Although "What's Eric Eating" is usually a lighthearted conversation, this week's episode has a more serious tone as chef Erin Smith Feges and Dr. Lori Choi (whose husband is Agricole Hospitality co-owner Ryan Pera) join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss I'll Have What She's Having, a new organization that's uniting women in the hospitality industry for the cause of raising money for and awareness of women's health issues. Although it launched shortly after Hurricane Harvey, the group has already hosted three sold-out pop-ups, and has plans for a gala next spring.
When Sandler suggests that the pop-ups are "giving women an opportunity," Smith Feges is quick to disagree.
"I don't think it's about us giving anybody an opportunity," responds the chef, a Chopped champion who's planning to open a barbecue restaurant with her husband Patrick Feges early next year. "I think it's about us showing people the opportunities that are being presented to them and giving them the confidence to take advantage of that, to seize the opportunity and not shy away from that or let fear kind of prevent you from doing something. If your job is scary, then you're doing the right thing. If you're comfortable, you're getting complacent . . . It's just about giving you the tools you need to be successful."
The interview also includes insight from Choi on the issues in women's health that she has observed in her medical practice as a trained surgeon, IHWSH's plans for a January brunch pop-up with baker Jody Stevens, chef Monica Pope, and chef Patricia Burdette, and Smith Feges thoughts on the sexual harassment scandals that are currently getting media attention. Things do end on a lighter tone with the usual lightning round frivolity.
Prior to the interview, L'Olivier owner Mary Clarkson and Sandler discuss the news of the week. Their topics include the recent closure of Liberty Kitchen in Garden Oaks, Dallas-based ice cream shop Chills360's plans to open in Montrose, and the soon-to-open restaurants they're most looking forward to trying.
Clarkson and Sandler also share their first impressions of Maison Pucha Bistro, the newly opened French restaurant in the Heights.