The biannual food magazine Cherry Bombe will host its sixth-ever Jubilee conference on April 14 in New York City. Headlining the event will be two London superstars: OG domestic goddess Nigella Lawson, and London’s River Café chef-owner Ruth Rogers. “The two women are such a powerhouse duo, in terms of one representing the working chef and the other the home cook,” says Cherry Bombe co-founder Kerry Diamond. “And it’s just a coincidence that they’re both from London.”
Diamond cites both women’s humanity as key reasons why she wanted them at this year’s Jubilee. “She’s been through a lot,” says Diamond of Lawson. “Everyone’s really interested to hear from her at this moment in time.” Lawson is best known for her television shows and best-selling cookbooks.
Rogers, meanwhile, “is a chef-icon,” says Diamond, whose still-essential London restaurant River Café recently turned 30. “When people say, What about female chefs?: Well, she’s been at it forever. She’s been such a trailblazer and inspiration. I doubt there’s a chef out there, male or female, who hasn’t looked to her at some point for inspiration. That’s a track record that’s enviable by any standard.” Diamond again stresses the notion of humanity, noting that Rogers kept the River Cafe going after losing her partner in the restaurant, the chef Rose Gray.
While the conference lineup is still taking shape, Diamond promises that this year will be the most diverse Jubilee yet, and also the biggest: A move to a new venue means Cherry Bombe can have 600 people attend, up from 400. As in years past, Diamond says the event will deliver a mix of talks, meals, and networking opportunities.
“Jubilee has its roots in women being left out,” says Diamond. She says a 2013 Eater article about the (perhaps not-so) shocking gender imbalance at food events inspired her and co-founder Claudia Wu to make their vision for a women-focused event a reality. “I felt like women were being left out of the networking, and Jubilee was a way to bring incredible women into the room at the same time to jumpstart conversations. Book deals and business deals have been struck at Jubilee,” says Diamond. And this time, she “want[s] that spirit to feel stronger.” (Eater’s Editor-in-Chief Amanda Kludt presented an update to those 2013 numbers at the last Jubilee conference.)
“I’ve had a few sleepless nights about how to address everything we need to address at Jubilee,” says Diamond. “The #MeToo movement feels like it’s been around forever, but the Harvey Weinstein story only broke in October. So how do we address #MeToo’s movement on our world?” The magazine published an online package exploring the topic of sexual harassment in the workplace, and Diamond says attendees can expect the conference to see those stories “amplified.”
“I want Jubilee to reflect female empowerment and I think it has in the past — I want people to feel that more than ever,” she says. “We’re not jumping on a bandwagon, we’ve always stood for this. And we’re very much in solidarity with other movements, whether its women in Hollywood, finance, tech, or other industries.”
“I‘d like to think Jubilee straddles the serious aspects of this world but also is fun.”
Jubilee takes place on Saturday, April 14 at Pier 17 in NYC’s Seaport District. Tickets are on sale now and cost $350.
• Cherry Bombe Jubilee [Official site]