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 “Eat and Travel Like an Italian” Transcript

Priya Krishna: Hello. I'm food writer and cookbook author, Priya Krishna. Did you know that more than 750,000 New York City children are likely to miss two meals a day this summer? When class isn't in session, many children lose access to the free breakfast and lunch that is usually served in school. The folks at Food Bank For New York City want you to know that unlike school, hunger doesn't take a break. Help them end hunger by providing meals to families and children in need. Visit to learn how you can volunteer, spread the word and more.

Kerry Diamond: Hi, Bombesquad. You are listening to Radio Cherry Bombe, and I'm your host, Kerry Diamond. Each week we talk to the most inspiring women in and around the world of food. I missed everybody last week. Thank you to our producer, Jess, for filling in. I had one of those annoying summer colds, and complete laryngitis, but I am back.

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Kerry Diamond: Some housekeeping, west coast Bombesquad, have you bought your tickets to Jubilee Seattle yet? The event is on Saturday, November 2nd, and we're working on an amazing array of speakers, food collabs and activities. Go to to get your early bird tickets, and stay tuned for updates.

Kerry Diamond: Today's show is a special recording that took place Tuesday night in front of a packed house at The Wing, the women's work and community space in SoHo, in New York City. The one and only, Chef Missy Robbins talks with Katie Parla, the writer who is an expert, truly an expert on all things Italy. If you are a regular listener of Radio Cherry Bombe, you know we are completely obsessed with Chef Missy. She is the genius behind the Lilia and Misi restaurants in Brooklyn, two of my favs. She rocks a jumpsuit like nobody else, and she makes the world's best pasta. Katie, who is based in Rome, is the author of the new cookbook, Food of the Italian South. We'll be right back after this message from Le Cordon Bleu.

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Kerry Diamond: Let's jump right in with Missy and Katie. Missy is telling us about a recent trip to Italy.

Missy Robbins: The thing about Italy that has always fascinated me, and I'm sure it fascinates you, and I think you see this throughout your books is that I think everyone knows you as this Roman expert, but there's 20 regions in Italy, and there's 20 different cultures in Italy because of that. Even within those regions, there are more cultures. For me, going from region, to region, to region, and that's how I did it when I lived there 20 years ago, I lived in three different regions. Every time I thought I was starting to understand Italy, or understand how you speak the language, I would encounter another dialect, I would encounter a totally different food culture.

Missy Robbins: Alto Adige is somewhere I've never been. I went to this incredible hotel there. Anyone who follows me on Instagram might have seen an incredible picture of a infinity pool at a hotel club, Hotel Miramonti. I am a fanatic when it comes to researching hotels and finding the right place to stay. It's not always about an infinity pool, or being the fanciest. This place I happened to find on Instagram, and immediately was like, "Oh my god, I have to stay there."

Missy Robbins: It was this very modern hotel, built into the mountains. It's in the Dolomites and was a really, really, really incredible experience. The food in Alto Adige can be challenging. You don't go there, you're not getting your amatriciana, or your bolognese, or things that are really familiar eating. The main thing, anything that resembles a pasta is called canederli. Am I saying it right?

Katie Parla: Si.

Missy Robbins: I'm so scared to speak Italian in front of her.

Katie Parla: You got this.

Missy Robbins: I actually vowed that I wouldn't say one Italian word tonight. It's a bread dumpling.

Missy Robbins: For me, part of my journey for traveling and part of the research I'm doing for this book, is that I have been researching Italian cuisine for the last 15 years. I have dug really deep into these regions, and have interpreted, as Katie said, a lot of this food into my own versions of it. I really wanted to go and see some of these things that I've tried to make, or that I thought I have made incredibly, and see them in their home. That's the real purpose of a lot of my travel right now. It's not always my purpose.

Missy Robbins: This canederli, I always had a really tough time making them. I used to put them, when I was at a restaurant before Lilia called A Voce that I worked for five years, and we used to have a rotating regional menu. I think in five years we went through the country four times, and we would do between the two A Voces, we would do 12 different dishes every three weeks, representing a new region. It was really challenging for me and my chefs, but also really exciting to be able to dive that deep into the region.

