Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Food Editor
The James Beard Award countdown has begun. Last month, the James Beard Foundation released the nominees for ‘the Oscars of the culinary world,’ and three of the five nominees for ‘Best Chef: Northeast’ reside and cook within the Boston area: Jamie Bissonnette of Coppa and Toro, Joanne Chang of Flour and Myers + Chang, and Barry Maiden of Hungry Mother.
The James Beard Awards recognize the leaders in the field of culinary artistry and appreciation: chefs, food journalists, television personalities, etc. The 2013 James Beard Awards will be held at Lincoln Center in New York on May 3 and 6. To celebrate their nominations and raise money for Future Chefs (a culinary career youth outreach program), Bissonnette, Chang and Maiden will also host a six-course dinner at Hungry Mother on April 15th.
MUSE spoke to the three nominees from Boston last week. Each week preceding the James Beard Awards, we will post three individual profiles of each of the chefs so you can choose your favorite. We will count the votes and post the results of BU’s Best Chef online on the day of the first ceremony, May 3.
Before we publish each of the longer profiles, here’s a quick rundown of each of the three:
Chef: Jamie Bissonnette
Restaurant(s): Coppa, Toro
Style of Cuisine: Italian, Spanish, Head-to-Tail
When you were college-aged, where did you think you’d be now: Jail
When you’re not cooking, you’re: listening to music (Danzig, Fitz and the Tantrums,
Oscar Peterson, Badbrains)
Mythical Creature you would cook if you could: Jackalope or Minotaur
Chef: Joanne Chang
Restaurant(s): Flour, Myers + Chang
Style of Cuisine: Chinese, Thai, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Pastry
Your favorite thing to cook: I still love cooking Chinese food, so stir-fry, fish, a lot of
tofu, a lot of vegetables.
What’s your favorite restaurant in Boston: Sam’s on the waterfront, Picco, Oishii
Any music in the kitchen? We don’t allow music in the kitchen, it’s too distracting, and
at home I kind of got used to cooking in silence – it allows you to focus and concentrate
Chef: Barry Maiden
Restaurant(s): Hungry Mother
Style of Cuisine: Southern, Appalachian, French influences, New England ingredients
Before you were cooking, you were: Lost, raising hell, getting in trouble.
When you’re not cooking, you’re: Outside
When you were college-aged, your favorite thing to eat was: Anything I could get my
By Bhaswati Chattopadhyay
The entire crowd at Coolidge Corner Theater sat at the edge of their seats and leaned in to hear the arguments Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg pitched for greater women’s representation in the workplace. In the sold-out WBUR event last Thursday, Sandberg discussed with interviewer Robin Young her national bestseller, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.
The enthusiastic crowd consisted largely of professional women already carrying copies of Lean In for the subsequent book-signing. Many already appeared to be sold on Sandberg’s message — unsurprising, as Sandberg has established herself as a strong voice in the business community. Consistently featured on international lists of “Most Influential Women,” Sandberg gained a massive fan following after a 2010 TED Talk on “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders.”
Her book, her nonprofit organization, and the discussion all serve as a call to action for women to “lean-in” in order to truly lead in a male-dominated world where women earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, and only hold about 14 percent of executive officer positions in the United States.
While acknowledging that many challenges women face are institutional and there must be an effort from men in power to work against prejudice, Sandberg asserted that the “best way to reform an institution is to run it.” The problem lies in the lack of encouragement women receive to be leaders.
Sandberg explained that these problems stem from gender stereotyping that start at early childhood. Citing shirts told by major retailers for babies featuring the words “Smart like Daddy” and “Pretty like Mommy,” she said the pigeonholing doesn’t stop there.
“We’re held back by sexism, discrimination, and terrible public policy, but we’re also held back by the stereotypes,” she said. “Go to any playground and you’ll hear little girls called ‘bossy.’ You won’t hear little boys called bossy, because we expect boys to be assertive. Lean In is trying to change that – instead of calling our girls bossy we should say ‘my daughter has executive leadership skills.’”
