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Carolina STYLE Magazine

Bad Bitches Run the Kitchen: Fem Focused Pop-Up Dinners Happening Now

Amanda Greely

Charleston

Bad Bitches Run the Kitchen: Fem Focused Pop-Up Dinners Happening Now

Sitting strategically by the door at a large smooth high-rise table, I can’t help but feel a bit awkward taking up so little space at an area clearly meant for more than just myself. Yet, when this thought crossed my mind I was reminded of who I was waiting to meet — The Bad Bitches. Two bold young women who are all about not being afraid to take up space, even if it was mostly in the kitchen. After a few short moments I was greeted by Sarah and Nikki who both had admitted they were running off a high from an evening of entertaining and cooking with the original queen of homemaking, Martha Stewart, the night before. A tidbit like that, was exactly why I couldn’t wait to jump in and find out more about who these women are and all the bad-assery that seem to follow them everywhere.


The Bad Bitches are food, drink, and entertaining experts with a playful approach to dining. They are pop-up queens with a fresh take on how to enjoy your dinner. It’s a simple recipe: 1 Part Julia Child, 1 Part Beyoncé, shake and serve straight up.

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Carolina STYLE: So like any great story, we need a point of origin. How did you all meet?

The Bad Bitches (Nikki): We met at an event we were both working, for Mike Lata. Sarah was in charge of all the food and getting all the line cooks organized and I was working front of house and we met and instantly clicked. Later we crushed a bottle of wine and Sarah had a great idea.

The Bad Bitches (Sarah): Yes, so I was trying to start my own business, pretty much open my own place, cook my own food and not really answer to anyone else plus I needed something to do in the meantime which is how I started The Bad Bitches. At that point, I had decided a narrator/host position was needed and the first person that came to mind was Nikki. She’s fun, charismatic and people like her so basically, everything I’m not [chuckle]. 

Nikki: We’re two halves of a whole 🙂

Sarah: So, I called Nikki and was like “hey do you want to dress up in costumes and put on these bad bitches dinners?” She didn’t ask a whole bunch of questions which worked out pretty great because I didn’t have a lot of answers.

Nikki: Naturally, I was like “Dope! Yes, I have a trunk full of costumes and I live for this.” Literally we met, three weeks later the bad bitches had their very first dinner and then for the next nine months we did one dinner every single month — so every three weeks from then on.

 

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STYLE: Wow, three weeks, you guys didn’t waste anytime. What kind of impact do you think the bad bitches have had on the community?

Sarah: We’ve realized we can’t work on something for longer than three weeks so it was actually the perfect amount of time. We’re classic over thinkers so we just went head first and didn’t give ourselves too much time to over analyze.

Nikki: What was so beautiful about it all is how we started to ride this wave all while serving a need in the community —  bringing women together, cooking, serving and bartending all at a high end level.

STYLE:  Speaking of  bringing women together, I’m so surprised to find out that the restaurant industry is such a boys club.

Sarah: Oh yeah, most of the time there is only one women in the kitchen and some there are none.

Nikki: Then again, there are some with all women but most professional kitchens are majority men. Which is ironic for such a matriarch driven society, everyone’s favorite food memory usually involves a woman. Ya know it’s your grandmothers biscuits not your grandfathers.

Sarah: But now you see it’s especially male driven, more specifically at events. Our events allow a lot of women who choose to travel and help out an opportunity to be surrounded by other women. Usually when you’re in higher levels of cuisine and you travel to do events like James Beard dinners etc there is one if any.

Nikki: And the thing is there are so many women in the industry killing it but events are where the camaraderie between chefs happens and all the men are seeing each other but these women aren’t seeing one another and its not because they’re not cooking in kitchens. It’s just that there aren’t events centering them, featuring them or even sending them out which is how The Bad Bitches became almost like a dream come true for everyone. Everyone was able to see each other being the best at their craft and getting inspired all while creating a network of women we can call upon and can call upon each other.

 

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 STYLE: That’s FANTASTIC, I think the saying goes, girls compete women empower and it’s clear that’s what you ladies are accomplishing. You all mention that your dinners were themed, which dinners have been your favorite?

Nikki: My personal favorite was the 70s but originally our first was the 50s so we travelled through the decades. What made the 70s so great was our luau party. We had tiki drinks and hula dancers and then they cooked a whole shellacked roasted pig that was bright red. It was so fun and jubilant plus there was a conga line.

Sarah: I think I had most fun with our finale which was wedding themed and it had this deep understated meaning behind it all. We even got them men involved and had them wait tables because yes we’re celebrating women but we’ve have some amazing male mentors as well. We had so much support, it being our biggest one with 16 chefs and 100 – 150 guest.

STYLE: With each theme I’d have to assume the food matched, right?

Nikki: Oh for sure! Remind me to tell you about 90s and Asian Fusion. All in all it’s full experiential dining, you went somewhere. You didn’t just come sit down, take a picture of the food then leave. You laughed, you danced, you ran around it was glorious.

 

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STYLE: One last just question for the road. I understand you’re [Nikki] a bartender, so if you two could characterize yourself as any cocktail what would it be?

Nikki: I would be a Pisco Sour which is the national drink in both Argentina and Peru and depending on which camp you talk to differs.

Sarah: Hmm, I’m pretty straight to the point in my personality and my drink choice [chuckle] but I’m probably a shot of Mezcal or Anejo Tequila neat, a little bit smokey, complex  but straight to the point.


As you can see these two make for the perfect pair. What’s better than doing what you love with your best pal? I don’t expect these ladies have plans of slowing down any time soon. So to keep up with The Bad Bitches be sure to follow them on Twitter & Instagram


 

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Dana is a twenty-something Brooklyn born, Charleston, S.C. bred, self proclaimed EATER and recent Winthrop University graduate. Go Eagles! When she is not in her on-again-off-again relationship with the gym she can be found searching for the perfect cup of black coffee or 'playing outfits in her closet.' Her obsessions include but are not limited to: brunch, weenies (dachshunds), shopping and NPR podcast. Be sure to follow her on Instagram & Twitter.

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