The air was buzzing with excitement as dozens of people streamed into the 8th floor of WeWork South Station. The long awaited day was finally here. Over 100 food-enthusiasts gathered in downtown Boston to participate in the most recent collab between Spoon University and General Assembly, an event that served as an “Intro to Boston’s Culinary Community.”
Samples Courtesy of Mei Mei and Bon Me
In the first half of the event, we stuffed our faces with scrumptious treats provided by two of Boston’s favorite food trucks. Mei Mei hooked us up with their classic sweet corn fritters and Bon Me with their deviled tea eggs, edamame and lemonade. Also, huge shout out to Northeastern for supplying Blackbird doughnuts. The event brought together Spoon members from various Boston chapters, as well as visitors who had heard about the event through General Assembly.
Panel Discussion with Rachel Blumenthal, Jamie Bissonnette, Irene Li, and Brian Moy
Once everyone had made merry and eaten their fill, we all sat down for the panel discussion, moderated by Spoon’s very own Mackenzie Barth. The panel consisted of Rachel Blumenthal, an esteemed editor for Eater, Jamie Bissonnette, the chef and owner of South End’s infamous Toro and Coppa, Irene Li, the co-owner of Mei Mei Group, and Brian Moy, the co-owner of Shojo.
After each panelist gave a brief introduction, Mackenzie started the informal Q&A session by asking each panelist to describe the most defining moment in their food career.
Brian started off by describing an experience in which he and his friends got kicked out of a restaurant for not being dressed appropriately. He explained how this moment made him realize that this would not be something he would want anyone else to feel at his restaurant.
Next was Irene, who recounted that while her parents were on vacation, she and her sister Mei had bought an entire pig and butchered it on their kitchen counter within a span of two days. She said that moment was pivotal because it allowed her to really gain an understanding and appreciation for the meat she cooked/ate.
Then we heard Jamie’s insane journey towards becoming a chef. He talked about how he had been on tour with his band as a mediocre bassist (“I never practiced”) and when he got fired as a musician, he was taken up as the crew’s chef instead. This was the moment when he first considered cooking as a career.
Lastly, we heard from Rachel, who talked about the moment she realized she had overcome her reluctance and fear of interviewing.
The conversation continued throughout the night, and the panelists shared their thoughts on the best and worst of Boston’s growing food scene, the merits and flaws of crowd-sourced review sites like Yelp, and how social media and smartphone apps affect their businesses. They delved into even deeper topics of gentrification and talked about the aspects of their work that was most important to them.
So basically, this was the best thing to happen in Boston since New England Clam Chowder. If you missed this event, be sure to come the next time HQ’s in town.