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Seattle Chefs Transcript

 “Four Chefs We Love” Panel

Kerry Diamond:             Hey, everyone. Welcome to Radio Cherry Bombe, the number one female-focused food podcast in the universe. I'm your host, Kerry Diamond. I'm recording this from my apartment in Brooklyn, and the Cherry Bombe team is all remote too. We're making it work and checking in with one another while trying to stay safe. To all our friends in the food community, whether you're working in a wine shop, a grocery store, a bakery, food delivery, food production, or farming, I think I can speak for the entire Bombe Squad in saying how much we appreciate the vital work you're doing.

Kerry Diamond:             For today's show, we're celebrating our friends in the chef community, so we're airing a panel from Jubilee Seattle with Chef Rachel Yang, Chef Renee Erickson, and Chef Makini Howell. All three women are pillars in the restaurant community and it was amazing to hear what they had to say. Chef Angie Mar of The Beatrice Inn in New York City, who happens to be a Seattle native, moderated the panel.

Kerry Diamond:             Let's thank our sponsors and welcome our newest sponsor, Ecole Ducasse. For more than 20 years, Ecole Ducasse has been teaching French culinary and pastry arts to enthusiasts, students, career changers and ambitious professionals from all over the world. The school was established by the legendary chef, Alain Ducasse. And if one thing is for sure, at Ecole Ducasse, you can master more than cooking. To learn more, visit

Kerry Diamond:             Personally, I'm very excited to be working with the Ducasse team. I happen to love Alain Ducasse's restaurants and was very lucky to visit many of them in Paris when I worked for Lancome. Welcome to the Bombe Squad, chef. Bienvenue!

Kerry Diamond:             Also, we'd like to thank the wines of Rioja and Smithfield Culinary for supporting the show. We'll be hearing more from them during the break.

Kerry Diamond:             Cherry Bombe is hosting its first ever digital Jubilee this Sunday, April 5th and it's taking place entirely on Instagram. Don't miss some of your favorite women in food including, Chef Mashama Bailey, Alice Waters, Padma Lakshmi and Ina Garten who I'll be interviewing at 11:00 AM EST. Mark your calendar. I know it's very exciting. I'm a little nervous.

Kerry Diamond:             I just want to say a big thank you to Kerrygold, Jane Walker by Johnnie Walker, Maple Hill Creamery, the wines of Rioja, American Express and Resy for making Jubilee 2.0 possible. Thank you for your support. And everybody, no matter where you live in the world, you're invited to Jubilee 2.0. RSVP on and check out the schedule, the speakers, our marketplace and more. I can't wait to see you on Sunday. We'll be right back with our panel after this message from Smithfield Culinary.

Kerry Diamond:             Smithfield Culinary knows this is a difficult time for all of us including their food service partners. That's why they are doing what they can to help. They are redoubling their backing of Children of Restaurant Employees, a charitable foundation dedicated to the assistance of restaurant employees and their families.

Kerry Diamond:             Additionally, Smithfield Culinary is dedicated to the support of local operators via their continuing promotion of the Great American Take-Out. The Smithfield Culinary team knows there is a long road ahead of us and it's not going to be easy, but we'll get through this together. Learn more about CORE, Children of Restaurant Employees, and how you can help. Find them on social media at CoreGives.

Kerry Diamond:             I hope you all enjoy today's show. Introducing our chef panel is, Lara Hamilton owner of Book Larder, a community cookbook store in Seattle and one of my favorite places in the city.

Lara Hamilton:              Hi, everyone. I'm Lara Hamilton. I have a cookbook shop in Fremont called, Book Larder.

Audience:                     Woo.

Lara Hamilton:              Thank you very much. I opened Book Larder in 2011. I had been working in high tech for about 15 years and I decided that I was just ready to do something that really resonated and really follow, as they always say, "Follow your passion." That has its unintended consequences. We can talk about that at another time. But, I built the store, obviously because I love cookbooks, but also because in a time when so much of our lives are lived online, I really feel like brick and mortar stores have a place, have a role to play in our communities and that we need the human connection that a really well run brick and mortar store, bookstore, restaurant, all those lovely things you want to find on your street can bring to a community.

