What I Learned at CherryBombe Jubilee 2016

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to go to the Cherry Bombe Magazine’s Jubilee in New York City. If you don’t know about Cherry Bombe yet, you should. It’s a magazine celebrating all things women, food, and its intersection with pop culture.

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Cherry Bombe is a beautifully designed biannual publication that celebrates women and food—those who grow it, make it, serve it, style it, enjoy it and everything in between. It is about sustenance and style and things that nourish the mind, the eye and, of course, the stomach. Our readers, subjects and contributors are passionate about food, aesthetics and the world around them.

I have only been reading it for the past year but find that with each issue, I learn to love the art of food even more. Too many women-centric magazines focus on telling you what you’re doing wrong. Teaching women to be afraid of food, maintaining macros at a strict level, obsessing over calories, and viewing food as the ultimate nuisance because we’re all just so #OMGSOBUSY all the time. Whatever happened to taking some time during the week and practicing the art of cooking? Even if it’s a grilled cheese. You still made it yourself. Chances are you’ll feel much better about eating it because you know what’s in it. My mother always taught me that what you have going on upstairs (your brain), matters way more than fitting into $700 jeans. Cherry Bombe showcases bad ass women who are not only really good at what they do, but also a look into the food they love and share with people they care about. By the way, cake almost always tastes better when you share it with someone over great conversation. Here are some of my favorite moments from this year’s Jubilee!

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+ The Hemsley sisters, of Hemsley + Hemsley fame, are even more radiant in person. I think it has a lot to do with how incredibly passionate they are about wellness and food that makes you feel good, inside and out. That’s something this dietitian can get behind! They kicked off the day with their top 10 lessons they’ve learned from owning their own business, food rules, and rules they like to teach others including: Follow Your Bliss, Dream & Dream Big, Grow Slow & Be OK Saying No, Get With Your Gut, Meditate, Exude Happiness & Gratitude, Make Space, and Make Soup (the best of all).

+Eat real food. I can’t rave enough about the food throughout the conference and it was all really, really well done. Of course, I was in New York City which is home to some of the best food in the country, but the menu for the day was meticulously planned. From the moment we arrived, we were ushered into a room with little toasts and chia puddings from Dimes, iced coffees from Stumptown, teas from T2, fresh pastries and gluten-free banana bread, and yogurt parfaits with granola from the Natural Gourmet Institute. Lunchtime was from Dig Inn, who provided a beautiful and healthful spread of coconut oil poached sockeye salmon with roasted fennel sauce, sweet herb chicken with kale pesto, and vegan quinoa tabbouleh. We washed everything down with Health-Ade Kombucha. I’m kicking myself for not snagging more bottles of the Maca Berry flavor. If you can find it, go try it! It was also during lunch that I broke my spork while in the middle of a conversation with Chef Elizabeth Falkner from friggin’ TOP CHEF. File that under spaz moments of a lifetime. There was a brief moment where I tried to just sneakily play it off and eat with the stump of the spork, but Elizabeth said, oh darn, you better go get another. Snack break highlights were the mini pies from Four & Twenty Blackbirds and pistachio rhubarb thumbprints from Ovenly. Heaven.

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+Being a boss isn’t all Beyonce power anthems and Instagram photos. Truly making an impact and being successful takes work. I was like, AMEN (hands raised emoji). My favorite panel of the day, titled “How to Be the Boss,” featured the baddest boss ladies including Ellen Bennett founder of Hedley & Bennett, Jodi Berg of Vitamix, Amanda Hesser of Food 52, Katrina Markoff of Vosges Chocolate, and Christina Minardi of Whole Foods. Some favorite quotes of the day included, “As women leaders, it’s our responsibility to help other women move up.” “Hire an intelligent, ambitious team with different perspectives to keep your company fresh.” “Don’t look left and right. Always look forward.” Did you know that Vitamix was the first ever televised infomercial? Vosges Chocolate was also literally started in a tiny, New York apartment, and Christina Minardi always asks job candidates during their interview what they ate for dinner the night before. What I loved most was that each woman never focused too much on the struggles of being a woman AND in the food industry. There was none of the dreaded, “how do you balance it all,” talk. Instead, they focused on the impact they’re making as a leader and how they define success.

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+Martha Stewart loves scrambled eggs. The final keynote of the day was with Kerry Diamond, co-founder of Cherry Bombe and Martha Stewart. She talked for a good 30 minutes about her start as a young entrepreneur, her daily habits, and what she thinks are the best things to remember when pursuing your passion project. She’s a real firecracker, too! Too many one-liners to count. On trying to have it all, “I lost focus on a husband of 27 years, and he went away. But it’s ok.” On being financially savvy with her business, “Retain as much ownership as possible. I still owned 40% of my business when I sold it.” On relaxation, “I get off the plane, rush home, eat my eggs (steamed in a cappuccino machine!!?), and then ride my horse.” One of my biggest takeaways from her talk was how focused and organized she’s been with her business from the beginning. She’s evolved with the changing times, but always makes it a point to make daily lists (mental and physical) and have real life, face-to-face conversations. Simple but incredibly effective.

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+The best accessory is a smile. Sometimes it’s overwhelming to walk into a crowded room and try to strike up a conversation with a random person. Especially in a city that is about 3,000 miles from your hometown. Maybe it’s easy if you’re goddess, Padma Lakshmi (see above, total fan-girl). Luckily, I was there with my sister who is the best kind of travel companion, loves food, works in food, and knows how to strike up a conversation with anyone. Even if I came alone though, it’s important to remember that no matter the theme, you’re all there for the essentially the same reason. Find a commonality you might share and go from there. Every woman I met had a unique and interesting career and history, but we all shared the same bond: food and genuine conversation.

+New York City is beautiful in the Spring. It’s been about 6 years since I was back in the city, but it didn’t disappoint! We stayed at the Highline Hotel, in Chelsea, and loved every minute of it.

P.S I just read on Twitter that CherryBombe is going to be doing a West Coast version of Jubilee later this year in San Francisco!?

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