« Reply All

#172 The Test Kitchen, Chapter 1


Chapter 1, “Original Sin”: In the summer of 2020, Bon Appétit faced an online reckoning. It imploded, seemingly overnight, former employees calling it a racist and toxic workplace. But the story of what actually happened there started ten years earlier.

Here are some recipes to try from the people featured in this week’s story:

Yewande Komolafe’s yam and plantain curry with crispy shallots and sheet-pan gochujang chicken

Sue Li’s caramelized onion galette and creamy turmeric pasta. Rick Martinez’s mole sencillo.

Eleanore Park’s ginger-scallion meatballs with lemony farro.

Also, you can read Rachel Premack’s breaking story on Bon Appétit from last summer here.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This episode of reply. All is brought you vice square space with square space. You can build a premium website from scratch and it only takes a few clicks: showcase, a blog, a portfolio or set up an online store with square spaces, customizable templates and drag and drop tools when you're ready to launch had disgraced base, dot com, slash reply all for a free trial and use the Africa, I ought to save ten percent off your first purchase of a website or domain. Forgive my reply. I am he and we have something different for years, weak actually of an Ex several weeks. It's a told over future there is by our rapporteur shrewdly permanently, shall we take over the chauffeur bet? It's about Bonn appetite
amazing that I'm sure some of you saw explode in scandalous summer. This, though, is other parts that sorry that you didn't hear we ve been working on for months now and were very glad finally get to share with you here. Should they. So the first I'm someone in my life used the phrase person of color to describe me that was about six years ago. I was small gathering and a friend of mine whose Asian referred to both of us as women of color, and I said to her, nor not I'm indian, your Asian, but I say it all the time now, person of color you're gonna, hear me saying it many many times in today's story, but know that every time I see it kind of whence it feels wrong, like I'm telling people that I as a brown women have experienced or racism that has asked constant and as oppressive essay a black person which, of course, I have not here's a person,
hi there I am. I was born in India in Height arrived and I lived there until I came to the United States for College Simon Emigrant I studied math, and so I guess I'm a woman of science, I'm also straight woman and also mom, and if you ask me before last summer, soap before June, of twenty twenty, if you'd ass light for you personally shitty. What does it mean to be an indian women in the workplace? I would have said it's mostly five, because back there I didn't really want to think of my race as a disadvantage like I prefer to focus on how it actually help me. You know I definitely benefited from the ways that I fit into american stereotypes of indian people do work hard. I am pretty good at math, am very get a fitting in I'm sure you can tell my excellent american exit. If you had asked me that same question, though after June of last year, what Does it mean to be an indian women in the workplace? I think my
there would have been a long pause, I found myself replaying moments for my career moments. I went back years things that happen. That haven't even qualified stories in my brain at the time of this kind, negotiation with the past- it was happening inside the heads of a lot of people all over the country, and this story is about a specific group of those people, they're all people of color black. On asian Latino, and it all worked in New York at this one. Food magazine banality. It was early twenty twenty days after murder of George Floyd. Everyone was protesting angry about Rachel Injustice, and that week this photo circulated online.
Vote of the man in charge of gravity in a very offensive Halloween costume and the first thing we're gonna talk about today easily one of those requested stories today, and that is all this news. Rounding bone appetite and its editor in chief, Adam RAP on his head, like a fan of editor in chief, has resign following the re emergence of a photo of hand dressed in a caricature quartering. Can we give our calling it brown face? Here's the tweet bringing moon. It was this now that we ve grown used to hearing the story of a bad workplace told over the internet after that first offence, photo more detail started pouring out like there was a business site or article about how the culture there was toxic, the people of color would start in bone appetites, videos started coming forward and saying they were being paid less than their white colleagues, people in and I started digging through old, tweets from the staff and found all kinds of stuff sexist its homophobic tweets, more disturbing photos. I tell the confederate flag cake he made we saw. It was an ugly
snapshot of an ugly place. Since I saw that snapshot, I've spent months talking to all the people of color who worked there, like almost all going back ten years ago to the moment when the Mai. Inversion of appetite was first launch and I feel like now now, I have seen a whole movie of everything that led up to that one snapshot, and once you hear that whole story, that's not shut itself feels quite different. It feels like the view of an office that is strangely familiar like a place you might have worked in. I have certainly recognise my own experiences in it, some gonna tell you that story in four parts. It'll start. A decade ago when the man in charge would build this whole place with a fundamental flaw, a flaw, whose magnitude wouldn't be obvious to anyone, least of all the excited employees of color coming to work there. I would have done the thing to just be there so like? Even if she told me every day like hey,
just a reminder: you don't belong, I would have still taken the job. It's a story of how waves people of color will show up and one by one run through the conflict. That is better. T I was like she doesn't believe. My work is good enough. Maybe I'm not doing good work like I'm, not brilliant in the way that the people on staff are, and so this makes sense is what I told myself. It was so cutting it was so it made me feel so bad and I was like ok understood so I put in mind, though, does, and I left it so a story about the power of appearances. How kind in asked and banalities held onto power in the midst of a decline that should have been obvious to anyone paying attention. People have no idea what they're doing it's. C mere. I would tell anyone who was unlike it's not what it seems. It's like what, if your ex became incredibly famous and beloved right after
they broke up with you and my everyone's, like all my god, he's such a nice guy in your like yeah to you and it's about how, in the course of just one decade, french generations of people of color will learn to fight back. I went to a protest on the six, which was a Saturday and then I came home and just fell egg. Maybe you got Adam up were fired, I think that's really really yeah for this story we nearly forty people from modernity and content asked I've talked too much of the white leadership, but over the next few episodes you'll only here from the people of color, because this the story of how they survived in the system and how they finally took it apart. We are not going to put up with the shit except the shit that we have for years, but I'm with an accepted all of his trade offs.