Lara Hamilton:              So, my staff and I have worked very hard to build a place where we'd all want to hang out if we didn't already work there, where you can have a very personal shopping experience, where you can learn a skill in a cooking class, and meet an author at a book talk, and get a book signed, all those things and maybe even make a new friend. We really pride ourselves, especially on the fact that our recommendations come from our experience with books and not from an algorithm.

Audience:                     Woo.

Lara Hamilton:              Thanks. Hey, thanks. We are not total ledites though because we did actually launch a podcast in May. We really did that so that we could bring the Book Larder experience to people outside of Seattle. And so, that's where we are.

Lara Hamilton:              Today, we are talking about what's next for superstar chefs in Seattle, many of whom I have had the tremendous pleasure of hosting at Book Larder. One of whom doesn't live in Seattle, but maybe we'll get her back for a Book Larder event at some point in the future. I think when you think about a superstar chef, I think what makes all of these women superstars is the fact that their restaurants are entirely them. They have a very clear point of view. They don't follow trends. They cook the food that they would want to eat, that they probably do eat outside of their restaurants. Angie, I don't know how much of your food you eat outside of your restaurant, but maybe you do. But, they have a very clear point of view and they bring those to their wonderful cookbooks as well.

Lara Hamilton:              So for the conversation today, our moderator is, Angie Mar. She is a superstar chef in her own right. Don't let the title of Three Superstar Chefs fool you. She grew up in Seattle and her aunt was actually the great Seattle restaurateur, Ruby Chow, so the flair for creating a unique dining experience is in Angie's DNA.

Lara Hamilton:              She moved to New York for culinary school, landing at the nearly 100 year old Beatrice Inn in 2013. And as head chef, she completely revamped the menu and the kitchen and everything about it and in 2016, bought The Beatrice creating what The New York Times, Pete Wells called in his two-star review, quote, "A place you go when you want to celebrate your life as an animal." Angie was named Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2017, and this year released her first cookbook, Butcher and Beast.

Lara Hamilton:              Our panelists are, Rachel Yang. I live in Wallingford, and so my first interaction with Rachel Yang is getting to eat at Joule. I work in Fremont, so my next interaction with Rachel Yang was getting to eat at Revel. I'm telling you, those are two really great ways to get to meet someone. She moved here from Korea when she was just 15 to pursue her education. I don't think that the plan included culinary school when she set out to do that, but I'm really glad it did because we all benefit from the fact that she decided to go in that direction. She now, with her husband, Seif, also has Revelry in Portland.

Lara Hamilton:              Her food, I think, defies categorization. She has French technique, Korean flavors, but always very much her own sort of Seattle influence take on what she serves. She's been nominated for multiple James Beard Awards. In 2017, she published her first cookbook, My Rice Bowl, where she shares all of her food and stories as well.

Lara Hamilton:              Makini Howell was vegan before it was cool. She was raised right here in Tacoma by progressive parents who championed organic food and have been vegan restaurateurs for 40 years, so again, in her DNA. She opened Plum Bistro in Capitol Hill all the way back in 2009 and has three restaurants in her group now. She is the author of the really wonderful, Plum Cookbook that she shared with classes and events at the store back when it was released. She also now hosts Makini's Kitchen on KING-5 TV.

Lara Hamilton:              But, one of my favorite facts about Makini is that, she toured with Stevie Wonder and was his private chef. She's cooked with Queen Latifah, and she has met both, Michelle Obama and Oprah. So honestly, I don't know what to do.

Lara Hamilton:              I first met, Renee Erickson over the phone in 1998. She was the new owner of the Boat Street Café and she very politely let me know that... I know you hate it when I tell this story. She very politely let me know that despite what my next door neighbor, the previous owner had told me, "No, I could not host my wedding rehearsal dinner at her restaurant on a Friday night in the middle of the summer."

Renee Erickson:            That's true.

Lara Hamilton:              It is true. Along with her business partners at Sea Creature, she now owns nine restaurants, including, The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Whale Wins and Bistro Shirlee, which is named after her mother. She also has the General Porpoise donut shops and Great State Burger. In 2016, she won the James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest.