However, even women who break past these initial barriers and discouragement aren’t given the same credit as men are. Sandberg cites research that reveal how women are more likely to attribute their own success to “working hard, help from others, and luck,” while men credit their own “core skills.”
Additionally, the negative perception of strong women continues onto the professional world, where intelligent, assertive men are praised as “leaders,” while women with the same traits are deemed “bossy.”
According to Sandberg, the best way individual women can counteract the discrimination is to not tolerate subtle condescension or inequalities. She urged women to be more confident in their skills, to negotiate for higher wages and positions, and to demand equal treatment. Women are capable of making these changes by themselves. Quoting Alice Walker, Sandberg said that “[t]he most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”
While Sandberg’s message is very simple to follow, it has garnered considerable criticism, especially from women who otherwise support women occupying more leadership positions.
Young described one of these view points: “There are people who think that in saying that women need to lean in more and claim their place at the table that you are blaming them.”
Sandberg argued that her message had no such intention and that encouraging women to take control of their destinies ultimately empowers them to no longer depend on a huge shift in social attitudes to occur before they can make a difference.
Following the interview an audience member raised another point of controversy when she noted that many of her otherwise like-minded colleagues cannot relate to the “Lean in” message because of additional struggles women of different socioeconomic, resources, opportunities, and ethnic origins face.
The question prompted me to consider the situation from the following perspective: “How much can working class women of color truly benefit from advice given by a billionaire COO with two Harvard degrees?”
Sandberg handled these tough questions with considerable grace. Thankfully, she did not attempt to argue against the fact that she was incredibly privileged.
“I don’t think that I can address every issue and it would be dishonest for me to try. I’m lucky and I know that. But what can I do with that luck? Do I not have some responsibility to make a difference with the resources and position I have?”
She added that the many arguments she raised in her book could easily apply to any group that has faced historic oppression and has not been empowered yet.
Nevertheless, this criticism is valid. It is indeed an oversimplification that “leaning in” will work for all women equally. Sandberg’s message is, in many ways, reminiscent of “second-wave” feminist rhetoric that did not fully take the intersectionality of race, ability, gender identity and sexual orientation into consideration.
It’s refreshing to see someone with of that position and influence proudly identify as a feminist. On the long run, however, Sandberg’s message, like the greater feminist movement, must “lean in” towards greater inclusivity to truly lead in equality.
By Samantha Wong, Staff Writer
With one glance, Match Public Charter High School seems to be an everyday high school: teenagers filtering in and out of the school for lunch and later crowding the T when five o’clock rolls around. What is not initially recognized is the hard work that is put into the school from both the students and faculty.
Teaching is often thought of as a thankless job. Teachers do hours of prep work before classes in addition to the typical school hours they work. More often than not, teachers are thinking of the progress and well-being of their students long after they leave the classroom.
The students have just as much impact on the teacher’s learning experience as the teacher influences the students’ work.
Match Education, the organization behind Match Corps and Match Public Charter High School, is responsible not solely for fostering a love of education, but also responsible for the brainchild that is their fellowship-teaching program.
Match Corps is Match Education’s program for aspiring educators who want an alternative experience with teaching. The people within Match Corps get put to work in a rigorous training program that immerses them into the high school as tutors. This way, the people within the program get firsthand experience.
Most people hire tutors in high school, but at Match, tutors come as a paired set with a high school education. Hand in hand, tutor and student find a mutually beneficial partnership. The tutor gets experience while learning how to better connect with the student being tutored. The student gets one-on-one help with their studies outside normal school hours
Match Education creates a better environment for students and teachers alike. That students are able to have access to tutoring services is great but the fact that these tutors are dedicated to their craft is more than admirable.
By Christina Janansky
Nowadays, losing something in your wallet is just as easy as losing the wallet itself.
