Janaya Williams is the host of KCRW’s All Things Considered. Before moderating the panel for the Zócalo program “What Do We Want From the Next L.A. Mayor?” in May 2022, she joined us in our green room to talk Top Chef, Dave Chappelle, and being of L.A.
What’s the last book you read that you loved?
I recently reread a book that I loved with my cousin, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. I read that this book was being challenged in her school, and I wanted to introduce it to her because I worried it would be taken away [from her school library].
What’s your hidden talent?
I feel like a jack of all trades, master of none. There’s nothing hidden that I can think of!
What’s your favorite city you’ve lived in?
I think L.A. Because L.A. has been very good to me. Because I came of age here, and I went to high school here, and because it made me who I am.
What’s your favorite way to de-stress?
I love walking with my dog. I love hiking with my dog. I have a little Chihuahua-Maltese. And I love cuddling with her, and hiking with her, and throwing the ball.
If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be, and why?
I would be an okra. It’s so exotic. It’s so delicious. It’s eaten all over the world. And I just love okra.
What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
Reality television. What I love is Top Chef; I love chef shows. I know that competitive chef shows have taken over the world, and I’m probably responsible because I love them.
Do you like to cook yourself?
I’m an amateur chef. I like to cook everything. I lived in New Orleans, so I like to cook things that I picked up there, like gumbo, and red beans and rice.
Who is your dream dinner guest?
Dave Chappelle, because he’s hilarious. But I’d like to talk to him about some of the choices he’s making lately. I think we’d still have a great conversation.