Missy Robbins: I've been trying to make these dumplings for years. I always was like, "They're always so heavy and I suck at them. I'm Jewish and I should be able to make them. I grew up making matzo balls. This should be much easier than it is." Then I got to Italy and I started eating them. They're pretty doughy, and heavy, and rich, and just served in tons of butter with Speck, which is smoked prosciutto, but really interesting.

Missy Robbins: But then you eat things like smoked trout there that you don't think of as Italian. I think the biggest lesson, and I 20 years ago spent time in Friuli and just went back on the same trip this May for the first time, you see things that we all think of Italian food as American-Italian food.

Missy Robbins: The intro to your book, I think, it talks a little bit about how people think of Southern Italian food as one thing. I think often in America, we think of Italian food as one thing, and I think it's changing, certainly with a lot of chefs like myself trying to interpret the food. The food that I do comes from somewhere. It's definitely interpretive. I set out to do that, and I never set out to make the perfect amatriciana, or the perfect bolognese, or the perfect tortellini in Brodo, I set out to make my versions of that, but with a lot of respect to the traditions of Italy. But I think the most exciting thing about going to these regions is really seeing these cuisines and where they land.

Katie Parla: Absolutely. In Italy, when we talk about cultures within the peninsula and the islands, we say ci sono tantisma realita, there are so many realities. I live in Rome, and the food that is served and sold in my neighborhood of Monteverde Vecchio is of a slightly different tradition than that down the hill and across the river in Testaccio, which was the old meat packing district. If you think that even within a city there's this slight variation. Imagine when you leave the region, or hop on a ferry and go to Sardinia.

Katie Parla: I actually haven't been to Alto Adige in so long, but I love this place where you encounter so many grazing cows, and not that many people, which is ideal sometimes for me, because as I mentioned, I live in Rome, it's a little crowded. I went about 12 years ago with my dad to Speck Fest. If you guys are into pork or smoked things, can I recommend this to you next summer. It's wonderful.

Katie Parla: You drive through the Dolomites. We thought when we landed in this place that we had crossed the national border because the air was different, and the people were dressed in, I'm not sure exactly if they call them lederhosen in that part of South Tyrol, but certainly something that resembled lederhosen. When we would go place our order at the giant Speck Tent, as one would, we would order in Italian, and the response, it would come back in German.

Katie Parla: In a place that is technically, legally Italy, you find a completely different language, even beyond dialect. It was something that's very closely related to Austrian. If you drive the northern border of Italy, you could do switchbacks in the mountains that you into France, Slovenia, Austria. These are really, if you think about it, they're ancient places, but they're very recently Italian. Italy is super young.

Missy Robbins: Well, it's really interesting because when I was Alto Adige, and I was there off season, so there weren't a lot of people in the restaurants. They were open but we would just ask a lot of questions to the servers in restaurants, or to managers, or to hotel people. We asked one server something about being Italian. She's Italian, but she said, "It's complicated," and then walked away. We're like, "What does that mean?" Then we pondered it the whole trip because they don't necessarily relate to being Italian, or their families don't necessarily ... They're the third generation of being Italian and they don't 100% relate to it.

Katie Parla: Only during the Olympics and World Cup. So not very often.

Katie Parla: I'm interested in how you approach traveling. When you're working on a cookbook, what is the process in selecting the places you're going to go? Do you leave anything up to chance or are you highly scheduled knowing that you have to hit this place, and that place to try canederli, and that place for pizzoccheri?

Missy Robbins: Well you've met my girlfriend, right?

Katie Parla: Si.

Missy Robbins: So you probably know we're a little scheduled. I think I do a combo, because I think if you over schedule yourself, you really miss out on the treasures that you can find, on the road. In my last trip, we drove in 11 days, 1200 miles, covering I think five regions, which is a lot, and absolutely insane, and really challenging, but also really fun and really interesting.

