Kimmy B of DJ Laz Morning Show Talks Broward Restaurants and Judging for New Times' E.A.T!

Kimmy "B" Bell interviews Jason Derulo for the HITS 97.3 DJ Laz Morning Show.
Kimmy "B" Bell interviews Jason Derulo for the HITS 97.3 DJ Laz Morning Show.
Courtesy of Cox Media Groujp

New Times' inaugural E.A.T! will take over the BB&T Center this week, and tickets are still available at the door for $65 for general admission or $100 for VIP. Attend and you'll have access to more than 40 of South Florida's best eateries, unlimited food (and wine or drinks for VIPs) samples, and live entertainment, including a throw-down-style chef completion.

Need another reason to attend? One-half of South Florida's DJ Laz Morning Show will be making a guest appearance for the first time. A self-described "foodie," Kimmy "B" Bell will be acting as a celebrity judge for E.A.T!'s brand-new chef competition set to go down this Wednesday, September 21.

DJ Laz Morning Show fans will recognize the stunning brunette radio star from her on-air segment alongside Lazaro "DJ Laz" Mendez, which airs weekdays from 5:30 to 10 a.m. on HITS 97.3 (WFLC-FM), a Cox Media Group station. Together, they cover all things Miami: Bell dishes the celeb dirt in her Dirty @30, while she and Laz tag team their popular daily segment "Blown Off" that details the drama behind dates gone wrong. 

A New Englander by birth, Bell assures us she is a Miami soul at heart. When she’s not on-air, you can find her hanging out with her friends at any of Miami’s hottest spots soaking up the South Florida sun. While she describes herself as a "world traveler, a lover of the arts, avid reader, and a passionate sports fan," her credentials make her — most important, in our opinion — a foodie.

"I'm super excited about E.A.T!" says Bell. "I'm that person on our team, the food lover. In the past, I've hosted the Flipany Chefs Up Front Miami dinner as well as the Fort Lauderdale OBIEs, so to be asked to be a celebrity judge for New Times' latest food fest was a really exciting opportunity."

We had a chance to speak with Bell about what makes her a South Florida food expert and discovered that "Blown Off" also doubles as a good source for finding great new restaurants. Whodathunkit?

Kimmy "B" Bell (left) poses with cohost DJ Laz (right) and Iggy Azalea.
Kimmy "B" Bell (left) poses with cohost DJ Laz (right) and Iggy Azalea.
Courtesy of Cox Media Groujp

What did you eat growing up, and was it different than what you eat now?
Back in Massachusetts, my family was in the food and beverage business for a very long time. A lot of what we did together was eat — and by that I mean dining out,a lot. Because I grew up eating a lot of ethnic food, I was comfortable eating new and different things here in South Florida. I'd have to say the biggest difference was all the fresh, local seafood. I didn't know anything about stone crabs or Caribbean lobster before I came here. And, obviously, our Latin food is the best. And it's been great to see the diversity grow even more. It's made me learn to love spicier food and [I've] now been able to experience more as the culinary field has grown.

What are some of your favorite South Florida spots you frequent these days?
Before I got into radio, I was always about the steakhouses, the usual suspects everyone knows. Now that I live in Wynwood, I find myself going to spots like Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill and Prohibition Restaurant & Speakeasy. Further north, in Broward, I'm a huge fan of Las Olas, which has grown so much in the past few years. I really love the vibe, and places like Fork and Balls are always fun, or Timpano Italian Chophouse for its awesome happy hour.

What's your favorite place to dine out in Broward County?
Canyon is one of my favorite places, a staple that's been around forever. I was also a Martarono's girl for a very long time, especially when it came to getting good Italian in Broward County. Also, I recently attended a charity every at the Lobster Sea Bar and Grill, and I have to say the food was absolutely amazing — everything from the staff to the ambiance — so that's become a recent favorite. I also really like the food Ned [Jaouhar] is doing at Rusty Hook Tavern in Pompano Beach. He's a very talented chef.

What about your go-to spot for cocktails?
Outside of Miami, I'd have to say Rhythm and Vine [in Fort Lauderdale] is great spot for specialty cocktails. It's one of the few spots I will let the bartender take creative license to make my drinks.

