The Future of Food: Portland Transcript
Kerry Diamond: Hi, Bombesquad. Welcome to the Future of Food, a Radio Cherry Bombe miniseries. I'm your host, Kerry Diamond. The Cherry Bombe team toured America last year and traveled from Nashville to Chicago to Dallas and lots of places in between to ask women what the future of food means to them.
Kerry Diamond: Throughout the series, you're going to hear talks and panels that we recorded on each stop. You'll hear from ice-cream entrepreneurs, established restaurateurs, some major top chefs, and a poet. These members of the Bombesquad shared their vision for what's next in their world and the world around them.
Kerry Diamond: I hope this series inspires you to stop and think about your future. Thank you to Kerrygold for supporting our tour and this miniseries. Kerrygold is the iconic Irish brand known for its award winning butter and cheese made with milk from grass fed cows.
Kerry Diamond: For this episode, we're traveling to Portland, Oregon. Our event was held at the Nightwood Society, the wonderful woman-run event space. We're going to kick things off with one of the most respected chefs around, Naomi Pomeroy, of Beast and Expatriate. First, let's check in with our sponsor.
Kerry Diamond: There are so many things you can do with cheese beyond just making a cheeseboard and who knows that better than a cheese maker? We checked back in with Sarah Furno, the farmhouse cheese maker whose family created the famous Kerrygold cashel blue Irish farmhouse cheese. We asked Sarah for some of her favorite ways to cook with Kerrygold cheese.
Sarah Furno: There's loads of different ways. If I'm with my kids, we might be making pizza with a quattro formaggio with cashel blue and maybe some aged Kerrygold cheddar and some mozzarella or I might pop it into a risotto. I love making inverted burgers for friends if they come over.
Kerry Diamond: Inverted burger? I've never heard of that. Stay tuned to hear Sarah explain exactly how she makes this inventive burger with Kerrygold cashel blue Irish farmhouse cheese. Interested in putting your own spin on dishes with Kerrygold's award winning butter and cheese? Visit kerrygoldusa.com for recipes and inspiration. That's kerrygoldusa.com. Let's welcome Chef Naomi Pomeroy.
Naomi Pomeroy: I didn't really know and I didn't feel like I had the right, I guess, to say this feels weird. I come to work and I really hate coming to work because you guys are gonna make a bunch of sexist jokes about me and I don't think that there's anything I can do about that because it seems to be that's just sort of the way it was.
Naomi Pomeroy: It was a long time ago, to be fair. It was 1998 or whatever, but at the same time, I think something clicked inside of me and I was like wow, I really hate this. I stopped laughing, first of all, because at first, I was so uncomfortable, I was laughing at the jokes, just kinda ha ha, this is funny, right? We're all making fun of me, this is cool.
Naomi Pomeroy: And then after that, I started being quiet and then one day it just kind of built up and we sat down at the end of our shift to talk about what we needed to order for the next day and I said, "I quit." I just said I quit, they had no idea that I was unhappy, I was laughing through all the jokes and I just gave no notice and walked out, never went back to that job again and basically started my own business after that.
Naomi Pomeroy: Even though there's that silver lining of maybe those guys drove me to start my own business, in looking back on that moment, I feel like if I could redo that moment as an adult, I would say that I missed a moment there too because instead of telling them why I quit, I just quit and that was it.
Naomi Pomeroy: Sometimes I think about how much things have changed. Okay, recently with the #MeToo movement. What is the #MeToo movement and the restaurant industry like? What do they have in common? Because ultimately, it's really complex equation. For those of you who work in the front of house, you know that you're working for tips for the most part.
Naomi Pomeroy: Actually at my restaurant, you're not working for tips so if any of you need a job, we don't do tips at my restaurant. We are completely just by the hour. But for the most part, we're working for tips and if we're not working for tips, we're working for something like tips, like approval or whatever.
Naomi Pomeroy: Ultimately, that creates a power imbalance and a lot of what we end up taking on is this idea like as a server, when someone brushes your leg inappropriately, you kind of know its inappropriate but in the past, it's been like you don't say anything, right? You might say something, you go back with your women friends or your other server friends and you complain about the guy on table three that touched your leg and it was so gross and nah nah nah, but nobody confronts the guy.
Naomi Pomeroy: I think that we're working in a time when it's the responsibility of business owners, leaders, bosses, men and women to start to realize that those kinds of things need to be taken really seriously first of all. But second of all, I think we have to realize this whole conversation that I'm having with you guys today came from really thinking about consent.
Naomi Pomeroy: It came from thinking about consent and what does that mean in the era of #MeToo and in the dynamic of being inside of a kitchen or a restaurant in general? I was driving home the other day and I was listening to this podcast called Dear Sugars, have you guys ever listened to that? Yeah.
