Fairfield food, entertainment expert hopes to be Mrs. Holiday

Jenn Arata is hoping to win the title Mrs. Holiday, become holiday spokesperson for Taste of Home magazine, and build on a business that ties together layers of interest and experience.

“It’s something that encompasses everything I’ve already been doing,” the Fairfield resident said. “They’re looking for an ambassador for the holiday season 2012-13, share ideas for entertaining be a media presence. I’ve been doing that for a year through my blog.”

Arata writes thatssojenn.com, “Confessions of a Foodie.”

 

Mrs. Holiday will win $50,000, the opportunity to travel and make appearances on behalf of Taste of Home, as well as contribute regular content to the magazine. Votes may be cast by searching for Mrs. Holiday on Facebook.

 

In working to expand the thatssojenn brand, Arata has made appearances on Connecticut television, planned parties and bridal showers, and radio spots on entertaining.

“I’ve been doing this, expanding the brand, reaching out to explain different ways to entertain,” Arata said. “It’s an all-encompassing role. Mrs. Holiday would give me a forum to do all this on a broader scale.”

Arata said what she does combines cooking, eating, entertaining and interacting with people.

“I love sharing with people, conversation, how to make things better, more interesting,” she said. “It’s not just showing off, its showing how.”

A college internship at Cosmopolitan led to Arata’s first job as a writer/reporter for its Style and Beauty issue.

She then worked for Life & Style, building her experience interviewing people.

“I’ve been passionate about my career for as long as I can remember, and have taken every opportunity I can to work hard in order to turn that dream of success into a reality,” she said.

Arata then went to the Food Network, working in production for Iron Chef America and Chopped, which she did “from the ground up: casting, on set, working with talent.”

“From there I’ve taken those two experiences, the writing and the interviewing and the production and food work, and turned it into my own experience,” Arata said. “I have behind-the scenes background experience, I understand being behind the camera. I know celebrity interviews, chefs’ profiles.”

In high school, Arata wrote a teen advice column. That evolved into a relationship column in college, then Engagement 101 Magazine.

To enter Mrs. Holiday, Arata had to submit a two-minute video and a recipe in 200 words or less.

“You’re seeing a two-minute clip,” she said. “That was a five-hour production project.”

Her husband Julio, whom she met at Quinnipiac, edited the video, shot by friend David Chalmers.

“I came up with a recipe and some other fun tips,” Arata said. “I like to offer a takeaway, especially when on television.”

She chose a recipe for candy cane cupcakes.

“It’s something that’s versatile, so when you’re entertaining for the holidays you have something in your pocket you can use for different occasions,” she said.

Arata, who celebrates Hanukah, said she wrote the recipe for New Year’s to be non-denominational.

“I’d like the judges to know I specifically did not put Christmas in because I didn’t want to peg it as Christmas,” she said.

“I wanted everybody to feel a part of it,” she added. “It’s something anybody would bring during the winter.”

Everybody includes the kids, she said. “They can crush up the candy canes.”

Arata said she considers it important to make everyone feel like cooking.

“I’ve had the passion for a long time,” she said, adding that she wants to share “accessible, affordable ideas you can take to any occasion all year round.”

Mrs. Holiday would be another way to share her love of entertaining people.

“It would mean everything to me,” she said. “If you do what you love you don’t work a day in your life, but I know you don’t get there without hard work.”

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