In our March Women Making a Mark spotlight we have two very dynamic guests March 15th on The Connected Table LIVE! Both are passionately devoted to promoting diversity and collaboration within the industry and to giving back.
First up is Karen Hoskin, president and co-founder of Montanya Distillers based in Crested Butte, Colorado. Montanya utilizes old world artisan traditions to make its collection of rums which have been awarded 18 Gold and Silver Medals in International Competitions. In 2013 the company was named Craft Distiller of the Year by the American Distilling Institute (ADI) who has tapped Karen to be its keynote speaker for its upcoming conference April 3-6 in Baltimore.
Our second guest is making history with her Phenomenal Femmes winemaker dinner series with The Ritz Carlton Central Park in Manhattan. Marika Vida is the hotel’s Wine Director. She is also a sought after speaker, adviser and educator through her company, Vida et Fils. Phenomenal Femmes, now in its fourth year, spotlights women winemakers around the globe. Proceeds from the dinner series benefit the women’s shelter at Crossroads Community Services in New York which provides food, shelter and other aid to individuals in need regardless of national origin, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disabilities. www.crossroadscommunitynyc.org
Listen live on W4CY.com 2pmEST and anytime on iHeart.com
While many Americans may be gnashing their teeth and biting their nails as we head into the last week of the Presidential campaign, I’m ready to cast my vote for the most impressive women-as-culinary-activists after attending last week’s Les Dames d’Escoffier International Conference in Washington, DC. Not intending to sound political, but just proud of my tribe: “If you want to get something done, ask a woman to do it.” Hats off to the Dames of the Washington DC Chapter who made this annual conference a fabulous success. The conference speakers addressed some very substantial topics that had everyone thinking about the role of food, its cultural significance in history and diplomacy and why activism and advocacy are critical to sustainability.
James Beard Foundation President Susan Ungaro’s keynote speech addressed the importance of embracing more diversity at every level of the food- and drink- chain of command. Lauren Bernstein, Director of the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership in the Office of Protocol at the U.S. Department of State, illustrated how top chefs are serving the nation in the role of culinary diplomat beyond Presidential State Dinners.
Native Americans may have worked out treaties with our country’s early settlers over a peace pipe, but today’s global relations are warmed up over a peace plate. Gastro-diplomacy takes knowledge, skill, good taste and an appreciation of cultural and culinary traditions.
Pass the plate of peace, please!
Founded by New York based Food Writer and Editor Carol Brock Les Dames d’Escoffier is an invitational organization of women leaders in food, beverage and hospitality whose mission is education and philanthropy. www.ldei.org
We’re excited to announce The Connected Table® Sips on iHeart.com, our podcast series to provide more ways to spotlight people, brands and initiatives in the industry separately from our live show. The five minute podcasts are recorded, and guests can call in from anywhere in the world. They can be used for digital marketing & social media and will remain permanently on iHeart.com and the iHeart app. For information please shoot us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
March 8 is International Women’s Day!
Here’s some kitchen wisdom from one of our favorite women in food.
This Week on The Connected Table LIVE
March 9, 2pm EST we continue our salute to women in the industry as part of National Women’s History Month. Joining us is Meridith May, the dynamic Editorial Director and Publisher of The Tasting Panel Magazine, The SOMM Journal and The Clever Root. Meredith’s journalism career spans both print (Santa Barbara News Press) and radio (KIIS-FM & KLSX, Los Angeles, and KEYT, Santa Barbara).She joined Patterson’s Beverage Journal in 2000 as Senior Editor and advanced to Associate Publisher and Editor-in-Chief.
Jonell Nash, the longtime food editor for Essence Magazine, and a fellow member of Les Dames dEscoffier, left this world after a short illness. Outside of her immediate circle of family and friends, most of the people who knew Jonell were unaware she had been ill. Jonell would have wanted it that way; she was never about attracting attention, only giving of her self.
Jonell lived life on her own quiet, refined and gracious terms. She took life slowly and savored it like a perfectly cooked dish. Cooking was her calling, but it was more than just about creating precision recipes; it was about styling the perfect table setting, from fresh flowers to china, the right light and music. Eating was not about “grabbing a bite,” squeezing in lunch over a desk, or eating plastic food on paper plates with disposable utensils. Good things didn’t have to be complicated, time consuming or expensive, just well presented and with thought.
Jonell put a lot of thought into everything she did, un-hurried; not harried, calm and centered. How many of us take the time to set a table with flowers and sit down for a meal by ourselves or with a significant other and have real conversation? No TV, no text, no tech at the table.
Jonell focused on attention to every little detail in her life and in the lives of those she loved. Sadly was there was detail she may have ignored – that of keeping up with her health. I don’t know the circumstances of the cancer that took Jonell’s life other than it seem to have been discovered when it was too late to do anything. This was particularly poignant for me as a cancer survivor who has seen this happen with many women who are gifted and giving of themselves. I have made it my mission to educate women that making your self-health a priority is not selfish; it is self-sustaining.
We have another spirited lineup this week from coast to coast Wednesday, October 29, on The Connected Table Live on www.W4CY.com, 2p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.
Our first guests are the bartending world’s dynamic duo, Lynnette Marrero and Ivy Mix, who have built the largest female bartending competition in the USA- and soon the world…. Speed Rack. Along the way Speed Rack has raised over $250,000 for breast cancer charities.
Speed Rack showcases not only the growing number of talented women in mixology while providing for the #1 women’s health issue in the country. One in 8 women is diagnosed with breast cancer.
The competition judging is based precision, time and accuracy. Contestants compete in timed heats to make rounds of cocktails culled from a list of accepted industry-standard classic recipes in front of a panel of judges and a crowd of spirited supporters.