Naomi Pomeroy: Cheryl Strayed is a friend of mine and I had never listened to the podcast but for some reason, I was downtown and I was like, I have 45 minutes to get from downtown to back to work again. It was rush hour and I put on the podcast and I was listening to it. It was about consent and it was about how part of consent is about the person who is in power realizing that they are in power and taking a certain level of extra responsibility because of that power dynamic.
Naomi Pomeroy: I just wanna say that in that moment when I could've said to them about why I was quitting, I should've said why I was quitting because it's a teachable moment where people can then learn what it is for you as a person experiencing whatever they're doing. How many people in the room have been told a joke that made them feel really uncomfortable but just kinda laughed and didn't say anything about it? Pretty much ... I would guess pretty much everyone.
Naomi Pomeroy: I've realized in reflecting how my laughing at it instead of saying that this makes me feel uncomfortable is part of the problem of why those things keep continuing and in my kitchen, in my restaurants, what I try to do is create an open forum and a dynamic that has people feeling like they can come to me to say something if they feel like something crossed a line.
Naomi Pomeroy: What I always do is encourage them to go back to that person and talk to that person about how it made them feel because ultimately, you can say things like, "Whoa, that comment was so racist" or "That comment was so misogynistic". But that kind of conversating with someone doesn't really create movement.
Naomi Pomeroy: The kind of thing that you do in that moment is have compassion and sympathy for how they ended up making those comments, right? Where you're like, wow you must be in pain from having to make racial jokes. You must be suffering.
Naomi Pomeroy: As a woman coming up through the kitchen, I feel like there was many, many years when I participated in that stuff on a daily basis because I felt like acting like a man or acting like someone in power who wasn't controlling their power well was the only thing that I had to emulate. That was how I was gonna get successful.
Naomi Pomeroy: Someone slaps my butt and I'm like ugh and I see that they get promoted and then I realize, oh, that's how you do it. Just slap people's butts. That's how you get promoted. It really is a culture that runs across restaurants and it's a really dangerous culture. I just wanted to say that I think that, as bosses, our job, if you're a boss, is to create ...
Naomi Pomeroy: Balance out some of that power and create a safe environment for people to come to you with stuff that, in the past I would've said to people, "Hey, whatever, it's a kitchen. Toughen up, that's how it is." But at the end of the day now, what I would say to someone that felt that way was, "Wow, how can we make you feel more safe and do you feel like you can talk to that person about how what they said made you feel?"
Naomi Pomeroy: As a boss, that's your responsibility and as someone who works in that industry, in the back of the house, the dynamic is only changed by being brave enough to say something when you see something.
Kerry Diamond: Thank you to Naomi for sharing her thoughts on what it really means to be a boss and for encouraging us to take advantage of teachable moments. Next up is Vivian Zhang of On She Goes, the travel site for women of color. What does Vivian think the future of food is? Let's find out.
Vivian Zhang: We've always lived in a world where travel inspires food. That's why the spice trade happened, that's how my parents started their Chinese restaurant in America. It's pretty simple. Traveling inspires food around us.
Vivian Zhang: But because traveling is so accessible now, food inspires where we go. That's part of the itinerary more than ever. Thanks to Eater, #foodporn, Yelp, finding the best new places to eat is easier than ever. It's a thrill and adventure to try new foods. You come home and you get to tell your friends and your family, "I tried this new place. You've gotta go."
Vivian Zhang: And as traveling increases, it allows us to push the boundaries and experiment even more but more importantly, it's created a demand for it. I remember my parents used to cook duck or congee and even bok choy. To me, that's so normal but when people would come in our restaurant, they would be like, "What is this? This is so foreign, it's so weird."
Vivian Zhang: But because of traveling and the internet, it's now normal. I think it's such a beautiful thing. The more exposure that we get from different foods and traveling, it makes people more open minded to new tastes and also opens up a market where you get to bring your story back to your hometowns and share with people who can't travel because traveling is expensive and that's why we created On She Goes to help make it something that's more approachable.
Vivian Zhang: Traveling honestly creates acceptance. It creates curiosity for other cultures. Some people travel to find authenticity in their foods. I'm Chinese and I've never been to China, so I always have this curiosity of what is real Chinese food? But in America, this is all I know and what my parents make at home is my real Chinese food.
Vivian Zhang: Then some other people try fusion flavors. It's a creativity that you're like, oh, how did this person think of combining these different foods? It's so interesting and fun. But at the end of the day, what matters is that these meals bring people closer together. It doesn't matter if the people around you don't look like you or speak the same language as you. You're still all there for the love of food.
Vivian Zhang: The two, traveling and food, will continually inspire each other. You'll continue to melt the different cultures and the different stories of these chefs and it'll just bring people and strangers and families and friends together and share a meal and a memory.
Vivian Zhang: That's why I think the future of food is traveling. People are gonna travel more, bring it back, travel some more and bring it back. It's a really cool cycle and I think it happens here everyday in Portland. You see it with all the different restaurants and it's just gonna keep melting together.
