Feature Interview2020-07-27T12:26:40-08:00

Feature Interview

S.W.A.T. STAR DAVID LIM

all photos courtesy of Jonathan Davino As a kid in Oakland, Calif., in the 1990s, just about the last thing David Lim ever imagined himself growing up to be was an actor. “I don’t come from a family of artists or entertainers,’’ says the 34-year-old series regular on the newly minted CBS cop drama “S.W.A.T.” “Growing up, we never really thought to pursue something like that. In addition, I never really saw too many Asian-Americans on television, or in commercials – and if I did, it wasn’t the best portrayal of Asian-Americans, a lot of negative stereotypes. So (acting was) something I never really thought about.’’ So how is it that, today – after earning a degree in electrical engineering from UC San Diego in 2005, then trying his hand at real estate – Lim finds himself in the role of LAPD S.W.A.T. officer Victor Tan, under the command of series star Shemar Moore’s Daniel “Hondo” Harrelson? “I think I was about 25 and I realized I wanted to do something different,’’ Lim says. “Somebody had mentioned to me something along the lines of, ‘Hey, you should try out acting, you should try out modeling.’ I was watching a lot of ‘Entourage,’ at the time and I was like, ‘Wow, that would be a pretty cool [...]

BEHIND the LEAF: An Interview with AL MICALLEF

Al Micallef is a renowned Fort Worth, Texas businessman and innovator. His dossier is a diverse one. He’s been an entrepreneur his whole life. Dating back to his young roots in Detroit as the proverbial lemonade stand kid, Christmas tree lot owner, and as a rust cleaner salesman he’s made his mark. As his endeavors became more refined, Al Micallef has overseen businesses as far reaching as silicone rubber companies, ranchland development, and hot spot restaurants. He’s a self-made man and a Doctor of Jurisprudence to boot. It’s no surprise this Renaissance Wrangler has successfully made the transition from cigar lover to President and Founder of a successful brand in a couple of years. His partnership with the respected Gomez Sanchez family in 2016 helped make his brand a rising star in the industry. The Micallef Reserva (with its $42 price point) garnered a lot of buzz and has been highly rated in a variety of industry publications and other media outlets. The Micallef portfolio is distinct and price points have enough spread to include most enthusiasts. The brand has proven its ability to connect to new and seasoned smokers alike. Randy Mastronicola, Editor-in-Chief of Cigar & Spirits Magazine, recently met with Al Micallef to talk about what’s on the horizon as the company continues to build its standing in the cigar industry. [...]

An Interview with the Talented Kirk Nix

Las Vegas is no stranger to luxury, indulgence and entertainment-and Kirk Nix is no stranger to providing the high-luxe designs to boot. Known for his ability to seamlessly blend masculinity with opulence, it’s no wonder why high profile Las Vegas hotels turned to Nix to fulfill their ultimate interior design desires. Having completed multiple projects in the entertainment epicenter of the world, Kirk Nix shares the triumphs he experienced and his favorite ways to indulge while decorating some of the most elite hotels in the notorious Sin City.  C&S: "What was your first project in Las Vegas?" KN: "Our very first project in Las Vegas was the Palazzo Tower and the subsequent renovation of the Venetian which was a combined total of 6000 guestrooms in 2006. It was intimidating, but alas we rose to the challenge and we were fortunate enough to have an exceptionally supportive client in the Las Vegas Sands group." C&S: "Were you excited or intimidated for such a grandiose undertaking?" KN: "Are you kidding? It was a spectacular opportunity and we were thrilled to be asked." C&S: What do you do differently when designing for Vegas versus other luxury hotels? KN: Las Vegas is our national playground. [...]

An Interview With Jon Taffer: The King of Transformative Television

  It’s just before noon on a typical Thursday in Downtown Santa Monica. The sun is out, and there’s a cool breeze blowing onshore from the Pacific Ocean. I’m at Barney’s Beanery, on the 3rd Street Promenade in Downtown Santa Monica preparing for an interview with one of the true legends of the spirits industry, Jon Taffer. Most people know Jon Taffer from his hit TV Series Bar Rescue on Spike TV. His depth of knowledge comes from years of hard work and dedication to his craft–dedication that would one day lead to him being one of the most well known and respected stars of transformative television. Soft-spoken, yet with a presence that commands the room, Jon Taffer is a man that has rescued hundreds of bars, and enjoyed countless cigars along the way. Rescuing bars wasn’t always the plan for Taffer though; in fact, it was more of an afterthought to his main business, which had always been buying and selling bars and restaurants. After years of making the rounds through the speaking circuit for the National Restaurant Association and Bar and Nightclub Convention, Taffer experienced something new- a joy in helping people become successful…and well, it’s a story [...]

