It’s a good thing New Englanders have an innate tolerance for gloomy weather, or else the Let’s Talk About Food Festival might have been a wash out. Sure, the morning rains made some folks think twice about a stroll down Cambridge Parkway; but it would’ve taken a Nor’easter to dampen a conversation like this.
At 8:30 a.m., more than 50 exhibitor booths were lined up along the Charles River in Boston, waiting to be adorned by “foodies, experts, and others” with information on everything from gardening to nutrition. I was pleasantly surprised to find the Chefs Collaborative table face-to-face with the event’s food trucks—talk about convenient. Resisting all urges to make a few pit stops, I passed by Go Fish and The Froyo Truck with newfound self-control.
Joining us on the roster of exhibitors (to name a few) were Robin Cohen of Doves and Figs, who spoke about food preservation tips and techniques, Community Servings, a non-profit food and nutrition program serving individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses, and locally-based sustainable chocolate producer Taza Chocolate. Hey, if that isn’t feel-good eats, I’m just not sure what is.
With our booth creatively weather-proofed using plenty of tape and a couple DIY pebble paperweights, our Chefs Collaborative team opened up the Ask a Chef table for business—err, asking!
We started with Carla and Christine Pallotta, the chef-owners of Nebo in Boston’s North End. Though the morning traffic had yet to materialize, the Pallotta duo came ready to talk—and talk we did! Luckily for us, a slow start meant that they didn’t mind answering a few dozen questions from an overly caffeinated intern.
Next up were Chefs German Lam of Glam Foods and Chef Brad Stevens of Community Servings. Chef Lam’s enthusiasm for “free style” cooking was infectious, and his metaphor of cooking to sports was well received by the local crowd. Chef Stevens, who was just as eager to engage in the public dialogue, answered a range of questions from “What are essential spices to stock in a tiny kitchen?” to “How do I make chickpea flour a success?” Not to be missed were Chefs JJ Gonson, Michael Leviton, Dante DiGamistris, Todd Haberlein, Tony Bennencourt, Ranveer Dar, David Stein and Jodi Adams, who popped by our table to join in on the discussion.
If one thing is certain, it’s that there was no shortage of information. Attendees could hop from Ask a Chef to Ask an Author, listen in on a discussion at the Endless Tables, and finish their day with a visit to the Edible Garden. Simply put, an event like Let’s Talk About Food is exactly what we need in today’s food landscape. We were thrilled to meet so many people who are exploring their interest in food and sustainability and are continuously encouraged by your curiosity to learn about our mission.
So, let’s continue the conversation! I’ll ask the first question: What inspires you to start talking?