Kerry Diamond: Thank you, Vivian. Be sure to check on onshegoes.com for more about understanding ourselves and the world around us through travel. Next up is Naz Sahin, writer, artist, and Cherry Bombe contributor. Naz founded a website called Motherland that celebrates makers and she's here to tell us more.
Naz Sahin: I like stories. I like reading them. I like writing them. I like curating them which is what I was doing for Cherry Bombe. My column was a mixed bag of two sentences long short stories, culinary tidbits as I like to think about them.
Naz Sahin: Here's an example. Vegetarian restaurant number one. The first vegetarian restaurant in the United States opened on West 23rd Street in Manhattan in 1895. It was cofounded by Louise Walkman, a music teacher and an activist for women's rights.
Naz Sahin: I also like shopping stories. I found this turmeric on Instagram and it stood out because it has beautiful packaging, it looks really pretty but then I went to their site and read the story that Sana, the creator of this brand, wrote. It's a really long essay on how and why she created this brand that sells this very special turmeric.
Naz Sahin: After reading the story, it's very hard for me to want any other turmeric than this one. I ordered it then and the shipment got delayed. It didn't arrive for days and she sent me a very sweet email apologizing for the inconvenience since we live in the age of Amazon Prime. Did I care? No, not at all because I wasn't buying this turmeric because I needed turmeric. I was buying this turmeric to become a part of her story.
Naz Sahin: I just told her, "Oh, it's fine. I'm very happy that you're so busy, you're running out of your shipping supplies." I love small and curated stores and I try to shop exclusively from them even though it might be inconvenient or slightly more expensive at at times.
Naz Sahin: I just ... This is just how I feed myself with the stories behind these products. I decided to start a store like that myself. It's called Motherland, it's brand new. This is something I offer. It's mulberry preserves imported from Lebanon and I like this because I love mulberries, they were my favorite fruit when I was growing up in Turkey. It's such a nostalgic ingredient for me. It's kind of hard to come across in the U.S.
Naz Sahin: I like it because it's delicious and all natural and et cetera. But I love it because I found out that this brand was started by two sisters in a tiny, picturesque mountain village cut off from the rest of the country during the Lebanese Civil War because they wanted to employ the women in the village who had nothing to do with their time and orchards just overflowing with fruit.
Naz Sahin: They started bottling up and preserving their fruit and their husbands, who were coming back from the war, became their taste testers and their children became their packaging designers and they were sticking the labels on. It's such a sweet story and now after 25 years later, they are still producing this thing in the same old beautiful stone barn where it all began with the same traditional and gentle methods they've been using for ages.
Naz Sahin: It makes this product very special for me, so when I'm passing this on, I wanna make sure that the story comes along with it and it just doesn't blend in with all these other jams in the shelf in the Middle Eastern grocery store that also sells them. You need to know the story.
Naz Sahin: When I'm mixing spoonfuls of this to my yogurt in the morning, I daydream about this old stone barn and these two sisters and I want to do the same with everything I eat and drink and cook with. I discovered that I'm very ... I became very romantic in that sense and I like that and I urge you to be romantic, to get romantic about your product.
Naz Sahin: If you're selling a very special product, just tell its story or if you know people who have amazing stories but don't have the means to tell them, just help them tell their stories and help them have a voice 'cause I feel like being healthy, fair, it's not enough with markets getting bigger and bigger and the aisles getting more crowded and crowded with good quality products.
Naz Sahin: People are just looking for more. They're looking for a connection and that's where the story comes in. Thank you.
Kerry Diamond: Thank you, Naz. People are craving connection and community and that goes to the heart of why we started Cherry Bombe. You can check out Naz's website at motherlandisnowhere.com. Before we get to our Portland panel, let's return to my chat with Sarah Furno about the best ways to cook with Kerrygold.
Kerry Diamond: I know you're all eager to hear more about this inverted burger. I certainly am. You are definitely going to want to make this recipe this weekend, so be sure to take notes. Here's farmhouse cheese maker Sarah Furno describing her go-to recipe that includes Kerrygold cashel blue Irish farmhouse cheese.
Naz Sahin: I buy some good quality ground steak mince. I will sweat a small amount of diced onion and just in that in with the ground mince, then I take a small amount of blue cheese and I make a hole in the burger patty and pop it into the center and close it back up. As the burger is cooking, of course the blue cheese melts in the center. When you bite into your burger, you've got a little sauce, a little surprise.
Kerry Diamond: And who doesn't want that?
Naz Sahin: It captures the flavor of the cheese very well and just adds a complimentary element to the burger. It works well. It's good. It's very easy as well.
Kerry Diamond: Want to make your own inverted burger? With Kerrygold cashel blue Irish farmhouse cheese or maybe some Kerrygold aged cheddar cheese. Visit kerrygoldusa.com to find out where you can purchase their award winning butter and cheese. That's kerrygoldusa.com.
