Local Political Cooking Show Becoming Statewide Hit

Charles Parker

Brevard Times

May 31, 2013 

INDIALANTIC, Florida – A couple of years ago, former Indialantic councilwoman Lori Halbert was hosting a Fourth of July party for friends.  As usual, she was in the kitchen.  And subsequently, the talk turned to politics…and her future.

As the conversation progressed, an idea hatched: a cooking show about politics.  She and partner Jason Steele, a former state representative, quickly realized that this was a unique concept.  And the idea became reality.

“Live With Lori: Political Food for Thought” is now taping its third season – having wrapped 28 shows in Seasons 1 and 2. The show airs on Sun Sports Thursday mornings at 7:00 am. It has a potential viewership of over 6.6 million Floridians.

And so far, Florida politicians are lining up to cook and talk with Halbert.  Former guests have included Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Secretary of Agriculture Adam Putnam.

“This season we hope to have US Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio,” said Steele, the show’s Executive Producer. “We are trying to get more Democrats in the kitchen also.  This show is non-partisan and we do not allow campaigning.  We want to have some fun, while getting to the meat of some issues.”

In fact, at a recent taping Halbert’s guest was Democrat state representative Joe Saunders from east Orlando.  Saunders is the first openly gay member of the Florida legislature.  Halbert and Saunders discussed his recent legislative agenda, which included keeping arts in public schools, anti-discrimination efforts, and charter school reform.

Each show combines the cooking of a dish with political banter.  And the episodes end with a “signature question.”

When asked if he were “king for a day”, what law would he enact or repeal, Saunders said that he would promote an elections bill, which would include automatic registration when a resident gets a driver’s license and secure online registration.

The show is produced by Melbourne-based company Tightline Productions.  While it mostly is taped in Halbert’s Indialantic home, Steele said that they have a working agreement with Keiser University.  “We will be using their kitchens in Tallahassee, Sarasota, Orlando, and south Florida to be in better proximity for upcoming guests.”



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