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Life In the Carolina's Podcast

Jan 28, 2020

On this episode of the Life in the Carolinas podcast, Carl sits down with the always-entertaining Marti Mongiello, along with previous guest Orlando Herrera.

Marti grew up with who he calls the equivalent of the von Trapp family. His parents were stage actors in the Marian Theater Guild, as well as directors and producers. He was brought up in a thespian world, which meant he performed regularly, from school plays to professional productions. Living in an Italian household also meant that Marti was expected to earn his dues, which included having to pay for his own high school tuition. This instilled both a sense of discipline and the value of the dollar, which influences his decisions even today.

Nearing adulthood, Marti decided to go into the military, mainly due to the fact that he had two marks against him on his federal record for drug use. He was also, at that time, part of a gang and even ended up in jail (from which his mother had to bail him out of). He was rejected by the Air Force precisely for his drug use but was just able to enter the Navy and spent many days in a nuclear submarine.

Marti shares a plethora of incredible experiences in the Navy with Carl and Orlando, including his personal interactions with President Bill Clinton. Marti turned his love for the culinary arts into a profession, becoming a Navy cook. In nine years’, time, he received an opportunity to serve as a chef in the White House.

Referring to the White House as “the diaspora of the world”, Marti recalls the many diverse guests of the presidents from Bill Clinton onwards. Drawing from his own personal experiences sharing meals with different peoples all over the world, Marti says that, “People are just people, and the great confluence on Earth is eating and dining together with each other. Indeed, during the many years Marti spent living in Asia and Europe—being able to experience intimately the plights of a variety of cultures—he learned to appreciate the conveniences he grew up with as a Westerner.

Marti ends by saying, “I just encourage people to think about what you do have during the amount of time you have left here; and stop comparing yourself to what everyone else has.”