“The Baked Episode: CBD & Donuts”
Kerry Diamond: Hi everybody. Kerry Diamond here. For the next few weeks, you'll be hearing from some members of the Bombesquad about an important initiative underway by the Food Bank For New York City. It's called Hunger Doesn't Take A Break. When schools go on summer vacation, hundreds of thousands of children lose access to their breakfast and lunch. It's heartbreaking, but true. You can learn more and learn how to volunteer or donate at foodbanknyc.org.
Kerry Diamond: Hi, Bombesquad, you're 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. Let's thank today's sponsors, handsome brook farm pasture raised organic eggs, Le Cordon Bleu Culinary school, and the Traeger grills. Speaking of Traeger, we'll be grilling and chilling with Traeger next week at our guest chef dinner at the Wölffer Estate Vineyard in the Hamptons, our superstar chefs will be cooking al fresco and making their dishes on Traeger grills. Curious what's on the menu? I'll let you know later in the show. Some housekeeping. First off, happy July. Do you know about the plastic free July movement? It's a thing. It's a great time to look at your single use plastic consumption and do something about it. Sometimes avoiding plastic means going without. Today, for example, is Lauren Goldstein's one year anniversary at Cherry Bombe.
Cherry Bombe Team: Happy anniversary Lauren!
Kerry Diamond: I wanted to buy her flowers, but all the flowers in the neighborhood bodegas come wrapped in plastic, so we're walking over to the Milkmade Ice Cream shop later to celebrate. And you know what that also means, we're going cone only, because this summer you can enjoy your ice cream without a disposable cup or without a disposable spoon. We're doing the cone only project in conjunction with our friends at the Surfrider NYC and Long Island Chapters. Be sure to tag Cherry Bombe on all your plastic free and cone only adventures. I love seeing what you're up to. Now to today's episode. First we'll be talking to Amanda Bankert. Amanda is the force behind Boneshaker donuts in Paris. Yes, they have donuts in Paris, and Amanda is here to tell us how she wound up there and just what Parisians think about this very American treat. Then for the second half of the show, I'll be talking to a fellow indie magazine maker, Joline Rivera. Joline is the creative director and founder of Kitchen Toke, a magazine that's all about the culinary side of cannabis. Before we dish on donuts, let's hear a word from Handsome Brook Farm.
Kerry Diamond: Handsome Brook Farm believes that organic and pastured is the way to go when it comes to eggs. Pasture raised means better lives for hens, better lives for small farmers and better eggs for you. It's also better for chefs who depend on rich flavorful eggs. Handsome Brook Farms own flock of amazing chefs, their mother hens, count on it. Deborah VanTrece is a mother hen. If you are a regular listener you know how much we love Deborah. She is the Executive Chef and Owner of Twisted Soul Cookhouse and Pours in Atlanta where she serves up inventive soul food. Want to make her red eye andouille sausage hollandaise? I want that right now. She combines Handsome Brook Farm Egg yolks with some coffee, a little lemon juice, a pinch of cayenne, and some flavorful sausage. If you'd like to make this, visit handsomebrookfarm.com for Chef Deborah’s delicious, eggcentric recipes. Next up, Amanda Bankert of Boneshaker donuts.
Kerry Diamond: Amanda, welcome to Radio Cherry Bombe.
Amanda Bankert: Thank you very much for having me.
Kerry Diamond: All the way from Paris. This is wildly exciting.
Amanda Bankert: Yes. Just in, so a little bit jet lagged, you have to bear with me please.
Kerry Diamond: I can imagine. So you're here, we'll explain this to everybody, but this is kind of like past tense. You're here to do a donut pop up, which unfortunately we will be done by the time that you hear this episode, but we know a lot of the Bombesquad goes to Paris, loves to visit Paris so they can go directly to Boneshaker donuts.
Amanda Bankert: Yes.
Kerry Diamond: What neighborhood is Boneshaker in?
Amanda Bankert: We're right in the center actually we're in Sentier, it’s kind of near Rue Montorgueil and Les Halles, kind of smack dab in the middle, so we're lucky with that.
Kerry Diamond: So I'm just going to plunge right into it. How the heck did you wind up in Paris? You are from Washington?
Amanda Bankert: Yeah, I'm originally from DC. Yeah. So it's kind of a roundabout story. I first came to Paris studying art history. I went to college-
Kerry Diamond: Not donuts, you didn't go to Paris to study donuts?
Amanda Bankert: No. Exactly. Funnily enough. So I was doing my junior semester abroad. I was an undergrad at Sarah Lawrence and I'd say within like three days of arriving in Paris, I was like, this is where I want to live. I just had this like feeling immediately. So I came back, graduated and my goal was then to try and figure out, okay, well how do I make this a reality? And I had worked in restaurants from the age of 15. worked throughout college, mostly front of house stuff, but always really liked back of house. And I think for me there was that combination pastry. I basically decided that I want to do pastry. I think there was like an overlap between the art there as well, like the two, it wasn't a huge leap for me. So for me it was a way to really kind of bring together my interest.
Kerry Diamond: Pastry is an art form in Paris and here now too.
Amanda Bankert: Yeah, exactly. And so I enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu and went over there and-
Kerry Diamond: The mothership one, the Paris one.
