The first new blog post in months

Oct 29th, 2015 | by Eat Drink Indy | Jolene’s Blog

Hi — Welcome back!

I haven’t blogged in ages, mostly because I didn’t have my nifty new website set up like I wanted. But thanks to the nice folks at Fight For Small, I think things around here are looking pretty good.

And that’s kind of how things are for me right now – looking pretty good.

This week in particular has been pretty awesome, and I love busy weeks like this.

Indy Chef Chicks Chocolate & Coffee dinner participants (from left) ERin Kem, Julie Bolejack, Jessica Taylor, Abbi Merriss and Zoe Taylor.

Indy Chef Chicks Chocolate & Coffee dinner participants (from left) Erin Kem, Julie Bolejack, Jessica Taylor, Abbi Merriss and Zoe Taylor.

I miss getting to sort of talk with readers in a column every week; that’s probably the main thing I miss about being at The Star, although the column was cut well before I was. I always wanted a space where I could write whatever I wanted; that was the whole purpose of starting EatDrinkIndy (even though it got me fired). But that’s okay. Like I said, things are looking pretty good, and I’m glad to have this space, so I can fill you in on what I’ve been up to.

Monday night was the Indy Chef Chicks Chocolate & Coffee dinner at Milktooth, and those three chefs and one fabulous bartender absolutely rocked. The food was delicious, the place was packed, the crowd was loud and laughing and having a great time. So yeah, it was terrific to get to hang out and shoot a bunch of photos of chefs Erin Kem and Abbi Merriss and pastry chef Zoe Taylor and bartender Jessica Taylor. And also to sample some great food and drink, of course.

There was some…um…discussion on Facebook about the use of the word “chicks” and that it could be seen as demeaning or that it was referring to these top local chefs in a less-than-professional way. But I think that “chicks” is just a casual, kind of lighthearted and slangy word and not usually offensive, especially when used by women to describe themselves. (I particularly like an LA pop-up called Chicks with Knives.) But I get it: language matters. And I get that it would be terrific if it weren’t unusual to have a sold-out pop-up dinner by an all-female chef lineup. But it still is unusual, and, given the options, “chicks” seemed the least serious and the most lighthearted of the synonyms considered.

But anyway, it wasn’t my choice to make. Julie Bolejack of Chocolate for the Spirit was the driving force behind the dinner; it was her idea, and she and BJ Davis of Bee Coffee Roasters donated product for the chefs to use. EatDrinkIndy.com sponsored the dinner, though, which I loved doing, and I was happy to help where I could. You’ll find some background info on each of the participants here on the site, and we did a great Eat Drink Indiana Radio show on them as well. Did you know that both Erin Kem of R bistro and Zoe Taylor of Milktooth both have degrees in French and English? How cool is that?

The wining dish at the Seafood Nutrition Partnership challenge from Greg Hardesty of Recess.

The winning dish at the Seafood Nutrition Partnership challenge from Greg Hardesty of Recess.

So Monday was taken up with that, and then on Tuesday I got to judge at the Seafood Nutrition Partnership’s red snapper throw down at Ivy Tech. Again, it’s always awesome to watch talented chefs cook — although I will point out that Erin Edds, who was one of the participants, does not refer to herself as a chef. She’s an adjunct faculty at Ivy Tech, an alum of the culinary program, a food entrepreneur with a company called RumsTech Ventures and a pretty awesome home cook as well. So whatever you call her (see, words do matter), she rocked the challenge, along with chef Craig Baker of The Local Eatery & Pub, Plow & Anchor and Bent Rail Brewery, and chef Greg Hardesty of Recess  – who won the challenge.

Wednesday was taken up with judging at the cocktail final for the Academy of Spirits & Fine Service (by Southern Wine & Spirits), which I love to do – and you know what? I’m going to sign up for the academy myself. Maybe I can be in the next class.

I also squeezed in another interview for this week’s radio show, and this show is going to be a good one. I talked with Crag Baker, Cindy Hawkins of Circle City Sweets and Matt Stum of The Local because they’re all going to the World Food Championships next week. And Heather Tallman of basilmomma.com was that last interview I squeezed in, which was great since she has been a judge at the WFC. So yeah, it’s going to be a cool show – and did you know that Craig Baker was going to be a fighter pilot?

Tune in Saturday at 11 a.m. on WFYI HD 2 or find the podcast at WFYI.org.

Jolene’s Blog

Learn spice blending from a master

I hear about a lot of cool food-related events, but I can’t always get to them or even just get them posted. But this one is too good to miss. Cardinal Spirits in Bloomington is hosting master spice blender Lior Lev Sercarz, author of The Art of Blending and The Spice Companion and owner of … more »

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