Abena Anim-Somuah

Coolstuff Team
July 28, 2023

Meet Abena, a 2023 James Beard Foundation award recipient, host of the Future of Food is You on Cherry Bombe, and lover of all things culinary. We met Abena at an event she hosted as part of her dinner series, Eden Place, and have watched her absolutely shine (and run out of pages in her passport.) We caught up with Abena somewhere between Paris and Mexico City to hear just how she does it all.

What led you to your interest in the culinary world?

I’ve always loved food. I mean there is probably a good reason that my nickname in middle school was Muncher. I think because I grew up in a lot of different places, food seemed to be the immediate connector in understanding a culture or a new place. Only in the last few years did I feel like food could be a means to discover my strongest skills, find friendship, and a purpose to bridge people together and share stories. 

Do you have a favorite episode of your @cherrybombe podcast, "The Future of Food is You"?

Each guest that comes onto the show is so unique and I just love getting to chat with them about how food plays a role in their life. I will say the one that gets a lot of fan love is the interview with Odette Olavarri, a fabulous baker who is the force behind Odette. While she is based in Mexico City, she has captured the essence of the neighborhood boulangerie so beautifully plus her story of making it as a baker is quite inspiring. 

What’s your favorite part about the New York creative community? 

People are both ambitious and kind. I think New York PR assumes everyone is in this rat race and will stop at nothing to attain their dreams yet it’s far from the truth. Creatives in the city, at least the ones I know, are so committed to supporting each other in fulfilling their goals and getting projects shipped. Just a few people who embody this energy so well are Filipina baker extraordinaire Abi Balingit, Produce Parties queen Sarah Teich, exceptional florist Lindsay Jones, and dinner party dame Kate Pauley. These women just inspire me so much in their work and how much they give back. 

What’s your favorite place in NYC?

Ouff another tough question because I cannot simply pick one. I honestly love going to L’Appartment4F in Brooklyn Heights, getting a raspberry croissant and a coffee and reflecting on life as I munch on the croissant looking at Manhattan. Also Ashley and Gautier are two of my favorite people in the world and I’m just so honored to call them friends. 

I recently had an incredible meal at Raf’s in Soho and it was such a delight. The decor is elegant yet not pretentious, the menu put together by chef Mary Francescetta is reminiscent of sitting at a dinner table and an Italian nonna is whipping up the good stuff in the back, and let’s not forget the white chocolate budino that is all thanks to Camari Mick. I’m also impressed by the all-female management team which is a win for the restaurant scene in New York. 

What’s inspiring you right now? 

I’m just wrapping up a 3-week road trip around Europe and there’s just a feeling when you come back from a trip with so much energy. I’m currently really inspired by 60s furniture design and architecture, old school vintage cookbooks and the history of that time because I’m working on my book proposal, French beauty and fashion because I’m going through a bit of a style change, and also tennis history and fashion because I feel like tennis is having a moment right now. 

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@bakingbeanss • The Future of Food is You podcast