Yesterday, Cherry Bombe — the bi-annual magazine that focuses its lens on women in the food sphere — held its second annual Jubilee, a gathering of important voices in the food industry. Over the course of nearly eight hours, 27 women from across the country spoke about affecting change through food, culinary inspiration, modernist cuisine, nutrition, success, failure, and the future. Notable talks by living cookbook legend Ina Garten, Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, and keynote speaker April Bloomfield (the Spotted Pig, the Breslin, John Dory, Tosca Cafe) stirred the crowd.
Luck, a theme that developed during last year's talks, played a part in this year's conference. Garten admitted that she felt lucky to be at the conference, to be doing what she loves, and to be able to fly to Paris at a moment's notice. Lakshmi credited luck as well, noting that she might not have achieved success had she not been lucky enough to have good health care, and doctors and nurses who helped diagnose her endometriosis. Even avant garde chef Dominique Crenn spoke of luck during a panel on modernist cuisine. Here now are the 16 most notable quotes from this past weekend's Cherry Bombe Jubilee.
- Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu of Cherry Bombe
- Julia Turshen and Ina Garten
- Julia Turshen and Ina Garten
- L to R: Aki Kamozawa, Iliana Regan, Elise Kornack, Dominique Crenn, and Anjana Shanker
- Four & Twenty Blackbirds Salted Honey Mini Pies
- April Bloomfield
- Elise Kornack and April Bloomfield
- April Bloomfield and Dominique Crenn
- Mimi Sheraton and Diana Kennedy
- Scones and cookies from Ovenly
- Claudia Wu and Kerry Diamond
1) Thomas Keller, in a video produced by Yahoo! Food, gave this advice to the audience: "Be competitive, have stamina, be patient. Persist."
2) Author Caroline Randall Williams (Soul Food Love) on the difference between being healthy and being skinny and changing cultural stereotypes: "One of the best compliments you can get as a black woman is to be called 'thick,' but the way to talk about it... it's not about getting thin. It's about getting healthy."
3) Ina Garten on how she decides what companies to work with: "Someone asked me to endorse a line of fertilizer and I thought, 'Oh, you want me to endorse your shit?!'"
"You can teach people about cheese, but you cannot teach them to be happy." — Ina Garten
4) Ina Garten on what she looks for when she hires new people: "I hire people who are happy. You can teach people about cheese, but you cannot teach them how to be happy."
5) Indianapolis-based restaurateur Martha Hoover on how her employees reacted to the state's new so-called "religious freedom" law: "All of us immediately came out against it. I was on a plane when it was announced, and when I landed, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw all of my employees posting messages in opposition to the law, and really standing by their beliefs. This law is repulsive, but I am so proud that my employees feel empowered to stand up for their beliefs."
6) Oakland-based chef and restaurateur Tanya Holland on giving people who live in the neighborhood a chance at employment: "We employ the unemployable. It is hard work, but you're all working toward the same goal."
7) Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi: "I'm the first one to admit that I got my first cookbook deal because I was a model... I'm lucky to have been able to be a model to pay off my incredible student loan debt."
8) "Madhur Jaffrey": Lakshmi on the only other woman who has been an actress and had a career in food. Notably, Lakshmi left out wannabe chef/GOOP editor Gwyneth Paltrow.
9) Lakshmi on dealing with critics and doubts about her qualifications for the Top Chef job: "For the first few seasons of Top Chef I suffered from impostor syndrome. I just thought, 'Well, I'll just be a really good host,' because that's the job, too. Then, one day I overheard Eric Ripert talking to another well-known chef who was asking about me, and Eric said, 'But Padma has a really sensitive palate.' And then I realized I had to rely on what I did know instead of what I didn't."
10) Chef Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn) on being lucky: "I was lucky to grow up around food in France, which shaped how I see food today. What I learned was about diversity, it was about balance."
"I realized I had to rely on what I did know instead of what I didn't." — Padma Lakshmi
11) Chef Elise Kornack (of Brooklyn's Take Root) on her favorite season: "I love winter. I love limits and I love being boxed in. I love being forced to be creative."
12) Chicago-based chef Iliana Regan (Elizabeth), noting chef Jordyn Lexton's challenges in training former convicts to work inside Drive Change's Snowday Food Truck: "Most of my employees are not from jail, they are going to jail. I realize I need to change how I bring staff into my restaurant."
13) Dominique Crenn on the educational elements of modernist cooking: "When somebody comes into your restaurant and they learn something new and then they use it in their own life, it's about changing their point of view."
14) Mimi Sheraton on April Bloomfield: "What I love about April's food is that it looks innovative, but is rooted in tradition. She's the only chef I know that can do root-to-tail vegetables and not let you miss the meat."
15) April Bloomfield on when restaurateur Ken Friedman hired her: "Ken called me and said, 'You're going to open a gastropub with Mario Batali,' and I was like, 'Who is Mario Batali?'"
16) Bloomfield on her style of cooking: "I want to cook soulful food, things that give you a big hug, that make you think, 'Wow that's really epic and delicious.'"