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The Best Things Said at SXSW SouthBites by David Chang, José Andrés, and Others

14 great quotes from the country’s notable chefs

José Andrés and Andrew Zimmern at SXSW 2018
José Andrés and Andrew Zimmern at SXSW 2018
Amy E. Price/Getty Images for SXSW

South by Southwest’s SouthBites is full of programming for the restaurant obsessives, where attendees get to listen to notable chefs and experts talk about all-things food-related. Eater already highlighted the best panels to check out during the lengthy conference and festival. This year meant the legendary José Andrés spoke with Andrew Zimmern and Dana Cowin about helping and changing the world through food, multimedia chef David Chang on his Netflix show Ugly Delicious and newly launched media company Majordomo Media, North Carolina chef Ashley Christensen on females in the restaurant workspace in the #MeToo era, among others. With that, Eater gathered the best 14 quotes from SXSW SouthBites, in no particular order.

1) David Chang on his family’s influence: “The person who’s going to push me is my mom. The food I’ve been running away from my whole life is made by my mom and my grandma.”

2) José Andrés on politics: “I don’t care about politics, I care about social engagement. It turns out you have to do this with politicians.”

3) Ashley Christensen on her role in the #MeToo era: “For so long, it’s been about being able to survive in the restaurant industry. To do this thing you love, we’ve all made this effort to adapt to our environment. Now we’re in a position to change our environment.”

4) Ashleigh Martin on her hopes for the future of women in the restaurant industry: “I’m looking forward to a day where women can go into a kitchen and not feel like they have to work twice as hard because that’s the way it is. You’re incredibly self-aware, you can’t be emotional, and for so long, I thought that was just part of the restaurant industry, that you just have to have a super thick skin, and that it’s just a tough job.”

5) Andrew Zimmern on the perception of hunger: “There’s so much shame associated with hunger. It’s the worst of the human emotions. It’s the most damaging.”

6) Jake Maddux on the importance of beer: “Beer and food is the basis of all civilization. They’re inextricably tied together forever.”

7) Chang on Ugly Delicious’ country gaps: “We understand that we’re missing giant parts of the world. Everyone from South America has sent me a message saying, ‘How dare you not talk about this?’”

8) Carla Rza Betts on the importance of hospitality within the restaurant workplace: “There has to be some change in how we communicate with each other in restaurants, with the same honor and the same dignity that we provide to our guests, and if you don’t have that with your coworkers, then you don’t deserve to be in the restaurant industry.”

9) Nathan Myhrvold on the biggest blocker to the future of bread: “It’s our attitudes to it! if you expect bread to be free or $2, you get what you pay for”

10) Andrés on actually doing something: “Be pragmatic. Don’t give me a speech.”

11) Noah Rothbaum on his advice to young chefs in the age of Instagram: “You’re not a food stylist, you’re a chef.”

12) Tyler Florence on originality and inspiration: “If you really want to be original, you can’t knock off what you’re seeing on Instagram, you have to go deep on where you come from, where your heart’s at, where your food culture’s all about, look at your own backyard for ingredients, and tell a unique story.”

13) Chang on learning how to cook from his mother: “My mom’ll give me recipes, but they’re not recipes she actually uses. She threw rice flour into something, and I was like, ‘You didn’t tell me you did that!’ And she was like, ‘Oh, it’s just a little bit.’”

14) Andrés on how he approached his humanitarian efforts: “We never thought big, we only thought day by day.”

With additional reporting by Sonia Chopra.