Lara Hamilton:              She's also a leading advocate for living wages for restaurant employees in Seattle and has lobbied on Capitol Hill for preservation of waterways in Alaska and Washington. She is the author of, A Boat, a Whale, & A Walrus, released in 2014. No, in Spring 2021, she'll release her second book, Before Dinner. So, please join me in welcoming, Angie, Renee, Makini and Rachel.

Angie Mar:                    Thank you very much, Lara. Wow, it's so good to be back in Seattle. I've been in New York for about 10 years and LA before that, and this is actually the first time I've come back for an event here. So, Kerry, thank you so much for bringing me back. How are you ladies doing?

Audience:                     Great. Woo.

Angie Mar:                    Good? It's been a good day? All right. I just have to say, I'm so, so thrilled today to be moderating a panel with such amazing, amazing women. We had a call last week and a little get-to-know-you call. You guys are just so impressive. That's one thing I have to say. We were talking about what's going on in the future, what the future of dining is and restaurants are in Seattle and I couldn't help but really take it back to when I was growing up here.

Angie Mar:                    As Lara mentioned, my aunt was Ruby Chow. I really grew up in a very big restaurant family. It's really funny because when I was growing up here, it was very much like the food was American, right, and there was steakhouses and maybe a little pasta, and then everything outside of that when I was a kid, it was labeled as ethnic, right. For me, I go back now to New York and everybody says, "Well, this is your heritage. This is the family that you come from. Why are you so irrevocably French?" And I say, "Well, I'm actually an old French man trapped in this body." That's really what it is. That's really what it is.

Angie Mar:                    But, I thought about Rachel, I'm just curious because you come from some of the best restaurants in New York. You came here and 12 years ago you opened up a 40-seat restaurant and you're cooking the food of your heritage, but really with this kind of a refreshed view, more of a global view. How was that received 12 years ago? Because I have to image that 12 years ago was just coming onto that scene, right?

Rachel Yang:                 Yeah, when I first came here with my husband, then my fiance, yeah, it was very much of a fairly homogenous dining scene here. We loved the fresh, all the produces and the seafood that we have here. However, it was still the food that I brought here was still a very special occasion only kind of ethnic. They just didn't know exactly how to put it in the box and how to label it.

Rachel Yang:                 I think the one thing that I learned working in New York and starting to work in a different, work in this industry, was the fact that, you need to be different, especially in New York City. If you're doing the same old restaurants that everyone else does next to you, then it's really hard to get notice.

Rachel Yang:                 So, that was the reason for me to realize like, gosh, what kind of food am I cooking, what kind of food should I do, and looking into what you were saying, that I came to the States when I was 15. I was definitely not sure whether I was Korean or American. I always wanted to be your average American because I wanted to be the same. I wanted to be the mainstream. But, then realized only later after I started cooking that, gosh, being Korean is amazing, being Korean is what gets you noticed. So, that's how I came to Seattle. And then opening the first Joule, which was a Korean fusion restaurant.

Angie Mar:                    But, how was that experience for you? When you're doing fusion food 12 years ago here, what was the reaction? Did people get it immediately? We're people coming in like, "This isn't traditional Korean food?"

Rachel Yang:                 No, definitely. I mean, I think that the fact that, I mean, we all have to figure out what people are expecting and then have to meet them, right, or you have your own way. People come in and immediately wanted to have basically authentic Korean food and looking at me. Okay, this is a Korean restaurant. But, having an even Korean fusion was put me into a little bit of that outside of the box because I wasn't giving people what they wanted. So, it's trying to figure out, okay, how do I get to cook food that I want to eat or I want to cook as a chef because, yes, I'm Korean, but the same time, not every single Korean chefs out there have to cook this authentic [Korean dish] that you have in Korea.

Rachel Yang:                 So, it's trying to find the identity between chef and female and Korean all that stuff at once was definitely tricky. It took a really long time for people to actually open their door and then realize, okay, maybe it's not so bad. They started with the gateway food. You start with the very much of the mixed food. And then later, it's just like, okay, this is Rachel Yang's food.

