Today’s Media Monday comes to us from the longest-running female on-air television personality in Arizona. And, with Thanksgiving a few days away, the timing is right to shed some light on her “other” career.
Jan D'Atri is an Emmy-award winning television host and producer, radio talk show host, food writer, web video content creator and cookbook author.
Her broadcasting career began in 1976 in Reno, Nev., when she anchored the 11 p.m. Nightly News on KTVN-TV (CBS) for two years. She then became host of PM Magazine in Reno before taking a similar position in Phoenix. She has hosted a number of other shows, including World of People, Under the Sun, Southwest Style and A Brighter Day with Jan D’Atri. She currently co-hosts and is the food and lifestyle contributor for Arizona Midday on KPNX Channel 12 and was recently inducted into the Arizona Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.
On top of that, Jan has maintained two parallel careers for nearly 40 years.
Jan, time to share:
I actually thought I would be a concert pianist! I was fortunate enough to study both at the San Francisco and British Columbia Conservatories of Music. Somewhere along the way Momma talked me into learning to play the accordion. (Don’t laugh. It’s really fun, and it kept me busy strolling table to table at my restaurants on very slow nights!)
In 1979 after taking a few journalism classes, I switched my career path to the media and never left it. I began as a weekend television reporter, then nightly anchor. When the lifestyle and entertainment television show PM Magazine hit the airwaves, I knew I had found my niche.
In 1990, with a TV career going strong, I armed myself with treasured family recipes and opened D’Atri Gourmet Foods in Arizona. My family and I re-created our specialties, D’Atri Italian Sausages and Biscotti and soon began to distribute our gourmet line nationwide. In 2005, Momma and I produced a special line of Biscotti Bites exclusively for QVC.
In 2001 I followed in my Momma and Dad’s footsteps by opening my first restaurant, D’Atri’s Cinema Paradiso in Scottsdale, a quaint and casual 14-table eatery named one of Arizona’s Top 100 Restaurants.
My second restaurant, D’Atri’s At The Scottsdale Airport incorporated fine dining and jet catering and we soon became a destination spot. We were often noted for our elegant Tuscan atmosphere, magnificent view of the Scottsdale Private Airport runway and our “Best Of Phoenix” homemade Panini Sandwiches!
In 2006, Momma and I collaborated on our first cookbook, Momma & Me & You, which chronicles Momma’s original recipes and stories from her own gourmet Italian restaurant, D’Atri’s at Lake Tahoe, which became a favorite gathering spot for celebrities during the 1950’s. The cookbook sold out in its first airing recently on QVC.
Momma and I then collaborated on our second cookbook, Rescued Recipes.
I have a fantastic husband named John Jeffrey who has been in the fine dining industry for nearly 35 years. Together we are the very proud parents of 24 farm animals including chickens, goats, burros, ponies, tortoises, dogs, cats and birds and a pigeon that snuck into the chicken coop and decided to stay.
One of my greatest accomplishments was learning to fly an airplane just because I had such a tremendous fear of flying. I’m still a private pilot and would love to someday get instrument rated.
My passions are fly-fishing and cooking, although it drives my Momma absolutely mad that I’ve never fried a fish that I’ve caught.