Speaker: John DeMers, Author and Radio Host. "Bragging Rights: The Dallas-Houston Rivalry"
Journalist, radio host, author and playwright John DeMers ate his way through 136 foreign countries before discovering he could get all the same food in Texas. A native of New Orleans, John grew up with parents who read cookbooks to each other after dinner while drinking cans of Dixie beer. They also cooked most meals together, a trick that John later learned from his own relationships is not the easiest thing in the world. After studying history at Boston University and earning his BA and MA in journalism at Louisiana State University, John embarked on the predictable career writing for newspapers. He had no idea how unpredictable a career writing for newspapers could be.
Currently, John hosts the weekly Delicious Mischief food and wine radio show Saturdays on 1070 AM in Houston, 570 AM in Dallas, 1370 AM in Austin and 930 AM in San Antonio. His 52 published books include three mystery novels, Marfa Shadows, Marfa Rocks and Marfa Blues, a series starring his alter ego, chef Brett Baldwin, plus a Danny Morales mystery titled Terlingua Heat. Other books include Lone Star Chefs and Follow the Smoke: 14,783 Miles of Great Texas Barbecue. John’s most recent work, celebrating the 25th anniversary of his radio show, is The Delicious Mischief Texas Cookbook.
Among his most formative experiences were eight years as a reporter and editor for United Press International, before being laid off as part of UPI’s regularly scheduled bankruptcies: covering plane crashes and Mafia trials, elections and oil rig explosions, Super Bowls and championship fights. And that was before he transferred to UPI’s overnight Foreign Desk in Washington or became UPI’s globetrotting food editor almost without knowing such a job existed. Asked (especially by his children) what he did at work, the best John could ever come up with was, “I go places to eat things.”
Commerce raised its ugly head with increasing frequency. John ended up spending five years as Director of Promotions and Public Relations for the Fairmont Hotel in New Orleans and then almost 15 years creating his own magazines New Orleans Hospitality, EasyFood, CoastFood and finally Texas Foodlover. It was a return to newspapers, his first love, that brought John to Texas to follow the beloved Ann Criswell as food editor of the Houston Chronicle. By the time that job went away, Delicious Mischief had made it onto the airwaves here – and he saw no reason to let himself be run out of town. By then, in other words, Texas was home.