Interview: Megan Giller
Can you start by telling the readers a little about yourself?
I've been writing about food for almost a decade, for publications like Slate, Food & Wine, and Fortune, and for the past four years or so I've specialized in bean-to-bar chocolate. I even wrote a book about it! This new craft chocolate movement appealed to me because I've always written about small companies and artisan food. I like to tell the stories behind the food about the people making it, as well as the history of it.
Food and cooking have always been huge passions of mine, and most weekends you'll find my husband and me cooking something elaborate for dinner (Thai food is always a favorite). I'm originally from Texas and have been making a bunch of Mexican food lately because Brooklyn is, well, a little different than Austin. (Though it might have the same number of hipsters.)
Can you tell me a little about where the idea for your online TV show, What Women Ate, came from?
As I researched chocolate for my book, I came across all of these great stories about women and chocolate. They didn't fit into my book, which is about contemporary chocolate makers, but I really wanted to tell them! I've starred in and produced videos for Zagat, so moving to a visual genre made sense to me. I've always been a feminist, and I've written quite a bit about women. I wanted to focus more on telling women's stories, and telling them through food seemed natural to me. When I started researching historical women and food, I realized it was much bigger than chocolate.
What has been the most interesting thing you've learned while researching for What Women ate?
I've learned some amazing stories about historical women, but the most interesting thing has probably been to learn how intricate the film industry is. I had produced online videos but had no idea how many different roles are involved in bringing a project like this to life, like getting someone to help with color correction. I'm so lucky to be working with an amazing group of women who feel as passionately about this project as I do!
Why do you think it is important to tell our stories?
History is not a set of facts but a general impression of what happened, written by a specific person or group of people. If we don't tell our stories, then our perspective will not be included in that general impression. To take it a step further, I feel a responsibility to tell past women's stories in order to focus on their perspective, what it was like to live in their world, as well as to reveal how things have changed but also stayed the same. I'm not the first to do this, but I call it HERstory.
What gets you out of bed in the mornings?
So many ideas! I have to write them down immediately.
We are never really done growing up. What would you like to do in the future?
I'd like to continue telling women's stories in a variety of formats — more videos, more long-form stories, more books. I'd also like to learn to bring a little more work-life balance to my life.
Do you have any advice for girls who are growing up today?
Believe in yourself. You are strong, smart, and incredibly capable, and you can do whatever you put your mind to.
What is the best piece of advice (business or life) that you've received?
That everything, especially any creative or business idea, is an experiment. You see what works and what doesn't, and you build off of those successes and failures to create something that you and other people can enjoy.
A few favorites
Book: To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf
Quote: "What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate." — Katharine Hepburn
What is your life motto?
Try and try again.