On the road to Coolsville

Sammy Yi loves hot sauce.

There we were, in a Middle Eastern restaurant in suburban Detroit, ordering lunch. Sammy, as usual, asked for extra hot sauce to accompany his meal; he also said “It’s really hot, right?—because I can do hot.” The waiter assured him that it would be. After a few minutes, the food came, and Sammy got his dipping bowl of hot sauce. After a few minutes, the waiter came to check.

“How is it?” he asked.

“Meh. Not hot.”

“Really? Okay, hold on, I’ll ask the cook to make you the kind we eat,” he answered with a smile.

We all kept eating—your humble WCCF host, Rob the director, Rebecca, our line producer, and Tim, a.k.a. “Kid Camera”, our fresh-faced, young camera guy—and cautioning Sammy-the-sound-man that he might be in for some punishment, challenging these guys on their sauce, as it were.

Our waiter returned with a small bowl of stuff that looked a little like salsa and apple sauce combined. It’s possible those wavy heat-lines you see in the desert were coming off the bowl. “This will get your taste buds going, sir,” he said with a wicked smile as he pushed the bowl in front of Sammy as if it were Plutonium.

Sammy tried it. We watched. Heck, even guys came out from the kitchen to watch.

“It’s kinda fruity,” said Sammy without a hint of suffering. “Oh, yeah, there’s the heat…it’s okay…thanks.”

Crestfallen, the waiter left with his tail between his legs.

*          *          *

It’s hard to be Hot when you’re on the trail of Cool, I guess.


As a print and radio journalist, I’ve interviewed countless people, but both of those gigs are done in a sort of isolation, so I wasn’t prepared for the sort of on-the-road fun I’d have hosting Where Cool Came From after the on-camera interviews had been shot. It’s my first time doing a web/television series and I’ll forever remember how fun it was to drive through the Mohave Desert with Damir Chytil, our camera guy, and Rob, looking for the trailer park called Hicksville, but stopping to look at the sky even though we were running late because it was just so freakin’ beautiful.




While I’d known Robert Fantinatto for a number of years, it’s different when you share meals, hotels and leisure time with someone (although leisure time is pretty scarce when you’re shooting); I now know that Rob has a hate-on for vegetables. He’s a meat-and-potatoes or pizza kinda guy, and watching him try to choke down a salad is pretty funny. To his credit, however, he allowed us to drag him into various ethnic restaurants (Damir is super-adventurous when it comes to food) where vegetables were definitely the star.

I now know that Rebecca, our line producer, can be tough-as-nails when she needs to be, especially when her charges (us) start to act like schoolchildren, but she’s also the sweetest gal working this industry, too. Rebecca is so adventurous, she and a partner have been running a food truck since our little show wrapped (check out http://picnicpec.wordpress.com/). And “Kid Camera” spends his free time making Hollywood-style action-adventure films in Waterloo, Ontario.

As you can see, cool projects attract cool people…and I’m honoured to have worked with these crazy cats; there are other crazy characters at Stornoway (our production company) that I hope to introduce to you another time…maybe season two?!?

Until then, I remain,

Yours in Coolness,

Dave LeBlanc


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