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Thanksgiving 2023 Power in Diversity



It’s all about the food. And we know that  food is what brings people together.


I was invited to dinner for the holidays by Film Producer and founder of Carolina Film Network, Andrew Gadjadar, who also is a Chef. He and Faith Creech welcomed me into their home with open arms.

As I arrived in Columbia, South Carolina from a two hour drive out of Travelers Rest, I walked in the kitchen seeing a display of two different large Chatauree boards of various types of cheese and meats that  were brought in to nibble on until the meal was ready to eat. Andrew's sister Cyreeta Crowell had them nicely displayed and I was ready to sample.




The aroma of holiday smell was in the air. Of course there was the traditional mac and cheese and homemade rolls with desserts. But because Andrew knew I was a food blogger, he plated me his specialties as he prepared.



First course was an appetizer sampler. 

Rare chuck roast drizzled with a balsamic flavor  on a bed of cream cheese and cracker, with a side of thai pickled carrots and caviar spread. I liked it alot and the flavors mixed well with my red wine.



But I don't think my friend Donna liked it. (laugh out loud)  She was so cute, loving her husband Chuck of many years and he was returning the affection back. It was a beautiful sight to see so I had to snap a picture! 



Andrew really outdid himself with the dishes he prepared. 


We had smoked turkey and roasted turkey that were both marinated in a brine for 48 hours, chicken biryani, curry mung beans, more thai pickled carrots and daikon, smoked pork shank collards, more smoked mid-rare chuck roast, celery root purée, and balsamic glaze.



I’ve never had such a variety of flavors from different cultures served at Thanksgiving.  Not only was the food a big hit, so was the people.  While Andrew cooked and prepared the food, he had different styles of music playing to keep an upbeat atmosphere.  




The tasty flavors of each item were amazing and one of the guests made home made yeast rolls that were astounding.  

Holidays are very challenging for me. However, I always choose to see the best in my situation and get myself in rooms to meet and spend quality time with people. 

Thanksgiving, 2023 was like no other Thanksgiving that I’ve ever experienced. 




 (With Screen Writer Sharon Davis and CoProducer Faith Creech of Wolves at the Gate movie)



I’ve never laughed so hard.  I think this was the best fun night with a bunch of new friends on holiday time.  I learned how to play poker and we talked about anything and everything. It was definitely a vibe I will hold onto for many years to come.  We had atleast five  if not more ethnic backgrounds in the room. 



Thanksgiving went on into the late hours with poker night and Bougie Patty was soaking it all in. ( She was the character in the movie "Wolves at the Gate" that I portrayed, with these folks that led me to this moment with such a great group of people)  And during the evening, I was having hot flashes and my new friend Devyn was fanning me to keep me cool.  We also had "Chef Andre" and his storytelling messages that kept us entertained.


For some reason I had difficulty remembering to say Andrew, which is his name, but Andre stuck with me. So much fun was in this  home of diversity.  

Not to mention, it was Andre’s kid's mother who had a birthday so she danced and we sang happy birthday to her. There was dancing and a lot of laughter with a special song presentation by Salome'. (Andrew’s daughter) I love the  fact that both ex spouses could be in the same room and celebrate this holiday. 


It was totally a different type of environment that I am not used to on Thanksgiving and I embraced it 100%. We had different religions in the room, different cultures and we all were united. It was the best feeling that I wish the outside world would embrace. 

 Diversity is power. There was so much of it in this room and it worked for us. I have never been in a room with this much difference but yet the same.  There was such love peace and literally harmony.    I loved every bit of it.




There was singing eating laughing and it felt so good to be surrounded by so many people of different backgrounds with joy in their hearts. I didn’t go to sleep until 6am for talking and playing poker all night. 

 Grateful for Andrew and Faith letting me stay in their home. And I don’t regret losing sleep because lasting memories were created.  


Diversity is power.  I always say “Rise up and catch it.” And this is what we need more of in our lives.




Three years ago I met  “Andre” Andrew Gajadhar at the Carolina Film Festival Event at Spotlight Cinemas in Columbia SC.  Who would have thought we would reunite again to work on set with a movie premiere and end up breaking bread together at Thanksgiving. 

Here are a few Tik Tok memories to last a lifetime.









About the experience:

Tasteful Tips & Trips with Robin” is not just an ordinary food blog! It’s about fun, adventure, and a lot of tasty foods as I travel to places along this journey road called life. I am all about traveling and experimenting food flavors and the mixtures of them. So what better way to spread the word to others about places that I visit and help promote businesses!

If you would like for me to visit your venue or restaurant or get a special interview with Focus Forward with Robin please email me at swiftmagazine22@gmail.com  the name of your restaurant or business and location.


You may just see me show up unexpectedly one day with my big smile and readily appetite!

Robin Shockley is the Founder of “Focus Forward with Robin” she is a Writer of magazines, Radio/TV Talk Show Host with 106 Live Radio in Atlanta, Actress, Community Servant-Leader, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, and Author of books. She believes there is freedom to move forward in life to think, believe and achieve a thing. Contact Robin for future bookings to host your event or be a Speaker to help empower your audience.



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