Where it Began: The Dinner that Changed my Life

Your Doctors Orders began in Tampa, Florida on WFLA as a regular segment in Daytime TV. The creator and executive producer, April, had been told by one of Oprah’s producers that Daytime was good, but they needed a doctor for health issues. We had met at an “underground”  foodie dinner and we did a segment, she liked it- the segment was created.

But before then, it all started on Twitter.  A fellow cigar smoker, Matthew Horbund (@mmwine) introduced me to some foodies he knew in Tampa. Among them were Debbie Frangipane (@dolcedebbie), her husband Barry (@barryfrangipane), Sandi McKenna (@sandimckenna), April Wilson (@producergirl), Jeff Houck (@jeffhouck – and thankfully memorialized this with some photos, that I have shared below), Jackie Silver (@agingbackwards) and a few others.  Debbie and Sandi kept inviting me to dinners in Tampa -a part of an underground food movement.  Hard to imagine, but one day when I was in Alaska I thought- why not? So I re-booked my trip to spend a weekend at the Frangipane’s for their three chef dinner.

As an Alaska Native, a part of our heritage is that when you go to someone’s home you bring something.  This is particularly true if you travel from Alaska to the lower 48 – you want to bring them something special from Alaska. So I brought a fresh King salmon, and some halibut.

Alaska salmon for Tampa

On my way to Tampa from Anchorage with a couple of salmon fillets. It is tradition that if you travel to someone’s house you bring them something from your home. The salmon was a hit – the chefs at the dinner did a great job with it.

The chef’s were happy with the offerings and Chef Gui did a beautiful job with the salmon.

Salmon

That night they did magic with the salmon I brought. Photo courtesy of Jeff Houck

From there a conversation started between April and I about doing a segment, possibly a long-running segment on her show. So we started shooting them.

Debbie Frangipane

My good friend, Debbie Frangipane, who kept after me to come to dinner in Tampa – a dinner that changed my life

 

The segments continued for a while, as I was doing a lot of travel between Tampa and Phoenix, so it became easy to do. The reason for that travel was I fell in love with April, and we had a long-distance relationship for a long time. I knew the flight schedule between Tampa and Phoenix well. April and I married in February of 2010, her contract with WFLA ended in March, and after that we went to Rome for a honeymoon and then had JJ in July. For a bit we filmed some shows from our kitchen.  But mostly April has focused on what she calls her greatest production, our son – who will be 3 years old in July.

In that time I have been re-working my book – from a cookbook to now a book about the science of food – more editing.

We headed back to Tampa in June of 2013, because @DolceDebbie, at whose house we met, the foodie dinner, opened a restaurant. While April and I have been busy raising and traveling with our son, Debbie Frangipane was getting trained at Culinary Institute of America and cutting her cooking skills at a couple of fine Florida restaurants. It had been a lot longer than we thought, but we were more than happy to be heading back to see our friends. Milestones have passed.  We just know that we cannot let that much time pass again before we connect with the people we love.

Barry Frangipane, April, and Sandi McKenna – the first dinner. This photo courtesy of Jeff Houck

 

Dinner in Tampa

We heard great presentations about the wine and food. Here I am, that first dinner, sitting next to Carrie Oliver

 

First night in Tampa met two great guys I had been communicating with, Tom Morris, and Matthew Horbund (@mmwine). This photo is on the back cover of “Cigar Talk” a book that I wrote about conversations that go on in cigar shops.

three amigos

First night in Tampa met two great guys I had been communicating with, Tom Morris, and Matthew Horbund (@mmwine). This photo is on the back cover of “Cigar Talk” a book that I wrote about conversations that go on in cigar shops

 

Another great friend we met through DayTime- Rick Griffin (@rickgriffin) here he is skydiving – his bucketlist. I think he is signing the new copy of his will.

Rick Griffin

Another great friend we met through DayTime- Rick Griffin (@rickgriffin) here he is skydiving – his bucketlist. I think he is signing the new copy of his will

Sedona

Shortly after starting our show, we started a romance. Here we are in Sedona

I went on a few shoots with April for Daytime Segments- this one at Titus Vineyards.

April at Titus Vineyards

I went on a few shoots with April for Daytime Segments- this one at Titus Vineyards

twitter I do

Since we sort of met through Twitter- here is our wedding day when we tweeted our vows. The wedding was officiated by another of our twitter friends Sher (@SherBailey).

Lori Moreno and JJ

One of our other twitter friends, Lori Moreno (@LoriMoreno), not only came to our wedding but was our son, JJ’s first visitor

SandiMcKenna

One of our other good friends, Sandi (@sandimckenna) also came to our wedding and made a trip out to meet JJ

Dr. Terry Simpson About Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and went to medical school. Dr. Simpson, a weight loss surgeon is an advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he believes teaching people to improve their health through their food and in their kitchen. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcolm Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska and in 2013 Dr Simpson won the National Indian Health Board Area Impact Award. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit www.terrysimpson.com.

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Latest Comments

  1. Rick Griffin says:

    GREAT post Terry!! Brings back a lot of great memories. So good to see so many wonderful friends. Twitter makes the world a smaller and better place!

  2. Carrie Oliver says:

    It’s so fun to learn that I was there at the beginning! April couldn’t keep her eyes off of you (and vice versa). But you were still a great dinner partner and it was fun to hear you react to the differences in flavor and texture of steaks from different farm and butcher teams. Many blessings for your continued happiness together as a family.

  3. sandi mckenna says:

    I’m so excited you are coming back to where it all started! I’m sure we’ll have a ton of laughs and I can’t wait to hug you all xoxoxo

  4. thedoc says:

    and JJ gets to come back to the place where we first thought about having him – and St. Pete was the place where April first felt him move – it was when Canada won the gold for the Olympics – coincidence?- I think not!

  5. Sher Bailey says:

    Happy, happy memories. I remember well standing on the little patio behind that cigar shop in Florida when you showed me a picture on your phone. No matter which way I looked at it, I couldn’t figure out what in the world it was. It was JJ!!! Love you both oodles and I’m so honored I got to be a part of your wedding. xoxo

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