By Heidi Simmons
Soft spoken and filled with wisdom, Janet Newcomb of Newcomb Media is a woman of simplicity and elegance. She has carved out a niche in her marketing and public relations business, spending the majority of her time writing about food and representing the agricultural industry and the best of the valley’s restaurants.
“A restaurant is a very expensive investment,” said Newcomb. “It’s important they have someone to represent them who understands food.” When Newcomb says “understand food,” she means at the nearly molecular level.
Over the years, Newcomb has produced and hosted shows about the production and preparation of food. She has also extensively written about entertaining and the joys of eating. With a lot of mixed messages coming from unqualified people, Newcomb was compelled to do something.
“Most people today are concerned about what they eat. I’m often asked about eating only organic food,“ said Newcomb. “Living here in the valley and in California, we grow some of the very best food in the world. It’s okay not to eat organic.” On her PBS television show, “Chowhound,” which aired weekly on KCET, she discussed the valley’s farms and restaurants with local chefs and farmers.
As a consumer, Newcomb realized people didn’t have a true understanding of the food they were eating. So she wrote and hosted a valley radio show called “Walking on Eggs: Cracking the Food Myths,” which was about growing, cooking, eating and regulating food. “It was fun. I chatted with scientists, chefs and nutritionists,” said Newcomb. “It’s a fascinating subject and there is plenty to learn.”
Newcomb came to the Coachella Valley in 1989 because her terminally ill husband wanted to spend his final days playing golf. After he died in 1990, Newcomb decided to stay and enjoy the CV lifestyle. Although Newcomb is a very independent person she had never been completely alone.
“I didn’t know anybody here so I opened a tabletop store in Indian Wells,” said Newcomb. “I never owned a retail store before and it was all new.” Called Siena, Newcomb quickly met people with similar interests.
With a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a Masters of Business Administration, Newcomb became skilled in behavioral psychology. (She did psychological warfare research for the US Army in Washington DC!) “I have always been intrigued with human behavior and all of its repercussions,” said Newcomb.
Her behavioral experience and her passion translated easily into helping people market and promote their business. “The human experience is mostly about communication,” said Newcomb. “It is a process that takes thought. And when people don’t give it thought, it often results in a problem.”
Newcomb is intrigued with people who are creative and their creative processes. In fact, it inspires her. She loves to write and clearly enjoys getting into her subject. Beside her foodies, she has many other wonderful clients that she respects and appreciates.
Ask her about the future and she says she tries to never look too far ahead. “You have to be open. You can’t demand something to happen. If you do, it won’t,” said Newcomb. “I’m fully absorbed in the present.”