Name: Gail Kearns, Lindsey Moran and Denise Woolery
Business: Gourmet Girls on Fire
Location: Santa, Barbara, California, U.S.
Industry: Food & Beverage
Reason for starting? The Gourmet Girls began in 1996 in Santa Barbara, California, as a few friends getting together for a potluck dinner, and quickly grew into a diverse and dynamic group of women with discerning palates, sharing their culinary adventures. Soon they were coming together for the holidays, annual camping trips and a summer paella party.
On one camping trip, Gourmet Girls Gail Kearns, Lindsey Moran and Denise Woolery, aka The Gourmet Girls On Fire, decided there was a need for a camping cookbook that appealed to an audience who refused to eat canned beans and weenies just because they were camping, and wanted to share their love for fresh, lovingly cooked meals. They began carefully choosing their gear, and soon each recipe had been adapted and tested for cooking at a campsite, either on a camp stove or over an open fire. Lo and behold, The Gourmet Girls Go Camping Cookbook was born!
How do you define success? Our definition of success is to be considered the go-to gals for entertaining in the great outdoors and spending time with family and friends. All three of us wilderness-crazy, outdoor lovers enjoy sharing advice that only avid campers will understand, such as what to do when it rains (happy hour at the nearest inn, of course!), how to keep the bees from buzzing around when you’re prepping a meal (give them their own meal station, naturally), and lighting the perfect fire (using the top-down method, so obvious!). Even when the adventure gods have other plans for your perfectly planned camping trip, the Gourmet Girls on Fire have a rescue remedy at hand or on the tip of their tongues.
Biggest success: I had the good fortune of meeting and getting to know the Gourmet Girls on their numerous camping trips in Big Sur. I looked forward to each of their visits and watched in amazement as they transformed their assigned patch of dirt (admittedly, it was more than that, for we were surrounded by the incomparable sight of hundreds of ancient redwoods) into a cozy and comfortable home in the woods, complete with a stylish and functional camping kitchen, collapsible flower vases for a beautifully set table, and other camping inventions that I never knew existed. What a privilege it was to join them around the campfire tasting and testing many of the recipes in this cookbook. But it was more than the scrumptious, truly gourmet food (and cocktails!) that delighted me. The love, the laughter, and the camaraderie among this special group of women was as infectious and delicious as the meals they served. The Gourmet Girls Go Camping Cookbook will transform your camping experience, as it did mine.
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? Running a publishing company and holding full-time jobs. Gail, the editor-in-chief, is a self-proclaimed ‘Book Sherpa’ who has been helping writers through the self-publishing process for nearly 20 years through her company To Press & Beyond. Denise, the executive chef, is the owner of Acanthus Design, a local landscape design company whose clientele includes everyone from your neighbor to renowned musicians and sports celebrities. And Lindsey, the writer and illustrator, has been working as a production designer in the film and television industry since graduating from California Institute of the Arts in 2003.
Related: The Independent Life: Helen Denise
Who is your most important role model? Other chefs. We especially admire Pascale Beale who lives in Santa Barbara and has several cookbooks on the market. We’ve attended several of her events.
Edited by The Story Exchange