Help! How do you moderate a panel?
So Thursday at 4:30 I’m supposed to moderate this panel discussion with a bunch of really great food people:
- Marcus Samuelsson (left) — the Ethiopian-born Swedish chef who made his name at Aquavit in New York 15 years ago, and has since gone on to many impressive accomplishments. Plus, he just won that “Top Chef Masters” thing.
- Christiane Lauterbach — the Atlanta magazine columnist and publisher of the estimable Knife & Fork newsletter, which is the first source I turn to when I am cribbing ideas.
- Bill Addison — Atlanta magazine’s dining critic, who is worried about revealing his identity, so he will come wearing either an elaborate costume or a pair of “Risky Business” era Ray Bans and a porkpie hat.
- Barbara Petit — the director of the Atlanta Local Food Initiative and Georgia Organics bigwig.
- Tami Hardeman – the Running with Tweezers blogger who styles glistening food photography for chain restaurants during the day and cooks like Alice Waters at night.
Samuelsson will be in town as a member of the Macy’s Culinary Council – this group of hugely famous chefs who travel around the country and do cooking demonstrations at the stores. The rest of us were invited to come and talk chow with him at the North Point Mall branch of Macy’s before his 6:30 p.m. cooking demonstration. We’re even planning to live stream both the discussion and the demonstration on this blog.
So, what will we talk about? That’s up to me.
I should have told the organizers of this event that it’s a bad idea to have me moderate anything, as I’m prone to changing thoughts mid-sentence due to my deficit of attention.
But here are some ideas:
- The burger craze: Samuelsson has two branches of Marc Burger and another fast-casual joint in Sweden that serves burgers.
- The onslaught of citizen critics online. Addison made some insightful comments on the subject on the Bon Appetit food blog, the BA Foodist.
- Swedish food. Why aren’t there more Scandinavian restaurants around? And what about that dude in Denmark, Rene Rezepi, who was named the best chef in the world recently?
- Samuelsson’s plans for a Harlem restaurant. I guess for that I should read and crib from the AJC’s Sheila Poole’s excellent Q&A with him.
But if you have any ideas on what I should ask or how I should behave, I’m all ears. Thanks.