a DVD of your interview.

    Many Thanks,
    Andy Reisberg
    Photographic Archives lab & Gallery
    5117 W. Lovers Ln
    Dallas, TX 75209
    (214) 352-3167
    andyreisberg@mac.com

  3. John: Give me a call.

    I’m formerly with KTRH. not sure you remember. started my own ad company: SHOUT House. I’m working with Shawn & Blinda Kelly and their show: Your Livable Garden. They’ve hired me to rev up their show, find sponsors and co-produce their show with some new ideas.

    you came up in a conversation today.

    they have a grilling food secition and i want to talk with you about you getting involved on a regular basis. Call me when you can. 281.660.4187
    Best-Ron

  4. John,
    I am writing a book about a Chicago restaurateur, Ric Riccardo, who worked at Arnaud’s in New Orleans. Perhaps you know something about this. Could you let me know if you can help?

    Best,
    Phillip

  5. John – I am offering e-books patterned after my book, Talk Radio Wants You: An Intimate Guide to 700 Shows and How to Get Invited, McFarland & Co. 2009 (a National “Best Books 2009” Awards Winner in the Business: Reference category).

    Having discovered some wonderful shows – like yours – after the book went into production, I decided to follow the categories in my book.

    If you welcome guests and are interested in being part of the e-book, please fill in the blanks below and return it to me as soon as possible.

    All the best, Fran

    Title of Show:

    Name of Host:

    Theme:

    Where Aired: (call letters of station or website)

    Guest Profile (type of guest you prefer):

    Email:

    Website:

    Phone:

    Best Method of Contact: (Snail mail, email and/or phone):

  6. Yes, can I get a date with you Thursday night???

  7. John, I enjoy your commentaries….I ‘discovered’ a place worth noting. Open four months at 3953 Richmond(across from COSCO).Aroma Classique. Although I have never been to Israel…I asked the proprietor ‘Is this like walking into a eatery in Tele Aviv?’ And he said yes. Things on the menu that I have never seen or heard of. We all know that there are always not enough breakfast places….add this to the list…….Regards,Garth

  8. Hi John, Thank you for the wonderful “Beyond the Podium” presentations. I enjoyed them all. I’ve got my Red Button real radio set to tune in your Delicious Mischief radio. Hope to see you again on the Celebrity Equinox.

  9. Christianna Capra

    WE have an interview avail for you if you are interested:

    Interview from the EatingWell Magazine Test Kitchen and Deputy Editor – Jessie Price – about an incredible slew of FAST and Fabulous MEAT-LESS Meals…

    June 14th – with advice for callers or email questions…on air!

    EatingWell
    Fast & Flavorful
    Meatless Meals

    by Jessie Price & the EatingWell Test Kitchen
    Introduction by Rachael Moeller Gorman | Foreword by Daphne Oz

    Along with the popular rise of cooking with wholesome, locally grown ingredients has come a national reevaluation of a certain protein at the center of most dishes. Meat, in all its glorious forms, wounded darling of documentaries like Food, Inc. for its ubiquity and the large-scale, inhumane ways it is produced, continues to fall under scrutiny. Consider its dramatic toll on the environment alone. Fact is, livestock farming takes up 70 percent of all agricultural land, more space than anything else we have a hand in growing. And a whole 70 percent of that land used to be forested.

    Then, of course, there are the health concerns related to a mostly meat diet, among them high cholesterol and blood pressure, increased risk of heart disease, and long-term weight gain.

    But these downsides, significant as they are, do very little to celebrate the joys of the alternative. “Going Meatless” is a catchphrase quickly spreading beyond the otherwise rarefied world of strict vegetarians; it’s the omnivore’s agreement to try, if only one day a week, substituting a succulent meat dish with an equally delicious meal made up of vegetables and beans, pasta or pizza, with the right herbs and spices.

    Jessie Price and the EatingWell Test Kitchen set out to write a cookbook that would be a primer for the meatless-curious, if not totally vegetarian. The remarkable result: EATINGWELL FAST & FLAVORFUL MEATLESS MEALS (Countryman Press Hardcover; June 2011; $24.95), 150 healthy, immensely satisfying meat-free recipes, each using easy-to-find ingredients and tested several times to ensure that it really works.

