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10 Things We Learned at the 2016 Cherry Bombe Jubilee

OpenTable had the privilege of being a sponsor of the 2016 Cherry Bombe Jubilee held yesterday at Manhattan’s Highline Hotel. Culinary legends, journalists, small business owners, and more gathered to listen, learn, and get inspired by the past and excited for the future of women in food. Here are 10 takeaways, ICYMI.

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Make soup. The Hemsley sisters of UK catering company Hemsley + Hemsley are huge soup and bone broth advocates. “This should be the first things kids learn to make.”

“Get a job in a kitchen; it makes you a better boss.” Amanda Hess had the privilege of working in a completely civilized kitchen under Jodi Adams, but subsequent gigs weren’t quite as heavenly, and she was inspired to lead based on lessons learned at the former.

Looking for the next big thing in food (or any industry)? Look for white space. Find out what’s missing and fill the void.

Don’t get too judge-y about non-organic labels. A lot of farmers aren’t growing certified organic because they simply cannot afford to lose an entire crop to disease or pests. Their profit margins are already perilously thin; according to the USDA, most farmers make less than $80,000. That’s not much money for folks who need to be a chemist, a scientist, and a mechanic in order to manage their farms.

Mental illness, such as depression and anxiety, is prevalent in the culinary industry. This is due, in large part, to the overwhelming demands of the job. Only 3.5% of respondents to a survey on ChefswithIssues.com indicated that their mental health issues are NOT tied to the profession. If you’re suffering, you can visit the site (founded by foodista Kat Kinsman) for support and resources.

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A restaurant owner will always hire a woman as a chef – if she’s the owner. Back in the day (the day being 1982), female chefs were a rarity – and even more so if they weren’t chef-owners of their own restaurants. The critic Mimi Sheraton counted just one who was a hired gun at the time. Things have shifted, but there’s still quite a way to go.Continue Reading

Cherry Bombe’s Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu Talk Women, Food + the 2016 Jubilee

Cherry Bombe's Kerry Diamond & Claudia Wu Talk Women, Food & the 2016 Jubilee

The Cherry Bombe Jubilee isn’t your average industry conference. Started in 2014 by Cherry Bombe magazine founders Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu, the Jubilee fosters and celebrates a growing community of women in various aspects of the culinary world: chefs, entrepreneurs, farmers, and producers.

“It’s a really fun, awesome, emotional day, and it blows us away every year to be surrounded by all these incredible women, both on and off the stage,” says Kerry.

April 10 marks the third annual event when hundreds of these professionals will come together for a day of thoughtful conversations about achieving success in the industry. We at OpenTable are thrilled to be a sponsor! We asked Kerry and Claudia all about the origin of the Jubilee, the most powerful conversations, what they’ve learned along the way — and which women they’re obsessed with now.

What’s the story behind the Jubilee? Why did you decide to extend the magazine brand to a live event?

Kerry: When the whole ‘Gods of Food’ controversy erupted in TIME magazine — when they did this really lovely special section on food trends and food personalities, and they managed not to write about a single female chef. It set off this big storm. Eater started writing about all of the different food conferences that were taking place, and they pointed out how dismal the female chef participation is in these conferences.

It wasn’t really clear to us: is it that they’re not getting invited or they’re just too busy or unable to attend? Then we read this interview with Gabrielle Hamilton where she talked about how she doesn’t get invited. We were like, if they’re not inviting Gabrielle, who are they inviting?

We’d talked about doing an event in the distant future. We thought, somebody will do a conference, and then nobody announced anything. We were like, we’ll just do it. Claudia came up with the name and we just went for it. We put it together in record time, and it kind of killed us.

And how did it go?

Kerry: It was a great first conference, very emotional. Great speakers, talking about everything from motherhood to…

Claudia: Getting your foot in the door.

Kerry: One of the panels was about how to run a really unique business and maintain your identity. It was a great day.

Cherry Bombe's Kerry Diamond & Claudia Wu Talk Women, Food & the 2016 Jubilee

What was some of the feedback you got from people who participated and attended?

Kerry: The best was Danny Meyer. He came up to us a few days later and said, “I’m so sorry I wasn’t there, I heard the most amazing things, you guys are really changing people’s’ lives.” It doesn’t get any better than Danny Meyer telling you you’re changing people’s lives.

Claudia: We sold out in record time this year, and every year the tickets go faster and faster. We definitely need a new venue next year.

Since the Jubilee is for women by women, how does that make the conversations and atmosphere different from other industry conferences out there?Continue Reading

How to Take Delicious Instagram Food Photos: 6 Pro Tips for Shooting Hotter Than Hot Food Porn

As a part of my job as a food writer, I am constantly photographing my meals. In fact, sometimes I feel like I spend more time snapping pictures of my food than I do eating it. The extra effort is worth it. The best shots – the ones that have the power to make viewers literally salivate or exclaim, “I want that in my belly now!” – get posted to my Instagram account @nevinmartell or are sold to a variety of print and online publications.
How to Take Delicious Instagram Photos

I shoot exclusively on my iPhone 6 using the Hipstamatic app because of its versatility and extensive variety of filters. Additionally, using a phone camera allows me to do my work relatively unobtrusively in a restaurant, so I’m not disturbing other guests while I painstakingly document my dishes and drinks.

