Claudia Wu, Co-Founder, Cherry Bombe
New York City
Interview by Kelsey Zahn
I first stumbled across Cherry Bombe when I was getting my (bi-weekly) fix at Baby Cakes NYC on Larchmont Boulevard in Los Angeles. Though it may be far from its original roots in New York, Baby Cakes is one of my favorite places to indulge my sweet tooth. Their dedication to all things ‘allergy free’ is amazing, and I adore them for it. Anyways...
While (im)patiently waiting in line to purchase a brownie cupcake (or perhaps it was a slice of cran-apple bread or doughnut, who can remember) I noticed a magazine propped next to the register. It was simple, beautiful and featured the Baby Cakes founder, Erin McKenna, on the cover. I was intrigued, however, too distracted by the all the wonderful gluten free temptations to give the magazine the attention it deserved.
A couple of days later I found myself sifting through the racks at one of my favorite newsstands in Los Feliz. It was an ‘anything goes’ kind of day, I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but knew I would know when I found just the right magazine. There was fashion and fodder, filled with ‘who wore it better’ and celebrity gossip. Business, art, and then, when I was about to give up hope, I saw it: Cherry Bombe’s crisp cover with Erin McKenna’s smiling face, shining like a beacon, from a sea of tabloids and trends; it was refreshing to see such a beautiful magazine, how could I resist?
Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu certainly knew what they were doing when they started the bi-annual which is now taking the print world by storm, although this really shouldn’t come as a surprise with their existing prowess in the publishing industry (the two met while working for Harper’s Bazaar in 2001). That being said, the magazine is the first that I’ve read cover to cover in ages. The writing is fantastic and fun. The imagery absolutely stunning... all in all, I would say, Cherry Bombe for the win.
While I could wax on about this culinary gem, I will leave it to the Founder, Claudia, to tell you more:
Let’s start off by having you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do.
Kerry and I are the co-founders of Cherry Bombe. In addition to Cherry Bombe, Kerry runs her restaurants Nightingale 9 and Wilma Jean with her boyfriend/chef Rob Newton, and I work on various design projects.
What was the inspiration for starting Cherry Bombe? Did you have a connection to the industry prior, or was it simply a passion project?
Cherry Bombe was originally supposed to be an annual magazine for one of the restaurants that Kerry owns with her chef/boyfriend. At the time, I had a creative agency and had published a little indie magazine called Me Magazine, so Kerry approached me for help. We both have backgrounds in magazines and met while we were working at Harper’s Bazaar, and through a series of meetings, the restaurant magazine became something bigger than the original idea. People started pitching us ideas, and it started to come together. The first issue was filled with a lot of people we already knew who had enough faith in us to believe we could make something they could be proud of. We were really thankful to have their support!
Where do you feel the magazine is headed? Where do you find inspiration for each issue?
We've now started doing events like our food conference, Jubilee, and we have a radio show, Radio Cherry Bombe, on the Heritage Radio Network. We would love to have a digital presence in the future. In terms of the magazine, we set out to make something we would like to read, and hoped there were other people out there who would like it as well.
What advice were you given when you started the magazine?
We had experience in magazines, so we didn’t seek out any advice. We just went ahead and took the plunge!
Do you have a favorite style (ethnicity) of food?
My mom’s cooking. She’s Taiwanese.
What was the best meal of your life?
We recently had a 35-course meal prepared by the Modernist Cuisine team at their lab outside of Seattle. That was pretty memorable and lasted over 6 hours! We were in the company of some amazing women who had flown in from around the country.
Where do you think the food industry/movement is headed?
Who knows what will happen to the food industry… with climate change and bees dying!
Do you have a hero/muse in food culture?
Martha Stewart was a big influence on both of us.
What is your favorite thing to do in your down time?
Catch up on sleep. I would say travel, but I rarely seem to have that much planned down time.
And finally, my favorite thing to ask, what’s a life luxury you couldn’t live without?
I could live without these, but I do like getting a massage every once in a while, and having a car makes life in New York more bearable.
Although the magazine is still young, it has grown at rapid speed. Be sure to pick up a copy at a stockist near you, it’s well worth it (although you may want to stock up on snacks, the food photography will make you a bit peckish).
For more information visit http://cherrybombe.com
Images courtesy of Cherry Bombe