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Uniquely Detroit: Debi Mazar and her chef husband try out Detroit

DETROIT – You've seen her on the silver screen in movies like Goodfellas, and on your TV in shows like Entourage . But most recently, Debi Mazar is starring in her own show: Extra Virgin Americana on the Cooking Channel. 

The show follows Mazar, her celebrity chef husband Gabriele Corcos, their children and Uncle Robert as they try the best foods America has to offer.

While filming the season last summer, the couple stopped in Detroit.

"I've always wanted to come to Detroit to see where it all began in terms of industry in America.  Detroit has such a great legacy. A great history,” Mazar said. “Over the years, I've met many people who have come from here, left here, who are born here and I've read a lot of articles about how magnificent it was here."

Mazar and Corcos said Detroit was one of the most anticipated places they wanted to see.

“I'm getting to visit places that I kind of grew up watching on TV. Every place that I go I'm sort of like star struck,” Corcos said.

Mazar joined Instagram a few years ago and came across Detroit photographer @TonyDetroit

"When I saw his pictures, they really moved me because the buildings had such a history. They told a story of the grandeur of what once was here, and of people's histories of the lives they dedicated to building this town and to the industry ...the automotive industry, the history of jazz, the history of Motown,” Mazar said.

She reached out to Tony, and he helped coordinate her show’s filming in the city.

"That's why I do it, to capture the resurgence of Detroit.  And I'm very happy that through my images people actually sense what I feel living here, and it's great,” Tony said.

Mazar and Corcos said they had heard some negative things about Detroit from people in their home state of New York.

"Interestingly, living in New York, you hear of Detroit, only the negative aspect. I've been here only a couple of days but I get that there is work to be done, but the energy is here, people are happy and nobody is talking about it,” Corcos said. “I don't understand why this myth is to be perpetrated about Detroit being a city that is a ghost town."

"When I told people I was coming to Detroit, they were like, really? And I'm like, ‘Yeah, Because there's so much happening here,’” Mazar said.

After spending time in the city, meeting amazing people and feeling the energy here, those misconceptions were soon debunked.

"All the people that I met here are resurrecting the city, they are rolling up their sleeves and doing everything that they can to reclaim what these lost. It's very inspiring, extremely interesting and I just like seeing people that have that kind of energy, you know very positive about the future,” Corcos said. “I think that's the secret to every society, to not forget the past but live with an eye towards the future."

Corcos cooked with local chefs in the middle of Eastern Market.

"I am getting a real taste of America. I'm getting a real taste of people that want to move forward and build and rebuild. It's very inspiring. It's really helping me stay positive and move forward myself,” he said.

Mazar said she is excited about sharing the experiences with her family.

"I thought what a great way to show my children the history of America … Detroit was on the list. It was this or Miami and I was like, ‘No, Miami has been seen and shot so many times. I want to come to Detroit, see the people, see the buildings, finally meet Tony and see some of the magnificent architecture and history.’ So, here we are and I'm meeting wonderful people,” Mazar said.

She's also a fan of the lowrider community after living in Los Angeles for 20 years.

"I just love classic cars. I love the lines, I love the build. I'm interested in the parts. Maybe I was a mechanic in a former life,” she said.

What will they say about Detroit when they return to New York?

"What I can say to people is that there's a great pride in Detroit and I walk away with people that are excited about newness, about growing,” Mazar said.

She was so impressed with the city and Detroiters that she even considered a big move.

"I just find it very inspirational and I see the potential in this town. It's a place that I would consider actually moving to,” she said.

Corcos echoed the thought.

"The energy is so fantastic, and the people are so willing to do things. The biggest message is to stop talking about Detroit in a way that is ... almost like forgetful. Like something that happened in the past and there's no need to talk about. This is a real Renaissance that is happening here and I would love to be a part of it. I hope to be a part of it one day,” Corcos said.

"It's such a great place for artists and writers. I feel like Detroit's having a renaissance right now and I'm glad that I got to see a little bit of it before it's turned into a whole new city. So to everyone in Detroit, I wish you the best and I'll be back,” Mazar added.

"Motor City Deb-olition Derby" is scheduled to air April 20, 2016


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