Amanda Bankert: Yeah. And so I got my pastry diploma, and then I actually did like a weird detour where I lived in Dublin for almost a decade. So I graduated from Paris, then randomly moved to Ireland.
Kerry Diamond: Okay. So you have to explain. So your junior semester abroad.
Amanda Bankert: Yes.
Kerry Diamond: So excited about Paris that you have to move there.
Amanda Bankert: Yes.
Kerry Diamond: You go to Le Cordon Bleu, you're in Paris, you're making it all happen. And then you go to Dublin for a decade?
Amanda Bankert: Yes.
Kerry Diamond: Do tell what happened there?
Amanda Bankert: Oh, it's like there was an Irish boy involved. Of course. Yeah. Well basically my son's father was from Dublin and so we moved to Dublin. It was supposed to only be a two year detour and my eldest son was born and life just happened and I ended up staying there for eight and a half years.
Kerry Diamond: Did you work in food in Dublin?
Amanda Bankert: Yeah, the whole time. So in fact actually the bulk of my professional career was in Dublin. Then I moved back to Paris in 2012 I-
Kerry Diamond: So you have to tell us, what were you doing in Dublin food wise?
Amanda Bankert: Pastry. Yeah, so I worked at a bunch of different restaurants. I worked at Harvey Nichols. They opened a Harvey. That was one of my first jobs there. I worked at a now closed restaurant called Mint, but that was really cool because I was there while we were getting first Michelin Star. So that was really cool. And then as my son got older, I scaled back. It was hard to work at that level in kitchens as a mom and then later on as a single mom. So it's hard to be doing like the 18 hour days that are often required. So I got into specialty coffee shops because I found that they were looking for a high level of pastry, looking for that quality to match kind of the quality of the coffee. So that was a really good fit for me.
Kerry Diamond: Better hours.
Amanda Bankert: And much better hours. But it was great. That was for the last two years before I moved back to Paris.
Kerry Diamond: How did you deal being pregnant in the kitchen?
Amanda Bankert: I just did it. I've done it twice so far. And that's the end.
Kerry Diamond: Did you work places where they were understanding? Not really.
Amanda Bankert: Well I guess so in the sense that it wasn't an issue, you know what I mean? Like I think I was-
Kerry Diamond: Because you didn't make it an issue.
Amanda Bankert: Probably. Yeah. But I think as well people helped me lift things do you know what I mean? So yeah, I would say it was difficult but doable. It was actually much more difficult for me after the baby was born, because as a mom you can't be two places at once basically. So that was where I found that the issues really kind of came into it.
Kerry Diamond: Did they have the same kind of services in Dublin and or Ireland as they do in Paris? Because from what I've been told there, they've got a lot of great services for new parents, new families.
Amanda Bankert: They do. Yeah. I was going to say Paris is may be a little bit even more sort of comprehensive, but Dublin is really good so that you get of course paid leave and midwives that come to the house and check on you and all that kind of stuff.
Kerry Diamond: So radical, such radical ideas. Why can't we have that in America? God forbid.
Amanda Bankert: It's amazing. It is amazing actually.
Kerry Diamond: I don't know if amazing is the word I would use, sad maybe.
Amanda Bankert: Yeah.
Kerry Diamond: Yeah. Anyway, hopefully that'll all change in 2020.
Amanda Bankert: Yes.
Kerry Diamond: Maybe. Anyway, totally. We're here to talk donuts. We'll talk politics some more later. So you're in Dublin, your know what I didn't ask you why pastry?
Amanda Bankert: I think I loved the idea or I know that I loved the idea that it's unnecessary and it's sole purpose is to bring joy, and so I loved the frivolity of it and the decadence of it.
Kerry Diamond: Good answer. So you're in Dublin. Is a specialty emerging or is pastry just in general your specialty at this point?
Amanda Bankert: I'd say I was doing a lot of French desserts in Dublin, and so the doughnuts emerged when I then moved back to France and didn't want to be doing French desserts in France.
Kerry Diamond: Got It. How's the Dublin restaurant scene for women?
Amanda Bankert: I think it's really good actually. I had an excellent time there. The restaurant scene in general is fantastic, and for me same as everywhere. I think there's room for improvement, but I can't really compare having never worked here. But from my experience there are a lot of really amazing women doing amazing things and being credited for it over there. So as far as I'm concerned it's-
Kerry Diamond: That's great. I need to get over to Dublin.
Amanda Bankert: Yeah, the food is fantastic actually.
Kerry Diamond: I have no doubt. Yeah. Okay, so you're back in Paris?
Amanda Bankert: Yes.
Kerry Diamond: And you decide to do donuts because you're like, what is more Parisian than a donut?
Amanda Bankert: Yes, exactly.
Kerry Diamond: Not True.
Amanda Bankert: No, I wasn't sure that-
Kerry Diamond: Donuts everywhere over there.
Amanda Bankert: Yes, exactly. Wall to wall-
Kerry Diamond: Not yet, thank God, I shouldn't even say that out loud.
Amanda Bankert: No, in fact it was the opposite, which I didn't quite anticipate at the beginning. So my husband and I knew we wanted to open something together. He's also background in hospitality. He's front of house, and we knew we were going to do something pastry based since it was going to be me in the kitchen. So then it was trying to figure out how are we going to do this, what are we going to do? And we were actually back here on a trip visiting my family in the summertime, eating donuts at the beach as you do, and just had this-
Kerry Diamond: I didn't know donuts were a beach food.
