Baristanet Profile: Taigi Smith

Name: Taigi Smith

Where do you live? Montclair

When did you move there? June 2012

Where did you grow up?  San Francisco, The Mission to be exact

How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion? I make my living as a television producer and writer at the award-winning ABC NEWS show, 20/20. I love true-crime and telling stories in fun and creative ways. I consider myself a content creator and story-teller. There’s nothing I love more than telling, hearing, or writing a good story. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the last show I produced was shot, edited, and produced remotely using an array of creative and sometimes daunting technology. I am also passionate about healthy food and am still a proud, card-carrying member of the Park Slope Food Coop.

Coffee, tea or … ? I love a small cup of coffee with lots of hot cream and a ton of raw sugar in the morning. We’re not coffee snobs and proudly indulge in Folger’s, Café Bustelo, or whatever’s cheap at Acme.

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day?  A perfect weekend day is spent in Montclair surrounded by friends and family.  I am blessed to have created an incredible village here in town, and nothing makes me happier than spending lazy weekend days with my daughter, husband, and Montclair friends. I feel especially uplifted when I attend church at Good Neighbor Baptist Church in Newark, NJ which I have worshipped for decades. My father, who lives in Hillside sometimes drops by on Sundays and I’ll feed him something good. I’ve turned into an old lady, which means “dinner” is usually on the stove by 4 PM on Sundays. The pandemic radically changed the way all of us spend our weekends, but thankfully, it has allowed me countless weekends to bake on Saturdays with my daughter. I spend a lot of time running around, consumed with work, parenting responsibilities, and extracurriculars, so any day I can just sit around and take in the scenery is a perfect weekend day. In the summer,  I enjoy spending time at the Corrado’s Garden Center in Clifton and shopping until my heart is content and my car is full of flowers. This spring, my 8-year-old daughter has discovered the joy of gardening, so this is something we do together. The upside of the pandemic is I now have a little time to relax in the yard and dig in the dirt.

What’s your favorite local restaurant? I love Koreander. Give me a bowl of Korean Beef and Noodles in a steaming bowl and my entire life is made! I absolutely adore the owner of Koreander. For fancier nights out, I love Giotto.

What’s on your nightstand? I have made it a goal to read the Sunday NY Times going back to February. I have a pile of Sunday newspapers in my livingroom. This is my pandemic goal. I am determined, but work and parenting are making this goal feel impossible. And every Saturday, like clockwork, the paper shows up. By Sunday, I’m behind.

What are you listening to? I’m trying to understand the new Fiona Apple album and I can’t get enough of British soul singer, Laura Mvula. Esperanza Spalding is also a favorite. Say what you want, but R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet,” trilogy is low art at its finest. Before there were true crime podcasts, there was R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet.” Listen at your own risk.

What are your current indulgences? I am shamelessly indulgent when it comes to food and eating. Lately, I’ve been ordering organic meat (tons of pork and lamb) from an organic farm in Massachusetts. My most recent acquisition was a two-pound bacon jowl. Think of it as bacon on steroids. I cooked it with collard greens and black eyed peas. I also fried part of it for the tasiest, fattiest, bacon known to womankind. I’ve been sneaking to Fairway for cheese and salty black olives and J. Crew’s recent bankruptcy announcment means everything I’ve wanted on has suddenly become affordable. Don’t even get me started on indulgences!

What talent you would most like to have? I wish I had the courage and the voice to get up and sing in my church’s choir. Those ladies can saaang!

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair? Montclair is an amazing place to live…it’s not a secret. The entire world knows it. Who wouldn’t be happy to live in such a beautiful, warm, community? Now let’s work to close that achievement gap! Let’s shake things up and mix up these schools a bit!

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? I don’t want to think about my funeral. Give me my flowers while I’m alive–while I can see them, smell them, and plant them in the ground…

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