Huffpost Food
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Jill Donenfeld Headshot

Eat Retreat

Posted: Updated:

A few weeks ago, I applied for EAT RETREAT, "a weekend workshop dedicated to good food and innovative thinking. Created for leaders in the food community, the objective of this invite-only event is to celebrate a shared joy for food." Today is the last day for entry, and I wanted to share my answers. Early acceptees include Stephen Wade, Dorothy Neagle from Good Food Jobs, and Mike Lee from Studio Feast.

If nothing else, read to find out how to get into this awesome weekend! If you know me, some answers and general vibes won't come as a surprise. Still, that egg boiling trick is a gem of a kitchen trick! What are your kitchen secrets? Message them @theculinistas

My involvement in the food community:

My culinary experience and expertise goes from the esoteric to the super family-round-the-table familiar. I started a weekly home chef service in 2006 and this year was pictured in Forbes 30 Under 30 list of culinary entrepreneurs. My company operates in NYC, LA, and Chicago. That's the "family time" aspect of my involvement.
I've also lived in Madagascar to write a Malagache cookbook, in the Chettinad region of India to write one for the Chettiars.... I guess that's some of the esoteric. I wrote a cookbook last year called Party Like A Culinista, published by Lake Isle Press.
I truly see "the food community" as humanity; we all eat. And, from what I've seen around the globe, is that we all have a pretty unique approach to the meal. That's the lens through which I dig in!

Tell us one of your favorite cooking tips:

I learned in Madagascar that you can throw an egg into your rice as you're boiling it to make a hard boiled egg without using another pot.
I'm a huge fan of mixing ricotta and pesto together for an impromptu get together.
Here's an eating tip: if you plunge a cherry into a glass of ice water for about 15 seconds before eating it, you will taste the most delicious thing ever. That's called Crunchy Cherry Technology.

My biggest cooking disaster:

Do not over mash potatoes.
Do not over whip cream.
Do not forget how many teaspoons of lemon juice you've added to Karen DeMasco's lemon soufflé. Especially when she's watching.

I'd love to wow my fellow Eat Retreaters with my:

Weird adventures. Eating rats (I swear) in Madagascar (that's NOT in the cookbook), working on an organic farm in Sweden, my dinner at Rao's with the Rao's lawyer when he broke the leg of his chair, eating Skyline Chili and Graeter's ice cream for much of my childhood in Cincinnati..
But... ya know.... I'll also wow them with my friendliness, my curiosity, and my compassion.

My mom would tell you I'm perfect for Eat Retreat because:

She's right here next to me (I am visiting home)!
"Jill thinks fast. She's creative. She can make simple foods taste absolutely delicious. She put's together good ingredient combinations like tonight she's making a trout that she caught and paring it with a quinoa and tomato salad. And, to top it off, her brothers love her food. She makes family occasions into parties. She makes entertaining a breeze. Guests are at ease. She never panics."

Awww shucks mom.

What do you hope to learn at Eat Retreat?

I would actually like to sharpen my basic skills of breaking down food (meats, fish, etc). I can do it all but never properly learned. I learned to kill chickens in Madagascar... I wonder if I learned the "right" way. All my culinary knowledge has been learned from mamas.. not teachers so I think there are a lot of holes in my skills.

From Our Partners