(Pictured above: Mina Llona, third from left, with three former Tasty Talks speakers and her friend and mentor Thomas Drayton. L to R: ABC Traffic Reporter Gina Gannon, publisher and former speaker Eddie Keels, Mina, Fox 29 News Anchor Thomas Drayton, Realtor and Tasty Talks Founder Michelle Leonard, former Tasty Talks speakers Nicole “Nik the Web Chick” Michalik and celebrity photographer HughE Dillon, with Yangming’s Michael Wei.)
“I want to talk about happiness and what it means to different people.” So began Mina Llona’s deeply moving Tasty Talk. While attending Syracuse University studying TV and radio, a friend offered Mina a puppy. Mina said Yes, and named her Venus. Though Venus ate her sneakers and had to be kept at a friend’s house, they became close.
After college, Mina worked at Sirius XM as a music programmer, but yearned to be behind the microphone. Then at just 25 years old, she scored a coup: the morning show on Power 99 in Philly. Mina quickly discovered that when you do a morning show, your days, your schedule, your whole life is about work. And at that very trying and lonely time, her greatest comfort was sitting at home on the couch…with Venus.
And a few years later, when she was asking herself, “Is this it?”, she looked forward to being with Venus.
Mina found her way forward, reporting entertainment news on Fox 29’s Good Day Morning Show with Thomas Drayton and Karen Hepp. But shortly after leaving Power 99, Venus’s two year struggle with cancer worsened, and despite Mina’s best efforts, she deteriorated quickly. Learning to let go of a dear friend after a decade together is what led Mina to become an active supporter of South Jersey’s Animal Welfare Association, her Tasty Talks charity. The very day she was talking a class on fostering, Mina received an offer for her own show on Sirius XM.
“For a long time, I thought my job would make my happy. But really, Venus made me happy. My dog was a great part of my journey.” Sophia Barrett of the Animal Welfare Association (below, at the podium) joined Mina to describe how the AWA helped nearly 11,000 cats, dogs and bunnies in southern New Jersey in 2017.
A Star-Studded Guest List
Tasty Talks founder, Realtor Michelle Leonard, a long time fan of Yangming, also shared her efforts to curate the guest list for each new Talk. “While my main responsibility is selecting each month’s speaker, I actually devote far more energy to inviting a diverse list of interesting and accomplished guests. I want everyone who attends a Tasty Talk to come away feeling that their circle of friends is wider and more fabulous. When you see how happy the guests are just getting to know one another, it’s very rewarding – and fun.”
The guest list for Mina’s Tasty Talk included Ken Gage, star of the Discovery Channel’s reality show, “Airplane Repo;” fashion designer Karon Woodland of KW Couture; Fox 29’s Thomas Drayton; Gina Gannon, seen on QVC and ABC news; and three former Tasty Talks speakers: Nicole “Nik the Web Chick” Michalik, publisher Eddie Keels, and celebrity photographer HughE Dillon of PhillyChitChat.com. Jody Peskin of the Sweet Trading Company in Narberth shared her rich custom chocolates with every guest; and Kim Wright of “Nothing Bundt Cakes” surprised Chester County Sheriff “Bunny” Welsh with a fabulous “Bunny Bundt” birthday cake.
Get ready for a Stellar 2019 Tasty Talks.
Tasty Talks is on hiatus for December, as Yangming focuses on holiday parties and New Year’s celebrations. Season Two of Tasty Talks resumes in January with a stellar line up of Philadelphia media favorites:
Jan 30 Quincy Harris
Feb 27 Stephanie Stahl
March 27 Lisa Thomas-Laury
April 24 Pat Ciarrocchi
May 15 Tracy Davidson
June 26 Gina Gannon
Order your Tickets now to see Quincy Harris
on Wednesday, January 30.
Tickets to see the warm and charming Quincy Harris, host of the nationally syndicated show “The Q,” are just $20 in advance ($25 at the door, if available), and include hors d’oeuvres, a hearty family-style lunch, dessert, tax, tip and charitable contribution.
Quincy’s Tasty Talk will support Big Brothers Big Sisters, which helps greater Philadelphia children to realize their full potential through one-to-one mentoring.
To reserve your seats – or table – via credit card, please call Yangming at 610-527-3200.
See photos from recent Tasty Talks:
- March 29, 2019
- March 1, 2019
- February 1, 2019
- December 4, 2018
See videos from prior Tasty Talks
Kyree Terrell, founder myNEWPhilly.com
Jim Donovan, CBS3 anchor
Marilyn Russell, WOGL host
Hear audio from prior Tasty Talks
Jim Donovan, CBS3 anchor
Marilyn Russell, WOGL host
NOTICE OF PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEO AT TASTY TALK EVENTS and GRANTING YANGMING PERMISSION TO USE THIS CONTENT.
At each Tasty Talk event, Yangming may shoot photos and video of our speaker and guests, so that we may share the talk, the Q&A, and the good spirits of the day with others. The video and photos will likely appear on YouTube, the Yangming website, our Facebook page, and elsewhere.
By paying for your lunch in advance, you agree that Yangming Restaurant and its marketing firm, Shamlian Creative, may record the event, and your presence at the event, in audio, video and/or photographs.You give your permission to use the recordings and images in whole or in part, for social media, publicity and marketing, without restriction or compensation. In addition, you waive your right to inspect or approve the photographs and/or videos; the posters, advertisements, posts or press releases in which your image may appear; and any text used with the photos and/or video.