Erin Fairbanks Executive Director at Heritage Radio Networks
Favorite Food: Fairbanks, who grew up in Michigan, still puffs twice, rubs the apple on her thigh to polish it, then puffs again before eating it.
When you grow up in Michigan – at least in Fairbanks’s case – you dream of having an exciting life, and that means moving to New York City, where she wanted to work in the restaurant business. Of course, the only job she was qualified for was coat check, and that wasn’t quite what she had in mind. “I’ll peel carrots! I’ll do anything!” she begged. It worked. Before too long, Fairbanks was a line cook at the renowned Manhattan restaurant, Gramercy Tavern. From there, she went on to become Director of the Farm Camp at the Flying Pigs Farm in Upstate NY. Tale of woe: she was invited to a cassoulet cook off among a group of renowned chefs and thought it was her moment to shine. And take the culinary world by storm. It was one of those times when everything that could go wrong, did go wrong in the preparation stage (farm grown peas, cooked to perfection – then refrigerated too quickly; they fermented. And that was just for starters). Sometimes, best to focus on your work rather than your visions of grandeur. She did turn up to the competition – and claimed to be as clueless as everyone else as to why the cook from Flying Pigs Farm was a no-show. She did, however, find her place in the food world: she’s the Executive Director at Heritage Radio Networks, committed to archiving, protecting, and advancing America’s food culture.