Amanda Bankert: They are for me. They have this kind of really nostalgic like childhood. I think for me what we would do is summer vacations we'd go to the Jersey shore and there's a mom and pop donut shop that I've literally gone to my whole life. So it's really ingrained in my brain. It's like this sunshine and family. And so the first trip back where he was with us, we went to this donut shop that I've been going to my whole life and we were eating donuts and I was like, let's do donuts, because you can dress them up or down as much as you want. You can be really creative with them. You make them from scratch. So, I approach them the same way that I was approaching desserts in restaurants.
Amanda Bankert: So once we had that kind of eureka moment, everything really then slotted really easily into place and it kind of just went from there.
Kerry Diamond: That's super brave because the French aren't as accepting of everything as maybe we are here in Brooklyn.
Amanda Bankert: Well I don't know if it was bravery as opposed to just like an ignorance is bliss situation, because I just assumed like, oh everybody loves donuts. Which is weird because again, like I've lived abroad for a long time. I don't know how that didn't occur to me-
Kerry Diamond: The éclair is just sort of like an oval donut. Not oval, what would that shape?
Amanda Bankert: Oblong is it?
Kerry Diamond: Oblong, it's like an oblong doughnut. Right?
Amanda Bankert: Exactly.
Kerry Diamond: I mean when you think about it, every culture has its version of a doughnut.
Amanda Bankert: Exactly. Because they have beignet so I didn't think it was like so wild except then when I started kind of rolling it out, I found out that especially if it's an American making them, they had this real culturally ingrained idea of Homer Simpson, like basically that a doughnut kind of epitomized the worst of American food. They were like, oh, the Simpsons, like industrial like-
Kerry Diamond: Oh, no.
Amanda Bankert: Yeah. But the good thing is that people are interested, they are also very interested in pastry. So we have this little pastry shop, they can see the lights on at four or five in the morning. I'm there rolling the donuts out. So I think once we were like, okay, they're fried. Sure. That's true. But other than you have a person making the dough with like buttermilk and eggs at the crack of dawn. And once they were kind of like everything's being made from scratch, blah, blah blah, then they were okay with it. But there was initially a little bit of like, oh God.
Kerry Diamond: I never thought of the Simpsons connection. That's hilarious.
Amanda Bankert: Me either.
Kerry Diamond: So how long did it take before you were doing okay at the shop that you weren't panicked about the rent or were you never worried?
Amanda Bankert: I don't know. I think I just thought it was going to be okay. I said it's maybe just one of those like blindly optimistic but I think sometimes that's good. Right? No, we started small and I mean our shop is teeny tiny and we didn't expect to be millionaires overnight, so I think we had realistic expectations as well. And it caught on pretty quickly. Like we are lucky in the sense that as well even though, I think they had this idea of like Homer Simpson and everything at the same time, sort of elements of like American culture is a lot more accepted there now. I think had I opened after I graduated from Culinary School in 2004 it would have been a no go. But Paris has changed a lot since then, and there is room now I think for people they still want quality. So I don't think that you'd be getting industrial produced donuts that would be popping up everywhere that people would go for. But I think you can get in there if it's handmade they're open to it.
Kerry Diamond: That's so cool. And I also noticed there's like a little movement over in Paris of American places?
Amanda Bankert: Yes.
Kerry Diamond: American placed doing brunch food. Who were some of your pals?
Amanda Bankert: Well there's one that opened up recently or she opened up about three years ago. It's a place called Aloha cafe and she's actually a Parisian but she was like, I did a trip to Hawaii and absolutely loved it. And so she's kind of opened this, it's an American inspired sort of brunch place, but she just like fresh juices, iced coffee, granola bowls and cakes and all that kind of stuff. She's fantastic. Brunch is massive. There's a really-
Kerry Diamond: That's a new thing.
Amanda Bankert: It's very new and I will be like full disclosure, it's kind of hit and miss as well. Like not everybody is nailing it at that job.
Kerry Diamond: Are they calling it brunch?
Amanda Bankert: They're calling it brunch, but sometimes it's like-
Kerry Diamond: Le brunch.
Amanda Bankert: Yeah. Well, it'd be like a basket of like viennoiserie and then like a burger or something. Do you know what I mean? It's like hmmm, maybe. But there's a great place that's actually owned by an Irish couple called Broken Biscuits, not far from where I live. And I go there every Sunday.
Kerry Diamond: Cute name.
Amanda Bankert: I know. And they are turning out amazing stuff. So that would be one of my absolute go tos, and Christine is the pastry chef there with her husband Chris. It's fab.
Kerry Diamond: So I have seen photos of your beautiful donuts. I sadly have not tried any yet. What are some of your signature flavors?
Amanda Bankert: So some of our most popular, I do a riff on an apple pie, like a tarte aux pommes. So I do a lot of double filled donuts. So this one's filled with like a tarte aux pommes or apple pie filling and then a vanilla pastry cream. I do a similar thing with rhubarb in May. So we change seasonally. So I do like a rhubarb one. We do salted caramel. That is one of our kind of most popular flavors. I do a beer glazed.
Kerry Diamond: Beer glazed?
