And while it might be idealistic to think the world can be changed over a meal, we think it’s at least a good place to start. And given her decades in the food world, Jennifer has been eager to create salon dinners for a long time, particularly because of their origin:
In 18th Century France, women were not considered to be worth the expense of an education. In retaliation, wealthy urban women created the salon movement as a personally-curated “university,” where they gathered poets, scientists, musicians and other specialists to discuss ideas in an atmosphere of conviviality. Like their French sisters, the 16th Century Venetian courtesans, the Geisha of Japan, and in too many other cultures, women have had to go to extreme measures to be educated and have a place to voice their thoughts. Often this has come at the price of their bodies and their freedom.
In tribute to the women of history who have recognized that gathering the best minds together for discussion and action is the true engine of change, we are continuing this tradition with the Concordia Salon Dinners. In so doing, we will also honor the aesthetics of fine wine and food, because we believe it’s all important. Aesthetics and art matter.
We believe that breaking bread can lead to breakthrough ideas. By creating a congenial atmosphere where barriers come down and there is room for real dialogue, we are seeking not only real solutions, but also real plans of action to fund and ignite empowerment in the areas of the world where it is needed most.
When we too are armed and trained, we can convince men that we have hands, feet, and a heart like yours; and although we may be delicate and soft, some men who are delicate are also strong; and others, coarse and harsh, are cowards. Women have not yet realized this, for if they should decide to do so, they would be able to fight you until death; and to prove that I speak the truth, amongst so many women, I will be the first to act, setting an example for them to follow.
— Veronica Franco, 17th Century Venetian courtesan and published poet