What: Shooting at Modernist Cuisine
For: Cherry Bombe Magazine
Who: A dinner honoring the nation's top women in food
= the best job ever.
A few months back I was contacted by Claudia Wu, creative director of Cherry Bombe Magazine, about shooting an event that Modernist Cuisine was hosting. This event turned out to be a gathering of the nation's top minds in food- chefs, writers, critics, entrepreneurs, James Beard award winners, cookbook authors, restauranteurs and the women who holds the title for World Pizza Champion (oh yeah I was wanting to chat with her). All game changers- all women.
Nathan overseeing the dinner he so honorably hosted.
The incredibly chic and talented Nancy Silverton (James Beard award winner and La Brea bakery owner), sipping her first glass of the night. The dinner lasted 35 courses and six hours. A feat of a feast.
Elizabeth Falkner (World Pizza Champion and Iron Chef), listens intently as Nathan spills the beans on the super-soft Pastrami. Anjana Shanker pushes perfection with immaculate details.
Every step of the night is perfectly prepped, including the silverware.
Joanne Chang (Flour, Myers & Chang) giggles while elegant salads are plated.
The lovely Dominique Crenn (Superstar and culinary mastermind of Atelier Crenn). A gorgeous and finely orchestrated course.
Anita Lo, Claudia Wu & others listen as Illiana Regan (Elizabeth Restaurant), quizzes Nathan about his unique techniques.
A toast is made at one of the tables- to women & food! Right: Ashley Christensen (Poole's Downtown Diner, Beasley's, Chuck's), one of the most charismatic characters of the night.
Kerry Diamond, Cherry Bombe Editorial Director, tastes one of the night's many courses. Carolyn Jung (James Beard winning Food writer), listens to one of the many kitchen stories passed around the table that night.
The succulent Pastrami on the right was slowly cooked for multiple days using high-tech methods to achieve supple richness and a butter-like quality.
The things I love most about Modernist Cuisine is the crazy happy team that it consists of. Hard work and the upmost demand for perfection don't seem to burden these awesome people one bit. They love what they do, they love food, they love innovation, they love creativity and most of all, they love their jobs. It was a total joy for me to work with these guys and kind as they were, they made sure to funnel course after course of seriously sensational food at me.
Seattle's very own celebrated chef Maria Hines (Golden Beetle, Agrodolce) sips one of the earlier wines. Illeana Regan talks shop.
Nathan demonstrates the divine bird. Adorable foodie it-girl Christina Tosi (Momofuki Milk Bar).
Sara Dickerman & Melissa Perello (Frances).
Ashley Christensen charms the crowd. Renee Erickson, Katie Hagan-Welchel (Ad Hoc), Amanda Cohen (Mastermind behind the crazy creative restaurant Dirt Candy NYC- which by the has, a super cool cookbook in comic book form- check it out here) and Ruth Riechl (former Gourmet Magazine Editor and author).
Seattle's most famous chef of the moment (and a personal favorite)- Restauranteur Renee Erickson (The Whale Wins, The Walrus & The Carpenter, Barnacle, Boat Street Cafe). Renee's new book is flying off shelves and blowing minds right now. I myself have been religiously cooking her fresh and light food, classically french but with a lush smorgasbord of Pacific Northwest Ingredients.
Claudia Wu & Karen Shu (ABC Kitchen), chat between courses.
Karen Shu & Emily Luchetti (Farallon, Waterbar).
Guests ogle at the liquid Nitrogen Nathan brings to the tables, sticking their hands in and putting some in the wine glasses (which were served with salt).
Wrapping up the night 6 hours later, Nathan lines the team up at the front to humbly take credit for their inspiring work. As if it was meant to be, Anne Willian stands up to raise a toast- to the Modernist Cuisine team and Nathan. Tonight has been a masterpiece.
One more thing I'd like to say before ending this longer than usual post. Everything about this opportunity impressed and inspired me. Being able to be present, in a room with all of the women I admire most in this industry is more than I would have hoped for at any point in my career. These women are the hardest workers there are. They are strong, brilliant, funny, charismatic, creative and undeterrable from their goals. They are so successful because of their visions and the willingness they had to carry through with them. They give back, have charities, share and teach others. And I'd just like to say thank you to each and every one of them.