Amanda Bankert: I do a beer glaze. I spent time in Ireland, so I do two beer down. Actually, I do like a lager glaze and then there's a craft beer bar across the street, literally across the way from our donut shop, which is good and bad. But it's great because I can just pop over and they give me like a pint of things and I can work it into the next day's glazes. So I do like a stout in marshmallow doughnut. I do a maple syrup and peanut brittle doughnut. So I try and do kind of a mashup of stuff from my childhood. So since I'm from like DC, Virginia, bring in the peanut brittle and my mom's from Massachusetts, Vermont. So I do like the maple syrup, try and bring these things in and then mix it up with French stuff as well.
Kerry Diamond: Where does the name Boneshaker come from?
Amanda Bankert: It is a vintage type of bike. So we cycle everywhere. That's how I kind of like to get around. I also like vintage-y stuff. So when we were brainstorming, it's one of the first prototypes of bikes and it was invented in France, and then when it was shipped over to America, the Americans called the boneshaker because it was a wooden frame and so on the cobblestones apparently would like rattle your bones. And I don't know, I just liked the French American connection, thought it sounded cool.
Kerry Diamond: So cool that is cool.
Amanda Bankert: So I was like, what about Boneshaker? And I thought, yeah, why not?
Kerry Diamond: Are you seeing more of female chefs in Paris?
Amanda Bankert: Not as many as I would like, but yes, I think that there is an effort to make more women visible in the industry, which is good. But I think the reality is it's still a boys club a little bit.
Kerry Diamond: Over there. Yeah.
Amanda Bankert: Yeah.
Kerry Diamond: It's changing dramatically.
Amanda Bankert: It is changing, and it's changing there too, but the thing is actually there are a lot of really talented, amazing women who are getting credit for their work and who who are being spotlighted. But I just think it still is an industry that is dominated by men.
Kerry Diamond: So now you're back in New York right now?
Amanda Bankert: Yes.
Kerry Diamond: I'm so curious, so you're over there in Paris, like what kind of bubbles over there? What do you hear about regarding the food scene here in New York or the US?
Amanda Bankert: So Brooklyn in particular a few years ago, I want to say maybe a year or two ago was like the coolest thing in Paris. So there was like a whole big craze. But I think everybody always thinks New York is really cool. It never really goes out of style. So I think that's probably the biggest or maybe like most visible kind of crossover that's happening at the moment, I think as well because it's such a big change from like traditional French coffee.
Kerry Diamond: Right. Cafe Creme.
Amanda Bankert: Exactly. So it's just something that's very visible in the city at the moment. And then with that there is kind of like this influx of sort of one would say I guess like anglophone desserts, some stuff like banana bread is super popular at the moment. People are going crazy for banana bread.
Kerry Diamond: Everybody loves banana bread. I think it's one of the number one searched recipes.
Amanda Bankert: I believe it.
Kerry Diamond: Definitely top searched recipes every year. So you've really just led a very bold life, it seems to me. Do you have advice for anyone who would love to move to a foreign country?
Amanda Bankert: Yeah, I would say just do it. I think a lot of people are held back about the idea oh, oh, I have to wait until this or that works out or. What I always tell people actually because in Paris I do meet a fair few people who would like to stay, it's such a cheesy kind of line. But the thing is if you do want to do something, there is always a way to figure out how to do it. And so once you're there, even if it's something for somebody initially like go and be a nanny for a year, but study on the side or do you know what I mean? The thing is if that's what you really want to do, find a way to get over there because hands down, obviously the hardest part is being able to live someplace legally, so you have to figure out how to get your papers in order, whether it be by being a student or teaching English or whatever. Because once you're there you can branch out into what you're passionate about. Don't wait to kind of have everything.
Amanda Bankert: But I think everything in life is Kind of like that. Never wait for everything to be the perfect moment because-
Kerry Diamond: They'll be waiting forever.
Amanda Bankert: They'll be waiting forever. Yeah.
Kerry Diamond: And then in terms of opening your own business, were there are a lot of barriers to entry in in Paris?
Amanda Bankert: So France is famous for its red tape, and rightfully so. So especially coming as an American where we like things to happen quickly and we like to get kind of immediate results from people and from projects. So it is not like that at all.
Kerry Diamond: Especially if you're a New Yorker. Oh my gosh.
Amanda Bankert: It's going to take, honestly I'd say think about the longest it could possibly take and multiply that by three to five and I'm not even being facetious. It took us three years, and that was me working like a maniac for three years. We lost our property because the bank wouldn't sign... You are going to have all of these disasters, you are going to have issues with banks. You are going to have sellers who say they want to sell and then at the 11th hour decide, oh I don't actually want to sell this property. But that literally happens to everybody, whether you're French or not, that is just how it is and you have to roll with it.
Amanda Bankert: So it's kind of an exercise in being zen. And I think if you just put your head down and you're like, okay, I'm doing this. So even if it takes me three years instead of the nine months or a year or whatever that I had originally plotted for it. You just have to kind of, once you're in it just sort of put your head down and make it happen, and you will get there. Persistence is key. And I get teased a lot over there for my American optimism where they'd be like the bank refused our loan after they had said it would go through. And I was like, that's okay, we'll find another way to get the money.
Kerry Diamond: Wow, you are an optimist.
Amanda Bankert: Yeah. But it works.
Kerry Diamond: Did you buy an existing business or did you start from scratch?
