Last night I had the great honor of sitting on a panel of women who contributed to a newly released cookbook titled Cooking with Les Dames d?Escoffier – At Home with the Women Who Shape the Way We Eat and Drink. This was our Chicago launch of the book, which includes recipes from members of our international organization including Julia Child, Alice Waters, Dorie Greenspan, Marcella Hazan, Anne Willan, Lidia Bastianich, M.F.K. Fisher, Gale Gand, to name a few. I have a bit of spice advice in the book and consider it a great honor to be included among these great ladies.
We have met our fair share of culinary stars over the years. We had the greatest culinary icon ever, Julia Child, spend an hour in our shop. The one and only Alton Brown spent an entire day filming an episode in our shop. Yet it is the surprise guests, not in our field, who get us so excited. This past Friday, our favorite disc jockey IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD stopped into our Old Town Spice House.
Notice the halo around his head!
This past weekend, we had the real treat of hosting James Beard and IACP award winning authors Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg in three shop locations in three separate cities. Described a decade ago as “the brightest young author team on the culinary scene today” (NPR) and subsequently as “culinary historians,” “cultural anthropologists” and even “the Jane Goodalls of the chef world” (Food & Wine Radio Network) for chronicling the contemporary food revolution and the advent of today’s era of celebrity chefs, Dornenburg and Page have been characterized as “incisive, hip” (Publishers Weekly) writers whose books are “extremely popular among, and indeed essential to, professional chefs” (WOR Radio).
We had ample opportunity to chat with the authors about a variety of subjects. We lamented the passing of time and the fact that Julia Child, once the brightest of stars in the culinary world, was not the same icon to the current generation as she was to ours. However, Karen and Andrew themselves serve as mentors to many of the current generation. In many ways they serve a parallel role to this generation that Julia did to older generations. They inspire, they help people figure out flavors, they teach, guide and encourage aspiring chefs to follow their dreams and to be creative. In this manner we think of them as almost a version of Julia Child, of course a younger version! Our Geneva neighbor chef, Jeremy Lycan , of the three star restaurant Niche , supported that concept when he told us their book, Culinary Artistry, was his inspiration. He was almost star struck when we brought them over to his restaurant after our event.