I'm never going to do again. I'm never ever goin to do that again after the break chapter one of that story from the people they experienced. It. This episode of reply all is brought you by e trade trading in for everyone, but each raid is whether it sir, in for a rainy day or you retirement betrayed. Has you covered? They can help each other financial goes off your list and with the team, a profession whilst giving you support when you need it, you can be confident that your money is working hard for you get more than just trading with each rate. To learn more visit e trade, calm, Slash, Spotify E Trade, Securities, LLC member Finneran, civic.
Chapter, one original sin. The story begins with a man who I have spoken to, but who you are not she's gonna, hear from because the story, even though he is very much central to it. It is not a story about him and that man is Adam Rapporteur who, in twenty ten, was tasked with bringing bona petite this very sleepy, irrelevant magazine owned by communist into. We're glamorous future, Adam was in ways an unconventional pack for the job like he was not a recipe expert. He was a mid level g Q editor, which meant what he was an expert, was the things that amends magazine, consider cool and early aughts, so japanese datum skinny ties the national
if he was going to tell you how to make food. It was a perfect omelet or a chicken salad like the food made by a smelt, probably right man, but the fact that he didn't come from a food magazine that did not matter to Conde, Nast. They were looking for someone exactly like him who could take bone Appetit and make it hip and cool the way that Gigi would have been cool. And content. Ass would give him something a rare opportunity for a new editor. In chief, they told Adam, he would be able to you're, an entirely new staff top to bottom, which for Adam, was perfect. Full control, Tureen but a petty. So the first issue of atoms newborn appetite came out in May of twenty eleven in less than five months, Adam had managed to pull together a whole team that had made what phallic anew Bonatti actually done up. That's what the cool kids would call it, and this boat up was
Younger and snark here and irreverent, like an early However, instead of a stack of cupcakes or whatever it had, when Paltrow in a tight blue dress, eating a bowl of spaghetti, liberty on a food magazine cover unheard of Adam report. Shrugged this and his editors known. He said I realized putting a movie star on the cover of food magazine. Isn't typical, but the thing is food. Is for just about food. It's about catching up with your friends over bottle of recent charge here. New Bonaparte. It short it would have recipes and cooking techniques, but you one really for the articles, you're picking it up to dock at the photos, the photos of the food they had been shot in this sharp high, contrast cool style like an American? add, except instead of a half naked women, you'd, be looking at this decadent poached egg and this new look. It seem to be working
like. There was buys around the magazine. They were selling adds to luxury brands like arousing Chanel, and it's not just at them Scene was making money it was taken See by actual food people like the people worked in restaurants and I'm curious lake, when the first issues started coming out. What did you think of the rating and their approach telling food? I think like. Oh, how do they make it looks so beautiful, beckoned, twenty ten one day come off. It was a pastry cook at this coup restaurant in New York City and she said that in the kitchen of that cool restaurant, they would often just look at these food magazine like amongst ourselves, like only God did you see how they pleaded the biscuits with like blue. A jam like that's, really cool at the time they making the most beautiful images and also like recipes that were very aspiration. All that was silly who another very impressive restaurant, where a person
What does a line cook at eleven Madison Park, which is like the Harvard a fancy? Restaurants and both of those people you want ensue- are people of color immigrants sue was born in Taiwan. She came here when she was sex and you one day is black, from Nigeria, and both of these women were done working in restaurants. It was back breaking work and they figured coming to a food magazine. They could still keep working with the thing that they actually loved, which is food, and so they were both come to this new Bonaparte teat as temps so below entry level. But that was fine, because this was going the start of a better life. I was like this is it this is like my way, and this is making my career. I have already been established. I've worked many years. I've I've done a lot, but I was willing to be freelance to found a time she,
I was willing to do all those things because I was just so happy to be there. Even just the physical building of content asked felt full of promise. The place was just absurdly glamorous a skyscraper in times square without frank, Harry designed, cafeteria publisher, signed new, has had its own table there, where he would lunch once a week with Anna Winter, and it was definitely exciting to like walk into the hi Square building and think of that as work as opposed. To walking into like the basement of a kitchen where you're working underground, literally, not seeing the sunlight so interesting, and so like just walking into the Times square office. You are like. Oh, this is where I'm gonna be put kind of like more in front, If people in fry yeah yeah, I think that aspect of it was exciting to me into walk into the office of Candy nastier. Just like you know me,
all things that, if you were just even conscious of what happens in city. You knew they were important and that you wanted to be a part of that. If you had the chance to be a part of it, and I think that's why, like entrance will work for free place, I kindly ask because Why not all of the work that suing you want to have been drawn to, like all of his little editorial choices, that made bonap phone up? Those decisions were happening upstairs. On the fifth floor, the editorial offices of bone Appetit, That floor is we're Adam Rapport in his top adverse side, that's where you one day and you want to get too, but something that both of them didn't know. Yet Is that already here in the beginning, adamantly this huge choice that would make getting into ever him almost impossible? What he done is when Condi Nast had given him a chance to hire whoever he wanted here,
