If you were unable to attend this year’s annual Jubilee organized by Cherry Bombe magazine, then you missed out on a day of inspirational and thought-provoking discussions. The attendees and speakers alone were a who’s who powerhouse of (mostly) women in the culinary industry. Writers, philanthropists, publicists, chefs – you name them, and it was likely they were there. Some of the best discussions were held in between sessions and over lunch with the person sitting next to you. The event was held in the High Line Hotel’s Refectory and being a Sunday, the entire event was reminiscent of a church gathering – the kind you walk away inspired from, with a longing to make change in your own life.
Here are The Daily Meal’s “ah ha” moments and highlights of the conference:
- Over the past few years, you’ve probably seen the Feed One bags being sported around town, the proceeds of which actually feed one student for an entire school year via the United Nations’ World Food Programme. These trendy totes were the brainchild of Lauren Bush Lauren during her college years, born from her travels with the UN program when she saw firsthand the incredible need to feed children in third world countries. Since then, she has turned the bags into a worldwide movement that continues to flourish. Lauren shared her story and how today, her efforts feed over 88 million people. You, too, can help. From September 16 to October 16 this year, host a Feed Supper and invite guests. Those participants can bring a dish and help raise funds for the campaign. You can learn more about it here.
- Karen Kelley, president and COO of sweetgreen, inspired us to become more authentic leaders. The principals to apply are pretty simple: keep it real, make an impact, and lead from the heart. The best piece of advice is to be present and engage when talking to others. Simply shut it down – the phone, the emails, and the events – and really listen.
- Our favorite part of the day was the videos created by Yahoo Food that featured three culinary icons: Alice Waters, Danny Meyer, and Thomas Keller. Our favorite line was from Waters, who reminded us to “never stop tasting – never get to a place where you don’t need to taste anymore.” May all chefs heed this important piece of advice.
- A diverse panel of women discussed the change in food as it relates to our health. Danielle Walker shared her story of realizing she has an autoimmune disease which ultimately lead to a massive change in what she eats. She shared more about her journey for change (which she shares on her blog), and even clued us in that Disney World offers a map on where to eat gluten-free in their parks. Caroline Randall-Williams, the proud owner of over 2,000 cookbooks passed down from her grandmother, got real when discussing buying patterns in more rural parts of the country. Did you know that Walmart is one of the largest sellers of organic foods? Michelle Tam rounded it out, and shared her fun story of becoming paleo and how to make easy, delicious recipes. One thing is for sure: all of these women are leading a revolution of change in the way we think about food and how it relates to our health.
- Thanks to the Jubilee, we are now even more obsessed with Ina Garten. She graciously shared her philosophies on building her team, identifying the most important factor to be when you “ask yourself, are you having fun?” Fun was the word of the hour. Garten reminded us when you choose a profession, you are choosing your lifestyle, so be sure to make it great. Note to all: she also looks for happy people when hiring.
- There are some folks who do more than cook great food, they do so with the goal to make positive changes in the world. Take Jordyn Lexton, a former teacher in a New York prison, who founded Drive Change, a non-profit organization that operates the Snowday Food Truck. Snowday provides jobs to formerly incarcerated youth, and gives them an opportunity to work when most companies won’t hire them. This is no average food truck either, it is a Vendy Award winning truck!
- Padma Lakshmi shared more on her insecurities, which was refreshing to know someone as beautiful and successful as her has them, too. This includes not feeling adequate at times on set at Top Chef. Not having a culinary degree, she often questioned her ability to be a respected judge, but she has overcome that and recognizes that she was selected for a reason, and offers a valuable voice to the mix.
- Towards the end the day, April Bloomfield held a Q&A session with Gail Simmons. This was a fun hour of storytelling back and forth and a great time to plug her new book on vegetables, a change for this meat centric chef. Best of all, we got the insight on Bloomfield’s lifelong desire to be a cop. We are glad she decided against it on numerous occasions, and hope to see her open more delicious places in the future.
Bravo to Cherry Bombe’s Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu. We applaud what they are doing with the publication and look forward to continue success at the annual Jubilee.