Angie Mar:                    Right. So really, you were giving people something that they might not even know that they wanted.

Rachel Yang:                 Absolutely.

Angie Mar:                    Yeah. Makini, so I have to ask you, so your business model is so interesting to me because you started out with Plum Bistro and you've expanded to food trucks, salad bars, sandwich shops. How did you just address your expansion over the years and how are you addressing it in the future?

Makini Howell:              One of the reasons that I have such varied locations is because, initially, people never saw that there is a lot of concepts inside of veganism. They thought that vegan was the concept, so they would call it, The Vegan Restaurant. I actually started before Plum Bistro. I had a café up on 15th Ave. When I opened Plum Bistro everybody said, "Oh, were you going to close your café because we're going to go to The Vegan Restaurant?" But, what I wanted people to understand was that, salads are vegan, ice cream is vegan, an entrée is vegan.

Makini Howell:              So, the way that I developed the food that I offer is create different points of entry into a plant-based diet. So, maybe you don't have enough to spend $300 at dinner at Plum Bistro, but you could go to the salad bar, which is Chopped, or you could go to the Seattle Center if you're a mom or a teacher and you've got a group of kids and you're looking for something healthy. I opened a ice cream shop in 2014 because we always really, we always made deserts at home, but you never could find anything out.

Makini Howell:              So, I really just wanted to create different points of entry for people who were trepidatious about coming into veganism. I found that a lot of the Plant-Based Movement was led by young women. A lot of young women would bring their parents in.

Makini Howell:              I remember this one 14 year old girl, who she came from Mercer Island and she brought like 15 of her friends for her birthday. She made her dad bring her. He was like, "I don't even know what to eat here." I realized that there is certain people that want to be vegan and then there are other people who want to support you being vegan, but they don't know what to eat. So, we put old fashioneds and Manhattans on the menus for the dads. We put burgers on the menu for the dads. And so, it was a welcoming place.

Makini Howell:              Addressing expansion going forward, one of the things that I've come to understand that, it's expensive to operate in Seattle. Oh, Lord.

Angie Mar:                    Oh, you should try New York.

Makini Howell:              I could imagine.

Angie Mar:                    It's tough.

Makini Howell:              So, understanding how expensive it is becoming to operate and to live in Seattle, one of the things that I've had the opportunity to do is to pivot into corporate dining. So, I just signed a contract with Google actually two weeks ago. I am their plant-based food consultant for this region. They basically have a massive, a massive lunchroom. And so, I have a station inside of their lunchroom and it's called, Makini's Kitchen. It is everything plant-based. So if you're a Googler you can go there. Google is sort of a closed system.

Makini Howell:              But, the great thing about it is, you get to create everything from ice cream to cakes and pies and lunch and dinner. The thing of it is, is that, you don't eat the same thing every day when you work. You have a captive audience. So, one of the things that I have to do is I have to create something different every day. We go on 21-day cycles. And so, in three months, you only eat the same thing three times. So, it's really great for creative expansion and business expansion.

Angie Mar:                    That's really fantastic. So, as you've expanded you really just looked and seen, as we talked about the other day, just a gap in the market and how you're filling it, which I think is fantastic.

Angie Mar:                    Renee, so first of all, I've been eating at your restaurants for years, since before I started cooking. The Walrus and The Carpenter has always been a stand-by for my family and I, so I thank you for that. Each of your restaurants, they're very different concepts, right. You got a steakhouse. You concentrate on seafood, all these things. So, when you're addressing your expansion, what's your process and how are you getting inspired to write new menus and come up with new ideas, new concepts?

Renee Erickson:            My expansion has taken 23 years to get here, so it seems like a lot, but I did 12 years of the same thing and then opened Walrus. I'm an art student, so I have very much a creative way about being in the world.

Renee Erickson:            At Boat Street, which I had for 17 years before we closed it, I was really the person that's like, "I'm never going to do anything else. If I stop cooking on the line, I'm not going to... I'm going to close it." I had all these ideas about what life was like as a chef. But, I also traveled a lot. I don't know. You get bored a little bit doing the same thing.