at the very top spots like executive, editor, creative director with only white people and not just any white people. Why people who were kind of like him like didn't, come from food magazines and they were people who style. He really liked like people who want to sit next to a dinner party which again makes sense at a place. I content asked their magazines why ever topic, they cover there really about signing this fantasy of stylish white Wealth Adams. Choice, though be the original sin of attitude. But at the time it didn't seem, like a mistake, seem like a dream of these top tier editors, but gap. In this large open space in the center of the office with our department was, and they would look at photo lineups posted on the wall debate. The design of the magazine like do we should ah from the side or overhead. Definitely overhead. Do we blow to focus like they did? It remain no fuck gourmet upstairs,
where they were closed, the magazine, the weeks before sending it out to print with open cans of Budweiser Corona japanese whisky, pre swag, it's where the pitch meetings. What happened where editors webpage stories like APC designer John to cooks and his not so simple, Chateau near Paris that floor oil. That is not where you one day and sewer headed. They would start at the bottom literally one floor below editorial in the magazines kitchen, it was called the test kitchen. What was the test kitchen like? How did it actually look when you walked in? It was like a bunch bathes, so you walk in and go around a corner into this like hallway, looking thing and on either side of the homely. There were kitchens like a kitchen you would have in your home. It was a drab space, no windows, no actual sunlight, not the glamorous tests kitchen
I would become famous years later and the Youtube Videos- and this will be the place where the new bees would try out the recipes before they went at a magazine. It called cross testing the passage editors would develop the recipes and make it and the night would come in as like. A second set of testing assurance that it works and my job was to catch any mistakes. Essentially, in the testing process you one day was cross testing. Things like chocolate cake with biscuits are pancakes, SIMPLE south compared to what you been looking at restaurants by growing up in Lagos, you want his mother had run a test kitchen there for Cadbury the traveller company and you want it felt like he had developed this. Almost natural enjoyment of something is tedious, as Praecipe attesting like she thinking about food in the scientific and methodical way, so she'd come in once a week. Cologne and her silent bay and
can imagine the frenetic energy upstairs people bringing forth an entire magazine, but she was just underneath at all, except most s at two p m. There is one big event where it was almost like. This portal would open up between the two worlds, the infamous tube. I'm tasting so like a two o clock. Every day there was a tasting of recipes that were being developed that we're going to end up in a magazine that had already been pitched. So what would happen is the mostly way junior editors would come from upstairs. The actually make the recipes that they'd pitched so that their bosses, the senior editors could taste in Croatia damn you one day in the other tempts their job. To assist or just stay out of the way, while the contestants were frantically trying to prepare everything else before two p m. Did not matter it was just like you're in the oven I need the oven get out are like Amy,
just timer, I need an offset spatula. It was like racing around. It felt very restaurant energy and at two p dot m. It was spatulas down food plated and set on a long table, you're selling her park and other temp at the test kitchen. It was just like the very formal where, like Brad, put down like silverware unlike different plates, So the senior auditors would set at that formerly sat table and one by one as if at a restaurant, the junior person who had made the dish would come and serve them and give a little speech where they explain the dash like how they come up with it. How bold the flavors are? What's the twist at me, Ba, did just feel like a very double, whereas parliament, when Miranda, precisely in the movie is like being shown a different like parasol
clothing, and she would like pursed her lips for approval or not. It was like eight hundred and forty one of that for food, and some top editors have this kind of Simon Cowell Schick, where they would treat people's ideas with disdain. Almost a show of power, one editor known for her refined palate would periodically, spit out the food that offended her and after two p m, like the kitchen would be a mess and cleaning up in it would. But it would feel like. Oh ok, we got through today and then they would go upstairs to do their computer work. It sounds all but like what, people competing with very few, but I'm being judged by way of aid in that's exactly the that's exactly what it was. You wonder was left wondering how she could be one of those people. She also wanted to compete, have stories in the magazine and the first part of the process was obviously a patch. An idea
you want to have no clue lake. Who should she even pitched too, like I understood that certain people had stories that would appear in the magazines as far as how that process? When I had no idea, you one day would find herself like leafing through the pages of the magazine that she was working in the kitchen of, and it was almost like. Reading tea leaves like I had this particular story gotten there as they all cool. They did a story on southern. Cuisine, that's cool, that makes sense cuz hunters on the south and sorry I would like draw those lines in my own head, but, like I ate it, what it didn't feel like a place where I could say so how do recipes get pitched? How can I pitch my own recipes? You want to have come here. To burn out the tea to learn, but nobody here was seeing her as a person that they were trying to bring into the fold like nobody was going.