Kerry Diamond: Welcome back. It was such an honor to be in Portland and learn more about the incredible women on the food scene there. Our panelists really exemplify what makes this city so vibrant. You're about to hear from Michelle Batista, co-owner of the Nightwood Society; Chef Arlyn Frank of Platineau Rising; Kim Malek, co-founder and CEO of Salt & Straw; Nong Poonsukwattan, founder of Nong's Khao Man Gai; and wellness guru Alison Wu of Wu House.
Kerry Diamond: When you hear the term "the future of food", what immediately comes to mind?
Michelle Battista: This group of women that I work with here, this is what we talk about everyday. This is why the tote bags, it was part of our Kickstarter campaign. It's been interesting to see how men engage that conversation and somehow when we were going through the election, and this is when the Future Is Female shirts came out, you saw men wearing them and they were champions of this idea that we would have a female president.
Michelle Battista: I think that that was the big catalyst for that mantra during that time and then when we launched the Kickstarter, our dear friend Kate Sokolov who's not here today but is friends with a lot of people in this room, was like, "I think we should really start talking about how the future of food is female."
Michelle Battista: It was a big challenge and we sort of put it out there and we got plenty of pushback from the male community especially men in food. To Naomi's point earlier, it's not about, for us, it's not about winning. It's about equalizing the playing field, so that's what we talk about all the time and we need more men in this room, always, thank you to, I think there's two of you, three of you maybe with Kevin back here.
Michelle Battista: But, one in the back. Dad. I think that for us, we wanna share the stage and have an equal playing field so we can all have a voice and that's what we're fighting for which seems crazy that we're in 2018 and we're still fighting for equality but that's the goal.
Michelle Battista: When I think about what the future of food is or the future is female, it's just an equal stake in the game.
Arlyn Frank: In regards to the future of food, I feel like I am here today because we're thinking a little bit more forward, right? We have feminists and we have the strides that we're making as feminists, we are understanding this concept and cherishing the value of it, but there is a missing piece to move forward and it's intersectionality.
Arlyn Frank: The future is female, the future is femme, the future is us coming together but there's a missing piece to move forward and it's that we need to look out for all women. In the 10 years that I've been in and out of kitchens and cooking, I was like okay, there's this strong white woman that just got this management position and why is she not looking out for the Latina woman that is the cook?
Arlyn Frank: Why doesn't she want the same things for herself for this person that is basically settling? Basically settling for a wage that is not livable. We have to also consider that and think about what it is that we need to do because at the end of the day, we all have these commonalities as women and we need to ...
Arlyn Frank: That's why I'm also very thankful for the Cherry Bombe platform because I feel like I didn't come here, I wasn't here as the black girl in the panel. I felt like these people have genuinely given me a voice and want to listen. It's important for us to move forward in the future, what I envision is a kitchen where everybody, all the women are looking out for each other because we have a very global, very similar experience. Yeah, thank you.
Kerry Diamond: All right, Kim, you get to follow that.
Kim Malek: It's funny that I get to follow you because when I think about the future of food, thank you for saying that, it's amazing. When I think about the future in general, the only thing that I can really think about right now is the fact that at our borders, we're tearing mothers away from their children. Right now, we're doing that in the United States.
Kim Malek: I was thinking about this question about food and what the future of food and of course in the back of my head, this is what I'm thinking of. The way for the future of food, if we're so afraid of people that we can't even allow them to keep their ... We are going to put our fear back on them by taking their children away from them and somehow that's going to ... I don't know what that's gonna do. It's gonna mess up the world.
Kim Malek: But food is the one thing I think that people can sit down together and eat together and experience other cultures. But they have to do it through that person. That's our opportunity. I just flew in from Boise, Idaho you guys. It's beautiful there and they have a lot of great food there but they're on this border where there's also a lot of ... Things a lot the same in different neighborhoods and things like that.
Kim Malek: It just made me think this is our opportunity as we grow as a company and as we support others around us to give a voice to everyone. I think if you're eating someone's food, you're getting to know their history, their family, their culture and it helps us understand where those divisions are coming from and how we can break those down.
Kim Malek: That's all I can think about right now and I work in food, so I hope that's gonna be part of the solution and I believe that it can be.
Kerry Diamond: Thank you. So, Nong, thank you for being on the panel today and thank you for bringing your baby. For you, the future of food. What is it?
Nong Poonsukwattan: I think that when I ... I also wanna say one thing is that where I grew up in Bangkok and my father is alcoholic, abusive man so I go out with very bad men. I say that because I just want you to know a little bit about where I'm coming from.
Nong Poonsukwattan: For the future of food for me, I would like to say ... I forgot to say one thing. I'm grateful for the privilege to holding the microphone and speak right now because your voice is as important as mine.
