Food // Our December Future of Women Breakfast
In February, we launched Future of Women Breakfasts,
a monthly women's breakfast series to elevate women’s voices.
In February, we started hosting Future of Women breakfasts in Los Angeles, beginning with a conversation about Diversity in Film. In March, we talked about Human Rights, Journalism, and Geopolitics, in April we spoke about Food Entrepreneurship, and in May we hosted two breakfasts - an LA breakfast on Music and Activism and a Mexico City breakfast on Art + The City. In June, we talked about Women and Sports, in July, we traveled to Tel Aviv to host a breakfast on Storytelling, and in September, we talked about Women in Architecture. This month, we traveled to San Diego to host a breakfast with women who are shifting food culture to one that celebrates diversity, local ingredients, and the environment. A special thank you to Chef Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins, El Jardín, and our speakers for welcoming us into their worlds of food. Read more about our conversation in San Diego Magazine’s “5 Things We Learned from San Diego’s ‘Future of Women’ Panel.”
On Monday, women from across San Diego and from a range of industries - from fashion to journalism to design to public policy to culinary arts - joined us for delicious food and conversation! We welcomed four incredible speakers who are shifting food culture to one that celebrates diversity, local ingredients, and the environment. Read more about our conversation in San Diego Magazine’s “5 Things We Learned from San Diego’s ‘Future of Women’ Panel.”
We gathered at El Jardín. Located at Liberty Station in the Point Loma neighborhood, El Jardín is a regional Mexican restaurant by chef Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins and Rise & Shine Restaurant Group inspired by the flavors Zepeda experienced growing up between San Diego, Tijuana and Guadalajara, as well as during her travels throughout Mexico. El Jardín strives to honor both the diverse cultures that have lent a hand in shaping the seven regions of Mexican cuisine, as well as the ancestral recipes created and shared by matriarchs throughout history.
Chef Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins prepared a delicious breakfast for us, including Arroz con Leche Crepes, Huevos Suizos (creamy poblano rice, eggs poached in suiza sauce, tomatillo, Swiss cheese), Tamales de Rajas (herb-whipped black beans poblano pepper, corn, zucchini, onion, soft cheese), Roasted Honeynut Salad (pomegranate, Melipona honey vinaigrette), and Roasted Pineapple & Chia Yogurt Cups (tepache gel).
Our speakers included:
Crystal White is the head baker and owner of Wayfarer Bread & Pastry in San Diego, CA. Crystal grew up in Napa, CA surrounded by world-class food and hospitality. She determined from a young age that baking was her calling. For 17 years she has worked her way through kitchens, honing her skills and narrowing her focus. In 2010 she co-founded and managed Proof Bakery in Los Angeles, Calif. After that she worked her way up through the bread department at the world-renowned Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. The culmination of this experience led her to open Wayfarer in May of 2018.
Mai Nguyen, born and raised in San Diego, is a farmer reviving healthful, rare heritage grains to make these staple foods good for our bodies and environment rather than for companies. Recognizing that transforming the food system away from profit motives to serve human well-being, Mai organizes farmers, advocates, and eaters to create sustainable structural, infrastructural, and systemic change. In 2017, Mai helped pass the Farmer Equity Act, a momentous civil rights bill for California agriculture. Mai is the National Young Farmers Coalition's California Organizer and California Grain Campaign co-founder, and has been recognized for their farming and advocacy work as a 2018 Berkeley Food Institute Changemaker and 2018 Grist 50 Fixer.
Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins is Executive Chef/Partner of El Jardín, a modern Mexican restaurant in San Diego’s Point Loma neighborhood. Inspired by the regional cuisine in Mexico, where her passion for food was first cultivated, El Jardín is an expression of Zepeda’s culinary journey as a chef. Born in the U.S. and raised between Tijuana and San Diego, Zepeda credits the confluence of flavors and ingredients she was exposed to while spending time with family in Tijuana and Guadalajara, including her aunt Lorenza who owned her own restaurant, as paving the way for her eventual career. Prior to El Jardín, Zepeda was chef de cuisine at Javier Plascencia’s celebrated Bracero and also spent time alongside chef Gavin Kaysen at his former San Diego restaurant, El Bizcocho. A member of Buzzfeed's inaugural Tasty talent program and former Top Chef Season 15 + Top Chef Mexico competitor, Zepeda continues to find inspiration from her frequent visits to Mexico, as well as her husband and teenage son and daughter whom she resides with in San Diego’s Bonita neighborhood.
Candice Woo is the founding editor of Eater San Diego, a trusted resource for food news and dining guides which began covering the local restaurant, bar, and nightlife scene in 2012. Candice worked in a restaurant kitchen before translating her love of food to writing about the industry and advocating for sustainable food via Slow Food Urban San Diego. She spent three years as the restaurant reviewer for San Diego CityBeat and has contributed to many local and national publications including San Diego Magazine, the San Diego Union-Tribune, Edible San Diego, and DRAFT Magazine.
Future of Women founder, Hallie Applebaum, moderated the conversation.
Special thanks to Chef Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins for a delicious breakfast and for joining our panel discussion, to our panelists Crystal White, Mai Nguyen, and Candice Woo, the El Jardín team for welcoming us into their space, to Health-Ade for providing kombucha, to Casey Goch for providing Shreebs Coffee, and to Cheyenne Arnold for these beautiful photographs.