Renee Erickson:            Living in Seattle and coming home from trips, I always wanted to make places that I wanted to go to. Walrus was that first place that I felt was really lacking in Seattle was a place that was not fancy and could serve oysters and have an experience that was outside of a steakhouse. I don't know.

Renee Erickson:            You just get a wild hair and decide that you want to open another one and there is always something that you're thinking about, or that you've wanted to go to, or have a place to be in your world. I think, I would echo what Linda said earlier is, you open things for yourself, in a way, places that you are feeling, are missing.

Renee Erickson:            We sped up really a lot in the last few years and now we're hopefully not in an expansion stage anymore. So, thinking about that is very much like, oh, thank God. We bit off a lot and I think that changes how you manage that. The creative part of it is the best part and then the nuts and bolts of it is what's really complicated, I think. Echoing the Seattle is really expensive mantra. So, I would say, I don't have a formula, but it's really based on things that you fall in love with and then you can't let go.

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

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Kerry Diamond:             And we're back with our Seattle chef panel.

Angie Mar:                    The city has grown so much. You guys have Google. There's Amazon. How has that all fed into your expansion plans because I have to imagine that for all of you guys, it's huge. The city is growing so quickly. For all of you.

Renee Erickson:            Yeah, so I started when I was 25, which is a long time ago. I don't even think there were very many farmer's markets. I remember getting things from Charlie's Produce and it was from Lord knows where. So, the idea of food and Seattle is just completely 180 on how it is.

Angie Mar:                    I agree.

Renee Erickson:            And so that, I think, as a chef has made it really amazing. I think the tech mania in Seattle is, it's like a two-headed monster in many ways. It's really great and it's terrifying in that how it changes the environment of the city. Some for great, and some not so great. Trying to thread the needle of finding what works and what is still interesting to you while being relevant in that kind of environment is challenging.

Renee Erickson:            We opened a restaurant in The Spheres, which is really close to here and intentionally really tried to make it really approachable. We made pizza. Everyone loves pizza. But still trying to make it something that spoke to me.

Renee Erickson:            Back to my art world, I went to school in Rome and fell in love with Roman food. And that was an opportunity to do two things. It's challenging. You should talk about this, you work at Google for God's sakes. It's hard. I think, you want to create things that you're really proud of, and then you also still have to get people to buy your stuff.

Angie Mar:                    Right.

Renee Erickson:            So, it's challenging.

Angie Mar:                    No, that's always the challenge, isn't it?

Renee Erickson:            Yeah.

Angie Mar:                    We create things and then you got to get people to buy in to our idea of what it is that we've done.

Renee Erickson:            I think for me, it's just realizing that it's never done. You're forever trying to change it, so that it's right.

Angie Mar:                    It's constant evolution.

Renee Erickson:            Yeah, exactly.

Angie Mar:                    It's constant evolution, yeah. That's one of the things that I really love about restaurants and the dining culture is that it truly is constant evolution.

Angie Mar:                    Makini, you and I are actually both career changers. So, I was in the corporate world for a very, very long time before I started cooking and you were in the fashion world in New York. But, I'm really curious to know how your past experience, your past life really prepared you for your current one and what you're doing now?

Makini Howell:              Working in fashion is almost as fast as working in food. First of all, you have to think ahead of the consumer. You have to plan a line a year in advance. You're always living in the future. The fastest moving market is the junior girl's market, followed by the men's market. I was a men's designer for nine years. I lived in New York. I think that New York gives you a lot of grit. Those of us that have lived in New York, New York gives you a lot of grit, so it prepares you very well for what's coming when you decide you're going to open up a restaurant. It's a lot to open a restaurant. So, I think that the creativity that I learned in fashion is very translatable into the food industry.

Makini Howell:              The opportunity that I have now to work in corporate dining with Google is really great because when you have a restaurant, you get a little bit locked into what that customer wants that comes only once a month, so you can't really change your menu. But, once you're in an atmosphere where you can change every day, then it really stimulates the creativity, which is the same thing that happened when I was working in fashion. So, I feel like it was a really good set up.