Reach out and help her Adam Airport, editor in chief style expert, had created this culture at the office where people success there felt pegged to whether or not they were considered cool and because coolest subjective and fleeting it meant that most people were just spending all their energy worrying about their own status. Paying attention that the people at the bottom I've talked of dozens of people who worked in that house kitchen. Signor, Junior wait non might almost universally. The phrase that was used to describe the kitchen was high school. It was clear cache. It was back body the kind of place where one person success was another person's loss. Sue said that when she started there, the people were there before her seem to almost view, whereas the enemy in the getting. There definitely treated me with condescension with weariness
People are territorial there and I understand because it's a competitive, it's a super competitive environment, the attend from the bosses a scarce and by lines are scarce, everyone's fighting for any type of recognition. You have. The editors will come down in like hanging in the kitchen, but never really speak to you. If you are freelancer, it was environment where you just go into your work. They had down and leave You know like don't make a mistake, don't fuck up! you want ants to both struggled, but their self doubt in almost total isolation. I need to tell you about a choice I've made in telling the story, while I ve put the voices of these women of color together the truth. These women were rarely in the same room at the same time, their attempts, the almost never overlapped, Painting they had in common was that they were almost always alone in a sea of white you wanted
Only black person so often the only asian one they spent years stuck in the test kitchen permanent freshmen at the bone, Appetit high school they blame themselves. They saw themselves is failing thinking, I got all this now years later. They have a lot of questions. One hard won. Are they supposed to feel how about their colleagues who did succeed, those people almost all white, alongside them in those base, but who made it out and when they puzzle over this there's one name that comes up pretty consistently. Who did you see succeeding at the time like on the days at you, there. Who are you like that person is rising up in the ranks? Unlike? Could you tell why Allison for sure Alison as announced in Roman, who, for a lot of people, needs no introduction bed, don't know who she is she's an internet famous for,
snoopy writer and early in the pandemic. She was semi counselled when she attacked to other celebrities out of nowhere probation women, folder slow actually- no Alison a real life. We met tourism, in friends who are all crazy about cooking, and I would see her at dinner from time to time, but back to this house catch it was twenty, eleven and Allison Roman, had just arrived. She started out like the others, a lowly recipe tester, but as if the gravity that held everybody else down it just didn't apply to her cares wrecked Martinez, another ten who got there after her Alison was the queen of the kitchen. She was the star of of that show which she got. The good recipe assignments, anyone had the ability to catch a story and get it through, would have been Allison like I felt that she had a report with with. Everybody that would come down and not talk to me. It was like
most immediate for her. So it we're wasn't about like being their longer. It was just like she's. She, she looked like everybody else in the test kitchen and at the magazine. You know like Adam would come into the kitchen every morning and make breakfast for himself. He used in the old building he used to her station. He used her cutting board her knives and when we got to the new place, he did the same thing so very clear that he had a particular comfort with her that he didn't have with the rest of us if this is starting the sound straightforward. You should know that the people I talk too, they are still a decade later puzzling out how to feel about Allison, because, yes, she was the bosses favorite, but those same people say she also worked super hard and her food was really good sue. Who is our friend says back then I'll send success,
just didn't feel unfair. It's like we were competing against each other, but also have for respect for each other. In our senses, I'm cooking, I think I'm a very strong cook, and so that's what became friends the thing that soon sometimes struggles with now is that back then it seems like Alison was getting all the opportunities like the one plant in the test kitchen that was getting water and Allison at the time, not question that pursue its hard to blame her because sued in question. Either the thing is even harder for you one day, because she and Allison were actually closer. They had these eagerly similar resonates like step for step. They'd worked at the same restaurants in New York. You want was always there first and she had been for answering a boner petite for a full year when Allison had arrived at a year after that, you one day was still a freelancer and Allison was the one being offered a full time job
I'm wondering what you were saying to yourself like why some like Alison, were immediately comfortable with the bosses, and you seemed to be like the prey ere, I felt like I felt like I, it was cause. I was shot I felt like I wasn't really outgoing site. Like I told my of that. I had all these like like I'm not from here, so I don't really understand american cuisine or email like it was all these things that I was telling myself and just for like confide in Alison about a look. If you guys were even so friends back bandage ever say like Think I'm too shy not now, despite their proximity. If there is
that you one day couldn't share like how years ago her visa had lapsed and should become undocumented. She felt like, as of her life, was so far from anything that the people in this kitchen, whatever understand, even someone like Allison, who saw herself as a friend like I would share with her, but I could see that there was only a certain point to which I could share with her, because I didn't want to explain so it so there and I feel so conflict dead about Our friendship, because even in that space of friendship like was it my job to point out like hey Alison, like I came here first but like dude, you're gettin five days a week, I'm just called in like once every two weeks once every month, you know like
it's my job to point that out, I think to a lot of people listening now in twenty twenty one, including me. The answer to this question is obvious. No, it was not you wonder his job to point it out, but if I'm being honest with myself- and I think back to how I felt like just ten years ago, I didn't expect my white colleagues to question what part of their success was earned and what part was their white privilege that felt like an impossible, math problem, but now Alison's old colleagues find themselves trying to answer it, not just with Alison, but with the other break out white stars like Clare, South or Bradley Yoni, how much of what they got did they really deserve, and how much were they responsible for helping the people around them? It's hard to judge old behaviour by new standards, but if the people color in the test kitchen feel ambivalent about how their peers behaved
