Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dishing With ... Nefertiti Jáquez

NBC10's Nefertiti Jáquez
(Photo credit: Joseph Kaczmarek) 
When there's breaking news in the Philadelphia area, you'll frequently find Emmy-nominated reporter Nefertiti Jáquez on the scene. Jáquez joined NBC10 in January, but's she's a familiar face to Delaware Valley news watchers, having worked at FOX 29 from 2007 to 2009. In our latest "Dishing With ..." profile, Jáquez talks about a few of her favorite restaurants for dining gluten free, a typical (busy) work day, and the person she'd most like to interview.

Were you familiar with celiac disease before your diagnosis?
Actually, I had no idea what celiac disease was prior to being diagnosed a couple of years ago. I just vividly remember being happy and feeling a sense of relief when my doctor told me he had "the answer" to why I was always sick and not feeling well. I always dismissed the symptoms and thought maybe it was just stress-related.

What are some of your favorite gluten-free snacks to have on hand when you're on the road reporting on stories?
I try to eat organic foods as much as possible. So if I stay away from pre-packaged foods, that usually doesn't leave much room for gluten. My go-to snacks are hard-boiled eggs, almonds, green apples, and celery with some peanut butter. We don't get much time to eat on the road, so my snacks and meals have to be pre-made.

Do you have time to cook? 
I don't have too much time to cook. So on Sundays, I try to map out my meals for the week and prepare them. There is a lot of Tupperware in the fridge - think "protein and veggies!"

What are some of your favorite area restaurants?
Amada, Tinto, Raw and Mixto are places that accommodate me when I tell them about my gluten-free diet. For dessert, the ladies at Cookie Confidential are starting to make gluten-free cupcakes. Most restaurants in the city are accommodating to those on a gluten-free diet. I'm not afraid to ask about specific dishes or to substitute side dishes with gluten-free options.

What is a typical work day like for you?
Work is a 24/7 thing for me. I'm always looking for the next big story. I'm out and about meeting people and doing community events. I don't have a normal 9-to-5 job. I work 3:30 p.m. to midnight. I'm part of the night-side team, which means I'm live at 11 p.m. However, on days where there is breaking news or we're covering a huge story, you'll see me on the air at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and/or 6 p.m. as well. Each day is different. I have two cell phones, an iPad, a laptop, and a desktop computer.

On that last point, has the rise of services like Twitter and Facebook affect how you do your job? 
I tweet and use Facebook for work everyday; it's a part of my job. As the industry changes, so do the expectations from our viewers and our audiences as to how they get their news. I think that as journalists, we have to stay up to date and realize that social media is just a sign of the times. We cannot ignore the trend toward Internet- and social media-based news. So we just have to get good at it. I believe there is always room for improvement.

What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is that I get the chance to meet different people from different backgrounds every single day. But what I enjoy most is that moment when I'm with blessed with the opportunity to tell someone's story - when they trust me to tell their story.

You recently returned to Philly after a few years in Houston. What did you miss about the city?
I missed the city's rich history and architecture. I missed having four seasons. The restaurants. The shops. The culture and diversity. Kelly Drive. Boathouse Row. All of the quaint and distinctive neighborhoods: Rittenhouse Square, Society Hill, Filter Square. Every piece of the city has something great to offer. In Center City, the Reading Terminal Market is one of my favorite places.

If you could choose one person, past or present, to interview, who would it be and why?
It would be my mother as a young teen. Sadly, when she was a child, she was placed in an arranged marriage and was forced to be with this man until she grew the courage to leave. She boarded a train to Providence, Rhode Island from New York City and never looked back. Years later, she met my father and re-married. I'd want to interview her then to simply get a better sense of struggles and pain as she was enduring it. In the end, I'd tell her, as I do everyday, that I love her.
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