Interview with Veritas Cigars’ Vice President and Director of Marketing, Chris Weber

 "Passion goes into everything we do from our brand names to our blends to the images of the bands that they represent." By Randy Mastronicola In Latin, “Veritas Sine Timore” means Truth Without Fear. That proverb was the high school motto of Chris Weber, vice president and director of marketing at Veritas Cigars. The origin of that inspiration is a good a place to begin when getting to know the man and his brand. Many cigar lovers and entrepreneurs have entertained the notion of what it would be like to establish the ultimate lounge or developing the perfect tobacco blend. In today’s cigar industry climate, realizing the dream of engineering a fine smoke takes a lot of business acumen, marketing street smarts, product knowledge, and passion. In just over four years of entering the boutique cigar landscape, Veritas Cigars has garnered a lot of enthusiastic buzz and built an evolving customer base.  Randy Mastronicola: Chris, what was the inspiration for you to move forward from    your previous career path to become a cigar maker? Chris Weber: At the time I was back in school and it was just prior to my son being born. I was sitting with my father [...]

Cigar&Spirits July/August 2015 Cigar Buyer’s Guide Video Preview

Delicia Silva: Hey everyone thanks for tuning in to Cigar&Spirits TV. I’m Delicia and we’re hanging out with Lincoln in the office and we are just going over the latest issue of Cigar&Spirits magazine with Jeremy Piven, or Ari as you all know him from "Entourage" and we were discussing how many great cigars are rated in this issue. Lincoln Salazar: This is one of our biggest issues of the year, it is our IPCPR issue and we’ve rated 102 cigars, and in this issue you’ll notice the ratings are a little higher, and the reason being is we really want the retailers know it is the buyer’s guide for the IPCPR. We really want the retailers to know what’s great out there what’s good and what they should be filling their humidors with for their customers Delicia: That is a great point and I love that you guys did that this time because when you go to IPCPR there are so many different cigars out there and you kind of get overwhelmed sometimes so its a nice way to have a quick reference and know what to fill your humidors with for your customers. This year, we have an [...]

An Interview with Gurkha Cigar Group Chairman Kaizad Hansotia

Gurkha has come a long way from the garage-sized warehouse in the free zone of Miami to a 40,000-square-foot facility in Tamarac By Randy Mastronicola photos Courtesy Gurkha Cigar Group Cigars make great gifts. They represent family, luck, destiny, vision and generosity—all gifts for sharing and receiving. Gurkha Cigar Group Chairman, Kaizad Hansotia, discovered this first-hand in 1989 when exploring his roots on vacation in India. Kaizad's family was already immensely successful in the business of making luxury watches and a variety of other timepieces when Kaizad happened upon a Portuguese cigar roller who was selling his product under the name of Gurkha. Kaizad was enthralled by the man’s craft and thought his cigars would make unique gifts for customers of the family business. He learned that these Gurkha cigars were named after Nepalese warriors whose bravery had inspired British troops, and the intrigue surrounding the cigars proved too tempting to pass up. Kaizad decided to purchase the man’s entire stock for a nominal investment of $149. Gurkha cigars were initially sold at a friend’s duty free shop, and the demand was unbelievable. Kaizad quickly decided to enter the business of luxury cigars. Here he was, a man of Indian descent [...]

An Interview with William Shatner

Besides a fine cigar and a single-malt Scotch, William Shatner has other passions that keep him busy. By Russ Case By the time you’ve finished reading this, chances are William Shatner is close to finalizing a new television series, putting the finishing touches on a new book and ironing out the next tour dates for his one-man show, Shatner’s World. Saying the man is busy is an understatement of epic proportions, but because Shatner’s love of a fine cigar and taste for a vintage spirit were why we were chatting in the first place, let’s start there. “I started smoking,” William Shatner said, “like many people who smoke as kids, because I saw my father doing it. It was smart to smoke cigarettes in those days. I remember a movie with a French actor who had two cigarettes in his mouth. He lit both of them with the same match and hands one to his lady love, and they smoldered together. So eventually there I was, with a cigarette in my mouth.” Cigarette smoking continued into adulthood. “It was nationally acceptable after movie stars made smoking romantic. And with cigarettes dangling from artists’ lips as they painted or while writing [...]

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