The Food Stalker: Sandie Ward

The food stalkerWhat inspired me to write a blog?
I want to “Go to Oz” like Dorothy did and share my passion for food and fashion. All of my time spent traveling the world relate directly to finding a human face to associate with my destination, the food I eat and the memories. In a time of fast growing technology I think we are all seeking ways to “connect”, encouraging us to find through the universal language of food a genuine human connection.

Documenting my experiences with pictures and videos creating a blog seemed like a natural way to connect with the world. My most memorable experience was meeting Wolfgang Puck for the Oscars.

What obstacles have you had to overcome to get where you are today?
Technology has been a challenge for me. I am not a techie-person and learning new programs and how they work has driven me to have a cocktail before 5pm! It has been important to align myself with people who have a shared vision without ego (Ego stands for “eliminates growth opportunity”). In the beginning it takes time to find your voice. Things must grow organically and it takes time.

Who inspires you the most?
My husband Joe. He’s the one I am always “ditching” to chase for that next adventure, but behind the scenes he is my rock. He is a great son, father, friend and brother. When we met he shared his “Rocking Chair Theory” with me and once I was sold on the idea, we’ve been on a hell-of-a-ride ever since. ( Yes, that we would be in those proverbial rocking chairs, on the same porch, proud of the family legacy we created together.) A self-made man, he has utilised the most important masculine qualities of hard work, perseverance and most of all personal responsibility to become the captain of his own destiny. Not content with lounging on the shore waiting for his ship to come in, he has reached deep inside, pulling himself up by the bootstraps to become a successful, selfmade man. He’s a fighter and has the emotional tools in his toolbox to repair the cracks and dents life brings (let alone deal with this crazy blog-a-holic). His true gift is his “Midas Touch” and I have learnt so much from him over the last 20 years. He continues to put his family first, always, and rises each day making himself available to help others, living his life in a way that makes me proud.

What should every person who visits Laguna Beach, California, experience?
Laguna Beach offers miles of soft sand and surf and has a small town feeling and as far as I’m concerned is simply paradise here on earth. (just don’t tell anyone). It’s half way between Los Angeles and San Diego and offers year-round activities for art lovers, nature enthusiasts and beach lovers. In summer the town is flooded with visitors to see the world-renowned production “The Pageant of The Masters” which has been combining theater and art by creating “living pictures” of some of the world’s most well known works of art. You sit in the outdoor amphitheater under a starry sky watching this extraordinary production. Nearly 100 galleries are sprinkled around the town and The Sawdust Festival in the Canyon is another great event each summer. There are art museums, Patriot Day parades on Main Street, Music in the Park events, The Playhouse for live theater, hiking, biking, boating and surfing. Laguna has something to offer for everyone, with a more laid back feeling than Los Angeles and it’s been a great place to raise our son. He has fallen in love with the ocean and loves to skimboard which was started here in the 1920s. There are many wonderful restaurants and cafe’s to enjoy and The Montage Resort offers delightful views, a full spa and incredible cuisine. The Laguna Beach Farmer’s Market every Saturday is a great spot for us foodies.

Where does your passion for food and fashion come from?
Early childhood memories of playing dress up, modeling and being a creative person have fueled my passion. My mamie and mother always had great style. I still have a picture on my desk at age six in front of my mamie’s refridge wearing black and white checkered pants with a matching cap and sassy red jacket she purchased for me. Growing up part Italian and marrying a man who was 100% Italian for my first marriage, I had those remarkable experiences in
the kitchen that were priceless, learning “old school secrets” from grandmothers who were eager to share.

Tell me about your blog in 200 words:
It’s where food and fashion collide. Half of the stories are how I get there, gaining access and making something happen. It’s not easy and if everyone could be doing it they would. The other half is “the reward”, getting to meet the chef, restaurant owner, top designer, attending a red-carpet, etc. Placing a normal person in abnormal situations and watching the fireworks explode.

How far would you go to get what you want?
When it comes to food, I’m willing to ditch my husband and wade through the ocean in my Louboutins to join a band of local fishermen in search of the best “Catch of the Day”. I’ll chase trains, planes and automobiles to get to that next food story. Sometimes you just have to take a chance, no matter how many designer shoes you loose, because only those willing to risk even their husband’s sanity get what they want, and no one wants that food tale more than Sandie. There is always a story, behind the story, after all, and even the most unlikely kitchen filled with them. Whether a five-star chef with a penchant for bone sucking sauce or an aged olive farmer in the groves of Tuscany, each has an imprint on the foods we love and long to learn about. Except this huntress is willing to risk her marriage and her designer wardrobe to get to them, and doesn’t care what it requires, even the aid of an utter stranger. Savvy, adventurous, even dangerous with a sense of humour and an insatiable craving for food and fashion, that’s THE FOOD STALKER and you never know where I’ll turn up next. So grab your fork and knife and get ready for the wildest food adventures ever with this wild fashion-crazed, food-seeking gal because once the scent strikes there’s no telling where it’ll take me –or how many therapy sessions my husband might need!

If you were to be someone else for a day, who would it be and why?
Although comfortable in my own skin I would say Oprah Winfrey. She rose from a childhood so poor it sounded like a punch line for a joke and yet through it all she has risen to become one of the most powerful women in the world. Her philanthropy in founding a school in Africa, Oprah’s Angel Network which gives educational grants and personally donating $10million to rebuild homes after Hurricane Katrina are nothing short of remarkable. Her endorsements have the power to make careers and change lives. That must feel pretty incredible and oh, over all the years of interviews, the rich stories she must have.

Who is your role model?
Kathy Ireland. At 48 she is still as stunning as she was when she appeared in 13 consecutive Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues. With three children and two dogs she fronts the Kathy Ireland brand with credibility and manages to balance a career and a family effortlessly with class and style. “Please” and “thank you” are part of her every day vocabulary. She was an entrepreneur long before she was a model. As a child she painted stones and peddled them door-to-door and sold crafts at art fairs. At age 11 she applied to an add beckoning newspaper deliverers stating “Are you the boy for the job”? She wrote a note to the editor stating she was the girl for the job, and got it. My kinda gal. Considering she barely graduated high school, her success is staggering. Her business is about investing in people and ending up on the cover of ForbesMagazine in February 2012 is an inspiration for all women to follow your dreams and reach for the stars.

What makes you successful?
Hard work and no fear.

If you are interested in Sandie Ward's views and insights, follow her on Twitter @TheFoodStalker, Facebook or visit her website at