Nong Poonsukwattan: I would like to speak of the question of the future of food through my voice, through my Khao Man Gai chicken and rice that I make. I say that my answer is international because when I first start the food cart, nobody know what Khao Man Gai is or the authentic food is. I came to United States in 2003. I work as a waitress right away at the first month at the Chinese buffet restaurant.
Nong Poonsukwattan: I pick up the grapes from the carpet floor. I didn't understand the food in America back then, just Chinese-American food and then to the journey that went I opened the food cart in 2009, I have lived here for about seven years and that's when I just had the idea to make the most authentic chicken and rice or the best chicken rice that I can make because where I'm coming from in Bangkok, there is hundreds of food vendor at the market.
Nong Poonsukwattan: You have to be good and you just do one or two things so that was my ... Anyway, with the now that I see now that I have children. He's nine months old and see the children as my new customer which I never even thought of them before, but apparently children love chicken and rice.
Nong Poonsukwattan: I didn't know that. Because I was picking grapes and children would come to the restaurant and drop all of the grapes and then the grapes ... I didn't want the children at the restaurant, I'll be honest. Then now, it's like children love chicken rice and the parents bring them.
Nong Poonsukwattan: I see that now I am impressed and I see that you know children have access to see the real, authentic food or they are open and they don't judge. I think that's the privilege that we have and then also with the technology that we have, you can find the recipe online to make something for your children.
Nong Poonsukwattan: It doesn't have to be expensive. But I think for me, you talk about product wise, I think that we can show our children the variety of food and because it's opened their world. Thank you.
Kerry Diamond: Thank you, Nong. I am not leaving Portland without some Khao Man Gai, absolutely. You have a lot of fans. All right, Alison, the future of food. You're coming at it from a very different place.
Alison Wu: Yeah.
Kerry Diamond: From chefs and some of the industry people in here.
Alison Wu: Yeah, I would say the future of food for me is mindfulness, greater awareness of the connection between what we're putting in our bodies and how it affects every aspect of our lives from not just our physical bodies but our minds and our moods and how it affects the planet and animals that live on the planet other than just us.
Alison Wu: Yeah, just greater consciousness around overall, I think, we need to just think about the choices that we make and the brands that we support and where our food is coming from, who's growing it, and I feel like we're really luck to live in Portland and it feels like a bubble here but a lot of my work is trying to reach and make some concepts more accessible to people all over the country and all over the world that aren't fortunate enough to live in Portland where we are way more conscious and we have an amazing local food movement here. For me, it's mindfulness and just greater awareness of our choices.
Kerry Diamond: We found you in Brooklyn, so ... We have our own bubble in Brooklyn, as I'm sure you've heard. All right, I'm gonna jump ahead because I know we have some people in the audience who would like to ask some questions of our panelists, so we're gonna jump ahead to the 2028 question.
Kerry Diamond: Michelle, what do you see for yourself and for your businesses in 2028?
Michelle Battista: Katie, my business partner back there who has a torn hamstring, and I were talking about this before. She's a trooper though. She actually tore her hamstring running from here home to come back for an event and tripped and fell. Anyway, it was tragedy. We were talking about this question in particular because it's a little bit loaded for me.
Michelle Battista: I tend to move quickly as my ladies would attest, so for me, I am a bit of a planner. I'm a little bit like you but then I also vision and plan out far. I'm a bit of an in between. When I think about the next ten years, I wanna do 10,000 things in the next ten years.
Michelle Battista: But when I think about, if I think about this group of women and the women that will come and how this scales and how the movement scales and grows, I can say that what I want to see, again, we're all fighting for equality in gender, in race, intersectional feminism and that's our big mission.
Michelle Battista: When I think about ten years, I absolutely want us to be level but when I think about us in ten years and what the businesses will be doing in ten years and where food is going to be in ten years, I really wanna see people eating in local food systems. I wanna see more sustainable food systems, I wanna see more women in the kitchen, I wanna see really healthy culture.
Michelle Battista: Kim, we talk about culture all the time here. This is the big catalyst for change, I think, and how effectively those of us who own businesses and are entrepreneurs and even if you're not, how you can push for a culture change within your organization, that is going to be the biggest catalyst for us to move forward. I have big goals in ten years.
Kerry Diamond: Alison, how mindful will we be in 2028?
Alison Wu: That remains to be seen. Yeah, I mean, I feel like we're already moving in that direction so I think just trying to reach more people like I was saying with just living in a place that's very progressive and how can I personally reach more people in a greater geography? Just go on more tours or meet people face-to-face and give more talks.
Alison Wu: I wanna write a couple books hopefully in ten years and I'm working on a brick and mortar concept for Portland. Yeah, I have some things up my sleeve and hopefully just keep spreading the message that there's little ... If we take care of our individual selves, we're able to show up and be there for the people in our community and just be more mindful overall.
