Oral History: Greta Gladney, Renaissance Project Founder

I did a series of oral interviews with local residents that I felt were exhibiting new ways to lead their community. I hoped to use these stories to shed light on how local people were leading the recovery as they fought the consolidation of power from corporations and government.

In the end, I was uncomfortable with the way that publishers wanted me to shape these interviews and so I used them more informally, sharing pieces with leaders and writers when they wanted to understand the grassroots power of the city. None have ever formally acknowledged the contribution of these stories to their work, although some clearly drew on them.

Many of these interviews focused on food and farming, as that was my focus before and after 2005. Greta Gladney is one person who has never received the credit she deserves in the work we share and so I asked her to share a little of that but even more so, share information on her extended family. 

“Family has shaped my work”: Interview with Greta Gladney, Executive Director of The Renaissance Project and 4th generation 9th ward resident.

Lower 9th ward.  So many world citizens heard about this neighborhood for the first time around August 31, 2005, and it must have seemed an antiquated, oddly political way to define one’s home. (9th ward? That’s their neighborhood name? You can just hear someone from Roxbury or from Clifton-upon-Dunsmore ask with confusion.) The Lower 9th ward was certainly politicized before the levee breaks. The area has been a center of neighborhood activism since its founding in the early part of the 20th century.  The digging of the Industrial Canal in 1923 put a literal gulf between the rest of New Orleans and the Lower 9, and that (along with the largely rural feel of the area) accentuated the fierce need for self- determination and identity that continues to this day.

A 4th generation resident, Greta had begun to make her name as the founder and Executive director of non-profit The Renaissance Project around 2001. Its mission is to improve the quality of life in the 9th ward, and Greta missed few opportunities to be in on any new idea that might help her neighborhood.

Upon returning to the city after the hurricane, she ran for mayor in a group of over a dozen candidates (she says) to keep the conversation focused on those underserved areas and people that were in danger of being swept away in the “ new” New Orleans politics of late 2005. She received 100 votes in the election (4 candidates received less votes than she with more money reportedly spent) and also received more awareness from media and leaders, which the soft-spoken, newly married 40-something mother of 3 (grandmother of 2!) parlays skillfully into more help for her organization and her neighbors at every turn.

 

Interview location: Borrowed apartment in French Quarter

Where did you grow up?

“I grew up on the corner of Lamanche and North Roman, that’s about a block away from what’s now Martin Luther King Elementary School, which had been another school named Macarty (home of Bush vs. Orleans Parish School Board; the legendary lawsuit that forced integration of two 9th ward schools in 1960), where my mom went to school and my grandmother taught.

So, the house I grew up in was my grandmother’s house. She and my mother bought it together, and my mother was living there up until the storm. I have lived in Lower 9 all but 3 years of my life, when I was New York City doing graduate study (was there from 99 until 2002, so have done two disasters in my life).  After I finished my M.B.A, I came back home.

I have always thought about travel and have traveled, but this was always home. My mother was actually born in a house on Gordon in the 9th ward, and had never lived anyplace else (until the levee breaks). My grandmother was born in St, Charles Parish in Des Allemandes, but spent most of her life with her mother and family in Lower 9.

It’s interesting to me, because I’ve seen the neighborhood transition over 40 years; working class neighborhood, strong work ethic, mixed socio-economic. In our two-block area we had renters, homeowners, duplexes. Everyone knew everybody; everybody kept their grass cut. We shopped on St. Claude and Claiborne; there were thrift stores, pharmacies that delivered, supermarkets, what’s now (or what was last) the Philadephia Apostolic Church on St. Claude, was an A&P.

When I was in New York and traveling while I was in school, I was always looking at other remote communities, and looking for strategies that would apply to the lower 9. One thing was the Greenmarkets in New York City. Union Square of course, and I lived in Brooklyn, so the one at Grand Army Plaza on Saturdays I went to a lot. It was exciting to me because everybody was there; it was multi-ethnic and inter-generational; it was a social event and lots of good food and flowers, and I thought it would be great for the 9th ward.

Did your family grow food?

It’s funny; when I bought my house, I closed on my house on my 30th birthday (May 13, 1994).  That November before when I went to see the house, there was mirliton growing all the way up the fence. I only saw the house the one time, made an offer on it and refused to go back ‘til I closed, and when I went back there were peach trees in the backyard and garlic growing.

