Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spotlight: Meet Heather Freeman

Heather Freeman invited me to my first press dinner at Zaytinya about four years ago and we've been friends ever since.  Heather has the most interesting stories and always lights up the room.  I'm so happy to introduce her to you.

How did you get into public relations?  

I started out as an in-house PR director for The Grand Hotel at 24th and M. From there I went to be PR Director of the new flagship Westin Hotel across the street and stayed working in-house for excellent hotel companies including the Four Seasons Washington until I went out on my own as a consultant in 1994.

Any exciting upcoming projects to share?  

José Andrés’ PEPE The Food Truck coming soon; the opening of Ashok Bajaj’s must anticipated Rasika West End in March 2012, and another Italian newcomer on New Mexico Ave, NW, which is still under wraps as we are just starting work on it, as well as Daikaya with long time friend Daisuke Utagawa. We worked together for many years at Sushi-Ko. We are also assisting with the reopening of Curious Grape Wine, Dine and Shop at its new location in Shirlington. 

Favorite ingredient? 

Dark chocolate and uni, with fresh oysters, caviar and lobster coming right behind these favorite top two. Curry is my favorite spice if that counts too.

How would you describe DC Cuisine?  

Some of the most diverse and exciting cuisine in the country at the moment as we are expanding leaps and bounds in terms of quality, creativity and great dining options.  Washington is now a destination for dining as well as monuments and museums. 

How long have you lived in the DC area and how did you end up here?  

I moved up in the early 1980s after college with my clothes in the back of my car. I was determined to find my way and a career after visiting DC a few times while in college. My major and interest was in art and interior design, but I ended up excelling in PR work and followed this career path. 

What is your favorite local restaurant and why?  

Now this is an impossible question for me to answer truly as I have so many places I love going for particular dishes I crave. I also represent so many great restaurants, some for well over a decade. At home in South Carolina, if I go out it is for sushi, which is harder to find than in Washington, especially uni, my favorite.  For sushi in DC I go to Sushi-ko, both locations are good, and Kushi as it is walking distance from my apartment.    

Favorite farmers market? 

I love the scale of the Penn Quarter market which is close to my DC apartment in the hub of my working universe for the most part.   

Do you have a favorite cookbook? 

I must say it would have to be José Andrés first cookbook, Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America because I was very involved in it and love the recipes too. 

Number of cookbooks in your collection? 

I would say at least 75 and I have my own of favorite recipes I have collected from chefs, home cooks and those that I have created on my own too. Scott my husband is assembling a family cookbook of our favorite dishes.

What are your most exciting challenges right now?  

Keeping up with all the expanding network of social media and blogs is one. Finding time for reading period in this wildly fast pace world today and still making time to balance family, friends and hobbies like gardening, cooking, horses, parrots and love of the great outdoors.  

Kitchen appliance you can’t live without? 

A gas range for sure, as the house we just bought has an electric stove top and I am challenged having always cooked on gas! We are shopping for a new stove.  My family has always been in the propane gas business so as a little girl, I introduced myself as Heather Freeman Gas Tank as our name was on the side of the big gas trucks I saw daily.

Where's the best place you've traveled to and why?  

I loved living in Venice, Italy for a season and would love to return with Scott. The art and architecture, the daily pace of this walking and boating city, the fabulous food, the scenery, the shopping it was all so fantastic. 

Any upcoming trips?  Maybe back to Florida for a weekend as I miss the expansive Banana River, fresh fish and fresh fruit since we have moved up to SC.  I have a sushi spot there called Haru’s that is fantastic too. 

Anything else you’d like to share?  
There has never been a more exciting time to be involved in food and the restaurant industry.  The growing appreciation for fresh, well prepared food is also on an upswing and I think a trend toward healthier dining will be more evident in the next decade.  I like that phrase “we are what we eat.” 

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