Washington's dining scene seems to be growing exponentially by the minute. From H Street to Dupont Circle to 14th Street, trendy neighborhood eateries are popping up left and right, forming a thriving and diverse restaurant culture. Many of the chefs behind these new and established restaurants are women.
Nora Pouillon has been a pioneer and champion of organic, environmentally conscious cuisine since she opened Restaurant Nora in 1979, sourcing seasonal organic produce from farms in Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. She also initiated D.C.’s first producers-only farmer’s market, FRESHFARM Markets, which now includes 13 markets in the metropolitan area. In 1999, Restaurant Nora became the first certified organic restaurant in the United States.
Ris Lacoste is one of the most respected and dedicated chefs working in Washington today. For the last decade she has served as executive chef of Georgetown’s celebrated 1789 Restaurant, and most recently opened RIS in the West End. Her innovative regional American fare has drawn national attention and earned numerous awards, including those from the Wine Spectator, Washington Post, and Washingtonian magazine, as well as nomination from the legendary James Beard Foundation.
Marjorie Meek-Bradley oversees the kitchens at Ripple in Cleveland Park and Roofers Union in Adams Morgan. She was a nominee for Rising Culinary Star of the Year in the 2013 and 2014 RAMMY Awards of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. Meek-Bradley was also a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s 2014 Rising Chef of the Year award and was a mid-Atlantic semifinalist in Food & Wine magazine’s Peoples Award for Best New Chef.
In this conversation moderated by Jessica Sidman, food writer at Washington City Paper, hear these star chefs discuss what it’s like to work in the male-dominated restaurant industry, how the dining scene in DC has evolved over the years, and what’s next on the region’s culinary horizon. Top off the evening with a sweet treat from each of the chefs’ restaurants.
Try Marjorie Meek-Bradley’s peach sponge cake, Ris Lacoste’s jumbo lump crab cakes from 1789, or Nora Pouillon’s Asian Caesar salad with garlic croutons.