Memories of Eileen Mintz

Memories of Eileen Mintz

I first met Eileen Mintz last summer. I was making a documentary film about the Chefs of Seattle and Joe Kennedy said, “You have to interview Eileen for your movie!” So I gave Eileen a call and she was so nice to agree to be interviewed. Eileen came over to my video studio in Bellevue one afternoon. She was so beautiful and enthusiastic and instantly special to me. The best way to describe the moment is do you know how if you are at a party and someone really special like a Brad Pitt or Clark Gable or John Wayne or Marilyn Monroe enters the room? Well that is how this experience was for me. Eileen lit up the room. She was a celebrity to me. She had a glow about her. We went into the studio and started our interview. We talked about her career and how she became a food critic. She talked about the good old days and how she just loved chefs. She talked about how she tried so hard to help the Chefs of Seattle become the Rock Stars of today. Eileen had such a remarkable enthusiasm for life that it made me look at my own enthusiasm scale. On a scale of one to ten she was definitely a ten. I learned that day about the days when Eileen worked in the hotel industry and how she got into the PR business and also how much she loved chefs. I learned so much about the history of the Seattle area that day, too. Over the course of time, Eileen and I talked a little about her bout with Cancer, but you really had to pull it out of her. She loved life so much. She told me how much she loved her family, and how blessed she felt, that she had led a “wonderful” life. We kept in touch via email over the next few months. As we completed the documentary “Chefs of Seattle” I sent her a DVD for her review. She said she liked it a lot. I can tell you that she was a huge part of the positive feelings from the movie. Last fall Eileen invited me to a dinner opening event down in Tacoma. I had to bow out at the last minute because one of my clients had passed away and I needed to make a video for their family. Eileen emailed me back that she really, uniquely, understood. The other day I received an email from a friend that Eileen had gone, and it really made me sad and mad. I didn’t hear about it until her memorial had already happened. I wished I could have honored her. The past few days I have told myself that I wished I had an opportunity to know Eileen better. But I feel grateful that I had a chance to spend one afternoon, one on one with her, listening to her laugh and the joy of her stories talking about the good old days in Seattle when chefs weren’t rock stars yet, where a young woman named Eileen helped make a difference in so many lives. This morning I watched her video interview once again and I laughed and felt great to have been blessed to have met, even for just a moment, Eileen Mintz.
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