there's not much ambivalence about what they think about the behaviour of their bosses, the top editors, those were the people who decide who got hired and who didn't who got to make the recipes and who have to tell them the people upstairs we're going out to them right after this,
this episode is brought to you by University of Maryland global Campus get a fresh start towards the future. You want with the credentials you meet by earning a degree or certificate online from University of Maryland global campus. You on GC has over ninety degrees, specializations an certificates in Korea, relevant programmes. That means you and you see, is ready to help. You take the next step, whether your continue your education or just getting started, working toward your balls, you on GC offers an accredited stated firstly, education, online courses that work with your schedule, virtual advising and lifetime career resources to guide you along the way and even no constitutional materials replacing most textbooks. For you know
Are you want to go? You actually see can help you get there. Take your first step at you and received: ought Eu Slash podcast? That's you M J C Don t. Do you slash podcast This episode of reply all is brought you Vice Square Space square spaces. Beautiful templates make it easy to create your own website and with some options: there's a design out there for everyone, without even looking at the name, a jump out to me then what I saw the name car mine- it's actually my dad's middle name, so that struck a chord with me. That's John! A pretty sir, who chose his favorite template because of the unique scenario its bold look made him. Imagine everything about the design pops out at me. I don't know something about the font. This could be a flyer. Were a some sort of pop up event. In the back lot of em,
GM, where there is some obscure dj and people were dancing among the sculptures, like I had some sort of hipster elite many rave or something. So what you want your website to feel that niece or a little more mainstream. There's a square space template out there that can help you say whatever it is. You want to say when you're ready, launch had to square space, dot com, slash reply all for a free trial and use the Africa to reply all save ten percent off your first purchase of a website or domain welcome back to the show The more I have talked to people about uppity about the top adders and the choices that those editors or making like what kind of assignments they gave. And to whom the more bizarre I found it all, and you see what I'm talking about. I want to start with the story of Soothly who's, the taiwanese american chef,
once you wasn't. Twenty is twenties, she figured out I declare and feared because it's quite simple, really she loved eating the love of eating and also looking for foods, with flavour lake. I moved to Queens, for example, I wanted to be closer to the seven trenck, as I knew that you can just get off at any stop any something delicious desert remembered. I like that, if you don't mind Queens are the seven train, the foods with flavour that she was talking about its chinese food indian food in her mind, fillets but complex, bolt flavors, that is the kind of food that still loves and when she started working at eleven Madison Park that Harvard a fancy restaurants see was making like magical Willie Wonka levels like tomato water, clouds or green apple snow, or a flaw ground meal with being cherries and pistachio, but then you left all of that to learn how to come up with her own ideas to create our own recipes about Bon and what she
did more than anything was for some dish that she had dreamed up, accompanied by decadent photo and a byline sue we. So it was twenty twelve and back in her early months in the Tuscan Sue like it. One day spent most of our time testing, just other people's recipes essentially fact checking their work, but eventually her boss began every now and then to give her an assignment like Sue would be allowed to develop a recipe and what kind of stuff where they having develop. Oh, my gosh, it was the highest hissed food of hair. I remember very there's a fish stakes, no cook, pasta, salad or some her hand, pies I was willing to do anything else again. Give it to me: was there ever point where they are like Ok, you're asian! You can make the Asian fared no because at the time,
why people were making asian food. This is true. I've checked out at Bonaparte he, but really across food journalism. Back then almost all the by and recipes for asian food or from white people, which was a surprise to sue because before she said working there. She had assumed that her taiwanese background would be an asset like a thing that would help her stand apart from her white colleagues, but it sorry Become clear that neither her boss nor the colleagues were really interested in where she came from or what you had to say about it. It's almost funny is almost like We're telling me how to make a smash cucumbers, Salah when, unlike yeah, those are the things that I could of eating and where they telling it to you, like you, haven't heard of this, or this is the correct and authentic way to make it or like in work. Text like like we would tell me like, while versus how so and so, for example, pop pop right, which is also on by a white man, they below
oh. This is how so as to why Papa would make it. So, obviously this is this person is The authority is so obviously this is the way to make it a smash, cucumber salad and, unlike ok, Wall cool thanks back in twenty twelve sue, thought that she could succeed just by knowing her place like keeping her head down and not making a fuss if the editors and want to hear about what asian people thought about interviewed. That was fine, a few later, though, and twenty fifteen a very different temper recipe. Tester would figure out a loophole. He as a mexican american food writer who found a way to publish mexican recipes about Ben without a tunnel recite. The key was just to put them on the monopoly website which the old Guard of EDGAR's we're not paying attention to. They just did not gibberish. All they carried out was threat they also weren't willing to put up an effort to stop anyone
We could have had a blank cheque Rig Martinez, he'd, come to buy up thinking that most of the Mexican, states that they ran in the magazine were, in his words, idiotic. They were almost all made by white people, and so he wanted to introduce a vision of mexican food that didn't just start with tacos and end with guacamole like this recipe for pork tamales, his tail on a dish that his mother used to make it featured a red sauce with four different Chile Senate managed to put it on the bone appetite website they remembered my dad. How proud I was. Like I was getting humming run. You know and got absolutely conveniently Britain brazilian that we're all like you get it, but you got you got this thing in their where you know where people of color didn't exist before that. Sometimes a magazine, editor would taste, one of wrecks dishes would love it and tell him he should try.
