Reflecting on her apparent success as a TV host and cooking instructor, Meadville native Amanda Mascia finds herself crediting her Crawford County roots as the inspiration for her Emmy Award-winning children’s show, “The Good Food Factory.”
The San Diego-syndicated show has aired its first season, featuring no scripts or child actors, but rather spontaneous, one-take cooking lessons for children Mascia meets through her own cooking classes, birthday parties and other community activities.
Mascia, who attended the 39th Annual Pacific Southwest Emmy Awards with her crew, was also nominated for On-Camera Talent.
“It takes a village to raise a child, and I am a villager,” Mascia said, intent on letting her homegrown values speak through her work to make a difference in children’s lives. “Adults can be great inspirations. We should all take a great interest in the kids around us.”
While Mascia took an early interest in film and cooking, she never thought she’d put the two together from her early years, growing up in the Meadville community, to the career decisions that brought her to New York and her current home in California.
“Meadville is a wonderful place,” Mascia said. “In a lot of larger communities, kids are pigeonholed into doing one thing and it gets to be so competitive. I grew up in a place where you could do everything.”
Crawford County roots
Born Amanda Curry in the Tamarack Lake area, Mascia took on every opportunity that came her way, including school sports, community theater, nature walks, amateur videography and more. From the lake to the Meadville Area Recreation Complex, Mascia learned the value of a healthy lifestyle, learning to skate and swim.
“If Lake Erie had better surf, I’d live there,” Mascia laughed. “I was raised on appreciating nature and being active. It’s the key to a healthy life and it’s free. Meadville has so many free things you can do.”
Her parents, Richard and Jeanette Curry, encouraged her expansive community involvement and she continued to develop her many enthusiasms, always grateful toward her large network of friends and mentors for their help and support.
“When she was little, she’d run around with a (video) camera,” Richard said. “Her goal was to be on Sesame Street.”
“My grandma Betty, who currently lives in Greenville, taught me how to cook,” Mascia said. “She was an excellent chef. I think I was making blueberry muffins by age six.”
Mascia even recalled learning valuable lessons from her lifelong friend and mail carrier, the late Hugh Urquhart, who taught her that any caring, thoughtful adult can serve to inspire and influence a child.
After graduating from Meadville Area Senior High School in 1995, Mascia attended Penn State University, developing marketing and communications skills which she took to New York, working for advertising agencies and firms on Wall Street.
In 2007, Mascia began researching childhood obesity and realized marketing techniques for candy and junk foods would be better suited for advertising a healthier lifestyle.
With her experience and variety of skills, Mascia set off toward her new goal — to make healthy eating fun.