Amanda Bankert: We're leasing it. So basically the shop had been empty for years because it's so small and it's kind of like configured in a bizarre way. But for a donut shop it's perfect. So I sort of looked at it and I was like, well we can put the kitchen upstairs and we'll have like a little counter downstairs. But if you weren't doing something like that, I can see how they-
Kerry Diamond: Your kitchen's upstairs?
Amanda Bankert: The kitchen is upstairs. Yeah. Because it's kind of like a tiny little house. I don't know what it is in feet. So it's like nine meters squared downstairs and 10 meters ups. It's small though, it's like a child's bedroom upstairs and downstairs. So I have my teeny tiny kitchen and there's like a little mini like spiral staircase at the back. So I saw it and fell in love. But unless you were doing something really small like that and there was no plumbing or anything, so we built the kitchen ourselves. It was real DIY. As I said, we did get rejected by the bank because they thought donuts would never work in France. That was one of my original sort of like when I had that moment being like, oh, maybe this isn't going to be, because nobody had ever done it before and they didn't go for it in the end. So we didn't get a bank loan. So we literally like built everything ourselves. And-
Kerry Diamond: What were you doing for money?
Amanda Bankert: So my husband was working, he was bartending and I was on maternity leave, but it's paid over there. So I had a really long, again I was very lucky in that I had a little bit, I mean, again, we didn't have a lot of money but we could eat. And so we just did it like that. So we lived off of my maternity, and as I said, and he was working.
Kerry Diamond: Do you have aspirations to open more shops or you think you're-
Amanda Bankert: I think so. It's very cute. It is super, super small. And so I think ideally we'd probably like to open something else at some point, but we're not there yet. For the moment we're concentrating on what we have. And we've talked about maybe doing something in the states as well, but again, that's kind of like, I'm not actively working on it at the moment, but it's also not an impossibility I guess.
Kerry Diamond: Got it. Okay. Tell me about your tattoo. I've been staring at it through this whole gig.
Amanda Bankert: This tattoo is actually-
Kerry Diamond: Oh, and look at your baker scars. Look at you.
Amanda Bankert: Everywhere. This is my least favorite tattoo. It's also ironically my most visible. This was one where I basically told this guy whose work I admired that I wanted him to get a tattoo and I kind of gave him a rough idea that I would like, he did these like really cool coffee cups. So I was like, oh, I like one of your coffee cups. And then he kind of went a little crazy and added all this extra foliage coming out of the top.
Kerry Diamond: I kind of like it though. It's really unique.
Amanda Bankert: It's there now listen, it's not going anywhere.
Kerry Diamond: And I think the whole idea of something like blooming out of food in the sense.
Amanda Bankert: No it's cool. But it's funny because he did the cup and I was like, yeah, that's cool. And then he kept going and I was like, oh okay. Well it's on my arm now. So-
Kerry Diamond: It's part of you.
Amanda Bankert: It's part of me now.
Kerry Diamond: Like those scars.
Amanda Bankert: Like the scars. Yeah.
Kerry Diamond: I want to get some tips from you for home bakers and pastry enthusiasts. What baked goods do you make at home for yourself or when you get home you're like-
Amanda Bankert: I do a lot of cookies and a lot of cakes.
Kerry Diamond: At home. You do?
Amanda Bankert: Oh yeah.
Kerry Diamond: Tell us what you make?
Amanda Bankert: Well I'm on a vegan kick at the moment, so I'm doing a lot of vegan baking at home. So I recently did this really delicious, actually like Vegan chocolate and vanilla marble cake with buttercream icing. That was really good.
Kerry Diamond: What are you using to replace the dairy?
Amanda Bankert: I'm using a lot of oat milk. I really like oat milk.
Kerry Diamond: Has oat taken off over there?
Amanda Bankert: Yeah, I'm obsessed. I've actually switched over in my process. It's so Good.
Kerry Diamond: People are obsessed.
Amanda Bankert: Do you like it?
Kerry Diamond: I do. I like it a lot.
Amanda Bankert: It's really good.
Kerry Diamond: How do you make a vegan buttercream?
Amanda Bankert: Because you can get the Vegan butters or margins or whatever over there. So just that oat milk and powdered sugar, a bit of salt, vanilla.
Kerry Diamond: All right. We're going to do a little speed round with you.
Amanda Bankert: Okay.
Kerry Diamond: We'll do it in English. Of course. Coffee, tea or other beverage of choice?
Amanda Bankert: Coffee, no question.
Kerry Diamond: Coffee. How do you take it?
Amanda Bankert: Often black or an oat milk latte.
Kerry Diamond: That's right. I forgot. We established that already.
Amanda Bankert: But more frequently I drink a black.
Kerry Diamond: Favorite ingredient to cook or bake with?
Amanda Bankert: Does caramel count as an ingredient?
Kerry Diamond: Sure.
Amanda Bankert: Okay, well then salted caramel for sure.
Kerry Diamond: Okay. A song that makes you smile?
Amanda Bankert: “Stop the Wedding” by Etta James.
Kerry Diamond: Most used kitchen implement?
Amanda Bankert: Rolling pin.
Kerry Diamond: Dream vacation destination?
Amanda Bankert: Ooh, hard. There are so many places that I'd really love to go. Japan.
Kerry Diamond: If you are trapped on a desert island with one food celebrity, who would it be and why?
