Meredith Garofalo enjoys her job as well as volunteering
By Raiza Giorgi
Meteorologist Meredith Garofalo does more for the community than forecasting the weather.
She and Emily Nordee have been named co-chairs for the 2017 Cooking Up Dreams, a “flavorful” benefit for at-risk youth on March 31 at the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort in Santa Barbara.
“As a television personality I consider it a privilege to be on camera and that people look to us for … how to help others. I love that I can help make a difference in our community,” Garofalo said.
Cooking Up Dreams is a unique fundraising event featuring a culinary competition between leading chefs at local restaurants, including First and Oak in Solvang.
Guests will also enjoy complimentary wine provided by Grassini Family Vineyards and Touring and Tasting and beer, a full bar, music by DJ Scott Topper, silent and live auctions, a red carpet entrance, a premium photo booth, and much more.
Garofalo has been a meteorologist with KEYT Channel 3 in Santa Barbara for three years, after moving from a station in Sarasota, Fla.
“I knew I was supposed to be on the West Coast and jumped when this position came available. It’s been such a great time so far, and I look forward to many years in Santa Barbara and making this my forever home,” she said.
Her dedication to her craft recently earned her the American Meteorological Society’s Certified Broadcast Meteorologist designation. Radio and television meteorologists pursue the CBM designation as a mark of distinction and recognition.
To earn the CBM, broadcasters must hold a degree in meteorology or the equivalent from an accredited college or university, pass a rigorous written examination, and have their on-air work reviewed to assess graphical content as well as explanation and presentation skills.
In addition to the initial educational and test requirements, CBMs have to earn professional development points to maintain their certification by attending scientific seminars or meetings and similar activities.
“The society’s Certified Broadcast Meteorologist designation clearly recognizes that the holders have the educational background and have been tested in their knowledge and communication of the sciences needed to be an effective broadcast meteorologist,” said AMS Executive Director Keith Seitter.
A big perk of her job, she said, is that as a reporter she gets to do things like paragliding and taking surfing lessons to show the public. One of her memorable segments was an inside look with the meteorologists at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
“That was by far one of my favorite because, being a weather geek, I got to have an inside look at the forecasters’ jobs there, which are the deciding factors if a rocket launch happens or gets scrubbed,” she said excitedly.
Her typical day starts with getting ready for work at 2 a.m. and arriving at the station around 3 a.m. Then she prepares her forecasts and maps for the day by 4 a.m., does her own hair and makeup, and is on camera from 5 to 9 a.m. She does another mid-day forecast and then ends her day around noon.
In her free time she loves to work out or spend time with her boyfriend Scott Wallace, a real estate developer and amateur chef. They love to travel up and down the Central Coast, going wine tasting, walking on the beach or hiking.
Not only does Garofalo bring an informative outlook on the weather, but she also is a strong presence in Santa Barbara with all of her involvement in charitable events for organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club, and Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties.
“One of my favorite events is ‘Cooking Up Dreams,’ a fundraiser for the Family Services Agency, which helps kids all over the Central Coast. We love that valley native Andrew Firestone is our emcee and he does such a great job,” she said.
This year’s “Cooking up Dreams” will be from 6:30 to 10 p.m. on Friday, March 31, at the Fess Parker Doubletree Inn in Santa Barbara. The fundraising event features a culinary competition with samples by leading local chefs and restaurants. The competition will be fierce as 300 guests and celebrity judges vote on the top dish that will win the People’s Choice or the Judge’s awards.
Proceeds from the event support Family Service Agency’s youth enrichment programs, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, school-based counseling, and youth behavioral health – all programs targeting low-income, at-risk youth.
For more information, read the March edition of Santa Barbara Family and Life Magazine or log onto www.cookingupdreams.org.
5 Things to Know About Meredith Garofalo
– She has sung the national anthem more than 100 times at various events. Her goal is to sing it at a Los Angeles Lakers game.
– Her favorite book is “The Great Gatsby,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
– Her favorite animals are horses, and she hopes to get back in the saddle soon.
– Her great-grandfather once worked with the Rockefeller family and built the Warsaw Tavern, famous in the Drew Carey comedy show.
– She is a longtime lover of the “Grey’s Anatomy” television series.