My grandmother always grew okra, eggplant, parsley, bellpeppers, tomatoes…

She enjoyed gardening, and she’d try other things (just because I was curious) like carrots and broccoli.  She also grew those tiny peppers, you know really hot.

How was your work different after the storm?

When I returned after the storm, the work was the same-writing grants to get markets, working with the St. Claude Merchants Association, chasing down the state about getting the Main Street Project, (which was awarded in 2006).

What has changed really is access to Lower 9, since not much of anything is open (as of early 2007). To help Lower 9, I have to work farther up St. Claude and have it trickle down.

Pre-Katrina, we wanted to do two (farmers) markets on St. Claude, one below and one above the (Industrial) Canal to encourage people to cross the avenue, interact and help with economic development.

6 months later:

Have things changed since last year in your work to build the

9th ward?

I see the progress made by committed individuals to rebuild their homes and churches to return home. I see a unified Holy Cross Neighborhood Association that pre-storm was thought to be elitist serving the entire Lower Ninth Ward. I see organizations staying out of each others way because there’s more than enough work and good intentions to go around and no need to compete.

With respect to my work, it’s time to come home.

Living outside the 9th ward broadened my perspective as well as scope of work. I spent a year working on St. Claude Ave. Main Street thinking that it was good for the community. While I won’t say that it was a waste of my time, I will say that as a result of that experience, I am more aware that behavior is indicative of emotional and moral intelligence, more aware of how language and behavior betray race, class and gender issues and am less tolerant of people overall. No good deed goes unpunished. So my focus shifted for a few months and is returning to areas where I believe I can move forward.

 Tell me a little about your immediate family  and where they all are at this point.

My mother and I received our Road Home money and moved back into her house in late October. Ironically, and typical of bureaucratic red tape and miscommunication, her gas has remained on at the property for the past two years. When she had the property inspected, Entergy turned the gas off and put a lock on the meter. A couple of days later, a technician returned to the property and took the meter. My mom called and was told that gas was not available in her area.

So my mother, second daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter are living in my mom’s house on Lamanche and Roman where I grew up. I am not crazy about the overall quality of work but it’s better than before the storm and my mom’s back in m grandmother’s house. My oldest child, my daughter Danielle, is still living in Marrero. Over the past year, she has gone from housing my entire family, mom, daughter, son-in-law, her husband and two children, to just her and the two boys. She and her husband have separated and are filing for divorce. They’ve been married just over a year. So life is returning to normal? Life in the house on Lamanche is returning to normal. In 1965 during Betsy my grandmother, mother, father and I lived in the house on Lamanche and Roman. (My father was out of town during that storm.)

Now after Katrina, my mother, daughter, son-in-law and their daughter live in the two bedroom house. Old fashioned family unit with the matriarch at home cooking dinner everyday and the entire family under one roof. And the house is across the street from MLK elementary where my two grandsons are in attendance.

After school they go over to Grandma Iris’ house until my daughter picks them up.

So they see each other everyday.

My dad is at American Can Company. Jim (her husband), Stephen and I are still in MidCity. I’ve committed to clearing away the overgrowth in my yard in Holy Cross, planting a garden and having the exterior of the house painted in November. Then I’ll hang shutters, and get the house rewired. I’m taking my time and rushing simultaneously.

Your thoughts about the future of the community you have been  rebuilding and how community has shaped your work.

Family has shaped my work. Both of my maternal grandparents lived in the Lower 9th ward as did their extended families. A week ago, my 95-year old great aunt died. She was the last of my grandfather’s generation. Her church has reopened on Caffin; the church that her father founded and built. The same church where I attended daycare as a toddler and my second daughter attended summer camp. Not far away is the land where she and four siblings grew up, the site of the Dunson Memorial Ethnobotanical Garden, the project nearest and dearest to my heart.

School, education, has shaped my work, since my mother and grandmother were elementary school teachers.  My children and grandchildren have had the same elementary school principal, Doris Hicks. So school and community are interrelated. The school is open and is an anchor in the Lower 9th ward north of Claiborne. The community has reinforced my belief in resiliency and self-determination.