We have gift cards, credit cards, business cards, debit cards, student IDs, licenses, membership cards (and maybe even some cash, if we’re lucky). Needless to say, our wallets are constantly overflowing with an array of different things. Where’s the convenience in that?
Well according to an article on gizmag.com, thanks to a new development by Carnegie Mellon researchers, future consumers may never need their wallets again— all they’ll need is their fingerprints.
The new system called “PayTango” scans shoppers’ fingerprints, retrieves their payment information from a database and allows them to purchase items. The system was designed to consolidate students’ various cards into a single— and simple— payment method.
Using PayTango is easy. At the checkout, a registered user simply places his or her fingers on the scanner. The scanner then uses the shopper’s fingerprints to access his or her personal account. Then PayTango bills the cost to the consumer’s preferred card or payment method.
The university has already implemented PayTango in its own dining halls after a successful pilot test last year. However, developers are hoping to extend the benefits of this breakthrough to other college campuses, retail stores and gyms across the nation.
Signing up for PayTango is nearly as simple as using it. With the touch of the scanner and 20 seconds time, anyone can register. First the user places his or her index and middle finger on the biometric scanner. After the device scans the person’s fingerprints, he or she swipes a credit card through the device and enters a phone number to make a personalized account.
The PayTango can register any card with a magnetic strip—this includes gift cards, debit cards and a variety of others.
That’s right—no more mountains of MasterCards or collections of four birthdays’ worth of gift cards. A shopping addiction could be at the convenience of your fingertips.
Here’s a video of the PayTango in all of its simplistic glory, via gizmag.com:
By Sydney Moyer, Staff Writer
Hem has always remained up there on my list of top bands to fall asleep to, and with the newly released Departure and Farewell, their sixth studio album, they reaffirm their position.
Full of softly whispered lyrical content about loss and heartbreak, the album quietly winds its way through its rotation steady and predictable as a sleep cycle. While perhaps the descriptor “predictable” is generally connoted as negative when it comes to new music, in this case, it’s comforting. It’s the soothing sense of having one’s average expectations met exactly and nothing more.
Hem’s biggest claim to fame is perhaps Liberty Mutual’s use of their song “Half Acre” (off of 2002’s Rabbit Songs) in a successful spot that ran frequently on network television last year. The commercial featured several vignettes of strangers saving each other from small daily disasters in a pay-it-forward type capacity, and Hem’s timeless soft folk served as the perfect soundtrack for such a scene.
When listening to Hem, one can’t help but conjure images of grassy fields softly blowing in the breeze or something equally stock-image folky. It’s definitely not what one would think a band from Brooklyn would sound like, but maybe Hem’s sound was a solace, a refuge from the noise of the city. At least, that’s what it’s become for me.
Hem is bringing their whispery folk magic to The Sinclair in Cambridge on June 1. Listen to a playlist of their music below.
By Sydney Moyer, Staff Writer
I walked into Agganis Arena on Tuesday to watch Icelandic post-rock group Sigur Rós, my favorite band to fall asleep to, not knowing what to expect. I had heard many positive reviews of their live act, but wondered how their effervescent, largely foreign sound would work in an arena show.
What I got was an intricate, multi-layered wall of sound that included string and horn sections and the ethereal howl of a bowed guitar that meshed perfectly with frontman Jónsi Birgisson’s haunting falsetto. Sigur Rós is undoubtedly making some of the most original music out there today, and as such I can’t even really accurately compare it to anything I’ve ever heard or seen live, and as many descriptors as I can try to use, I probably won’t be able to do it justice.
The band began their set playing behind a three-sided mesh curtain onto which an eerie light show was projected, a curtain which dramatically fell to reveal the 10+ piece band during “Vaka.” As the band wound their way through a set which largely blended together for me (because I’m basic and I need lyrics in English to distinguish songs from one another), a huge LED display behind them projected ambient lights and swirling projections of smoke, fields, cliffs, water… basically every arty scene in nature that one’s mind would probably conjure while listening to Sigur Rós anyway.