Amanda Bankert: David Chang.
Kerry Diamond: That's a first, no one's ever said Chang. Why David Chang?
Amanda Bankert: I just really like him. I don't know. He seems like he'd be cool to hang out with, right?
Kerry Diamond: Sure. And who would cook?
Amanda Bankert: Him for sure.
Kerry Diamond: Thank you to Amanda for stopping by. We can't wait to visit her in Paris. We'll be right back after this short break. Cherry Bombe is teaming up with Traeger grills and Wölffer estate vineyard in the Hamptons for a very special dinner next week and I have a sneak peek of the menu for you. Chef Kia Damon our rookie of the year will be smoking some grapes and serving them with grilled bread and creamy burrata. Chef Elizabeth Karmel, aka the grill girl is grilling up some beef tenderloin and some gorgeous summer veg, and pastry chef Yossy Arefi, queen of the galette is of course baking her signature dessert. And they're making all of this on Traeger's wood fired grills. Traeger grills ambassador Amanda Haas will be hanging out with us too. Thanks to all of you who bought tickets and I can't wait to see you in the Hamptons. Don't forget, try it on a Traeger, visit traegergrills.com
Jess Zeidman: Grab your notebooks Bombesquad. We're going back to school this summer with a brand new radio show, Cherry Bombe University. Each week we'll be offering crash courses taught by your favorite members of the Bombesquad to get you cooking, eating, and thinking like the smart cookie you are. Thank you to Le Cordon Bleu for making this series possible. You can learn more about Le Cordon Bleu at cordonbleu.edu see you in class.
Kerry Diamond: Next up, our second guest, Joline Rivera, the creative director and founder of Kitchen Toke in Indie magazine about cooking with cannabis. So let's start with you before we get into your life and your childhood and all of that. Tell us about Kitchen Toke because it's such a unique business.
Joline Rivera: Kitchen Toke is the very first immediate brand who happens to have a magazine at the moment concentrated on teaching people to use cannabis for food, health and wellness. So we sum it up by saying we're cooking with cannabis, and there is no other media brand in the world doing what we're doing.
Kerry Diamond: So explain to people what cooking with cannabis means because there's so much confusion now. I mean we're recording this in the middle of Brooklyn. There is CBD, everything around us. Do we get CBT tampons for real?
Joline Rivera: I think we talked about that-
Kerry Diamond: Did we? So I know we have like CBD cramp oil in the bathroom. You should see the Cherry Bombe bathroom we have lots of weird lady products in there. But you could get a CBD latte up the block. My favorite beauty product shop around the corner has a million CBD products. So give us the lay of the land. Like, tell us a little bit what's going on right now and what cannabis is exactly?
Joline Rivera: Well, cannabis is all forms of the plant, the cannabis plant, and then the hemp plant, they are the same plant but different varieties. And right now what's federally legal is cannabis from hemp and cannabis from hemp has less than point three percent THC in it. So the reason that you can't cook with it is because a lot of people don't know really what they're doing. And when you're using CBD from hemp, there is a cooling point and there's a combustion point for heating. So you have to be really careful about how you use it. And you have icelets, you have full spectrum and there's broad spectrum cannabis. So that means the full THC program. So it is very confusing and it's still confusing for me. And it's-
Kerry Diamond: What is THC?
Joline Rivera: THC is tetrahydrocannabinol, and that is the component of cannabis that when decarboxylated or heated, it makes you high. CBD is cannabidiol and that is a component of cannabis that has properties of inflammation. It's calming, relaxing. It's not really psychoactive, but it does alter your mood a little bit. I started Kitchen Toke knowing nothing and I'm still learning, and we always say that we report on the facts and those facts change as we develop the research.
Kerry Diamond: So Kitchen Toke specializes in both kinds?
Joline Rivera: Kitchen Toke specializes in cooking with the full plant, and we also do stories where you can have CBD substitutes and I will call out what those substitutes can be, because I think there's too many. If I'm doing this everyday, how can I expect the public to decide, or differentiate what's good and what's not.
Kerry Diamond: Yeah. It's so confusing. I mean, right now the confusion is overwhelming.
Joline Rivera: There's too much. We're getting blasted with press releases. There's CBD everywhere. You don't even know what you're consuming half the time. Is it for night time? Is it for daytime? It's a lot.
Kerry Diamond: So what's the solution, is it legalizing cannabis across the country and then being able to test it, have regulations, do you want to see it heavily regulated?
Joline Rivera: I'm on the fence about that. What I would like to see his research done. First and foremost, when-
Kerry Diamond: Where do you stand on the legalization for it?
Joline Rivera: I think we should be legal by now. I think this is a matter of choice. This is not just saying, oh, I want to get high. That has nothing to do with it. But I like my freedom to choose and I also don't believe that cannabis is any more dangerous than alcohol.
Kerry Diamond: Right. I mean, I don't smoke. I have eaten some of Vanessa Lavorato’s Marigold Chocolates, which I like very much. But I do think if alcohol is legal, marijuana should be.
Joline Rivera: Agree.
Kerry Diamond: Yeah. And People's records expunged.