Alison Wu: Keep my personal message and a lot of what I talk about is self care and mindfulness, so keep spreading that to people and sending the message that every single person is deserving and worth self care and love.
Kerry Diamond: We might see an actual Wu House one day?
Alison Wu: Maybe.
Kerry Diamond: It's going to happen. How about you, 2028, for you and your businesses?
Nong Poonsukwattan: In 2028, I actually ... Because I'm a horrible planner, I just kind of roll with the punches but it's a new goal for me. I want to be able to retire in 2028, in ten years. Or I might be still working because as the entrepreneur journey, I have found that a lot of the ideas is that you work and build your business and maybe one day you sell it, but as an immigrant, we run the restaurant until we're old. Maybe I'm 70 and I still be making Khao Man Gai and take your orders.
Nong Poonsukwattan: But I want to be able to have financial freedom and the message I can give to you if I came from Thailand in 2009 with little money, I would like to tell you all that I want to support the idea that you can have it all and you can do it. It's hard work, but it's progress. Also, I think that to the journey won't be able to achieve with just female. Can have help with both male and female, therefore I would like to tell myself too that I can do it, I can have it all, I can have a successful business and a successful personal life.
Nong Poonsukwattan: I can hope that I can inspire anyone in this room and others because I think that we should help each other and lift each other up. Strong woman intimidate. Just as a woman herself, beside we have to fight men, we have to fight our own female because they come too.
Nong Poonsukwattan: But, how can we protect our heart and don't let them stab it because when you make your own product, I don't know what the audience, which level you're at at your business or even you're thinking about starting a business, but when you give your product, this is your heart. You put yourself out here and people gonna come and they're gonna stab and pull.
Nong Poonsukwattan: It took me a long time to protect your heart and I got this advice from another female. Thank you.
Kerry Diamond: Thank you. We love your heart. Kim.
Kim Malek: I almost fell over when I saw that number 'cause I've been planning for the year 2020 for so long that I'm like no, it's almost here and now what are we gonna do? I don't know. We're growing a lot at Salt & Stray and we have 15 stores now which is unbelievable to me.
Kim Malek: As I think about 10 years ahead, I think a lot about this idea of growth being using your superpowers for good and growth doesn't have to mean the same thing in every city all across the world. When we open a new store, we start from scratch and open a brand new menu working with local artisans and farmers.
Kim Malek: It's so much harder and more expensive and takes so much more time but I think it's one of the reasons that people in Los Angeles feel like this great affinity toward their own thing that they have that's very different than what you would find in Portland. The menu's different.
Kim Malek: The people we work with are different, all of these things. When we decided to move outside of Portland, we could've just shipped our ice-cream all over the country and people probably would've liked it but instead, we thought, let's ship that ethos of Portland to other parts of the country and do that.
Kim Malek: We always say, I think we learned this from Stumptown, if there's a harder, more expensive way to do it, we'll do it. Then I think about the culture of our company and what it means to work in the hospitality industry and have a career there that's well paying and offers you training and flexibility to be a great parent with a balanced life.
Kim Malek: I think that what it means to have a career in the hospitality industry is gonna be a lot different than it is now ten years from now and we hope to be an important part of that because it's an important part of our culture and can offer, I think, a lot of paths forward to whether it's breaking down those misunderstandings that we have amongst cultures or giving people their first step forward when they are entering the workforce for whatever reason.
Kim Malek: I just feel like businesses have to be at the table along with politicians and along with the non-profits to make a change in this world and businesses can't be on the outside taking, taking, taking. We've gotta be at the table and part of the solution if we're going to move these things forward and I think we can be.
Kim Malek: I'm excited about that and I think there's some real, tangible ways that we can all participate in that.
Kerry Diamond: Great, thank you, Kim.
Arlyn Frank: When posed the question of where I will be in 2028, I like to share that what fuels me, what keeps me up at night and what I hope is my legacy in the world is that I have this unique experience. I am an immigrant as well, first generation immigrant. There are things that I observe from my parents growing up, from the economy in the country that I come from which is the Dominican Republic.
Arlyn Frank: I am part of the African diaspora and moving towards what it means to me to be part of the American dream. My family and I, we moved here for safety. We moved for dreams of progressing. I have over my head a responsibility and also I am in Portland, Oregon strategically.
Arlyn Frank: It's so much of the elements that the women here share. I feel like I would be successful if I get to a place in that specific year or before or after where I can create a system where I can use this local nourishment, this local economy to facilitate food for the working class, for people like me. It doesn't matter where my height of the success is.
Arlyn Frank: The way that I present in the way that I look and who I am is always gonna put me in a position that people are gonna look at me a specific way. I am always going to see myself like the people that are like myself, so I have a responsibility to constantly feed the working class.
