Bourdain, Reichl, and Women in the Kitchen
It started innocently — Anthony Bourdain shared an Instagram image from Eric Ripert. The photo in question: a shot of chefs in the kitchen at Ripert’s “Cayman Cookout,” a weekend of food, wine, and chefs against the gorgeous backdrop of the Cayman Islands.
After Bourdain posted the image, writer and former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl responded, critical of the image for containing only one woman. Bourdain, in Bourdain fashion, quipped back: “You made this world. We’re just living in it,” — referring to her editorial chef coverage in the magazine (and probably elsewhere.)
The women-in-pro-kitchens issue is particularly topical; in the last few months alone there’s been plenty of debate. (Remember that Time list?) We could argue for hours about the guilty party here, but mostly I’m pleased the issue is being publicly discussed. (I’m also pleased that there are so many kick-ass female chefs and industry pros to balance the game.) Mud-slinging aside, cheers to another example of expert dialogue taking place in public, with plenty of opportunity for others’ input. This discussion is one to follow. We’ll be watching.
Are These Really Food’s Most Influential?
Today, The Daily Meal released a list of what it determined America’s 50 Most Powerful Food People. The list contained plenty of usual suspects, with the USDA secretary landing the top spot. (The Wal-Mart CEO is number two; interesting in its own right.) Somewhat surprising, though, landing at number 24, Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram. And at number 23, Pinterest Founder Ben Silberman.
Given the amount of lip service (type-service?) C+T gives to the taking, posting, and sharing of food photographs, this should sit well. But it doesn’t — because these men aren’t influential in food simply for developing a platform no more than, say, the Conde Nast printers are responsible for creating the influence of Bon Appetit magazine. Those who actually use the platforms — food amateur to professional chef — are responsible for this influence.
This issue gets to the heart of C+T. Digital content products enable fantastic creative expression from those most passionate about the subject; in this case, food and the people who create it. Give credit where credit is due.
The Batali Inquisition on Medium
Speaking of early-adopter influencer chefs who do rad things on online content platforms, did you catch Mario Batali on Medium?
In the first of a series titled “The Batali Inquisition,” he grills former R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe with a series of seemingly random questions. Appropriately, the piece also includes an of-the-moment selfie from Stipe. Loving these random bits of chef-expression, and fitting that it came from Batali, a chef I’d vote most likely to adopt a new technology. (This guy is seriously everywhere.) Worth a quick read.
If Your Knife Could Help You Cook
A design student in Korea has developed an interesting concept: the SmartKnife, a “digital, rechargeable knife with sensor-equipped blade that doubles as a touch screen.” Grubstreet calls it “the iPad of Kitchen knives.” The blade itself can prevent food from oxidizing, and can display information about food freshness, potential contamination, and nutritional content of the food it chops.
Hopefully up next: a knife that can help you create the perfect brunoise.
An Interactive Map of the Best Craft Beers by State
Craft beer fans: Serious Eats has got your number, releasing today an interactive map that lists the best craft beers by state. No serious surprises (though I can personally recommend Missouri brewery Boulevard’s Tank 7 and California’s Pliny the Elder), but a great digital reference for choosing the best of the small batch brews.