Missy Robbins: I approach it as, like I said, I'm a little fanatical about the hotels, so we pick where I need to be to find these pastas. So you're going to towns that you might not ever otherwise pick, or pick that time of years. There's a pasta filled ravioli in the Veneto that comes from Cortina, which is a ski town, and has nothing going on in May, when I was just there, but we went anyway. We were disappointed our first night, and had this pasta dish. It was like, "Wow, that's disappointing."

Katie Parla: What's the dish called?

Missy Robbins: I'm blanking on that.

Katie Parla: Casunziei, maybe.

Missy Robbins: Yes, casunziei. Thank you very much. I told you, I wasn't going to speak Italian to you.

Katie Parla: You're crushing it.

Missy Robbins: Casunziei. It's filled with beets, and finished with just brown butter and poppy seeds. It's an incredible dish if done correctly. I have been interpreting my own way for years, and still like my own interpretation. I put ricotta in mine to mellow the sweetness of the beets, but I found out that in Cortina, they use potatoes and beets.

Missy Robbins: But the best experience we had during that whole couple days of the trip with Cortina's beautiful, but it's a ski town, and it wasn't open, and there was nothing going on. We stayed in a hotel. We saw the old ski jump, which was super fun. We tried to climb up the mountain. I made it about 15 stairs and I was like, "Uh, this doesn't seem safe to me."

Missy Robbins: My girlfriend, who was with me, is an incredible researcher, also a journalist. She is somehow much better at Googling than I am. I don't know if she has a secret password to certain words that you're supposed to put in, and I never got taught, but she always seems to find the best stuff. She found this pasta shop, and we were like, "Okay, let's go to the pasta shop. Let's find it. Then there's a restaurant five minutes away, and we'll go the restaurant and have our second version of casunziei."

Missy Robbins: We walk into this pasta shop, and there's a young woman in front, and this really old lady, hunched over in back. I said, "You mind if we see what she's doing?" She said, "Yeah, sure. Come in." The woman was 73 years old, owned this pasta shop for 20 something odd years, more than that maybe. Went to work every day, made every single pasta there. She had six different kinds of casunziei because what I learned is they can make many, many, many different versions. Let me make pasta with her, and then gave me every recipe she has. She has them on a card, so I think probably so people know for allergies or whatever, she gave me every filling, every dough, everything. I think that's what she did.

Missy Robbins: They're so generous, she was so generous with her time and her spirit. She pulled out every filling so we could taste it, and there was just this pride. It was honestly, Instagram lies and people are like, "Oh, you cooked with grandmothers all day. That's so cool." It was honestly a half an hour of a 14-day trip, but it was one of the most memorable experiences of that trip, and will always be with me.

Missy Robbins: We found it honestly from just being like, "Shit, we have to find more casunziei. Where are we going to find it? We only have one more day here." We were actually leaving town that day, so we were on our way out. But I'm really into some of the best meals that I've had over the past couple of months, or past couple trips are really just in these small towns that you end up in because you're starving, and you're on the road, and you're looking for something.

Missy Robbins: I never used TripAdvisor before, but I just recently learned that if you scroll through just the pictures on TripAdvisor ... I don't know if this is a trick you use, but if you scroll through the pictures, you just pick the best option of what looks the best, and you wing it, and you go for it. Some of the best meals that I have had in the past couple of months are simply from doing that.

Missy Robbins: We ended up at a roadside worker's stop outside of Siena. We're starving, we picked three places before this that were all closed because it was the season, and we ended up in this place. It was all people on break. No Americans, no tourists, and it was no frills. Really, really no frills, wooden tables, nothing fancy, but incredible porchetta station that you would watch the butchers from probably next door come in and drop the porchetta off. These guys would come in and they would get their sandwiches, or they would get it to-go to bring home to their families. But two of the most memorable pastas I've had in years were from that.

