Happy Thursday and welcome back for another Coffee Conversations. As most of you know Feast Portland is just around the corner. This year Feast added several new events. One of the new events (which I’m attending!) is the: HANDS-ON CLASS: Inside the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen. The event is all about how recipes are made in the BA Test Kitchen, and how they make their way to the magazine. Bon Appétit’s food editors will offer guests a glimpse into the recipe process (lots of cooking—and tasting!) as they explore some of the dishes developed for their October 2016 Issue. One of the the featured tastemakers for this event is Carla Lalli Music.

Carla is a Food Director at BA. Carla spent 10 years working in NYC restaurants and was the first General Manager at Shake Shack before making the leap to food media. Daily tastings in the BA Test Kitchen means she hardly ever has room for dinner anymore, but she spends most weekends cooking for friends and family, and packs one helluva school lunch. Spirit food: Nutritional yeast. (http://www.bonappetit.com/author/clallimusic)

I had the opportunity to ask her some of the famous “Coffee Questions” prior to attending this new event. Check out her responses below.

Carla Lalli Music_Credit Alex Lau

Photo Credit Alex Lau


What is your coffee drink of choice?
I’m working on my latte skills; we have a La Marzocco Linea Mini in the test kitchen, and it’s my first stop in the morning. We got great training from Stumptown, and there are a few ex-baristas on staff here, so I’ve had some milk foam coaching. I can’t make a heart, but I make a pretty reliable pear shaped thingie most days.


So, what’s your story? How did you end up working for Bon Appétit and being a part of Feast? 
I worked in restaurants for 10 years before making the leap to food media, and have been at Bon Appétit for 5 years now. I oversee our test kitchen and am responsible for all of the recipe content in the magazine, online, and in our videos, so basically I get to eat for a living. I feel I’ve done the requisite training for several days in Portland.

Who is your celebrity crush?
Catherine Keener. I’d like for her to play me in the movie biopic of my fantastic life.


If you had a time machine that only worked once, where in history or the future are you going?
I’m going back to a time before screens ruled our every waking moment, but definitely after indoor plumbing, seat belts, and women’s rights were established as the norm. So, I guess that means I’d be a career woman in the 70s? Wait—did I just admit to wanting to be Mary Tyler Moore??? More like Joan Didion, really.



What are your favorite activities to do in your free time?

Spending a long afternoon and evening in the backyard, cooking for friends in my outdoor wood-burning oven. I am never happier.


What is your proudest achievement (either professionally or personally) ?

The amazing team that I’ve assembled in the test kitchen. They are the greatest, and they inspire me every day.


What are your vices (indulgences etc)?

Night cereal.


What was the best thing to happen to you this week?

I opened a magnum bottle of 2002 vintage rosé champagne on Saturday night to celebrate my birthday with my family—that was pretty boss (and very delicious).


What’s in your fridge right now?

Coffers are kind of running dry right now. I’ve got Duck legs, cream-on-top milk, leftover Indian food, 5 Sodastream bottles waiting to be buzzed, lots of lemons, a honeydew melon, and a few plums, in addition to the truly ridiculous amount of condiments that seem to live there 100% of the time and take up half the fridge (lime pickle, marmalade, hot sauces, mustard, pickles, curry paste, etc etc).


What is your favorite meal/dish?

Spaghetti aglio e olio, for one (me), made with an entire bunch of sautéed tuscan kale. If I eat that much leafy greens in one sitting, I get to have as much pasta as I want (which is a lot). I also really, really love popcorn with tons of nutritional yeast, Aleppo pepper, salt, and black pepper. More addictive than Doritos.


What is one piece of advice/quote that you try to live by? Or your favorite.

“Hire easy, manage hard. Hire hard, manage easy.” (Spoken by the wise and benevolent Paul Bolles-Beaven, who was a managing partner and Chief People Officer at Union Square Hospitality Group.)


I really loved all of Carla’s responses! I can’t wait to learn more at the new FeastPDX event. If you want to attend a Feast event, please check out the website. Tickets are going fast! I can’t wait to attend this new event. It should be a great weekend.


To learn more about Carla check out the links below:

Rachel xo

Coffee Conversation: Carla Lalli Music: Bon Appétit: Feast


  1. Pech says:

    What a great profile – lots of great tidbits there and I’m with her if you throw in a lot of sauteed greens that totally makes the carbs ok (I do this with pasta AND rice!) and sauteed it ends up being a LOT of greens. This hands on event sounds super cool, I hope you have an amazing learning experience that maybe you can share some highlights here later 🙂 I will see you next week at Feast!

  2. Bella says:

    I am loving her quote its so true!!


  3. Love this interview, and her highlight of the week – A magnum of rosé champagne? Yes, please! Looking forward to seeing you at FEAST Rachel!

  4. Mary says:

    What a great interview! And what a dream job she has! I hope to see you next week at Feast!!!

  5. LOVE this interview! I totally do the rationalization of lots of greens balancing out lots of pasta. What a cool event at Feast. Such a great opportunity to get a little sneak peek behind the scenes of how things work at the BA test kitchen!

  6. So fun! I love reading through interviews & reading q&a type posts because it’s almost like reading a column in a magazine 😉 + I love learning of new people I didn’t know much about before! xx Adaleta Avdic

  7. She has an outdoor wood-burning oven. LOVE!

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