Saturday, May 16, 2015

Lady Crush - Ali Rosen of Potluck Video

I met Ali Rosen a few years ago when she was working with The Daily Meal, and my first impression was that she was an independent and incredibly driven woman who was going to make a name for herself (read, pistol, and exactly the kind of women we like around here).  I was right. 

In the few years since leaving The Daily Meal, Ms Rosen has started her own Video Platform, Potluck Video, which can be seen on her website as well as on NYC Life, Huffington Post,, and Edible.  She was named one of Forbes' 30 Under 30 in 2014, and was recently nominated for a freaking EMMY for the Informational Video category!

I sat down with her to ask a few questions about why she wanted to start Potluck Video and about some of her favorite interviews and meals from her travels around the world.

Without further ado...

Gastronomista:  What inspired you to start Potluck Video?

Ali Rosen:  Women entrepreneurs across all fields who I know inspired me to go out on my own. Seeing people working hard but for themselves was really motivating for me to think that I could make it on my own. So many of my favorite shows and websites now are woman-run mad owned enterprises (yourself included!) so I just thought it was time to keep doing what I loved but on my own terms.

G:  What do you love about your job?

AR:  I love getting to tell a story every day and I love that my angle is always a positive, educational one. We don't do reviews or critiques - there's a huge place for that in the food and drink world but it's not something I'm interested in. I get to find great restaurants or people and then share their stories and creativity every day - so it's hard to argue with getting up in the morning for that!

G:  What has been your favorite interview?

AR:  There are so many - I did 900 videos at The Daily Meal and we have over 400 videos now for Potluck so there are many favorites! But I've been able to do some long sit-down interviews with legends - Alain Ducasse, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, Rene Redzepi, the late Charlie Trotter, Grant Achatz - and those are always so humbling and gratifying when you feel like you do them justice. And then the other favorites are the people who are so full of joy and life that you can't possibly not have fun with them. Desmond Payne, the Master Distiller at Beefeater, who I have been lucky enough to interview twice, comes to mind. John Besh is one of the most humble and enjoyable people to interview. I'm a huge fan of Dorie Greenspan's books but in person she just makes you want to seize the day with her positivity. And now I know I'm leaving out so many more that I loved. I truly enjoy interviewing people so the list of favorites probably could go on forever!

G:  What has been your favorite dish that you've learned about from potluck video?

AR:  We do a series called 'The Dish' which delves into the inspiration behind signature dishes, so it would probably be one from that because it's so interesting. I'm a bit obsessed lately with Huertas' 'Huertas Rotos' so probably that!

G:  Best meal?

AR:  Is it incredibly cliche to say Noma? That or just my favorite spots in my hometown, Charleston, like Hominy Grill or Slightly North of Broad

G:  Chef that inspires you the most?

AR:  I just did an interview with Anita Lo so maybe she is top of mind, but she is someone I admire because she is really all about putting out great food and staying focused on that. A lot of chefs get sidetracked and open too many projects and then their flagships suffer. So she is certainly someone whose creativity and high bar I admire. I also really admire chefs like Tom Colicchio and Jose Andres who use their high profile to talk about food policy issues in this country.

G:  You get to travel a lot, what's your favorite place you've been?

AR: I lived in India so i will always be pushing people to visit and delve into the diversity of Indian cuisine. But I think my absolute favorite place to eat is Japan. I have been twice and I am constantly trying to plan another way to go back. Japanese food, I think, is the most sophisticated cuisine and we only see a fraction of it in the US. So anyone who loves food - and drinking because the sake, sochu and whisky there are also incredible - should really put Japan at the top of their list.

Lightning Round:

G:  Hometown favorite food
AR:  Has to be steamed oysters (if you haven't had it, get down to Charleston). In New York it is the octopus bolognese at Louro or beets at ABC kitchen

G:  Guilty Pleasure
AR:  My own grits made with bacon grease (trust me, it's the secret sauce)


G:  Breakfast in Bed
AR:  Just yesterday my husband brought me the Greek Omelette and potatoes from our next door deli, so can't argue with that. 

G: Pick your poison

AR:  Nothing like a perfect G&T 

G:  Last Meal
AR:  Can I have that aforementioned octopus bolognese and the beets? Maybe throw in a DKA from Dominique Ansel, some grits and my grandmother's strawberry rhubarb pie. Maybe not in that order though!

Thank you for your time Ali, we here at Gastro HQ are excited to see what is next! 

Check out Potluck Video HERE>>

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