Missy Robbins: Looking through your book and knowing about your travels, I think you're pretty much the same. You have managed to really go deep into these places, and find really unique dishes and people throughout these regions.

Katie Parla: Yeah, when it comes to either personal travel and cookbook research, I don't think I'm able to detach from one another at all anymore because I'm constantly thinking about whose stories can I share?

Katie Parla: I've really learned the importance of having a place to sleep, so having a base, and letting a lot of the other experiences happen. Winging it is something that I found very disconcerting when I first started traveling above all because I was on a super strict budget, I wanted to make sure that I was having all of the best experiences. I used to travel in the age of actual guide books, where you would have paper with printed words on it that would tell you what to do and where to go.

Missy Robbins: Fodor's. Fodor's.

Katie Parla: I treated every trip like a checklist journey, every museum, look at every ruin. Usually there wasn't all that much in guidebooks about dining, but would hit the places that were recommended. I would end up eating pretty badly, usually.

Katie Parla: Once I started loosening up and treating travel more as an experience, rather than as a set of destinations, I started meeting really wonderful people. Super generous, home cooks, bakers, wine makers, people who would very, very generously donate their recipes if you just asked.

Katie Parla: I know it can feel a little stressful if you only have a hotel that you found in some random website, and are not really sure what the amenities are going to be, but I encourage you to get off of that tourist map in Italy. Florence, Rome and Venice are dying under the crush of tourism. Rome, the Italian capital, used to be able to absorb the visitors that would be disgorged from cruise ships, or bus tours, or come the solo travelers, and that is no longer the case.

Katie Parla: I would definitely suggest hitting Naples, if you're a city person, Bari, Catania, Palermo. Fly into those cities, stay a couple days. Then rent a car, add full insurance coverage, so you can have a consequence-free trip, and start driving. Wander, get lost, get really lost, and use your sixth sense.

Katie Parla: I think a lot of us have a feeling. I don't know if you encounter this too, but you're walking down the street, you're walking through some little Emilia-Romagna town. You're like, "I feel like there's some cool bakery here." Maybe you smell it, maybe you feel like there's something nearby. You're like, "I'm not going to go to that place where I have a reservation right now, I'm going to take a little lap, circle through, scout what's going on, then go to lunch and plan the rest of the day." I think that's definitely paid delicious dividends in my experience.

Kerry Diamond: We'll be right back after a quick break.

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Katie Parla: I followed your trip on Instagram, and I'm really excited to see or hear about your discoveries of pizzoccheri and what that's all about.

Missy Robbins: Wow. Pizzoccheri is this crazy dish that is buckwheat pasta with cabbage, potatoes and Bitto cheese, which is pretty strong, intense cheese. It is not a dish that you want to eat in May, it is a dish that you want to eat in January, like when it's 14 below out. We, again, went to the Valtellina valley where there's not that much to see, except an amazing ...

Katie Parla: Thousands of cows.

Missy Robbins: Yes, but also an amazing winery, Arpepe.

Katie Parla: Arpepe.

Missy Robbins: Which was incredible. They actually have in ... Pizzoccheri has a consortium where they want to honor the tradition of making this pasta, and they have one way to make it, and that is it.

Missy Robbins: We contacted the consortium and I said, "I'm writing this book and I'd really like to see what you do." It took a long time to get them to answer. Italians are also on very different time clock than ...

Katie Parla: Did you email?

Missy Robbins: Yeah.

Katie Parla: Okay, you have to write to them on Facebook. That's how it's done. Trust me.

Missy Robbins: Oh, I don't use Facebook, Katie.

Katie Parla: I'll hook you up. Don't worry, next time.

Missy Robbins: Okay, thank you.

Missy Robbins: I was trying to be independent and not ask Katie to do things for me.

Katie Parla: I'm happy to help, but just generally speaking, although some businesses and consortia do maintain websites, almost all of them have Facebook pages. That's where businesses and various bureaucratic organizations tend to be much more active.

Missy Robbins: Okay. Good to know.

Katie Parla: Just FYI.

