Speaking Broadly is a podcast started by Dana Cowin, a previous Editor in Chief of Food & Wine magazine. Each week, she interviews a fearless female who has fought (or is currently fighting and getting noticed as she does so) to the top of any given area of the culinary world. Dana is perky, knowledgeable, and brings a friendly and casual demeanor to the interviews that is particularly enjoyable and relaxing to listen to. Not only is Dana herself an inspiration for having lead one of the most renowned culinary lifestyle magazines EVER, but everyone she interviews provides insight into the unwavering truth that the path to success is not linear. It is amazing to hear some of the stories the interviewees have to share.
One story in particular that I enjoy is Season 1 Episode 3 – Salad for President, an interview with Julia Sherman. I love Julia’s story because it’s something I can relate to, and that I feel makes my own aspirations appear that much more reachable. She took her passion for making bomb ass salads for social gatherings, and turned it into a blog, ultimately a book deal, and finally found herself as the creative mind behind Chopped fast-casual salad bars that you’ve likely seen around (or maybe even frequent). Without giving too much of the episode away, Julia had no idea what starting a blog could possibly mean for her future. This sort of “anything can happen” vibe of Speaking Broadly is positively inspiring for anyone, whether you’re interested in entering the culinary world or not. I can go from zero to hella ambitious in just half an hour while listening to the podcast at my own office job during slow, dispassionate days – of which there are many.
Not only do the interviews really get you amped to tackle your own goals, Dana’s diverse selection of guests sheds light onto otherwise ignored aspects of the food and wine world. As a wine nerd, I was excited when I saw Episode 45 – Wine’s Glass Box, an interview with Julia Coney. However, the lesson I learned from this episode was actually about a social injustice within the wine world rather than about wine itself. Julia is a black female sommelier and wine writer, working to make a name for herself in a predominantly (scratch that, glaringly) white field. Because of my own privilege, I had no idea what POC sommeliers were up against. Although I recognized the lack of representation of non-white wine experts, I was ignorant about much of what Julia described – tasting instructors have assumed she was the help (are you kidding?!) because people assume a black woman walking into a wine tasting is “in the wrong room”. Furthermore, when asking to see a wine list while dining out, Julia is often assumed to not be a serious wine drinker because of her race and gender, so servers will jump to recommending only their sweet wines. It is so important that anyone in the field listens to this interview – extremely enlightening, and Julia is an inspiration.
Speaking Broadly has a motivating story for anyone, and if nothing else, exposes some amazing brands, products, restaurants, and other services started by amazing women in the food world. Episode 35 in particular has me desperate to check out Air’s Champagne Parlor during my next trip to NYC.
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