New York Women's Culinary Alliance

An Evening with Dorie Greenspan

An Evening with Dorie Greenspan

By Amy Stern / 03-Mar-2013

Dorie Greenspan, four-time James Beard Award winner and celebrated cookbook author and food writer, greeted a full house at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) on Monday, February 4, 2013. The audience included members of the Alliance and Les Dames as well as students and alumni from ICE.

Prior to the start of the program, guests enjoyed an assortment of wines, courtesy of Gotham Wines, and had the opportunity to bid on an array of silent auction items that included lunch with Melissa Clark and three friends at Telepan, a Chilean wine tasting for twelve, and a night at The Pierre. Adding to the excitement of the evening was a buffet of savory and sweet recipes that volunteers had prepared from several of Dorie’s cookbooks. The delectables included Mediterranean orange salad with olives, lentil and quinoa salads, kabobs, potato chip torta, chocolate meringues, apple cake, blondies, and assorted cookies.

The attendees then gathered with anticipation to hear about Dorie’s culinary career, one that has included food writing for such luminaries as Julia Child, Daniel Boulud, and Pierre Herme as well as establishing herself as a respected cookbook author, a pursuit that has allowed her to share her passion for pastry and French cuisine. In addition to speaking about her career as an editor at Food & Wine magazine and Bon Appétit, Dorie shared her perspective on social media and launching her latest venture with her son—a cookie company called Buerre & Sel. We were treated to a tasting of several of her delicious cookies, including one called “World Peace.” Some in the audience had had the privilege of working with Dorie, but others who had never met her seemed surprised that someone so accomplished could be so humble. Even when asked what she was most proud of, Dorie remarked by saying, “Proud is not a word I would use . . . I’m happy that my work is being used and enjoyed.”

Key insights to her success include the value she places on relationships—examples she gave included her agent as well as the woman who started “Tuesdays with Dorie,” an online community of amateur bakers that has grown to more than a thousand participants. She also encouraged the audience to become part of the community, including that of social media. Dorie advocates promoting your brand via social media, but said it is just as important to join conversations, to retweet what others have to say, and to draw others out. The trends she sees in food today include teeny, tiny food, like petite petit fours, and floral flavors. And while she cooks in Paris, New York, and Connecticut, Dorie described her kitchens as “not that exciting. . . . I always want to be sure my followers can replicate this.”

A round of Q & A followed and Dorie shared advice on juggling career and family as well as some of the stumbling blocks she faced along the way, including her terror about her new venture. Her best pieces of advice: Say yes to everything, especially the things that you’re afraid of, and “just keep working at it!”

As part of the pre- and post-event festivities, Dorie signed copies of her many cookbooks. Thanks to Kitchen Arts & Letters for facilitating all the details. We departed into the bitter cold of the night fortified by Dorie’s inspiration, the companionship of others who share our culinary passion, and all those yummy cookies.

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