Women In Food, The West Coast Way

Last Monday on a sunlit evening in a charming cookbook store in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, all breeds of women from all nooks of the food industry flocked together for a mystery event. What was this mystery event? A gathering of badass entrepreneurial women who's passion for food runs to the bone. Sign. Me. Up!

Food photographer, friend and total sweetheart Hilary McMullen. 

Food photographer, friend and total sweetheart Hilary McMullen. 

So I did! It all started back in the summer when I photographed a "Dinner Honoring The Top Women In Food," hosted by Modernist Cuisine for Cherry Bombe Magazine. I've gone on and on about Cherry Bombe before (here), but in case your not familiar I'll say it again. Cherry Bombe is an empire and if your not on the bandwagon, hop on now. With two of New York Publishing Industry's most talented and driven ladies and a host of hip connections (and stacked resumes to boot) these ladies pump out issue after tantalizing issue packed with serious style and taste. But it doesn't end there. With two of my personal favorites (Heritage Radio Network and Julia Turshen), Radio Cherry Bombe (which has loads of episodes you can listen to anytime for free here), is a collection of interesting, funny and innovative women in the food industry interviewed by the impossible-not-to-like Julia and makes for an awesomely interesting and informative show every time. Did I mention they are an empire? Once a year Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu (the masterminds behind the Mag), host CB Jubliee. With a panel of respectable judges (such as Ina Garten, Alice Waters and Christina Tosi), in a party atmosphere. Jubilee gets things done while having a great time doing it. 

So how does this all tie in? As the maples turned brown and wispy leaves began to fall the time for the new issue to launch arrived. Kerry and Claudia flew back out here for the launch party at Book Larder. It turned out to be quite the event! The small shelf-lined room was packed with Seattle's big name food bloggers, chefs, restauranteurs, photographers, stylists and more while recently nominated James Beard Finalist Renee Erickon's food was served. Seizing the opportunity the dynamic duo announced they were partnering with Melissa Lukach of Modernist Cuisine to launch the West Coast Women In Food Network, a west coast chapter of ladies with goals to share resources, support each other and create and extend a network of women banding together in the industry.

Book Larder's Laura Hamilton and Tilikum Place Cafe's Ba Culbert. 

Book Larder's Laura Hamilton and Tilikum Place Cafe's Ba Culbert. 

Laura Hamilton (one of my favorite Seattle food ladies and owner of Book Larder Community Cookbook Store), hosted. We dined on delectable small bites from made by Ba Culbert and her General Manager Lotta of Tilikum Place Cafe's while Casey Cobble of Robert Ramsay Cellars poured wine. 

Ba's lovely General Manager Lotta preparing the (if I remember), chilled asparagus soup with cultured crème fraîche with wild blossom. 

Ba's lovely General Manager Lotta preparing the (if I remember), chilled asparagus soup with cultured crème fraîche with wild blossom. 

One of the gorgeous small bites we were served by Tilikum Place Cafe. 

One of the gorgeous small bites we were served by Tilikum Place Cafe. 

We boozed we schmoozed and as the night came to an end we got down to business. Melissa spoke to what we hoped the make of this and asked the room for goals and thoughts. Ej Song (one of the women behind the powerhouse of Momofuku), recently moved back to Seattle and brought with her her organization, the Toklas Society.- an already incredible society of Women In Food and a partner in this mission. As the wine lessened and the ordeal came to an end, I left with feelings of inspiration and excitement- glad to be a part of something growing and powerful and excited to see where the journey leads. 

Nicole Johnson flips through a new cookbook at one the displays.

Nicole Johnson flips through a new cookbook at one the displays.

The adorable Ej Song, founder of the Toklas Society. 

The adorable Ej Song, founder of the Toklas Society. 

Melissa talks on excitedly about things to come. 

Melissa talks on excitedly about things to come. 

To bring things to a close, if your a women in the food industry (any part of it), in the Pacific Northwest area and are interested in joining or have any questions- please shoot me an e-mail in the comment box here. The group is open to all and we would love to have you!