Joline Rivera: Yes. There was some reparations to make them. Yeah, but when we're talking about cannabis in the magazine, we're talking about cooking with the flower. And I say that because I love edibles, and I'll be the first one to admit. I'll go pick them up and I have some favorites. What is not regulated with the packaging or the edible market I think is they're not talking about what strain is being used in the edible. So you can say, oh, this is my favorite and it really works for me. And then what? You're just stuck buying that edible. They're like $60 and it's like you get 10 pieces in a little package, and then I don't know about you, but that's expensive for me. And so I think when you spend the money on buying a flower or a strain that works for you, then you can use that dry flour and infuse your oil, your butter, and make that money go a lot longer for you. And you can dose appropriately for yourself what works for you. You're not buying a candy bar that's 50 milligrams of THC and you can only have one little piece of that candy bar because if you eat the candy bar, you'll be under the table.
Kerry Diamond: I think it's a morality issue. I think there are a lot of people who have been kind of brainwashed about how evil marijuana is.
Joline Rivera: The devil's weed.
Kerry Diamond: Right. But then you look at what opioids have done to this country, what alcohol does to individuals who can't handle alcohol. I mean, I know it's really heavy and I know it's very sensitive for a lot of people and they feel very strongly about legalizing yet another addictive substance. Again, I think it should be legalized, regulated. I think people who went to jail for marijuana, for anything related to marijuana, if they're still in jail, they need to get out of jail. Like you said, reparations need to be made. But then in terms of the dispensing of licenses or whatever it is that lets you have a business related to all of this, a lot needs to be decided about who gets those licenses and who needs to profit because it can't just be a lot of white people profiting from this business.
Joline Rivera: Agree. I cannot agree more. I went before the Illinois legislative committee in 2017 when I was about to launch the first issue. I think actually it was just a week after we came out with the first issue of Kitchen Toke, and at the time I spoke before the legislative committee as the only minority woman in the ancillary cannabis space in Illinois, which I thought was shocking to me. I didn't believe it. Like really.
Kerry Diamond: So you did not get into this for kicks?
Joline Rivera: No.
Kerry Diamond: Or to get high or to get rich?
Joline Rivera: No.
Kerry Diamond: Tell us why you launched this magazine and this media company?
Joline Rivera: Well, I had been in the food world for about 20 years, producing food magazines and food cookbooks. Got my start at Meredith publishing and worked at country home magazine and then migrated to the book group where I was working for food network cookbooks. And when I went freelance I started to get more into the food world, food fanatics magazine for us foods reporting on the restaurant industry. And I'd heard chefs talking about cooking with canvas, but I really didn't pay attention to it until my co-designer Nelly Williams, her dad was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011 and it's like a surrogate family to me, she's been in my life for 15 years and it was hard for us to take in they were living in Missouri with no medicinal cannabis or anything really for them to try to help him get through chemo. And he went through so many rounds of chemo where it spread to his lymph nodes and went to his throat. And by the time I saw him, that was just the last time in 2016 I decided to ask some friends for some THC infused chocolates because I'd heard so much about what the possibilities are around cannabis that might help him relax and might help him sleep. It might help him have an appetite and I thought I couldn't hurt.
Joline Rivera: And so I drove them illegally from Illinois to Missouri and deliver them to his doorstep. He ate three in a row fast and furious, which is probably not the most recommended, but for someone who is literally dying of cancer, he was in pain. And they kicked in pretty quick when you eat that many, which I wouldn't recommend for anyone by the way. But they kicked in pretty quick and he was laughing and joking and was eating chips and cracked open a beer and was sitting on the floor playing with his grandkids and decided to take them for a walk on their bicycles and trikes and the family was just, wow. They hadn't seen him like that in months. He died shortly after that, about a month after I left that visit, he passed away and I was back there for the funeral in June.
Joline Rivera: I think Nellie and I looked at each other and said, let's figure out how we can do that for other people. We make pretty magazines and we've been doing that for awhile and I love to bake and I love to experiment and try new things and I love being the art director for food photography. It's one of my favorite things, but I wanted to say how about this really beautiful recipe, but it has this extra ingredient here that can help you whether you're sick, whether you have an injury, whether you have an ailment, an anxiety disorder, PTSD, or just basic inflammation because I work out every day. I'm training for a marathon.
Kerry Diamond: And you needed it personally. You had an accident?
Joline Rivera: I did. I was here in New York in 2010 and I was in a taxi that was rear ended by another taxi and I tore my rotator cuff and herniated three discs in my neck. I had gone through rounds of epidural injections facet injections, chiropractic therapy, dry needling, you name it. And the inflammation. Just when you're stressed and my shoulders go up around my ears some days and that all aggravates the shoulder, the neck, it's not good. And then I would get headaches and the headaches would last for four days and they would mimic a migraine. Like the disc pressing on nerves would mimic a migraine for me. So I needed anti-inflammatory help across the board. And I will admit I use CBD every single day. I put it in everything that I have.
Kerry Diamond: So you use CBD or some kind of infusion of CBD, you're not smoking?
Joline Rivera: No I'm not a smoker. I've never been a smoker. I don't like the way it feels. I've tried vape pens for sure. People have assured me this vape pen's really great. You won't even feel it. It's smooth. And I'll take a hit from a vape pen and I'll end up coughing. It burns my throat every single time. I'm kind of a West, I guess.
Kerry Diamond: How often do you have edibles?
Joline Rivera: Well, daily, I mean when I'm at home daily and it's in my smoothies-
Kerry Diamond: But CBD one's both?
