By Maria Bastasch and photos by Raisa Aziz, special to Edible DC
I would guess that I’m not alone in feeling unheard and unseen as a modern-day #girlboss. I’ve been fortunate, though: As a longtime employee of a women-owned and operated restaurant, I embody the necessity of female leadership and its power to help our collective ‘we—women’ achieve.
It’s with this understanding that I attended the fourth annual Cherry Bombe Jubilee in New York City on April 8th. This biannual publication celebrates women and food, and its Jubilees gather chefs, entrepreneurs, and organizers to exchange ideas ranging from female entrepreneurship to social justice in the food and beverage industry.
The Jubilee fills the High Line Hotel, originally the General Theological Seminary, in the heart of Chelsea. Determined women connected with role models including Margarette Purvis (leader of the Food Bank For New York City), Barbara Lynch (James Beard recipient for Outstanding Restaurateur and with a newly released memoir) and Jessica B. Harris (culinary writer and historian), changing the energy of the building that had, since its inception, been an exclusively male academic establishment. The juxtaposition is oddly satisfying as powerful women strode past artwork of haughty men.
I was most inspired by the Q&A session of mentor mentee duo Barbara Lynch (James Beard award winning chef and owner of Barbara Lynch Gruppo) and Kristen Kish (Lynch’s chef de cuisine at Menton, but best known for winning season 10 of Top Chef). Their respect and symbiosis was abundantly evident. Not too long into their talk, Lynch knocked over her water bottle—only for Kish to catch it midair. What was a seemingly insignificant moment has forever branded my brain the epitome of being heard and seen; being so present that even physical relations are in sync. This nourished my sense of hope and inspires me to further insist on connecting with those around me. It is impossible to be with that many badass women and not feel powerful.
Maria Bastasch has been in the food and beverage industry since she can remember, helping her parents open their family bakery in LA. She currently is the Beverage and Events Director at Compass Rose Bar & Kitchen. She sees food and drink as the best platform to grow a stronger community.
Maria Bastasch is the Compass Rose Bar & Kitchen Bar Manager and you can follow her at @m.brujeria. (Maria upper right)