I am very hopeful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local farmers markets doing their part to serve food insecure neighbors

It is important to understand the work that farmers markets have done over the last decade and a half to bridge the digital divide that resulted from the 1994-2004 move from paper food stamps to the EBT card across the U.S. In 2005, New Orleans’ ECOnomics Institute*, house at Loyola University’s Twomey Center for Peace and Justice was one of the first market organizations in the country to build partnerships to fund the technology and the outreach to reclaim the attendance of food stamp shoppers at farmers markets. The organization has expanded its programs to encourage low-income and at-risk neighbors to be able to access healthy food grown by their farm neighbors, and shared its tactics and findings with market organizations across the U.S.

The average benefit for a SNAP recipient is about $4 per day, but in Louisiana the average cost for just one meal is $3. For one person eating three meals a day with no snacks, that’s a food-budget shortfall of $150 each month. For a family of four it’s $600 per month, and to qualify for the program, these families can’t net a monthly income above $2100.

Families participating in WIC can have higher incomes than those receiving only SNAP benefits, and some families receive benefits from both programs. But unlike SNAP, WIC food packages limit families to purchasing specific items and brands, and the allowance for fruits and vegetables is only about $10 per month.

At the office for Market Umbrella and the Crescent City Farmers Market we get several calls a week from people who need food. Their SNAP benefits have run out. The closest food pantry isn’t open that day. Spending money on food now might mean falling behind on rent or the Entergy bill.

Unfortunately, we aren’t always able to help these people in crisis, but we do operate several programs at Crescent City Farmers Market that incentivize and encourage healthy eating on a budget. Our Market Match and Market+ WIC programs give households extra money to purchase fruits and vegetables, all of them grown within 200 miles of the city, picked fresh, and packed full of nutrients.

The Market Mommas Club gives Medicaid-eligible mothers who are breastfeeding $80 a month to spend on local goods at our markets—an amount roughly equal to what might be spent on infant formula over the same period of time.

Besides bringing more fresh produce into our community’s homes, we’ve also partnered with local schools through our Farm to School program. It connects farmers to school food providers and assists with hands-on gardening education for teachers and students.

We believe our farmers and families should have sovereignty over the foods they grow and consume, and that growing and shopping local are vital to our community’s physical, mental, and economic health.

The Lens piece about farmers market programs

* ECOnomics Institute renamed itself Market Umbrella and established itself as an independent 501 (c) 3 organization in 2008.

Roux Carre closes

Here are the details in a letter from the Good Work Network E.D. Hermione Malone:

Dear Friends,

As the year winds to a close, Good Work Network, like many of you, is taking stock of where we are and where we’re headed in the New Year.

For 17 years, Good Work Network has been committed to helping women and minority entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. And in that time we’ve started or strengthened more than 2,200 businesses; created or sustained more than 5,600 full time jobs; and facilitated the awarding of more than $68 million in contracts to small businesses.

While we’ve done much, we realize we can do far more to increase opportunity, wealth and business stability for minority entrepreneurs. When African-Americans own roughly one-third of all businesses, but earn only 2% of all business revenue, a new approach is in order.

So, in 2019 we’re getting back to basics, restructuring our operations to better support entrepreneurs of color. As such, we are closing our Roux Carré food incubator, effective Friday, December 21.

Roux Carré was envisioned as a vehicle to support the cultivation of minority culinary entrepreneurs as restaurant owners/operators. And during its run, Roux saw five culinary businesses created; 8 expanded; and 10-full-time and 8 part-time positions created while providing a showcase for up-and-coming performing and visual artists. However, like many restaurant ventures, Roux Carré failed to grow revenue to a level that would keep it financially stable. Therefore, the Good Work Network Board has made the decision to close Roux and redirect our resources toward more core supports for minority entrepreneurs.

Thank you to the many chefs, funders and community partners who devoted their energy, passion and love to Roux. We invite everyone to celebrate their efforts and current chefs Queen Trini Lisa and Local Menu NOLA at Roux Carré ’s final holiday vendor market on Sunday, December 16, featuring music from Strate Notes. Regular hours will be observed through December 21, when Roux will close at 8 pm. for the last time.

In the coming weeks, Good Work Network will share more about our plans for 2019 as we redouble our efforts to support minority entrepreneurs while building a stronger, thriving economy for all. For more information, please contact Executive Director Hermione Malone at Hermione@goodworknetwork.org.

From all of us at Good Work Network, best wishes for the season and a prosperous New Year.