How do you think the dining scene has changed in South Florida over the past few years?
Five years ago, the food community was nowhere near what it's grown into recently. It's evolved so much that now it's one of the things South Florida is known for now. So many places, and some of the nation's best chefs, are coming out of Miami and South Florida. Being in the media, I get an opportunity to meet a lot of these amazing chefs and try their food, and it's exciting to see the scene growing. That's why local food events — like Miami New Times' Iron Fork and New Times' E.A.T! — are so important. They put a lot of these establishments at people's fingertips and are a great way to discover some of the area's best restaurants.

You're a self-described foodie. How do you discover new places?
We have a feature on our show — "Blown Off" — and it's funny because we find out about a lot of restaurants through that segment. Not many people know how it all started: Laz had a friend who was stood up on a date, and he asked if we could call the girl to find out what happened. We aired the call, and — sure enough — more people called in wanting to do something similar. Now, we get people contacting us daily. We air a new [episode] each day, about five calls each week, but our producer has to sort through dozens of them to decide the ones we'll actually record.

How do restaurants come into play on the show?
What do most people do when they're on a date? You go out to eat! And it's truly amazing how many things can go wrong while you're dining out, or even just out for drinks. The show covers it all, from cheating spouses to jealous stalkers. There's no end to what people will share with us on their adventures.

Judges take a bite out of the chef's dishes at the 2016 New Times Iron Fork.
Judges take a bite out of the chef's dishes at the 2016 New Times Iron Fork.
Courtesy of Miami New Times

Upcoming Events

Can you tell us about a particularly memorable call?
I actually got a message from this guy who took a girl out to Morton's, and he couldn't believe that she started eating off his plate on the first date. It was funny, because he went into so much detail about how good his food was — the way he described his meal — it made listeners want to go there. He was so passionate about his dinner that we ended up having a few calls afterwards asking where he had been so they could go there to order the same dish.

Sounds like a lot of fun. Any more behind-the-scenes secrets you can share?
We record each airing after the show, because if we did it live listeners would hear everything that can go wrong with a show like this. We'll get a lot of hang-ups, a lot of people who are angry that we're calling them out. We actually want to put together an "out-take" show because of all the people that will curse us out, go off on us, or straight up slam the phone down in anger. We've also had people cry when we've exposed their cheating spouses. Sometimes, it gets so crazy, Laz and I look at each other like, "I can't believe what just happened."

So people get real with you?
Yes. Sometimes it's a little too real. We have an "open mike" feature on our app that lets everyone call in with their opinion about what goes on with "Blown Off." That takes it to a whole new level.

What's it like during an average day at work?
"Blown Off" has become one of the biggest parts of our show, of course, but otherwise we're talking about everything from celebrity gossip to what's going on in our personal lives. There are artist interviews; Laz will talk about his kids a lot; and I'll use my friends and family for material too. Nobody is off limits — anyone can be a topic of conversation. It's fun, and at the end of the day I truly believe I have the best job in the world.

What do you love most about your job?
Being reflective of our audience, and really being a voice for the community, is most important to me. That's why doing events like E.A.T! are so important. It helps us solidify out place in the community as local experts, if you will. New Times has become the sounding board for everything South Florida, so to be able to partner with the paper helps us make our stamp as a truly local radio station. People want food news these days, and these are the types of events that our listeners want to be a part of. I've been reading the New Times for years; it's always where you went to see what's hot, what's popping, and now to be a celebrity judge at this all-new foodie event is a great honor. 

New Times E.A.T! 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, September 21, at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Pkwy., Sunrise.

Tickets cost $35 per person ($65 at the door) and get event-goers unlimited restaurant samplings and access to live entertainment starting at 7 p.m. VIP tickets are $85 per person ($100 at the door while supplies last) and get ticket holders early access at 6:30 p.m., exclusive access to the Chairman’s Club area, exclusive restaurant sampling not available in other areas, and complimentary access to sponsored wine and beer bars for the duration of the event. Elite ticket pricing is $135 per person ($150 at the door while supplies last) and gets ticket holders a 6 p.m. entrance into the event, exclusive access to the Club Lexus area, exclusive restaurant sampling not available in other areas, and complimentary access to sponsored spirit, wine, and beer bars for the duration of the event, as well as a commemorative item. For group ticket pricing, call 954-835-7830, or visit newtimeseat.com.

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BB&T Center

1 Panther Parkway
Sunrise, FL 33323

954-835-8000

www.thebbtcenter.com


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