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#GirlsWithKnives Spotlight: Supper Club Founder Megan McCollam

Polly’s Paladar is a private supper club in Nevada City. It’s also the brain (and love) child of Megan McCollam, who started the organization in 2011. Polly’s collaborates with different farms, chefs, and artists, featuring a new theme each month. So where does the name came from? “Paladar” is Spanish for “palate” or “roof of the mouth,” used in Cuba to refer to family-run restaurants. “Polly” is Megan’s real-life grandmother.

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How did you find your way into the historically male-dominated culinary industry?

Sheer luck. After a particularly gruesome small town divorce, I ended up landing the rental that I have currently and had to figure out how to be a single mom and pay the bills. Luckily, the house was zoned commercial and residential, so little by little, the idea of a supper club grew out of heartbreak and determination.  Now, after 5 years of monthly dining events, the model I have created is sought out as a career advancing opportunity for folks in the food industry. I have chefs from as far as Mexico, Canada, NYC, LA, and SF wanting to create their dream menus for my membership base of nearly 2,000.  That is why I say, “sheer luck.” With zero connections in the food industry, my little project has become a career. 

Tell us about the ladies who serve up culinary inspiration in your life.

Alice Waters because, duh. Also all of the female chefs I hire who are featured in the model I have composed who slay leagues beyond their male counterparts (who I also hire, so I see it all).

What advice do you have for other women trying to build culinary careers?

You don’t have to create intimidation in your kitchen to achieve results. The antiquated and militaristic hierarchy common in the food industry is not something you have to partake in. You can find your place and attract the most talented food artists in the world through kindness and love.

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1 Comment

  1. Amanda Stanek says

    Such a fun picture for this article! One of my culinary inspirations is Lindsay Ostrom from the Pinch of Yum blog. What got me hooked is her amazing recipes (duh!), and her awesome food photography, of course! Recently though she went through a major life changing event and even through her struggle was able to share with her followers what she went through and inspires others to be strong. Not what I would have expected while following a food blogger, but she is just an amazing strong woman! #girlswithknives

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