Joline Rivera: Both. At night I do a protein shake at night that has THC and CBD. And I always make mine one-to-one because that helps me sleep a full eight or nine hours without interruption.
Kerry Diamond: That's great.
Joline Rivera: It's really nice.
Kerry Diamond: What do you use exactly? Do you mind telling people what the product is?
Joline Rivera: No, I have a favorite olive oil that I use. It's from Polly. They have a really nice CBD and THCA olive oil. And then when you heat the olive oil up, it converts that THCA to THC.
Kerry Diamond: Where and how can you get that?
Joline Rivera: I got that in California and brought it to Illinois, but they do sell a really nice hemp derived CBD olive oil on their website that anyone can order. It's really nice you can cook with it. You can do everything except for deep frying.
Kerry Diamond: Got It. So how are you vetting products to put in the magazine? I mean, you can't try everything?
Joline Rivera: No, I can't try everything but I usually talk to people about how they're making their product, the processes, who are their growers. I mean, I look at product the same way. I would look at groceries at whole foods. Is it grown? Are there chemicals, pesticides, that's how people should be looking at their flower, I think, whether they're smoking or eating it.
Kerry Diamond: And how are you finding chefs who are into this? Are they finding you?
Joline Rivera: This is so exciting. When we first started we had to go find them of course. But right before I left, I received a random text and said, "Hey Joline, I'm Abe Conlon with fat rice and I love your magazine and I would love to work with you." And I said, "When can you meet?" And he said, "I can meet today." I'm like, "I'll be there today." So I raced down to meet him. What a guy's really cool is energetic and it's funny, I had this conversation because he's one of those chefs who really love the taste of cannabis. And I personally like to not taste it at all in my food, but he loves it. And he said, I'm going to prepare a meal for you that you're going to try and I'm going to accentuate the flavors in cannabis and so I think that'll be a fun experience for me.
Kerry Diamond: You seem excited.
Joline Rivera: I'm really exited.
Kerry Diamond: Are many women involved in this, both on the chef side and on the business side.
Joline Rivera: I'm glad you asked but but I keep saying we need more women. I have yet to meet a large group of women, cannabis chefs. We don't have enough, as a woman owned business really looking for more female chefs to balance things out.
Kerry Diamond: Did you ever think you would be a woman running a cannabis related magazine?
Joline Rivera: No. No. I have a older brother and younger brother. Those two probably would have been involved in it somehow, but when I told my parents I was doing this, I don't think it surprised them, meaning that I noticed the white space to be filled in a creative way and that didn't surprise them. But I think they're pretty cool about it.
Kerry Diamond: All right. I think it's time for the speed round. Most treasured cookbook?
Joline Rivera: Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson.
Kerry Diamond: I thought you didn't need sugar.
Joline Rivera: I don't, but I love to bake and I bake for everyone around me every weekend. Cookies, cakes, brownies, pumpkin bread.
Kerry Diamond: Infused with, no, no, because there's kids in the house. Song that makes you smile?
Joline Rivera: Cool change by the Little River band.
Kerry Diamond: Your favorite kitchen implement?
Joline Rivera: Oh, my Vitamix.
Kerry Diamond: A food that you would never eat.
Joline Rivera: I don't think there is one.
Kerry Diamond: Food you loved as a child?
Joline Rivera: Oh my gosh. Peanut butter and jelly.
Kerry Diamond: If you are trapped on a desert island with one food celebrity, who would it be and why?
Joline Rivera: Anthony Bourdain. Because I think he has great stories or he would have had great stories.
Kerry Diamond: He was my pick.
Joline Rivera: I mean his storytelling ability, it's like almost better than reading a book and I barely meet those people.
Kerry Diamond: How about living?
Joline Rivera: Thomas Keller? Thinking of stories and food. I mean, I'm dying to meet him.
Kerry Diamond: Okay. Good answer. All right, Joline, you're the bombe. Thanks for being on the show.
Joline Rivera: Thank you guys.
Kerry Diamond: That's it for today's show. Thank you to Amanda Bankert and Jolene Rivera for sitting down with me. If you find yourself in Paris, lucky you, go check out Boneshaker donuts and make sure you take a picture and tag us. Want to learn more about Kitchen Toke? Check out their website at kitchentoke.com. Thank you to today's sponsors, Handsome Brooke Farm pasture raised organic eggs, Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, and Traeger grills. Don't forget, we would love if you could support the hunger doesn't take a break initiative from the Food Bank For New York City. Visit foodbanknyc.org for more. Radio Cherry Bombe is a production of Cherry Bombe Media. Our show is edited, engineered, and produced by Jess Zeidman and our theme song is all fired up by the band Tralala. Thanks for listening everybody. You are the bombe.
When Harry Met Sally Clip: I'll have what she's having.
Allison D’Aurizio: Hi, this is Allison D’Aurizio, baker and owner at 1748 Bakehouse in Jacksonville, Florida. Do you know who I think is the bombe? Samin Nosrat, from the first time I saw her sharing her recipe for braised pork with Michael Pollan on Cooked. I was mesmerized. Cookbook author, blogger, and joyful host of Salt Fat Acid Heat, Samin is a pleasure to watch and to read. Confident, funny, crazy talented, all the things you look for. Samin, I think you're the bombe.