TV Producer and Artisanal Grain Guru Marti Noxon Takes THR's Taste Test

© Ryan Tanaka 2013; AP Images

The co-founder of new-school Pasadena grain mill Grist & Toll talks coconut water, Zankou chicken, oysters, movie popcorn and more.

Marti Noxon – a veteran TV writer, who co-produced Buffy the Vampire Slayer and in recent years has penned episodes of Mad Men, Glee and Private Practice – has lately been nursing another passion project: organic grain. The “avid home baker” joined with friend and business partner Nan Kohler, a pastry chef, to open the five-month-old Grist & Toll, an artisanal flour mill in Pasadena inspired by the small-scale sort found all over Europe but rarely seen locally. (There are two in the San Francisco area and one in Central California.) “It’s been surprising to me how beneficial being a showrunner-producer has been” in launching the business, says Noxon, whose one-hour dramedy Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce was picked up by Bravo in February. “I’m not as flappable as I used to be. I expect crisis in the pursuit of the product. It’s not a straight line to something good. I have faith in the process.”



Current Fixation
“Recently I’ve been on a cleanse, so sadly it’s been Senokot and coconut water.”

Known for Cooking
“Chocolate pie, chocolate cake, cakes in the shape of a Kraken – my son’s annual birthday demand – all with Grist & Toll flour, naturally. I’m also trying to perfect the rice pudding recipe from Chez L’Ami Jean in Paris. Every time I serve it, we all go into a blissful food coma.”

Destination Dinner
“In L.A., Bestia or Osteria Mozza. But if it was really no object I’d fly to Paris and eat at the aforementioned Chez L’Ami Jean.”

Go-To Take-Out
Zankou Chicken, Cafe Gratitude – or Mozza 2 Go if I’m feeling flush.”

Simply Won’t Eat
“Oysters. Mucus meets sand meets brine. No.”

Favorite Snack
“Movie popcorn at the ArcLight Dome.”

Dietary Regimen
“Usually the ‘C Food’ diet: See it and eat it. Unless it’s January.”

Preferred Company
“Always love to eat with my brother [Christopher] and his wife, Jenji [Kohan]. And I love to eat with any writer friend, especially people I haven’t seen in a while – Joss [Whedon] or any folks from the Buffy days.”

Pet Peeve
“Not being seated until your party arrives – even when you have them on the phone and they are absolutely on their way.”

Big Wish
“I wish we had the McKittrick Hotel in Hollywood, where the show Sleep No More is performed. You can dine in the hotel before the show, then retire to the bar after your mind has been seriously blown. A perfect night, although I can’t actually remember how the food was.”

Embarrassing Experience
“I was super-nervous on a date, and the fellow made me laugh – sending red wine squirting out of my nose and all over his nice white shirt. And on another blind date, the guy thought it would be funny to arrive in dark glasses and a cane. Blind date, get it? Clearly for me – dining and dating is iffy.

Guilty Pleasure
Pie ’n Burger in Pasadena.”

Last Meal
“Pie ’n Burger, followed by the rice pudding at Chez L’Ami Jean."