In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, chef and restaurateur Roy Choi joins The Supporting Cast to discuss its impact on his restaurants, as well as the broader food and beverage industry. Roy also discusses growing up in Los Angeles as a Korean-American immigrant, how watching Emiril Lagasse on television inspired him to pursue cooking, rising the ranks as a “hotel chef” within Hilton Hotels, and partnering with director Jon Favreau on the movie “Chef” and Netflix’s “The Chef Show.” Now a Harvard-Westlake parent, Roy also shares the origin story of Kogi, and how losing his job in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis prompted him to create what Newsweek called “America’s first viral eatery.” Roy references Lou Jones of The Culinary Institute of America as a profound influence on his life and career.
Upper School Dean Sharon Cuseo is amid her 26th year at Harvard-Westlake, where she counsels students on the college admission process. In this episode, Sharon speaks about her reactions to the Varsity Blues scandal, the “myth of meritocracy” in college admission, and why there is far more “art” than “science” employed in college application evaluation. Sharon also talks about her upbringing in San Diego, meeting Ed Hu as young admission officers at Occidental College, and how a chance work-study job in the Stanford admission office sparked an interest in the profession. Sharon references Bob Litchfield of Patrick Henry High School, Bill Tingley of Stanford University, and Howard Gardner of Harvard Graduate School of Education as profound educational influences.
Mark Hoppus is the singer, bassist, and founding member of the band Blink-182. In this episode, Mark speaks about Blink-182’s meteoric rise from the San Diego punk scene to hitting #1 on MTV and watching his dreams come true. Mark also speaks about the thrills and anxieties of touring, approaching one’s creativity with humor and heart, co-hosting a television show with Amy Schumer, and why he still loves playing “All The Small Things.” Now a Harvard-Westlake parent, Mark credits his enormously supportive family, drummer Travis Barker, and producer Jerry Finn as profound influences on his life and career.
In 2014, Jason Collins ’97 became the first openly gay active athlete in any of the four major team sports. In this episode, Jason talks about why the NBA is ahead of other leagues in terms of advocacy and activism, how the language we use around LGBTQ+ issues has far-ranging impact, and about the courage he summoned in 2013 to come out publicly in a Sports Illustrated cover story. Jason also discusses his years at Harvard-Westlake and Stanford, guarding Shaquille O’Neal, the leadership of Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett, and why he idolizes Martina Navratilova. In addition to crediting his family for their unwavering support, Jason references Westlake and Harvard-Westlake teacher Joannie Parker as a profound educational influence.
Grace Brown believes that learning differences, and the broader notion of “neurodiversity,” should be integral to all teaching and learning at Harvard-Westlake. As the school’s first Learning Resource Specialist, Grace has spent the last three years building a Center for Learning at Harvard-Westlake that empowers students to discover their own cognitive differences and chart a new course for academic achievement. In this episode, Grace also describes growing up biracial in Ohio and Michigan, attending Harvard and Columbia, teaching in inner city Chicago, and how Harvard-Westlake became the fifth independent school at which she’s created a learning center. Grace references educators Mary Haab of Portage Central High School, David Mitten of Harvard University, and Kim Reid of Teachers College at Columbia University as inspiring influences on her life and career.