Guild Hall’s “Stirring the Pot” series hosts an enlightening conversation between East Hampton gourmands Martha Stewart and Florence Fabricant.
Martha Stewart opens up about her culinary life on Sunday, August 17 at Guild Hall.
“The world has become so accessible and food stuff has become so accessible via places like Whole Foods and our local purveyors, Citarella and the Red Horse Market—you can get anything in a little tiny town like East Hampton,” says Martha Stewart, who headlines the next installment of Guild Hall’s “Stirring the Pot: Conversations with Culinary Celebrities” lecture series. “That’s really what happened to food, and it all started, I think, with people like Julia Child, Pierre Franey, Jacques Pépin—chefs who came and told us there are a lot of different cuisines besides hamburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches.”
The three-part program, which launched August 10 with a discussion between host Florence Fabricant, an award-winning food journalist and New York Times columnist, and No Reservations host and best-selling author Anthony Bourdain, was designed to “provide a unique, affordable opportunity for our audience and for them to benefit from the expertise of the wonderful local chefs who live in or visit our area,” says Jennifer Brondo, general manager of the John Drew Theater and the Lewis B. Cullman Associate for Theater Education at Guild Hall. “Our executive director, Ruth Appelhof, thought that Florence Fabricant would be a perfect fit to host the series. As a writer for The New York Times Dining & Wine section, she has incredible knowledge and insight into this world.”
Sweet potato cauliflower gratin with crispy sage.
“I’ve known Florence forever,” says Stewart, a friend of Fabricant’s since the publication of Stewart’s first book, Entertaining, in 1982. “She researches a subject before she writes about it, and she knows what she’s talking about. That’s extremely important with food—a lot of foodies are fun to watch, but their food isn’t really what you want to eat on a regular basis. They’re performers rather than experts, and I love experts; I rely tremendously on experts.”
An expert herself for more than four decades, Stewart has created an epicurean empire of books, television programs, products, and much, much more, all under the umbrella of her Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia corporation. Her style of cooking, which is featured throughout her work, reflects her own philosophy: following a balanced diet and using only locally sourced, sustainably grown, and responsibly nurtured ingredients. “The attention to the sustainable is very important,” says Stewart, as she snacks on a quart of raspberries, freshly picked from her own garden. “We have a chance now to change the way we eat in a very responsible and important way. We are starting to encourage farmers to be nicer to their animals and to demand we stop eating so many hamburgers in fast-food places, if [their beef] is not raised and slaughtered appropriately. Watch Fed Up: It’s all about the amount of sugar, and not good sugar—corn syrup and other artificial sweeteners—in our diet and how horrible it is for our health.”
Martha Stewart’s well-known guides to healthy eating.
That topic and others raised in three of Stewart’s most recent titles—including Living the Good Long Life: A Practical Guide to Caring for Yourself and Others and Meatless: More than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes—will be on the docket for the August 17 discussion, which will be followed by a book signing. “Meatless is an important book because [vegetarianism] is a growing trend in America—to lessen our reliance on meat,” says Stewart, who consumes limited amounts herself. “I try to grow as much as I can, and I try to share all of that natural, organically grown food with people in my office and with my daughter and her two kids. It’s more expensive and more difficult to find, but it’s important if we want to stay healthy. We’re all concerned with health; we’re all concerned with good food. It’s very important to me. I won’t eat poultry that’s out of a supermarket—I have to know where it comes from.”
Food journalist Florence Fabricant hosts the three-part lecture series “Stirring the Pot” at Guild Hall in East Hampton.
This series is a further reflection of today’s wave of conscious dining that Stewart finds so inspiring. “The explosion of interest in America in all types of cuisine—that’s really what I think is the most exciting thing,” says Stewart, who favors The 1770 House Restaurant & Inn and the Clam Bar when dining out East. “Everyone from a 2-year-old child to an older [person] is interested in how sushi is made, how pastilla is made in Morocco, how General Tso’s chicken is created. [People] know the different dishes of every cuisine.”
Guild Hall’s “Stirring the Pot” series is also an opportunity to bring together local foodies. “Martha Stewart is one of our most loved East Hampton chefs and she is a staple in this community as well as an icon for any home cook,” says Brondo. “We can’t wait to have her on our stage and hear all of her tips!” “Stirring the Pot: Conversations with Culinary Celebrities—Martha Stewart” takes place on Sunday, August 17 at Guild Hall, 158 Main St., East Hampton, 324-0806