Though it seems super easy to just whip out your phone and snap a few shots of the steak you’re enjoying, it’s actually quite difficult to make it look good. We’ve all seen the bad shots people keep posting to social media. They’re often poorly lit, out of focus, and have no clear subject. Worst of all, they make the chef’s or mixologist’s hard work look downright unappetizing.

Food photography should inspire a sudden hunger or an unfettered desire. That’s why they call it food porn. So, if you want to shoot wow-worthy pics that rack up the hearts and make your friends envious of your dining regimen, follow along to learn how to take delicious Instagram food photos.

Light

Utilize natural light whenever possible by shooting next to a window or outside. If you can’t shoot during the day, never use a raw flash. Instead, get another diner to cover the front of their iPhone with a white napkin and turn on the flashlight app to create a soft light.

How to Take Delicious Instagram Food Photos

Beautification

Sometimes you need to do a quick mini-makeover of a dish before you photograph it. Wipe smudges and crumbs off the plate, arrange garnishes attractively, and pull sandwich halves apart so the fillings are visible. Remember to take pictures quickly, because ice cream melts, sauces congeal, and greens wilt.Continue Reading

How to Become an Online Dining Influencer #hackdining

Welcome to March — the month that brings with it the promise of spring and the first harvest that will put all things fresh and green to our plates. As we awaken from a winter slumber spent in an indulgent haze of carbs, meaty cocktails, and over-the-top sweets, we invite you to embark on a spring awakening of your own — on social media. Contributor Nevin Martell spoke with top social media mavens for their tips on how to become an online dining influencer and share your food and drink adventures in a meaningful way. 

online dining influencer

A tweet that a soon-to-open, much-buzzed restaurant has just started taking online reservations. An in-depth magazine profile of a rising star chef. A gorgeous Instagram of a new dish that just went on the menu that evening at a James Beard Award-winning eatery. A thoughtful blog post on the just-launched brunch at a hot newcomer.

We’ve all liked and shared these social media posts. But who are the writers, photographers, and tastemakers behind them? By the looks of it, they have the coolest jobs in the world as they eat out, drink up, and go behind the scenes with chefs, mixologists, and restaurateurs.

Wouldn’t you like to be one of them? But how can you become a dining influencer? Whether you want to become a well-known blogger, a social media star, or a writer for food-focused publications, there are some rules you should follow, even if you only plan on doing it part-time.

To help you kick-start your career as a go-to authority in your dining scene, we rounded up keen insights from an enterprising and prolific freelance writer, a queen of the blogosphere and a certified wine-spirits expert turned writer-editor.

LAURA HAYES

Freelance food writer for the Food Network, Washington City Paper, and many other publications, as well as the lead D.C. contributor for Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @btmenu and like her on Facebook.

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1. Go out. A lot.

“When I was starting out, I went to every invite I got and I didn’t stand in the corner. I made sure to get to know the people. I stuck business cards in everybody’s hands.”

 2. It’s all about knowing people and developing relationships.

“I might not be able to pronounce the name of the finest French wine, but I can tell you how many kids a chef has or what they like to eat after a shift. Get to know people and they’ll tell you great stories.”

3. Be different.

“If you’re going to start a blog, carve out a space that’s unique and hasn’t been done before. A lot of amateur blogs cover everything – events, reviews, round-ups – but you need to be more specific. Also, your voice is the most important thing. Be a polished version of yourself when you write.”

4. Express yourself on social media…

“It’s important to let people get to know you as a person, not just you the journalist. So I do 80 percent work posts, 20 percent personal posts. You don’t want it to come across as self-promoting all the time.”

5. …But be smart about it.

“Words that don’t carry any value are “delicious” and “#yumyumyum.” Even in 140 characters, you can pack in a lot of information, factoids, and snippets of value.”

CORI SUE MORRIS

Co-founder of the food and lifestyle blog Bitches Who Brunch, which offers formatted reviews of – you guessed it – brunches around D.C., New York, and Chicago. Follow her on Twitter @CoriSueMorris and Instagram @corsuemorris.

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1. Don’t get lost in the noise.

“Don’t be so busy you don’t have time to check out what other people are doing, but don’t unconsciously copy them. If you copy someone, you’re automatically going to be second best.”

2. The picture has to tell a story.

“A person shouldn’t just be sitting there with a cup of coffee. If they’re looking off in the distance and seem engaged, you get the sense they’re having an interesting conversation with someone.”Continue Reading