Missy Robbins: Thank you.

Missy Robbins: They ended up getting in contact with us, or someone in a hotel helped us get in touch with them, and they were very kind. They set up shop at this very, very, very creepy abandoned ... Basically it felt like an abandoned hotel. Also, and yet another time I thought I was going to get killed. They had this whole setup, and they taught us how to make the pasta from start to finish, and then eat it.

Missy Robbins: Here is one of those times where it was like, "I've been interpreting this pasta for years, I've done it with buckwheat pasta that I've cut into little circles, and layered into lasagna with cabbage." I mean, you're horrified, I'm sure.

Katie Parla: I would eat that in a second. Not today, but another day.

Missy Robbins: It was still heavy, but it was much lighter. I felt really badly because this guy made the food, and then we took three bites, and we were like, "Okay. We can't eat this." It was so heavy.

Missy Robbins: But it's pretty cool to see the tradition. This gentleman who taught us goes to his grandmother's house every single Sunday for this dish and he's required to be there. She's the only one who makes it and they only make it one way.

Missy Robbins: A other interesting thing about this dish is they cook the potatoes, the pasta and the cabbage all in the same pot, which is very cool because then you end up with this flavor combination that's all together, and without having many, many pans.

Katie Parla: I love that. That's how a lot of pasta used to be prepared in the past.

Missy Robbins: I've only seen that once, many years ago when I was working in a kitchen at a fancy place that had nothing to do with pasta, but once in a while pasta would show up and the chef used to cook the broccoli and the pasta in the same water. It was awesome because all that broccoli flavor got into the pasta. I do that in my cooking anyway, but it's just a different technique.

Katie Parla: Yeah, for sure. It's something that defines the brothy soup meets pasta dish culture, the huge range of pasta fagioli, pasta ceci and things like that.

Missy Robbins: I looked through Katie's book again today to refresh my memory before we came here tonight. I was telling your mom before, I don't think there is a ... I have close to 500 cookbooks in my collection, and I used them as a lot of just inspiration, and guidance, and especially Italian cookbooks I really love. I don't think there is a book that I flipped through recently that I wanted to cook every single recipe in the book.

Katie Parla: Well thank you.

Missy Robbins: Well how did you go about picking the recipes? Because I think it's pretty unique to look at it, and there's such a wide range of things to cook, and ingredients. But they're also, for me what resonated was all of the recipes that were in there, or many of them, 75% were all these things that I have been researching for years that most people don't really know about. I think you're really educating people on these regions in a such a unique way.

Katie Parla: Thank you so much. That means a lot. If you have an idea of the Italian boot in mind, food of the Italian south covers the lower part of the boot. You've got Puglia, Calabria, Basilicata, Campagnia and Molise. I have been visiting those places for almost 20 years, and am totally obsessed with the food culture of the lower peninsula, or food cultures, more accurately.

Missy Robbins: I feel like I almost don't have to go on my trip. I can just research from your book now.

Katie Parla: You should still do the trip.

Missy Robbins: I'm most excited ... For anyone who knows me, I use lemon in 99.9% of my dishes, and Katie has a recipe in the book for a lemon salad. I really hope that you won't be ... It's literally sliced marinated lemons. It's like my spirit dish. As I was reading it today, I was like, "Wow, I hope she's not going to get mad that lemon salad is going to show up on every single menu I have."

Katie Parla: I demand that you put raw lemons, ...

Missy Robbins: Raw lemon salad.

Katie Parla: ... raw sliced lemon salad everywhere. Eat whole lemons, pith and all.

Katie Parla: If you have questions about that or other things, we're ready to open up for questions.

Missy Robbins: Very nice segue, Katie Parla.

Katie Parla: Thank you. Yes.

Speaker 6: What would you suggest to do in Bari that's not going to be in the guidebooks? And same with Puglia. What are your top tips to do that isn't on the top 10 list, or you're not going to read about?