In that sense, the performance was perfect— but it almost felt more like performance art than a concert. Sigur Rós crafts undeniably beautiful music, arguably the best of the ambient/post-rock vein, but for their intricate sound to work, each member of the band had to be so intensely focused on the music that they didn’t leave much room for improvisation or stage presence. In short, it felt completely unlike any concert I had ever been to— I felt more like I was watching someone work to put on an act than witnessing the emotive release that usually accompanies a band’s live performance.
Regardless, it’s incredible that bands like Sigur Rós, who are doing something so original and, let’s just say it, weird, can fill up a venue like Agganis Arena and captivate audiences in a way that only acts like the Stones or The Who could have done thirty years ago. It’s also amazing that lighting and production technology has come so far as to immerse the arena in an otherworldly experience that puts the music itself on a whole other level of performance. I wouldn’t recommend going to see Sigur Rós if you’re looking for a heartfelt, emotive show, but if you’re looking to see incredible talent and a visually stunning light show, I don’t think there’s a better act around.
Music video for the song “Vaka,” by Sigur Rós
By Samantha Wong, Staff Writer
Most muggles do not have magic on the brain. ‘Muggle’ is the term J.K. Rowling uses to describe non-magical folk within the Harry Potter series. Of course, according to Rowling, most muggles don’t think about magic because they have already refused to accept that it even exists.
However, the Harry Potter Alliance and Boston University’s chapter, Dumbledore’s Army, prove that magic doesn’t have to be spells or curses to be practiced. Within the community, average muggles like you and I, can practice a less literal magic that wows. In this case, magic can be the simple thought of giving back to the community. Most people are amazed by the effects giving back can have.
Giving back can be something as small as donating books to others or selling free trade chocolate in the shape of chocolate frogs. Even getting together a group of people with a common interest in a character can be life changing for others.
What I never considered was that Harry Potter, other than being a great wizard for vanquishing the dark lord Voldemort, could be more than a character. It had not occurred to me that a book, which became a series loved by millions, could be something other than a book. Harry Potter’s name now stands as a symbol for hope. Harry Potter inspires change for the better.
As J.K. Rowling remarks on the Harry Potter Alliance website, “I am honoured and humbled that Harry’s name has been given to such an extraordinary campaign, which really does exemplify the values for which Dumbledore’s Army fought in the books.”
By Christina Janansky
If you were a multibillionaire, what would you do with your money?
Well if your name was Clive Palmer—an Australian billionaire who has made his fortune in mining—you might build a life-sized replica of the Titanic and prepare it for sailing. You might also order more than 100 life-sized robotic dinosaurs from China to create the world’s largest dinosaur exhibit.
Yes. This man is seriously building the “Titanic II”—which expects completion in 2016—and a park of giant, robotic dinosaurs.
Rumors of Palmer’s dinosaur exhibit stemmed in early August, in which he initially denied. But now the eccentric Aussie has officially released his plans to turn his North Australian resort into a robo-Jurassic Park.
In a March 30 edition of Discovery News, Palmer reported that he plans to acquire 165 “animatronic dinosaurs” total, with 100 expected to arrive by the end of April. These dinosaurs—some of which stand seven meters tall and weigh 1.2 tons—will be able to move their chests, wag their tails and blink their eyes. He already has two of these massive robots at his Palmer Coolum Resort, named Bones and Jeff.
Sure it’s awesome—anyone with half of a soul loves dinosaurs. But why spend billions on it?
Well according to Palmer in a Discovery News report: “I want to spend the money I’ve got before I die.” So, naturally, he builds a robotized Jurassic Park and a real-sized Titanic.
Seems reasonable enough.