Makini Howell:              I didn't know I was going to open a restaurant. If you had asked me, I was going to design clothes and I was moving to Paris. They were 20 year old dreams. But, I ended up coming back home and I realized that there is the same amount of creativity in anything that you do if you're a creative person. So, if you can design, you can design anything. You can design food, you can design cars, you can design shoes, you can design buildings, you can design anything. You just have to tap the creativity. I had a boss in college who told me that and I was like, "No, I can't." And then once I really thought about it, I realized that you can. So, I think that was a really good set up for the industry that I'm in now.

Angie Mar:                    One of the things that I am constantly talking about with my team is, I'm looking to expand and just growth, right, just growth in general. I obviously come from a family that really worked very, very hard to leave a legacy for future generations. It's something that I'm always constantly thinking about because I'm in business with my family. There is two types of family, right. There is the type of family that we're born into, and then the type of family that we choose. One thing that I love about the restaurant industry is that, we choose our family. We choose our family. So, I feel very blessed to be in a business where I own a business with my cousin and I do business with my brothers, but I've chosen my family.

Angie Mar:                    So really, in just going forward and thinking about what kind of legacy I want to leave in New York and on the dining scene in general, it's always a topic of conversation, right, and mentorship and as we expand, who are we bringing along, what is our bench strength, right? Who do you have underneath us that you're grooming for the next restaurant, the next venture?

Angie Mar:                    You ladies have all grown your businesses. I guess, when we talk about the future of dining, the future of restaurants and our own futures, I'm curious to know, if you look forward 20, 30 years, what do you want your legacy to be? Rachel, let's start with you.

Rachel Yang:                 Yeah, yeah.

Angie Mar:                    It's a loaded question, I know.

Rachel Yang:                 Yeah, there is a lot to cover actually.

Angie Mar:                    It's a lot.

Rachel Yang:                 So I mean, that the family actually in a sense that for me it's very little as well as conceptual because I actually do this with my husband. He and I opened our first restaurant together. I was pregnant with my kids. I was actually behind the line until a day before I actually got into labor. The kids actually, they were in the car seats. Me with my mom and I had to basically run out into the back of the restaurant to breastfeed my boy and all that stuff. So, the family is also chosen. At the same time, for me, it was a part of our entire culture and the entire basically life because for me, there was no separation of the family life and the restaurant life. Everything basically mixed into one.

Rachel Yang:                 Growing a restaurant and growing any kind of business, or growing yourself is really interesting because just like what you're talking about with the city of Seattle, the growing comes with this pain and its prosperity. The same thing with a restaurant. When we all open our restaurant, we love the fact that it was the one restaurant that we open. It was the fact that, a lot of our regulars will probably tell you that they loved the fact that you got... Because I mean, we have a lot of regulars who saw me 12 years ago behind the line with my belly full. And then they see me now and everyone is like, "I'm so proud of what you have done. That's so great." At the same time, there is a little bit of sadness in their voice saying that, "But, you got so big. Now, I don't see you at the restaurant anymore," and all that stuff. How do you balance that?

Rachel Yang:                 We want to be open that one restaurant that we love and just be there all day long and just do this, have this special connection with everyone. At the same time, we tell our cooks and we challenge our sous chefs to, you have to challenge yourself. You have to be better. You have to do more. You have to grow. You have to continue to get better. So, when you are telling someone else to grow, you have to yourself to figure out a way to grow. That's basically what we try to do every single day.

Rachel Yang:                 Running one restaurant is definitely very different from running two, and three. And then running restaurants in different cities are very different. So, it's been always a great challenge for us to how to really manage that control that you have? It's all our passion projects. We don't do this for money. We don't do this just because we are checking out computer screens and numbers. We do it because we love the connection that we make with our customers and we love the fact that we are behind the kitchen creating this food. So, trying to basically keeping those tangibility still intact. At the same time, be able to figure out a way to, okay, I'm just... There is a greater good that comes with by creating a system, like Linda was talking about the corporate role book. The importance of having a structure, the importance of having the culture of value, in terms of, the importance of having guidelines and recipe books and pictures, so that what you are thinking can be also be related to all your line cooks and everyone else who isn't doing the job.

