As part of any internship at the Smithsonian Associates, interns come into work each day never knowing what they may find. On Monday, it might be a huge T-Rex (not a real one of course, but who knows what’s lurking in the Smithsonian research facilities), and by Friday it might be an entire collection of doughnut ephemera (I’m still searching for this one). With all the wonders that surround the Smithsonian museums, I decided to check out the National Museum of American History to find the aforementioned doughnut exhibit. Instead, I stumbled across a real replica of Julia Child’s entire kitchen.
Pictured Above: Julia Child's kitchen in National Museum of Amerian History
As an avid food consumer, although not much of a cook, I have always loved watching the Food Network and tuning in to watch some of my favorite chefs. Julia Child was one of the most notable of all women chefs on television, and she was considered a trailblazer for bringing French cuisine to America. Fast forward a couple years, and we now have all the delicious cuisines imaginable, which wouldn’t be possible without women chefs who have all brought their unique personalities and preferences into the meals they prepare for their fans.
Since I am only a temporary Washington, D.C. resident, one of my favorite activities is eating my way through the city, which is home to some of the most exquisite restaurants (and food trucks!) in the US. D.C.’s top women chefs, who will be appreciated at an upcoming Smithsonian event on October 21st, have undoubtedly shaped the culinary culture that the city has to offer. One of the chefs who will be featured, Nora Pouillon, has been a frontrunner in the recent trend to go organic since she opened Restaurant Nora in 1979. Using only the freshest seasonal produce from farms in the area, she was also able to kickstart D.C.’s first producers-only farmers market while also establishing her restaurant as the first certified organic eatery in the nation.
Pictured Above: Restaurant Nora in DuPont Circle
If you’re interested in going to Restaurant Nora, the current menu is featuring the highest quality seasonal ingredients for fall, which are corn, tomatoes, pears, peppers, and eggplant. Although not a seasonal ingredient, if you are a bacon fan, which I’m sure you are, look no further than RIS on L Street, where even the side veggies (cabbage and collard greens) are braised in bacon. The namesake of the restaurant belongs to its founder, Ris Lacoste who has served as an executive chef at Georgetown’s 1789 restaurant and has won awards from the Wine Spectator, Washington Post, and Washingtonian Magazine as being one of the most innovative chefs in the entire district.
Pictured Above: Roofer's Union in Adams Morgan
If the first two chefs have not gotten your mouth watering yet, Marjorie Meek-Bradley’s delicacies are sure to. Not only does she oversee the kitchens at Ripple and Roofers Union, but she was also nominated Rising Culinary Star of the Year in the 2013 and 2014 RAMMY awards. In addition to her impressive repertoire, she was also a semi-finalist in Food and Wine Magazine’s “Peoples Award for Best New Chef.” On the menu at one of Meek-Bradley’s restaurants is a “hot mess” scramble, which you’ll have to try to fully grasp the bliss that is fried chicken featuring a sunny-side up egg. Now that I am done contemplating chewing the paper at my desk, I will finally include that part of the program includes a complimentary sweet treat from each of the women as they discuss the true meaning of girl power in the culinary industry. Get your tickets for the “D.C.’s Top Women Chefs” program.
Written by Danielle Fogel, social media intern at The Smithsonian Associates.