Get this in the magazine and that will be were Rick's troubles would start because, once the recipe was being considered for the magazine, it had to make a pass. The top editors and some others editors would have some version of same question: what what my mom or sister or my friend back home, think of this recipe, but they own these ingredients, like at a map report editor in chief Astrid. Does your tamales recipe really need that many Chile's which frustrated wreck remember? These recipes had already been proven popular. They found an audience on line all this proving he had to do it made him feel like there is a double standard. You teach people how to make things like a bully nays, which probably do most Americans is also foreign and is also complicated, and it takes a long time and there is a very specific technique that is employed to create it. We're ok doing that rate or Clare did a sour, Joe,
which took place in three days and I was like a I dont want to make this. You know and I'd across tested. It was delicious and I'm glad I went through it but like it was very, very complicated, and that was the centre piece of an issue in print, and that was ok, but you know we couldn't we couldn't possibly. Expect any one to make at the mall that had three God forbid for Chile's in it, but Rick dead the extra work he called a bunch of for markets to make sure this chile's were easily available. He made the watered down version of the tunnel to prove that it. Watered down, and this is actually a dial one battle that he won. The pork tamales made it to print and it seem like. In general, Rick was winning became that he was trying to play. The magazine even started, assigning all kinds of latin american recipes to him.
And then one day Rick was sitting with his boss in her office and the deputy, Utter Adams right hand, person his AMOS Andrew Milton he came, it be just walked in and basically said to me. You know you're doing a lot of mexican recipes and it must be really easy for you because you're just taking your mom's recipes and you ate this food every day, and I like, I was so labourer gas it one of the best. Basis was telling wreck. You not really got your John. You just know the staff, because your max get like aids. Also it's one of those things where you know that these that this mindset exists, but you dont often encounter it in your face as blatantly as that and is our to kill. It leaves out rate and also like in front of a witness who happened to be my boss and Carlos.
To him? You need to leave my office and, and he did and then he later came up to me again and it wasn't necessarily an appeal: lg. It was more like an explanation as to why he said what he said and he's. Like look, I know you're capable of doing other things. I want to see you cooking age food. I want to see you cooking other types of cuisine. Like Andrew you're, the one that Extra assignments like I have no power in this so you are, someone else. Is seeing this story and giving to me the Mexican American, so that is on you. Deputy editor and result he's the kind character that shows up in a lot of stories about bad workplaces attacks. Dad visionary with a habit of saying things that are completely? Not ok describe him moving smoothly from upstairs to downstairs, often with a drink in hand, cash,
he's telling one person their lunch, not funny or another person cooking in the kitchen. I wouldn't come to your house for dinner. Often people brushed him off like that was just another Andrew thing, but Andrew was important until two thousand and eighteen he was Adams, a right handed person at Bon appetit. He was in charge of this very important list that benefit put out every year. The list of hot restaurants, and in his reign there had always been a chef in the top spot Elinor Park, whose korean American tell me about this one year. Where that best, topped again by another white chef descend from a sandwich: joint she's at number three on that same list. Was a chinese restaurant owned by a Chinese? american shaft, whose work she's very familiar with? She said that chinese American Jeff would make everything from scratch: the dumpling wrappers, the soil Us- and, I might add, is so crazy to me that this guy got by lake I bologna making chef, but whatever and again at that moment,
you're, like whatever Eleanor this lake. Just in your head and then Andrew was talking to me and he told me he had eaten at those Chinese America es restaurant- and I was like how was it- He said, oh really good, but I've got to tell you something Andrew. Goes on to say something. Eleanor found extremely inappropriate about the wife of the chef how attractive she was much he was wearing, and then he says this thing that completely shocks her. So just as a background, the chefs wife is white and the chef is Chinese American and he was like. Don't get me wrong. He did really well for chinese guy And now, just like Blue, that's for me that for me- and I was just like you know, like I know- that may be in people's minds like there is no connection between like getting number three in the top ass restaurants list, but there is
There is because, if you are saying in your mind, subconsciously things like he did good for chinese Guide, the number three has just fine for you. That's the thing, because your Really seeing him as a shop or seeing him as I chinese shops, and you ve just completely demonstrated that in your conversation with me I talked to enter Knowlton, who remembered both incidents with Rick and Eleanor and he said in both instances quote what I said was deplorable, and it was equally disgraceful that I didn't have the strength of character to immediately take responsibility. He says, he's sorry, How do we all find a word? We agree on a word that describes a place like the banality Tuscan, a label for that kind of work, environment, a bunch of listeners, I'm sure I have decided many minutes ago. The word is racist and even more
more racist than the usual racist workplace, somewhat stars are still wondering. Maybe there is good reason for all this leg, Audience is white, so maybe the editors or just catering to them. Maybe this is how a food magazine operates, so those listeners might use a word like unhealthy or dysfunctional, the people who actually worked there. They also struggled to find the right word and something that surprised me that many of the way people at the top of their inhabitants do not actually think that things were ok, but the words that day used to describe how bad it was. It just described how bad it was for them. So white men, they call the place. Condi nasty, cut, throat, status, obsessed, high school of a job white women could call it
gravity- the massaging of workplace where men held all the power, because the place made them all feel like victims. They rarely stop to think about what they ought to do to protect the people with even less power than them the people of color the terms those people. The way they describe whenever she had now is that it was racist, but at the time it was also her for them too, tick highlight this feeling that they were having the people you ve heard from in this story. There slightly older or their immigrants and listen to them, negotiate out what happened: It's the same, buys as I have. I don't want to focus on the big institutional problems at my workplace. That would make me feel powerless. I would rather focus on my own work. The problem with that strategy, though, is that these people about habit. He ended up accidentally absorb the value systems at this place day and