– The Staff and Board of Good Work Network

Opinion: St. Roch Market

I wrote the piece below for The Lens, although I really wanted to write a piece about the different food offerings between this building, Circle Food, The New Orleans Food Co-op, and Mardi Gras Zone, all within blocks of each other serving the population differently in each case. Unfortunately, the editor at the Lens wasn’t interested in that story.
Circle Food store opened before this food hall did, but is already closed. The Robert’s on St. Claude seemed to have hurt sales at the Circle Food (as it seems to be hurting sales at the New Orleans Food Co-op), but since St. Roch is not a grocery store, it is attracting a good amount of users. Still, the best function of this food hall remains a question to many neighbors, and since it is still owned by the city it may become a political issue again at some point.

https://thelensnola.org/2013/12/31/best-use-for-st-roch-market-may-not-be-what-neighbors-called-for-just-after-katrina/

Circle Food Store closes

The loss of Circle Food in 2018 is a tremendous blow to the fight against food apartheid in New Orleans. Not only is this historic (once public market) building now shuttered and unlikely to quickly find a new use, but the community has lost its daily connection with its entrepreneurial owner and his longtime zeal to offer affordable food.
This story illustrates the need to dive a little deeper into financing and demand issues around small grocery stores and for the city to prioritize infrastructure for healthy and culturally appropriate food choices in every corner of the city.

Many links in the story below:
Another Fresh Food Initiative grocery store recipient may close in New Orleans

Oral History: NOLa Food Editor Judy Walker

Judy was a great food editor at the local newspaper, remaining very supportive of the work being done in farming, unlike some of the other food writers at the time. She is a genuine person and I am always glad to see her again in her retired life of quilting, family and cooking.
another great interview with a New Orleans food leader, courtesy of Southern Foodways

Here are pics of her autographing her original Cuisinart that she had gifted me a few years back. She thought my request for her to autograph it was hilarious.
IMG_5283IMG_5269

History: Eve’s Market

My pal, local activist and publisher Hilarie Schackai, got me in touch with Linda Van Aman who many remember as one of the two owners of Eve’s Market along with Claudia Dumestre. Eve’s took over the original Whole Foods Company site at Adams and Cohen and then moved to Freret for a few years before closing in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.

Here is a bit of that history she shared:

 
I worked at Whole Foods Company from 1981-1987, mostly at the Esplanade store, first as a grocery stocker, then as department manager, then in upper management.  Somewhere in there, WFC opened a deli & grocery outlet in the Riverwalk mall, which was unsuccessful and closed fairly quickly (not sure about the timeline on that). In early 1987,Whole Foods Market was positioning itself to expand into Louisiana (their first foray outside of TX), and Peter Roy was going to sell them the Esplanade store and close the one on Cohn St.

Claudia & I thought the Cohn store was still very viable, and proposed buying it. Between us we had more than 15 years experience in the biz.

Eve’s Market had its grand opening on April Fool’s Day, 1987 (no fooling! great slogan we thought); we kept all WFC employees who wanted to stay. The name came from a group of friends in a brainstorming session before our takeover — the “market” part came first, then someone said: “Eve’s on Adams” (the corner street). We also wanted to honor our mothers, who had helped fund the takeover deal, and Eve is the mother of us all. Thus Eve’s Market was born. We had a great run on Cohn St., until the landlady was going to sell the building. Our future there was uncertain, plus the building was very old & in need of repairs & renovation. After a lot of shopping around, the Freret St. location was suggested by a community development agency that had offices there. Eve’s moved to 4601 Freret St. in the spring of 2001, into a newly renovated space. 9/11 caused people to stop shopping as much for a while (and when) Whole Foods Market opened on Magazine Street in 2002, seriously eroded our customer base. All Natural Foods, a small store near Arabella Station, closed soon thereafter. We tried to refocus as a locally-owned small business, but eventually put the building & business up for sale, though we stayed open until Hurricane Katrina flooded the area in 2005. In the aftermath, the building was bought and became Zeus’s Place.

Some other asides from Linda:

We worked with Food Not Bombs to donate excess food to them, and bought from several local farmers consistently through the years, and had a great rapport with our regulars. •The founders of the food co-op met with us when our building was up for sale to consider it as a space for their store, but nothing came of that (too soon, maybe?). •The natural foods industry changed drastically as WFM expanded & bought up independent stores across the country. Manufacturers, who had supported small independent brokers and stores, began to change the rules to favor larger stores & distributors. Stores like ours could no longer get competitive deals.

