At 4 years old with an apron tied under her arms, Marlon Braccia’s intro to cooking began in “South Philly”. Marlon learned all the classic Italian specialties, like veal Milanese, roast peppers, potato frittata, beef soup, homemade gnocchi and pizza, and how to make a traditional “Sunday gravy” before she was ten. In her teens, she multi-tasked by watching the family store’s counter in front room of the house, as she perfected more delicate techniques like making perfect pasta with a stringed chitarra back in the kitchen. At 14, she was growing her own vegetables. Typical holiday dinners remained the usual 7 courses and 40 people, as all the cousins, aunts, uncles and relations gathered around one long table. Though not knowing how to cook seemed more unusual in this family, her folks were perplexed at why Marlon’s simple creations like grilled cheese, tuna salad and coffee were so fabulous.
While she was working her way through Hofstra University as a Communication major, specializing in TV Production/ Drama and Fine Arts major, Mom Mom’s ‘Salad Girl’ got more on-the-spot training in the pantries of innumerable restaurants. Naturally, her first cooking show made its debut on the university channel.
Much later in NYC, Marlon did plenty of food styling on the set of commercial shoots, where she was recruited to be a hand model. “It’s not really milk under the corn flakes, ya know. It’s 7 1/2 bottles of Elmer’s Glue and I’ve been rearranging the perfect looking flakes with chopsticks for 7 hours. Tedious? No, I’m glad not to be shucking oysters for a living anymore!”
Once in Los Angeles, Marlon set her styling and cooking skills aside to concentrate on her new passion: yoga. Once a certified yogi, she began production on 50 episodes of “Yoga Time with Marlon Braccia, which eventually aired opposite Seinfeld, to over 11 million homes weekly across public access channels. Now as a formally initiated and recognized yogi, Marlon has 7 DVD series that is distributed nationally in major retail outlets like Wal-Mart and Best Buy. Web visitors ‘Ask Yogi Marlon’ their questions on a variety of topics like yoga, spiritual practice, natural health, nutrition, holistic living and style. Marlon is a proponent of a healthy diet that excludes food products laced with antibiotics, hormones, pesticides and artificial dyes or preservatives. Though fiercely health-driven, she never sacrifices style, flavor or joy. She advocates shopping at farmer’s markets for freshness, ripeness, and the opportunity to eat local, in-season varieties as “we restore a sense of community to the city.”
Formally trained president of Private Chefs, Inc., Christian Paier, says, “She has an amazing scope of knowledge and classic technique paired with a mad-cap lust for fun in the kitchen.” Harriet Morgan, a frequent dinner party guest says, “She’s the most intuitive cook I’ve ever known!”
At one of her elaborate dinner parties or splashy BBQ’s, you’ll find lots of film and music industry friends pitching in and having a blast. “Having people at my home for a meal is one of my greatest joys!” She relishes the idea of taking the intimidation out of throwing a dinner party for TV viewers, believing everyone is there to have fun, and including them in the process shatters all the stiff obstacles. “The shared experience has added depth and dimension to relationships that were once mere acquaintances.”
Of herself, Marlon says, “I can make a sauce from the mold in your refrigerator, but let’s shop instead!”
Marlon Braccia is currently authoring and photographing her an all-natural cookbook, The Enlightened Cook, while she works as a private chef who stocks clients’ refrigerators weekly.
Companion videos can be found at http://youtube.com/yogimarlon.