Arlyn Frank: I would like to have one day a line of food that is very accessible for students. I know what it is to have food insecurity. Anybody that's in this room that know what it is to be hungry or not know where the next meal is gonna come from, that stuff is very tough.
Arlyn Frank: We have kids in schools, in high schools that are coming into our schools right here on American soil, hungry. I have a responsibility to work out a system where yeah, I am a little bit of a food snob too. I love delicious, crispy food, beautiful pictures, the industry of the food in itself where it's just like wow, these people are so talented and fancy and sophisticated.
Arlyn Frank: But where are we creating this access for the people that basically fuel our economy? Like the construction workers, the teachers, like I was saying, the kids that are crossing the street to eat at McDonald's 'cause they only have $2 for lunch. We need to nourish the economy, the people, the beings that power our country.
Arlyn Frank: I think that that's where I would like to ... Where I see myself doing. I like to sustain the American economy 'cause I now consider myself American. I've been here long enough and I have American citizenship. Somehow, people can count on my products or the other people that wanna do it as well to something that is going to be hearty, something that's gonna be fresh, something that's gonna nourish them and fuel them for their ideas and their creativity and what is that they want to do.
Arlyn Frank: And then part of the proceeds, I would like for it to go back into the Caribbean. That's where I see myself. Thank you.
Kerry Diamond: I think we all want you to make that happen. All right, we have time for a few questions and like Nong had said, everybody's opinions are important not just the people with the microphones. If anyone has some questions, raise your hand. I will try to run to you with the microphone. Come on over. The wire's not that long. You get to come to me. All right, tell us who you are.
Lisa Rameriz: I am Lisa Ramirez. My question is with a lot of these smaller mom and pop shops like the super small guys and with labor wages increasing in Portland, there's been talk about the individual restaurants collaborating together financially to maybe ride some of these waves together. What is your opinion on that? Do you think it's possible in ten years, 20 years to band together? For some of these powerhouses like Salt & Straw to help out smaller businesses for success.
Kerry Diamond: Great question. Anybody wanna tackle that. You go, Kim.
Kim Malek: Did you have a ...
Kerry Diamond: No, no.
Kim Malek: I think it's a great idea. I mean, it's scary. All the challenges, I always say, do they want us to be in business? I mean, it's really hard right now and I think our company personally, we just were granted a tax break from the city of Portland to create an incubator program so that we could help other companies that are just starting to get off the ground, whether it's with their manufacturing or their HR or their food safety or their marketing, here's all the things we've learned in the past seven years and a little program that we can help you kind get going.
Kim Malek: By the way, we'll be your biggest customer 'cause we'll sell your product in our ice-cream and in our shops and it's just sort of a nice, sustainable way for people to help each other through business 'cause I think that's what's really important. We can all have these initiatives, but it's gotta be sustainable for both parties.
Kim Malek: I definitely think that there's an opportunity for us to band together and I think it's funny because there are all these rising voices about a lot of things that affect the hospitality industry but we're not very good about organizing ourselves as a voice and not against what's being said but to at least have a voice as part of it. I think that, at a minimum, is really important as well.
Michelle Battista: Restaurants are really hard. We're not a restaurant, I'll just say that, which grants us a little bit of license to flex and shift and bend and be a little bit putty I like to say.
Kerry Diamond: You might be the future of restaurants though.
Michelle Battista: Right, I think that this is the conversation and Naomi should speak, she's the only one on the panel that has a brick and mortar restaurant I think right now, so it'd be good to hear from her but I've worked in and around restaurants and been intimately involved in restaurants.
Michelle Battista: When I decided that I wanted to do this, the conversation was more about a vehicle of food to consumers, a vehicle from a farm or a farmer through this conduit of experience to a table, to a mouth, to a child, to a couple getting married or a corporation who wants to learn how to do something new.
Michelle Battista: We are constantly, within these walls right now anyway, challenging what is a food vehicle and not necessarily ... A restaurant is not the only way to do that anymore. We've shifted that part of the conversation a little bit and it's working within this small space but getting other people to collaborate or to share ideas has been challenging, other restaurants I would say.
Michelle Battista: It's gonna be interesting. We really want to take down some of the barriers and work together. We're trying to create a network right now of other venues that want to give people different food experiences, even other restaurants that may want to book out private events where they're able to work with Nike and teach them how to make cheese or butcher a pig or whatever that is.
Michelle Battista: Because people are coming, people are coming and asking for it, and we're trying to figure out how to collaborate as city quite frankly and then sort of offer them this other experience. But, we don't have the same challenges that a restaurant does. We book an event, we order the product, we put labor in place, and we execute that event.
Michelle Battista: We don't have people standing around and if people don't walk in, you're losing money. It's a little bit different.
Kerry Diamond: Naomi, can you weigh in? Do you mind?
Michelle Battista: Please Naomi.
Kerry Diamond: I knew this was gonna happen.