PreservationInPrint2001
Preservation In Print (2001)

Oral History: Poppy Tooker, Slow Food New Orleans founder, Louisiana Eats host, Cookbook author.

There is a great oral history of Poppy’s food activism courtesy of ©Southern Foodways Alliance and interviewer/writer Rien Fertel, found at | www.southernfoodways.org.

 

On the Slow Food New Orleans chapter she founded and how she rallied the SF USA chapters to help local food producers in and after 2005:

Poppy Tooker: Oh, yeah! Oh it not only went through Katrina, Slow Food helped save the food producers of the city.

Rien Fertel: Can you give a short history of that, or how that—?

Poppy Tooker: Of course. By that time I was very involved, because when Slow Food started that’s how I met Richard McCarthy and became involved with the Crescent City Farmers Market because that’s part of the mission of Slow Food is to support our food producers. And so I don’t even think I was—maybe I was on the Board then. I don’t know. I just know that I was like Richard’s sort of right-hand girl, me and Darlene Wolnik, and when Katrina happened they both left the city and were living outside the city. Darlene was in Cleveland or Cincinnati and Richard was in Houston.

And so I was the one who was back here immediately and—

Rien Fertel: How long were you away after the 29th of August?

 

Poppy Tooker: I was living back in the city again by October 1st. Immediately after Hurricane Katrina I was here. So I began to reach out to the food producers from the Market to find out their needs and what their condition was. And before I got back, like September—the letter’s actually printed as it was on my computer in the Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook, the letter from Kay Brandhurst describing what had happened to she and Ray.

And I was in Baton Rouge at my sister-in-law’s house and I started getting emails from my Slow Food friends all across the country asking how they could help. Well, I couldn’t tell anybody how they could help. But what I did was I just flipped Kay’s email to them and said you tell me how you can help this. And I don’t know what to say.

 

Rien Fertel: And she was the shrimp lady right?

Poppy Tooker: The shrimp lady.

Rien Fertel: Known as the shrimp lady.

Poppy Tooker: Yeah, I mean she even—

Rien Fertel: At the Farmers’ Market.

 

Poppy Tooker: —signed it aka the Shrimp Lady. “We will be back,” she said. I mean the boat was sunk, Ray was trying to get the boat lifted, she and the kids are living first in Shreveport and then in a one-bedroom apartment out in Metairie with four children. I mean it was just terrible times. And so what ended up happening was we created a fund that was called Terra Madre Fund that was committed to getting the money that people raised quickly into the hand of the food producers who could get back into business again. And so a lot of that money went to Crescent City Farmers Market people, but there were also really genius things that we did with the money that makes me so happy to this day.

Of course some of that money went to finance the promotion and getting Leah Chase’s first fund-raiser to get the restaurant reopened, and that was on Holy Thursday in 2006 at Muriel’s Restaurant. And across the country people couldn’t believe somebody would give another restaurateur their restaurant, but that’s what we do here in New Orleans. The other part of the money probably the one I love the most is I did not know the Brocatos at the time of the hurricane, personally. But I knew Dana Logsdon and her mother Mary from the Market. And they had La Spiga Bakery down in the Marigny, which was fine, but their houses had flooded. They were in Baton Rouge; they were only running the bakery part-time. The Brocato’s flooded, everything; they were wiped out.

Rien Fertel: Were wiped out.

 

Poppy Tooker: They’re in Houston and they’re thinking about not coming back. They were actively thinking of opening a Brocato’s in Houston. And Dana got in touch with me and she said we cannot let this happen. And so we tracked down the Brocatos they next time they came to New Orleans. We sat down and met with them—this was probably January of 2006—and we worked out a deal so that when Dana couldn’t be at La Spiga having it open, the Brocatos had use of their bakery, and that was how on St. Joseph’s Day in 2006 the Brocatos cookies were back on the shelf, because they were at La Spiga. And the wonderful thing was that that meant that Slow Food money, that dollar, helped two businesses, because the Brocatos paid rent that was paid by Slow Food to Dana and her mother, so it got the Brocatos back in business and it kept La Spiga in business.

Rien Fertel: Wow. And helped Leah Chase also.