Katie Parla: Eat all the fried things that people who run illegal fry shops out of their ground floor apartments sell just at dusk, fried polenta, sometimes fried pastry cream, fried anchovies, fried dough that's sometimes seasoned with little bits of seaweed, all the fried things.

Missy Robbins: I'll counter that with something slightly healthier. I've never been there, but the thing I am most looking forward to in Puglia is eating sea urchin from street vendors right out of the shell, because that's a thing there.

Katie Parla: Yeah, for sure. Also, I have a totally free resource on my website,, or something like that. In any event, it's accessible from the home page, and there's a whole what to eat in Puglia, where to eat it.

Katie Parla: You should also go to Altamura in that area, where they grow durum wheat. It's a place very famous for its bread, but they also have these wonderful butchers that are open in the evening. They are equine butchers. So if you're down with eating horse meat, that is a great place to do it. If you don't want a whole horse steak, they do horse sausage.

Katie Parla: I see everyone's faces in the audience and I don't appreciate it.

Missy Robbins: I had just a horse bresaola recently. I have to say I had hor ...

Katie Parla: In Valtellina probably.

Missy Robbins: Yes, in Valtellina I had horse, venison and beef bresaola on the same plate, and I believe horse was the winner.

Katie Parla: We've lost the crowd, Missy.

Missy Robbins: Oh, really? Come on, guys.

Speaker 7: What is one if you had to pick either an Italian life lesson or food lesson that you've learned, that you like to incorporate in your daily life?

Katie Parla: Cook pasta less. If you think al dente is really al dente, cook it two minutes less, and then try it and see ... You'll see what I mean.

Missy Robbins: If it says nine minutes on the package, cook it six.

Katie Parla: Si, esatto.

Missy Robbins: My lesson I think you can see every day at our restaurants is keep it simple. The most important ingredient in Italian food is the one you leave out.

Speaker 8: When you come up with an idea for a dish or a recipe, do you freestyle it and just keep track of what you're doing? Or do you write down like, "Oh, I need three tomatoes for this, and a clove of garlic"? What's your process for that?

Missy Robbins: In the restaurants, full on freestyle. We eventually do recipes because my cooks have to have guidelines, but I really, in my own cooking, sticking to recipes is really hard. My dream is to write a cookbook without recipes, and with just like, "Here's what the flavors should taste like. You need lemon, oregano, caper and pasta." I've been turned down several times for this idea, by the way.

Katie Parla: May I suggest an Italian publisher.

Missy Robbins: Yeah. Somewhat. I don't know. Anyone out there?

Missy Robbins: But for normal cooking, because I think that's where you get most soulful. If you're sitting and you're writing a recipe, and you're like, "Okay, I added one tablespoon of olive oil. I added blah, blah, blah," you're just losing the soul of it.

Missy Robbins: I even, when we teach, we have a lot, a lot of really young cooks in our kitchens. The way I want to teach them is by taste, and feel, and sight, and smell, and to really teach their palate to understand flavor combinations. I hate when I find something wrong in the kitchen and someone will say, "Well I followed the recipe," because you can't just follow a recipe because one day your basil might taste really sweet, and one day it might taste a little bit bitter, and you have to adjust with that, with more pecorino cheese.

Missy Robbins: I think you really have to use recipes as a guideline. If I read a cookbook, I'm never going to follow Katie's recipe. Her recipe might be amazing, and Katie actually encourages you not to follow the recipes. You think I didn't read your book. I did, see. I read that paragraph.

Speaker 8: Thanks.

Katie Parla: Yeah, trust yourselves when cooking. I never read ingredient amounts and recipes either, and I think it helps me be a better cook.

Speaker 9: I have a question for both of you. The food industry has gone through a tremendous amount of change where there's been a light shone on equity and equality. To both of you, what obstacles are you most proud of overcoming in your journey to food writer, or cookbook author, or to a chef both in Italy or in the United States?