Rachel Yang:                 So, balancing all of that is the hardest part and then the growth only comes from when you actually just find out that very perfect balance of that you're a very special things that you are doing. At the same time you're meeting not just the 40 people who comes to your one restaurant, but 200 people, 300 people who you are trying to reach out in your three, four restaurants. So, that's the hardest thing, trying to find that perfect balance.

Angie Mar:                    Somebody said it earlier, I think, that there is no work life balance. It doesn't exist. I agree with that, by the way. You touched on the fact you used to be behind the line all the time. Honestly, all I ever want to do on a Saturday is come in early and make a family meal for my team. That would make me so happy if I could just do that. But, it's like with the growth, it's like you can't. What about you, Makini, what kind of legacy would you want to leave?

Makini Howell:              I don't think you know. I think that life takes so many twists and turns and you have this one idea of what you want to do, and then it turns and then it changes. So, I don't know if you know, this is going to be my legacy, and then if you say it and if it's not, then what are you going to do about that? I think this is what Rachel is saying, it's really hard to say that. I would love to-

Angie Mar:                    I always ask because I just, I told somebody the other day, I said, "You know, my cookbook came out a month ago and I'm like oh, God, I accomplished everything on the list that I made six years ago. I got to come up with a new list," so that's why I'm asking.

Makini Howell:              I think, yes, you can plan and you can hit the goals. And of course, I would love for people to understand that plant-based dining is a way of eating. I feel like in where I am now, I am a part of the future of food. I think that there is this new wave of plant-based dining that's coming in that's just sweeping over all of us. I feel super fortunate to be one of the women that's at the forefront of that because our industry is really dominated by men and I think it's important to have a female voice that interprets it her own way.

Makini Howell:              But, I still don't know what it's going to be because it's taken a lot of turns from when I was 21 and I lived in New York and now I'm here. But, I would like to be a creative person that helps to change the dining scene globally if I have that opportunity working with global companies, or locally, or both. But, I don't really know.

Angie Mar:                    That's a good goal to have though. Renee, you're born and raised here, right? You're born and raised here?

Renee Erickson:            Yeah. I'm from Woodinville.

Angie Mar:                    Yeah. You've been wildly successful. What do you see for the future of Seattle dining?

Renee Erickson:            Don't I get a legacy too?

Angie Mar:                    You get a legacy too. I'm giving you two question. I'm giving you two questions. Calm down.

Renee Erickson:            I'm so serious.

Angie Mar:                    She's like, "Okay, calm down." No, so no, I'm just curious to know because you've been here from the beginning, so you've seen it all, you've lived it all. I grew up eating here, but I haven't lived here in about 20 years. But, I come back all the time and I just see all the changes. But you're here, you're living, eating, breathing it, cooking it. What do you see for the future of Seattle dining? And also too, what do you want to leave on this city? What's the legacy you want to leave?

Renee Erickson:            The future of Seattle dining, yeesch. I don't know. I mean, I think, speaking about trends, or things that people think that are new or novel, I would like that to go away. I would like people to just be like, "Yeah, I'm going to eat this because it's good for me, or it's delicious."

Angie Mar:                    I've been saying that for a year. I can't.

Renee Erickson:            It's like fad food is-

Angie Mar:                    I agree.

Renee Erickson:            I don't think that's a Seattle thing. That's just in being human.

Angie Mar:                    In general.

Renee Erickson:            I don't know. I think one thing that I think about a lot and I torture my staff with is plastic and how we can work in a restaurant facility without plastic. So, I would like, if anyone has connections to super smart people in the tech world, to figure out a way that's not a $5,000 avocado piece of paper that you stick to it that falls off and you have shit in your fridge. This country is full of insanely bright people, so I feel like there is a way around Saran Wrap forever. So, I would like that out of Seattle to change how we function in restaurants.

Angie Mar:                    Right.

Renee Erickson:            And then I think, Seattle as well is a place that people are not afraid to say how they feel about what's wrong and what is, obviously like the MeToo thing, but even just worker rights and how we function in restaurant industries, but just globally. I would like that to be something that is, continues to come from here because I feel like it's, we talk about sustainability a lot and I think very often it's not including the people that we work with. And so, that I think, I would like there to be more focus to that.