and day out, it became a part of them part of how they saw themselves as lesser here soon talking about something that happened there seven years ago I wrote around the time I left but Appetito. First time there was a column called the project and at the time I said in the wood I share ideas as how about soup dumplings, so backroom soup dumplings very popular chinese food, incredibly popular in Taiwan, that's definitely project and I want to make a sou pitch the soup, doubling com idea to the editor in charge of that calm and the editor a white woman told her. She was not entered those are our coy. Whatever our move on and You know where you can make as a project Lozano Polonaise, like ok, sure no problem
and then I left born it up and then, like I see that some someone else made the soup dumpling recipe and when you see someone else like an elegant away, person yeah who is again also a friend, and it's not her fault. She was like yeah, we talked about it recently and she was I can. I always wonder how that got assigned to me I don't think it was her. Father was again also didn't you have a good time exploring how to make it and she was like. Yes, one hundred
percent and is still something that she enjoys making and I was like so if you enjoyed making it, then that's all that matters he enjoyed the journey to me. That's really important, but when you say that suit like I can hear a little bit of the pain in your voice, where it's not just like a thing that you had been excited about and wanted to do and suggested it and also feels like it had been fund even for you to explore it. Yes right, like I don't know, I guess I hear that that that that's not what you're saying. Let the past okay, I'm sorry, I'm! I know it's fine. It makes me really sad that I don't want to. I don't want to get emotional. I don't think you should feel embarrassed about crying about soup dumplings like they're worth crying about
ray. I know it's so silly, but I guess I guess you're right. It's something that the fact that I would have remember and bring it up, obviously means that it has stayed with me ended something guy revisit yeah, it doesn't feel guided the doesn't feel good to also have think about it again with all this stuff that was happening on the internet, the protests During the protests- and I would just like me- Why listen to audio books, anything that kept me from looking reading the news oil, Instagram. I took everything off because it brought back the type of memory he's a program like so many bad memories, and it made me feel so, bad inside I thought I couldn't really like handle it, so I guess you're right talking about this
It does matter more to me than I guess what I'm saying that being honest about, but it's also been several years and I've worked through it, but I've worked hard and have in lake. Quite honestly, I've moved on. Sues moved on, but she's never on a real answer for why that happened like. Why is she I've been allowed to make them soup dumplings in this com, isn't for twenty fifteen if you'd pitched at earlier was it like The world only wanted bowling, yeas and twenty fourteen and by twenty Phocaean there are craving soup dumplings. Is that like mean perhaps who knows wasn't ready for it, but that woman strictly wasn't ready for you, though, here, because this is other thing if it came from an asian voice, then is it to ethnic. This is the question that I have been asking like.
If it was a white person doing it than it is in approachable meal yeah? I don't know, but you suspect. Yes, I spoke to the white editor, who first rejected sue, soup dumplings, and she said she could not remember why she done that. But it wasn't because he was asian and that it was a different way out of her who assigned the soup dumplings to sue's friend in twenty fifteen. She was less so with this lingering, especially that in twenty fifteen, an asian name on an asian recipe was considered a bad thing and if nothing else, it's just sort of a crazy marker for how quickly what we consider acceptable has changed. Because obviously any food magazine today would be happy to have, asian byline indonesian recipe. They would even seek it out. So how we
simply that change well a bone uppity. If I had to pick a time, it would be October of twenty twenty. I say that because that is when five years after the magazine had originally publish the soup dumpling to be. They quietly went back to the website and retroactively added byline too, in the name of a different asian woman who had helped with the recipe, but never gotten byline Of course, this change in attitude came too late pursue and you one day back in their day, banality teams studiously uninterested in hiring any of the attempts. That would have made their staff less white, even while those camps were hanging out willing to keep running through the got lots of the magazine set up for them like if they saw full time position open up some entry level thing you want Sue Elinor. They would take a breath rehearsed what they wanted to say and that go up to whoever was in charge of the test kitchen at the time, hi, I really to be considered for this position
You told me that this, the other women you're bringing in, would be the first in line, and she already got her job. So may I be considered for the second job been sheep was basically like. No, you are not good enough, essentially I was like I'm interested like. I see your interviewing people. I'm also interested in this. Position and she turned of looked at me and was okay and link. That was it. Did she your reason. Wired lay down. You don't give me a reason why she didn't say we don't think you'll be fair. She didn't say anything shows a second ok when I was like go. Eventually. All I was told was you're, not a good said in the fact that that is so vague. It stopped my ribs for years it was it was so cutting it was, so it me feel so bad and I was like ok
understood. So I put in my notice when I left, because, if, if you're being told by a white woman whose, like second or third on the mass head, you're, not a good said what as I to you as a woman of color, I was like He doesn't believe my work is good enough. Maybe I'm not doing good work and I'm not brilliant in the way that these people late, I'm not brilliant in the way that the people on staff are, and so this makes sense. It is what I told myself you on day would leave, though she would eventually got a call from foreign attitude. It would come a few years later and twenty sixteen, by which point you one day, had thirteen years of experience in food she'd been at coronary school, where The top restaurants worked at the test kitchens of severe pain and had run an entire an at a food startup com maple. When
was leaving maple. I sent an email out to all my contacts that, unlike food media as a k, a living a full time, job on be working on a cookbook. If you have any freelance gigs, if you have any step, meaning that I can do. Let me know the person around about up task kitchen. At that point, Carlo loudly Music wrote back and said she might have something for her, so you want to calls her and I explained to hollow what I had been doing and she's like. So we need an assistant off to work with them editors in the task issue, as I got. What do you mean she's like while some- who can lend prep they recipes and their ingredients. Psychologist finished like running a test kitchen, and you worked at milk bar and other restaurants and already that the people there were already food editors, there were like people they hired with blood.