By Matt Clarkin, Staff Writer
I can’t say I like live-concerts much. The drinks are a fortune, the mosh-pits a pain, and other fans a drag. So by the time I’ve waited five hours in standing-room-only for my new favorite band to reach the stage, my legs and my patience are a little worse for the wear and leave me wondering if it was worth all that. In fact, I had sworn off live-concerts altogether until, that is, Imagine Dragons came to Boston back in February.
To my surprise, opening band Nico Vega is responsible for the trailer song to Bioshock Infinite called “Beast of America” which is such a good song it could pass for a classic rock anthem (and I was convinced it was a classic for some time even after this concert). The rest of their songs too were both catchy and angry and that always strikes a chord with me. Also, female rock vocalists are usually overrated in my book – except for maybe Hayley Williams and Ellie Goulding – but again Nico Vega’s lead vocalist Aya Volkman won me over.
The second was Australian band Atlas Genius. Following Nico Vega’s powerful guitar riffs they didn’t come up too strong owing to the general softness of their melodies. Atlas Genius didn’t blow me away, but I did download their hit song “Trojans.”
At last Imagine Dragons came onstage with fog-machines working on full-blast and a sweet forest lantern-light stage scene behind them. The music was good, but lacked the luster that comes with their studio editing. Don’t get me wrong, the vocals were good, and the prerecorded tech-synth sounds were fine, but none of the live-songs reflected the same “umph” as their studio-edited mp3 counterparts.
I couldn’t shake the impression that lead vocalist Dan Reynolds put more effort into head-banging, finding things to jump on, and exciting the crowd than actually trying to keep beat or hit all his notes. I can’t say I was listening to a band that played their hearts out; rather, I was watching awesome stage effects while some band went through their set self-consciously, awaiting the praise of their audience. I was obliged to cheer because it was Imagine Dragons, not because the renditions of their own songs were very good.
Despite the concert’s disappointment, there were some rewarding moments. Huge thumbs up to Nico Vega, and a smaller thumbs up to Atlas Genius — even though I wasn’t immensely impressed, they delivered a higher quality music product than the main attraction. Thumbs down to Imagine Dragons for making me lose faith in the real quality of the bands whose mp3’s I love. I’m not much of a moralist, but I found a moral for this one — stay home, and stick with your studio-polished mp3’s because bands are not half as dependable as the download.
By Heather Hamacek
Eight new food trucks will be debuting on the streets of Boston this spring with the new season’s circuit. Mother Juice, Fugu Truck, Taco Party Truck and Sweet Tomatoes have all gone mobile. Boston University students have never had to many options for lunch or a quick snack in-between a busy class schedule.
Food trucks are revolutionizing fast food for an on-the-go city. Healthier options have never been so readily available and many of the trucks express interest and intent to work with local producers.
Mother Juice hopes to bring a local juice culture to Boston, while utilizing locally grown produce. Fugu Truck plans on introducing Bostonians to their local producers through authentic Asian street food. Taco Party Truck is exhibiting quality vegetarian tacos, while trying to stay environmentally friendly. Meanwhile, Sweet Tomatoes Pizza is mobilizing their already popular restaurant.
With so many new dining options dotting the Boston streets, there is hardly a reason to go inside on nice spring days.
With trucks like Mother Juice, a liquidized farmer’s market is suddenly accessible, without the pain of figuring out how your expensive juicer works.
Fugu Truck takes you on that culinary vacation to try the succulent delicacies of Asia sold on the streets without leaving the brownstone lined streets of Bean Town.
Taco Party Truck lures you in with the promise of quality vegetarian tacos and then makes you feel even better about yourself because you know it’s all environmentally friendly.
And Sweet Tomatoes Pizza is providing the gourmet slice of pizza you have been fantasizing about all day.
Four other trucks will debut as well, Pasta Pot, Biryani Park, Jimmy’s Ice Cream, and Area Four. Taco Party Truck is scheduled to be in BU West every Monday for lunch and Sweet Tomatoes will at BU East for Saturday lunch as of April 1.