Missy Robbins: I'll be very honest. I don't feel like I had huge obstacles. I feel like the restaurant industry is extremely competitive. Whether you're a man, a woman, it doesn't really matter, and I think for me I started at a very young age. I was 22, which at the time in this industry was actually old to start cooking.

Missy Robbins: I started when I was 22. I always say this, I just put my head down and I worked really hard. I think in any industry, that's what anyone should be doing. I was very focused. I was very focused on picking the right kitchens, and picking the right chefs, and picking people who led really respectable kitchens.

Missy Robbins: I think I've certainly gone through my own challenges. My book Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner... Life!, which came out two years ago and I wrote it about three and a half years ago was basically about me taking a year off from the industry to really figure out what I wanted to do. Those were really personal challenges. I didn't feel healthy mentally. Physically I was burnt out. I wasn't sure if I wanted to be a chef, and I wasn't sure what direction, if I did want to be a chef, where that was going to go.

Missy Robbins: I think that was the toughest period of my career where I left a really amazing job. I was at the peak of my career, which I now know wasn't the peak of my career. But at the time, it felt like I was doing really, really well, but I wasn't happy. I think the biggest obstacle in any career is just finding what makes you happy, and reentering into the industry, and finding the right partner, and opening something that felt really good to me, and making sure that I was following a path that felt very authentic to me, and doing it in a way that I set boundaries for myself of how I was going to be in the industry. I was going to take days off, and I was going to make sure that my staff was well taken care of, and all of those things that had been challenging. I've managed to really be able to hold true to myself, which was the most important thing of entering back into the industry.

Missy Robbins: Everyone always says to me, "Oh my god, you must work so hard, you must have no life." I have a better life now as a restaurant owner, and businessperson, and chef than I've ever had before. I think it's really just about finding your own priorities, and finding what drives you and what makes you happy. That took me until I was 44 years old.

Katie Parla: Yeah, I think in Italy, where most of my professional life has been spent, especially when you're being critical of restaurants through journalism, being a foreign woman is not an asset, and people will use that to instantly discredit you. I think the biggest, at least personal obstacle that I overcame was canceling out those voices, and really coming to terms with the fact that if I wanted to be a good journalist, or at least a journalist with a solid moral and ethical foundation, that I actually had to reject the status quo in the food journalism industry, which was to go on press trips, take kickbacks, or be paid to write positive articles, which I don't know if it's the standard everywhere, but it certainly is in Rome. So having the confidence to just do my own thing, basically.

Missy Robbins: Thank you.

Kerry Diamond: That's it for today's show. I guess we're all going to Italy, huh? Thank you so much to Missy Robbins, Katie Parla, and the team at The Wing SoHo for letting us be part of this special event. If you like what you heard, check out Missy and Katie's cookbooks, and of course, Katie's website.

Kerry Diamond: Thank you, again, to today's sponsors Traeger Grills and Le Cordon Bleu culinary School.

Kerry Diamond: Don't forget, we'd love if you could support the Hunger "Doesn't Take A Break initiative from the Food Bank For New York City. Visit for more.

Kerry Diamond: Radio Cherry Bombe is a production of Cherry Bombe Media. Our show is edited, engineered and produced by Jess Zeidman, our Special Projects Director is Lauren Paige Goldstein, our Publisher is Kate Miller Spencer, and our intern is Julia Fabricant. Our theme song is All Fired Up by the band Tralala.

Kerry Diamond: Ciao everybody. You are the bombe.

When Harry Met Sally Clip: I'll have what she's having.

Katie McCall: Hi, my name is Katie McCall, and I'm the co-owner and baker at Two Wild Seeds baking company located in St. Charles, Illinois, just outside Chicago. Do you want to know who I think is the bomb? Sarah Holmes, owner of Trixie's food and wine bar in Ephraim, Wisconsin. I'm not only inspired by Sarah's dedication to creating a responsibly sourced food and drink menu that's built on seasonal organic and sustainable practices, but she has also created a super cool space that celebrates femininity with its female-driven staff, featured female wine makers, blush accented interior, and of course, lots of sparking rose.