 

Poppy Tooker: And helped Leah Chase, and helped Ray and Kay get the boat lifted, and helped, oh my goodness, the citrus people, the L’Hostes. I ran their whole Christmas in—at Christmas 2005, they had oranges, they had citrus, but they had no way to sell them except the Market and so Slow Food people across the United States, for $25, bought a box of citrus that got shipped and made it in time for Christmas, and the L’Hostes had no way of taking payment except a check in the mail. And the mailman didn’t come on a regular basis in those days.

And to me that was a further illustration of how good those Slow Food people were because Linda L’Hoste shipped every one of those boxes on the promise that the checks were in the mail and she got every single check.

 

Rien Fertel: Wow. So—

 

Poppy Tooker: And every order went through me on my computer. I almost lost my mind. I would print them out and bring them to her at the Market. I took all the orders. That was an insane thing.

Rien Fertel: Was this—

 

Poppy Tooker: Slow Food USA advertised it and that’s how they got the word out. And then all the Slow Food members across the United States.

 

On tradition:

Poppy Tooker: Yeah, totally, because that’s my whole bent. I write about—it’s all about food history. It’s all about the food tradition. It’s all about what makes us who and what we are here.

 

Her recent activism connected with food:

 

Poppy Tooker:  I have been doing—well, really the charitable organization that I’ve worked the most for in recent times is the NO/AIDS Task Force, which has become CrescentCare. And just on a lark we’ve started doing these drag queen brunches that benefit CrescentCare, and they have just gotten such an incredible response and I just think that that book will be a hoot. And so if I manage to pull that off there will be a charitable tie-in to that, and then maybe I’ll be ready for the memoir.

 

On her famous “Eat It To Save It” slogan:

Rien Fertel: What did your grandmother mean by—

Poppy Tooker: My great-grandmother?

Rien Fertel: —your great-grandmother mean by eat it to save it?

 

Poppy Tooker: She meant clean your plate.

Rien Fertel: That just meant clean your plate?

 

Poppy Tooker: It just meant finish eating. Finish what you’re eating. Don’t make me throw it away. So save it: eat it to save it. And so it has now come to mean something vastly different.

On women in food:

Rien Fertel: Okay. This is my second to last question: a lot of your relationships in the food world have been with important women. We’re talking about Leah Chase, we’re talking about—

Poppy Tooker: Susan Spicer.

Rien Fertel: Susan Spicer.

Poppy Tooker: Lee Barnes.

 

Rien Fertel: Lee Barnes. Do you see New Orleans as particular having an important community of women in the restaurant world? Is there a reason for that? Am I just making that up?

Rien Fertel: We’re in a moment now where things are changing politically, socially, in restaurant kitchens.

Poppy Tooker: Yeah, we did that show, too.

Rien Fertel: So—

Poppy Tooker: We did that show, too, [Laughs] the sexual abuse show.

Rien Fertel: Yeah. So what is there—

Poppy Tooker: I think it’s just a— this is just something that, thank God, has naturally happened. You’ve got people like Kristen Essig, Danielle Sutton—help me with this—Allison Vines-Rushing, even though she’s mostly cooking for her babies—

 

Rien Fertel: Yeah, but I want to talk about personally, because you even talk about your—you have a very deep and personal relationship with a ghost, with a woman, right, Elizabeth Kettering, Madame Begué.

Poppy Tooker: Oh well, so yes, yes, the ghost of Madame Begué. I took cooking classes from her—because I revised all the recipes that she did and so I felt like I took cooking classes from the 19th century ghost. But then you have to remember I also have a very close relationship with the cross-dressing ghost from Tujague’s, the cross-dressing ghost who was a fan of Madame Begué’s, and he’s very happy to be back from the dead and better than ever. So the drag queen thing is just chasing me, see?

 

Rien Fertel: I think you have to write the book.

Poppy Tooker: Uh-hmm.

Rien Fertel: All right I have—

 

Poppy Tooker: So did I answer that? I just think it’s about time and it’s way too late. It’s ridiculous, it’s absolutely absurd that we’re talking about a time forty years ago, when I had a hard time getting a job in a restaurant kitchen because I was a white woman. So great, forty years later, and I’m having a really hard time coming up with all the women chefs—really, all the women chefs. It’s still a good old boys club. Okay, great, Rebecca Wilcomb won best chef of the South; way to go, girl. Who am I not thinking of? Well, of course Kelly Fields is nominated twice, but it’s about damn time, huh? But look at it; it’s still not—no.