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Whetting your appetite for Chefs, Cocktails and Conversation

We take on serious topics day in and day out, so you have the information you need to navigate life in southeastern Connecticut.

This past week, staff writers have reported on teachers/coaches charged with sexually assaulting students, kept tabs on how our communities plan to spend the millions in coronavirus rescue funds coming our way and delved into a lawsuit involving the First Amendment rights of a faith-based pregnancy clinic in New London.

We're working on stories about the upcoming municipal elections, land preservation and the local impact of supply chain issues.

Heavy stuff.

That's why it's so much fun, on occasion, to work on projects like the upcoming Chefs, Cocktails and Conversations event on Nov. 16 at the Breakwater restaurant in Stonington Borough.

You might have seen an advertisement, or ten, about the CCC event, and with tickets now on sale, I thought I'd tell you what it's about. Am I trying to sell tickets? You bet.

Here's why:

You have surely heard by now that the legacy model of newspaper journalism, reliant on advertising and print circulation, is sustaining us less than ever in the digital age. 

As we work on adding revenue sources to strengthen our business model at The Day — so we can keep this ship sailing another 140 years, and keep you informed on all the local news that matters — we decided to involve the newsroom in more public events. You may have attended our ongoing Conversation on Race series or Trivia on Tap events in the past couple of years.

We're going elegant with Chefs, Cocktails and Conversations. We came up with the concept earlier this year, when Marketing Manager Jackie Nardone, advertising guru Jim Schiavone and I attended an intensive events bootcamp seminar presented by the Texas Tribune. Our coaches, who have successfully staged events across the country, urged us to collaborate across the company on events that would offer value, in the form of entertainment and live journalism.

We picked the Breakwater, a beautiful waterfront venue in Stonington Borough, for our first event based on an incredible story that veteran reporter Ann Baldelli wrote about its owner, Jon Kodama. He's operated several successful restaurants in the area and his daughter, Mari, followed him into the industry. We were getting ready to publish Baldelli's story when the coronavirus arrived and shut down the restaurant industry. We waited to publish the story, and now we have a unique opportunity to hear the Kodamas tell it with their own voices.

At the Nov. 16 event, Baldelli, whose warm storytelling style has graced our pages for decades, will interview the Kodamas about their work in restaurants and industry trends.

Jon Kodama grew up in Honolulu and was attending Yale with hopes of being a lawyer, when he met the people behind the legendary Studio 54 nightclub and got involved in the restaurant business. He's operated about a dozen notable eateries in the area. He's a boomer, and his daughter, Mari, is a millennial who is just as passionate as he is about the business and has taken over management of the Breakwater.

I hope we've whetted your appetite. Helping sustain your local news company has never been more delicious.

For tickets, go to

Karen Florin is The Day's engagement editor. She can be reached at or (860) 701-4217.


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