Angie Mar:                    Are you talking about in terms of the growth of everybody?

Renee Erickson:            Just humans.

Angie Mar:                    Yeah.

Renee Erickson:            How do we treat people?

Angie Mar:                    I agree.

Renee Erickson:            That it's not just commodity-based. That we think about it as a big-

Angie Mar:                    But, don't you think that when we talk about the sustainability of people, right, it starts... I've always felt that it's incumbent upon us at this level.

Renee Erickson:            For sure.

Angie Mar:                    Because we have made it. We are the ones writing the checks. I've always felt like it's incumbent on us to really foster the next generation of talent.

Renee Erickson:            For sure.

Angie Mar:                    That is something that it's like you want these guys to succeed. You want them to be sustainable.

Renee Erickson:            Yeah, I walked to the restroom earlier and I was looking around and I was like, "There is so many young people here," which I was so excited about because 20 years ago, I mean obviously, dammit, Kerry, there was no Cherry Bombe, but there was no place to go that you could sit in a room full of women that really gave a shit about their world that they were a part of. So that, I think is huge. And so, taking that into my personal world at work, I have... I'm lucky that I have a million fabulous, hopefully, mostly women, but a lot of them are here, but just really fabulous people that are going to do that. They're the ones that are going to make the change.

Renee Erickson:            I feel like I'm a little bit irrelevant at this point. I'm like okay, you guys have, you're the 28 and 30 and able to work 25 hours a day and shout what you expect. And that is what is going to change, I think, what happens here in Seattle as well as anywhere that is a room full of these kind of people that care. So, I don't know.

Angie Mar:                    Yeah.

Renee Erickson:            That's huge.

Angie Mar:                    What about the legacy? Because I got yelled to squeeze that one in.

Renee Erickson:            I know. I was like, "Do I only get one?" I think the plastic thing would be a big one for me is if we could, if my restaurant group ended single use plastic. I've threatened it regularly. So at some point, I would say it's, I don't know, Jeannie, is it a two year goal? We're trying to do that, which is terrifying and yeah, terrifying and amazing.

Renee Erickson:            This is corny, but I would love to change how our fisheries function. We have these little pods of fisheries in the Pacific, Alaska, in general it's very island-based. We don't look at it as this whole ecosystem of the ocean and how we harvest from it. So, I've spent a lot of time and continue to try to raise the warning that we can't fish in Alaska and harvest the amount of biomass that we do and not think that it's impacting the fish in Washington because those are Washington fish that are getting harvested and flown all over the world. So, changing basically fishing to be in the mouths of rivers, which is how it used to be done because we didn't have diesel engines. And then we can count them and we know what's going by. So, I would love to see some of that. That's radical. People are going to freak out about it because it's a huge industry.

Renee Erickson:            You drive through Ballard to Walrus and it's just shit builders and people tying nuts and people making engines and all of that will... It won't go away because there is other fish are way out, but if we're speaking about salmon in particular, we don't need to drive a boat, I don't know, hundreds of miles to catch fish that are just going to end up at the mouth of the Colombia.

Angie Mar:                    Right.

Renee Erickson:            But, I would love that to change.

Angie Mar:                    Yeah.

Renee Erickson:            I don't think that's going to be my legacy, but I would love to push it, yeah.

Angie Mar:                    To start it. To start it, right. I mean, the really amazing thing about this whole panel is that it's like you guys each have this amazing platform that yeah, we might not be the ones to end it, to really get it done, but to start it, to have these conversations now. That, I think is what is so important and I applaud all of you for it, so thank you. It's been a pleasure.

Renee Erickson:            Thank you.

Kerry Diamond:             That's it for today's show. Thank you to everyone who spoke, volunteered and attended Jubilee Seattle. We're sending lots of love to our friends out there right now.

Kerry Diamond:             Thank you to Ecole Ducasse, Smithfield Culinary and the wines of Rioja for supporting our show. Radio Cherry Bombe is edited and produced by Jess Zeidman. Our theme song is All Fired Up by the band Tralala. Hang in there, everybody and thanks for listening. You are the bombe.

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