Claudia Wu and Kerry Diamond, founders and directors of Cherry Bombe magazine, visited Yale on Tuesday to talk food, fashion and indie publishing.
The duo was invited to speak as part of the Yale Sustainable Food Program’s “Chewing the Fat” lecture series, which brings together students, faculty and the broader New Haven community to explore sustainable food’s role in confronting pressing environmental, economic, political and health issues. Wu and Diamond’s lecture focused on Cherry Bombe, their biannual, independent food magazine, as well as their annual conference, Jubilee, which brings together female leaders in the food industry to discuss pressing issues, network and support one another. In addition, Wu and Diamond pointed out the relative lack of attention paid to successful women in food, as compared to their male counterparts, as well as the strides that have been made towards greater representation of female professionals in the industry.
“Women are being left out of the conversation in food,” said Diamond. “Diversity is very important to us. If you scratch a little deeper it’s not all white, and it’s not all male.”
Diamond and Wu said that they thought that, as recently as two or three years ago, there was a lack of exciting food publications, with the exception of Lucky Peach, a food and lifestyle magazine that had initially inspired them to found Cherry Bombe, the two added.
Diamond explained that she had worked in the world of magazines and journalism prior to founding Cherry Bombe. Wu, Diamond added, had previously produced her own fashion magazine, called ME. Both had previously worked for Harper’s Bazaar, Diamond noted.
It was not until Diamond and her boyfriend, a chef, opened a restaurant in Brooklyn that the two women first considered entering the food publishing business — though at this point, Wu said she and Diamond did not have a business plan or even “think past the first issue.” In May 2013, Cherry Bombe released its first issue.
“I thought, the world doesn’t need another cookbook, let’s do an annual magazine,” Diamond said.
As the talk progressed, issues of Cherry Bombe were passed around, their glossy covers featuring influential, foodie women like model Karlie Kloss, who started Karlie’s Kookies, and Christina Tosi, the chef, founder and owner of New York City’s Momofuku Milk Bar.
When asked how they choose who to put on Cherry Bombe’s cover, Wu said that she and Diamond seek to feature women involved with the food industry in some capacity, whether as chefs, restaurateurs or food writers.
Their annual conference, Jubilee, which Wu called the “physical manifestation of Cherry Bombe,” aims to further the magazine’s goals about female participation in the business of food — and recognition for their successes in the industry. Diamond said she and Wu created the conference in response to Time Magazine’s 2013 “Gods of Food” cover story, which featured only male chefs.
Both founders said that food is about nourishment, but also about bringing people together.
Doris Lin ’16, who attended the lecture, said she decided to come because she was interested in the topic, adding that she was particularly impressed with the aesthetic quality of the magazine issues brought by Diamond and Wu.
Wu and Diamond advised students to seek out jobs with people who are making a difference.
“Sometimes it just takes one person,” Wu said. “Someone that believes in something to make it work.”