Experience and I have it so essentially my job would be like prep all their recipes and do the shopping for them or cleaning up after you wanted turned her down. I asked Karla about this and she said she couldn't remember the exact position It called you Yolanda about, but she was sure it would not have involved, shopping or cleaning up. She said she call you Yolanda, because quote everyone in the kitchen loved working with her. Me- and I thought- maybe maybe there is a way we can make it work I knew as a longshot and she was right to turn it down he wandered out. Turning Karla down was a big deal, a sign that something inside her was changing. She was starting to reject the idea that she'd been absorbing from banality about what jobs a black woman could couldn't have I had to remind myself with this. I e corruption country all black people
My mom worked for cadres chocolates and I grew up like going to her test kitchen. I had to remind myself that, like all wait, I have seen this before in another kind. With all black people, so I think Had I e there was up of everybody in the kitchen. Was Bach was blocked? and all the researchers and although the food technology send food engineers and scientists all black. You know so I remember when I start going. The test kitchen I stopped going because I was like fuck this like. If I want to work on cookbooks I've, been working, cookbooks like and can hire me to work on cooks, and I can work in the comfort of my home and not have to go through intimidation and the activity, a nastiness that, like the test kitchens than I and then came let's
and but I had to remind myself only God, like my hands, can appear in magazine further. Or like when I take photos with my Iphone my hands in there. You know like I've been set sometimes or the like all hands. We need hands, but, like nobody asks all you want, can you put your hand because, like I'm, only black person really AOL and it's like I had a had seen mice. Off again and see that I belong here. You they had come to bon- to learn something to learn, to create recipes and make food look beautiful, but the real legacy of been up for her. Would be the things she had to unlearn from her time there and that on learning took years. Both you want to answer you after the experiences they had here. They would, for years, take jobs working behind the scenes. Things like food styling, things that didn't require fighter,
for by lines, but today you can find them doing the work that they first dreamed of doing you can find them out front developing their own recipes and the New York Times and for anyone who still wondering at this point, I think I'd just try their food soulier tumor past our you on these he pan go to chicken. You can see for yourself. In the next episode, we're gonna mean a new generation of people of color a bone and part of what makes the next. After this story, so fascinating to me is that the people at the heart of it they would be nothing like me or you, one day, sue and they will arrive at the bower of twenty eighteen. Just as the brand is trying and a very broad up way to become more diverse as kind of late oh, I like the only people of color like oh,
we were selected, fur or reason and how these new people who have brought in we'll try their damned us to hold a company to promise that its half making Ok, it's a lot of white people were all smiling and seem nice, but lake, like I'm from the south and very used in nice, people everything was bullshit. We knew that how because we're black but that is no. We can rely on
The series was reported by me should be phenomenon, and it was by Damianus Caddy PDA bow with additional editing by TIM how're. It was produced by Jessica, young athletes allowing the rest of them. I told him that has worked so hard for so many months to give us the space report at the series is the event in manual Judge at a folly and Alex Goldman. We were mixed by recline. In turn, is Novato Taro. Our show is backtrack by Ben Phelan Regimes is by the mysterious break Masur cylinder with additional music by Marianna Romano Loop Williams, Bobby Lord Brigman, Sir Cylinder and TIM Howard, Rachel pre MAC is business insider reporter who originally broke the story about the employees of color biodiversity. We have a linked articles and our shouts. You should definitely read them special thanks, wait to Amelia Ramp, Lily Chow Alex LAO Elise Whitney Luciano Long and many other people. We cannot name who took
so many hours at their life, to talk to me about the early years of their number two and thanks also to Semi Nostra Serena die Lydia, pull green Stephanie through dynamic clover, Vanessa Gregorio, this battle, hob, tat, noble, Chill Empire Chris Crowley and Huge thank you too Emily when and Mohammed Gap car who helped make this episode. That labour is dinner of salted butter on an english muffin, since my show on Spotify or wherever you got your podcast. Thank you. So much for listening, we'll see you in a week. A couple in Minnesota changed the way they farmed Thou women, profitable the useless pesticides and their capturing carbon. They look at their fields and see, beautiful climate solution, but their neighbours. There was weeding mass agreed on water persons, and also lazy farmers are being farmer can help the climate listen to soil. Dirty climate solution on the pot cast how to save the planet.
Listen for free on Spotify.
Transcript generated on 2021-03-06.