The U.S. judging world panel includes such cocktail world luminaries as Julie Reiner, Dale DeGroff, Audrey Saunders and David Wondrich with a few noted chefs like Johnny Iuzzini, mixed in. The national winner is crowned Miss Speed Rack USA and received a scholarship to BAR (Beverage Alcohol Resource) five day program and industry glory.
Speed Rack’s fourth national tour kicks off in Washington DC November 10 and will travel to eight cities before crowning the Miss Speed Rack national winner at the U.S. Finals taking place in New York June 7. The first international Speed Rack competition will start in Canada in March 2015 followed by Paris in June and concluding in the U.K. next October.
We’ll be switching gears to talk saké in the second half of our show with Steve Vuylsteke, Founder and CEO of SakéOne. A native Oregonian, Steve’s family founded Oak Knoll Winery, one of Oregon’s pioneer wineries, in 1970. Steve has worked tirelessly to promote Oregon craft beverages, working for his family’s winery, as general manager and sales manager for Erath Vineyards and serving on the Oregon Wine Marketing Board and Willamette Valley Wineries Association.
He turned to saké in 1992 founding SakéOne, the only American operated sake brewery focused exclusively on premium sake in Oregon’s wine rich Willamette Valley, and importer of some of Japan’s finest saké. SakéOne has been crafting strictly junmai ginjo quality saké at its state-of-the-art kura (brewery) in Forest Grove, the heart of the Willamette Valley: Oregon’s craft beer-brewing and wine making mecca, since 1998.
In 2010, SakéOne’s Momokawa “Ruby” Junmai Ginjo earned a silver medal at the prestigious U.S. National Sake Appraisal 2010, no small feat for an American producer in a crowd of more than 300 Japanese entrants and a judging panel held to precise Japanese standards.
Shanken News Daily recently reported that “Marketers of top saké brands say the category is now making inroads into the mainstream, while also benefiting from marked expansion in its core Asian restaurant account base.”
We’ll discuss why saké is gaining popularity here in the USA and talk the ins and outs of enjoying saké with Steve. Fun fact: Portland, Oregon boasts the highest per capita consumption of saké in the U.S. A home run market for the state SakéOne calls home.
Melanie and David talk with two spirited women on Wednesday’s edition of The Connected Table LIVE Wednesday, October 15th, 2pm ET/6pmPT W4CY www.W4CY.com.
Our first guest is Lizzie da Trindade-Asher, President of Macchu Pisco, who with her sister, Melanie, have helped share Peru’s national drink with the world. A lawyer by training Lizzie directs the legal, marketing, and importing side of Macchu Pisco and its sister brands, La Diablada and Ñusta Pisco. Melanie oversees production in Peru. Together, Lizzie and Melanie have achieved 30 percent growth annually since founding the company in 2004. “Every day, I am inspired by my sister’s dedication to creating authentic pisco,” says Lizzie, who graduated magna cum laude from Duke University, worked for the 1992 presidential campaign for Bill Clinton, and earned a degree with honors from Harvard Law School.
Their pisco is an un-aged 80 proof clear spirit derived from a single distillation of fresh fermented grape juice (wine). It takes at least 4 bottles of wine to produce one bottle of pisco. It is from this costly process that an elegant spirit is born, one which most closely captures the essence of the grape. According to Lizzie, pisco is traditionally a sipping spirit. Because denomination rules require no additives whatsoever, pisco can be considered organic and thus should not produce a hangover, the mark of a real pisco.
Lizzie and her sister are active in supporting and improving Peruvian working conditions and women’s rights, as well as Latinas in business and education both in Peru and the U.S. Macchu Pisco established a precedent in Peru to support traditionally underpaid farmers by paying fair wages to the women who harvest their grape crops. They also ensure their socioeconomic goals are met from ground to glass by employing a vertical integration model—the only pisco company to hold such credentials—owning and overseeing each step of the production process. They also formed the Asher-Ezra Scholarship Fund, which provides financial aid to underprivileged Latino children in the Bronx.
Our second guest is Allison Patel, founder and owner of Brenne Single Malt Whisky produced in Cognac region of France. Allison’s professional background combines arts and smarts. As a young girl she was a professional ballerina performing with the Joffrey Ballet in New York City. After retiring from the corps de ballet she worked in national sales and marketing for EXHALE Spa, setting and exceeding sales goals.
Her move from the ballet barre world to the cocktail bar world is just another sign of her entrepreneurial spirit. Traveling in France pursuing her passion for good food and drink and blogging about whiskey for pleasure at www.whiskeywoman.com, she discovered a single malt whiskey being produced from grapes in the Cognac region of France. Fond of fine whiskeys from lesser known areas, Alison’s interest was piqued. She researched the potential to import smaller production “world whiskies” to the U.S. eventually establishing an import/export company to focus on this category of distilled spirits.
Brenne (rhymes with men) is produced by a third generation cognac producer who was growing estate barley as well as grapes. The cognac was matured in French Limousin oak barrels imparting a smooth taste and fruit forward notes that captured Allison’s attention. Her talent for persuasion and sales helped Allison strike a deal with the producer who had only producing this special cognac whiskey for the family. Over a three and a half year period she refined the process with the producer finishing the spirit in XO cognac barrels after five – six years aging in the Limousin oak ones. The result is smooth, aromatic, spicy yet mellow and unlike any other whiskey we’ve tasted.
Allison was named one of the Top 10 Women in Whisky by Drinks Business Magazine and awarded Highly Commended in the Icon of Whisky award for Brand Innovator of the Year for 2014.
The Connected Table Live airs live Wednesdays at 2 p.m. ET/11a.m. PT on W4CY Radio http://www.W4CY.com. The show is available on demand at www.iHeartRadio.com and everywhere the iHeartRadio app is available under the Shows & Personalities section.