Naomi Pomeroy: Going back to that question about the future of collaboration with restaurants that maybe are larger with restaurants that are smaller, I think for sure that's gonna happen because I think, as somebody who runs a restaurant that's gonna be 11 this year, I face a lot of issues with that.
Naomi Pomeroy: With the Instagram culture that we're all living in, people are really into whatever is new. It's all about the newest greatest everything. As a restaurateur that runs a small place that's incredibly not accessible to the majority of people, it's very expensive to eat at my restaurant. I have a cocktail bar that's across the street that serves food and is a real restaurant.
Naomi Pomeroy: If you guys didn't know that, you can get a full meal at Expatriate. But, diversification being a really important part of that conversation, the question about what to do to stay relevant, to keep going, and all of that stuff probably will have to do with collaboration.
Naomi Pomeroy: I've noticed that obviously, I've been doing that for my 10th anniversary this year, invited ten, actually it's gonna be 11 I think, but ten of my favorite chefs from across the country to come and cook with me at Beast as this moment of hey, I'm gonna take a risk and invite these people that I really think are super badasses and it was a scary thing to just say, "Hi, Nancy Silverton, come and cook at my restaurant."
Naomi Pomeroy: But that collaboration, it drives a lot of business and also, I think it gives this really awesome feeling. Just so much, going back to what Naz was saying about telling stories and about the value of that, that I think the story of collaboration, the story of Kim and working with purveyors and working with development of new systems to put in place that are gonna help the environment.
Naomi Pomeroy: That's kind of the future of everything, right? About helping people, about supporting each other, and about coming together and doing something fun together because I think it's Nate from Pip’s Original Donuts, that he has that hashtag on his Instagram that says community not competition and I think that's what I'm gonna leave you with.
Kerry Diamond: Thank you. Nong, you wanna get the last word?
Nong Poonsukwattan: You talk about a restaurant group. I am not with the restaurants association. If anyone has a restaurant, probably heard of that and I think it's the group of the restaurant. I don't know much about them.
Nong Poonsukwattan: Anyway, I'm not with them because when I have a food cart, I heard that the food cart was intimidate the restaurant. They do everything to protect the restaurant and that's the reason you form a group and then you can go talk with the city and all that. I just wanna let you know that I'm not in the group.
Nong Poonsukwattan: They came but even now, I have a restaurant so I'm in between because I have food cart and restaurant. But, to answer for your question, I think that it's not just a restaurant industry. What about people that pick strawberries or cherries? It will affect a lot of industries, not just a restaurant.
Nong Poonsukwattan: Then I also wasn't good to collab with other people. I think that partially because I'm immigrant and I didn't know much but I learn. For my answer to you is that raising of minimum wage is scary not just to you or restaurant industry. There's a lot of industry but it did force us to think because as an entrepreneur, you have to adapt and that is another thing to adapt.
Nong Poonsukwattan: It forces you to think and then maybe it force you to think of how do I make the product and less people? How do I make this product without compromise the quality that I do? Maybe, anything. Also, my advice to you is that don't afraid to charge them for money and I got this advice from a book called "Women and Money" that I bought from Fred Meyer for 9.99.
Nong Poonsukwattan: She has a show on CNN. Why not that? It's that you're not afraid to charge for the money. You got to pay to play but it's also like Naz said, you have to be able to tell the story and why I charge you this and also, because of how you do what you can. It doesn't mean that they're gonna come but you keep do. Maybe someone will notice you and then make them pay.
Nong Poonsukwattan: Also, think how we can ... Because you don't wanna price yourself out as well. You know? That’s, that's my answer.
Kerry Diamond: Thank you. That's great advice to end on. Like Nong said, know your worth. The Cherry Bombe team had a wonderful time in Portland. We visited when the roses were in bloom, a spectacular time to see the city and we ate at so many great places from Naomi Pomeroy's Expatriate where we had shrimp toast and natural wine.
Kerry Diamond: A personal thrill for me was trying Salt & Straw ice-cream for the first time and lucky me, I got to try a collab flavor Salt & Straw did with chef Tracy Des Jardin. Ready for this? The flavor is duck crackling and cherry preserve ice-cream.
Kerry Diamond: We visited our friends at Stumptown headquarters, we had khao man gai from Nong's original street cart and we had chocolate buttermilk bergamot donuts from Katie Pope's Blue Star Donuts. Oh, and thank you to Annie Portlock of Annie Pies for dropping off some s'mores pies for us. We did not eat all of this at once in case you're wondering.
Kerry Diamond: But do go visit our friends in Portland. You'll have a great time. Our show was produced by Jess Sideman and supported by Kerrygold. Thank you to everyone at the Nightwood Society for supporting our event. Thank you to all of our speakers and thank you to all the amazing members of the Bombesquad who packed into the venue for this taping.
Kerry Diamond: Thank you for listening to the Future of Food miniseries. Here's to a delicious tomorrow.