    This book more than puts to rest the misconception that vegetarians just eat salads…And even if that were true, doubtful they’d have imagined Spiced Eggplant-Lentil Salad with Mango (p. 39).

    No one, octogenarian lady or otherwise, will inquire of the whereabouts of beef once they’ve tasted either Bean Burgers with Spicy Guacamole (p. 83) or Southwestern Pumpkin Burgers (p. 85).

    Cornucopias aren’t table displays anymore, that is, if we’re talking about Mediterranean Couscous Cabbage Rolls (p. 112) and Acorn Squash Stuffed with Chard & White Beans (p. 125).

    And for dessert? Put down the chocolate-covered bacon strip (that’s so 2009). To fruit goes the glory in finishers like Dairy-Free Banana Rice Pudding (p. 204) and Raspberry Spoonbread (p. 210).

    With a comprehensive list of items to keep in a Healthy Pantry, instructions on how to make your own vegetable stock, and an index categorizing the book’s vegan, gluten-free, and 30-minute recipes, EATINGWELL FAST & FLAVORFUL MEATLESS MEALS is an essential tool for the newly health- and environment-conscious kitchen.
    # # #

    About the Author:
    Jessie Price is the deputy editor of food for EatingWell Media Group and directs all food content for EatingWell. She has worked on several EatingWell books, including The Simple Art of EatingWell, EatingWell on a Budget, EatingWell 500-Calorie Dinners, and EatingWell Comfort Foods Made Healthy.

    Christianna E. Capra
    K2 Krupp Kommunications, Inc.
    636 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 4C
    New York, NY 10011
    Phone: 212-886-6709
    http://www.kruppkommunications.com
    Follow us on Twitter: @KruppKomm

  10. love the show-I know nothing about fine wines and food(learning) but your enthusiasm on the subject really draws the listener in. When I first heard a food show on the radio almost changed the channel but was quickly drawn in. I just hear the show driving around in my car and for some reason always come home hungry. any thoughts of a TV show?
    keep it up

  11. Hi Mr DeMers! I’m Agnese from SAIO Winery in Assisi. I had my first radio interview with you in Spoleto…and it was an honour! I read some of your articles and they are wonderful! I enjoyed them all. This is Food&Wine colture perfectly paired with humor and irony. I wonder how coul I hear the interview, and if it’s possible to publish somehow in our website. Regards Agnese

    • houstonartsweek

      Thank you, Agnese. I’ll send you a link to the podcast when it airs in a few weeks. I really enjoyed meeting you and interviewing you!
      John

  12. Hello John,
    I’m writing to thank you for your delightful and interesting radio interview with Philip Cusimano and Terri Lee of the Italian Cultural and Community Center, last week on KTRH 740 in Houston. I’m the president of ICCC, and on behalf of all our members and supporters, please know how much we appreciate the opportunity you gave us to teach the public about one aspect of our rich culture, wine; and to showcase one of our most popular offerings, the wine education series, and specifically our next class on August 18 where attendees will learn, not only about Italian wines in general, but specifically about “emerging” wines, those hidden gems that are not yet household names but soon will be.
    I hope you’ll be able to attend on the 18th and look forward to meeting you. Philip is so well-informed, as you know, and he’s a wonderful teacher. In addition to wine, we set out plates of delicious Italian deli meats and cheeses for attendees to savor as complements to the wine.
    Again, thank you for an enjoyable and enlightening program (as they always are), but also for the opportunity it afforded ICCC.
    A presto,
    Claudia Gentile Sims

  13. Bonjour John

    I am a French chef and author in Austin, TX.

    I just published my last book Healthy French Cuisine for Less Than $10/Day.

    See: http://www.amazon.com/Healthy-French-Cuisine-Less-Than/dp/0984288325/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1318111088&sr=8-6

    I was wondering if you would be interested in receiving a hard copy for your review.

    If you are interested, where should I ship it?

    Sincerely,

    Alain Braux
    Chef-Nutritherapist. Macrobiotic Counselor.

    Author of:
    “Healthy French Cuisine for Less Than $10/Day”
    “Living Gluten and Dairy-Free with French Gourmet Food”
    “How to Lower your Cholesterol with French Gourmet Food”

    Follow me to:
    http://www.alainbraux.com and http://www.healthychefrecipes.com/

    Find all my books at:
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=alain+braux&x=0&y=0

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