Hello out there!
If you are wondering about Abby’s Table and myself disappearing in the last 6 months, and what happened to my newsletters and events, I am here to tell you. Disclaimer: this is a long but important read!
First, I have missed you. I intended to write to you months ago.
I’ve been happily preoccupied by one adorable, precious, and well-fed baby boy, my son, Desmond James Hickey.
Des was born on March 30th, on an unseasonably warm and sunny spring morning that was full of fragrant fruit tree blossoms and sporadic thunder showers.
Des is the light of my life, and my husband Eric and I have been overjoyed getting to know this curious and happy child each and every new day.
He’s now eating solid food, and as you can imagine, this is a whole new world of fun for me with recipe development!
In addition to new motherhood, I was recruited for a job directing and developing the local food program for Airbnb Portland. This means that I get to apply my philosophy and community connections to re-envisioning corporate food service in support of the local food economy. The company’s “belong anywhere” mission resonates with me, as I’ve always strived to invite every eater to belong at any table.
Airbnb offers meals, snacks and healthful beverages to it’s employees as a wellness benefit. In my work I focus on making sure the program positively impacts and integrates with the local community and offers quality, healthful ingredients. I helped open and hire a full food team, and of course established a family style lunch service (above) as a way to promote community and offer a nice break away from the work day. It’s been a rewarding and time-consuming position where I get to take the mission and dreams of Abby’s Table to a greater audience, and also influence the offices worldwide with the framework I’m developing. I’ve also hired on some of my old Abby’s Table staff! (See below)
Aside from feeding the employees, my job includes developing local partnerships (Ecotrust’s The Redd Project, Sauvie Island Center, Apples to Applesauce, Central City Concern, Letty Owings, The Portland Kitchen) and working with the city to improve access for all to quality food and housing. Having the weight of a large and progressive company behind me, I am now able to make bigger waves in the realm of food policy for industrial scale buyers. Finally, in my work I get to strategize and vision plan for how food entreprenuers like myself worldwide might have a chance to use Airbnb as a platform for their cooking classes, dinners and educational food trips through a new burgeoning subset of the company, called Magical Trips.
As a result of the new gig and motherhood, I am pulling back on my services with Abby’s Table. I’ll continue to be a website resource offering recipes, my cookbook, blog entries, and possibly an occasional Cook With dinner, but I am taking a long hiatus with the bulk of my business.
What does this mean for you? Abby’s Table will never truly disappear. I believe that there are many threads woven together that built the strong fabric of the Abby’s Table community, because of each of you. We all believe in the power of real food shared around a table with loved ones, and the importance of cooking for and with friends and family. Food is at the center of our world every day, and the heart of this community cannot be broken.
You, who’ve dined with, cooked with, and supported the philosophy and evolution of Abby’s Table are the ones who can keep the torch burning for this real and growing community. I encourage you to keep the spirit alive. Cook with each other, celebrate around a table, and create meals that nourish every eater you are serving. Start a business! Build upon what I’ve started.
When I’m ready to return to the business, I’ll look forward to reigniting the flame with newfound skills and a continued passion for my mission to support a healthy lifestyle and promote social responsibility for health through delightful food experiences.
I’ll be continuing to test recipes from the fabulous Cook With dinner party project, so if you participated in one of these events, fear not. The cookbook will happen one day with new and improved versions of these menus and stories! You can always check out my Sauces and Sides cookbook for kitchen inspiration.
Should you need referrals for catering or classes, here are some of my friends whom I recommend:
Please keep in touch! And especially reach out to me if you are an Airbnb host, or a wellness practitioner, farmer or local food maker! I have lots of ideas and plans! 🙂