Jody Adams’s Rialto: Annual Women’s Luncheon

Jody Adams of Rialto

Dual nominations happen in the Oscars – but they also happen in the James Beard Foundation Awards. This year Chef Jody Adams landed two coveted nominations in the semifinal round. The first is for “Outstanding Chef” for her culinary skills her flagship restaurant, Rialto in Cambridge, MA. The second is for “Best New Restaurant” for TRADE, opened in 2011 with Sean Griffing and Eric Papachristos.

Not one to rest on her laurels, she has been making her restaurants more then just places to eat – especially since Rialto is situated next to Harvard University. They have an important role to play in a community’s intellectual and social life. Part of that responsibility is reflected in her yearly Women’s Luncheons. The next luncheon is on Tuesday, February 28, 12pm at Rialto. The discussion will be moderator by Iris Bohnet, Academic Dean and Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. She will lead a panel discussion on women and negotiation at work, at home and in the public realm.

Super Chef ask Jody about these important luncheons:

Super Chef: What are you doing for your women’s gathering this year?

Jody Adams: This year we have a panel discussing Women and Negotiation. Understand the gender gap in negotiation and decision-making in work, home and in the public sphere. Hear perspectives from leading women in academia, business, law and politics. We promise an exciting, invigorating conversation accompanied by a delicious lunch at Rialto. Panelists are listed below.

Super Chef: How many years have you been doing women’s gatherings and in what capacity.

Jody Adams: This is our 3th gathering. Each year they take on a different form. In 2010, we had a panel of women speak to the topic of “Treat your body well today, so it takes care of you tomorrow.” We had an expert in nutrition/ mind and body balance, exercise, aging and food/healthy eating (me). In 2009, we welcomed the new artistic director of the American Repertory Theater, Diane Paulus. We typically host around 100 women for each event.

Super Chef: Why are you hosting a women’s gathering?

Jody Adams: Mostly because we just want to get wonderful women together for a fun event. We have a community of incredibly accomplished, powerful women who have lots to share and who love coming together around great food and conversation. After the first event which was a welcome to the neighborhood type event and an opportunity to introduce Diane Paulus to this community of women. We heard again and again “What will you do next year? And, what will it be? So we decided to make it an annual event drawing on the expertise, creativity and knowledge of the women in our network to create unique gatherings.

Super Chef: Who comes?

Jody Adams:: This year our panel will be moderated by Iris Bohnet, Academic Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Panelists include, First Lady of Massachusetts, Diane Patrick; Carol Fulp, Vice President of Community Relations at John Hancock Financial Services;and and Lena Goldberg, Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School and former Executive VP of Strategic Corporate Initiatives and General Counsel of Fidelity Investments. The guests include the president of Harvard, high profile chefs, business owners, academics, architects and artists, you name it they’re attending.

Super Chef: Does the menu inform the event?

Jody Adams:: The structure of the menu is designed to allow for dynamic dialogue. This year the first course is a selection of antipasti with a focus on seasonal vegetables served family style to keep things casual. The entrée is seared char, farro and a bright salad of shaved fennel, asparagus, olives and citrus. This is brain food and a lunch that allows people to get up from the table and have a productive day.

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