Authors on Tap: Hannah Howard in Conversation with Chef Cleetus Friedman at the BeerShop

Event date: 

Monday, April 23, 2018 - 7:00pm


Hannah Howard, a writer who also mentors women recovering from eating disorders, unflinchingly shares her lifelong struggles with food and eating disorders. Experiencing anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive eating throughout her youth, Howard used food and her weight as she posits many women do: to measure her self-worth, her willpower, her place in the world. "You can't see an eating disorder," she writes. "Thin people, fat people, normal people have this thing. We look like you." As a freshman at Columbia University in 2009, Howard began a hostess job at the upscale Manhattan restaurant Picholine--where her food issues crested, and she became "fascinated by the emergence of my own hipbone, the concave scoop above my clavicle." She moved from one food-related job to another, first as a server at a wine and cheese bar in Manhattan, then as a chain-steak-house management trainee in Los Angeles. Howard also lays bare a string of what she describes as bad choices that she made relating to men, such as dating one of her bosses--a much older, married chef--when she was a minor. Those in recovery from substance abuse will recognize themselves throughout this honest memoir; for those without addiction issues, this story offers a painful glance into the lives of those who suffer.

Hannah Howard is a writer and food expert who spent her formative years in New York eating, drinking, serving, bartending, cooking on a hot line, flipping giant wheels of cheese, and managing restaurants. She writes about delicious things for a living, appears in food videos, teaches cheese and cooking classes, and hosts culinary events. 

She received her BA from Columbia University in Creative Writing and Anthropology in 2009, and is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Nonfiction at the Bennington Writing Seminars as a recipient of the Lucy Grealy Scholarship. 

Her work has been featured in The New York Times, VICE,, Thought Catalog, AMEX OPEN forum, Serious Eats, New York Magazine’s Grub Street, refinery29, The Olive Oil Times and Columbia College Today

Originally from Baltimore, Cleetus Friedman has been a part of the Chicago restaurant scene since 1995, developing the catering programs at Spoonful, Caffe Baci, and Heaven on Seven, and serving as executive chef at Fountainhead. His former catering company and delicatessan, City Provisions, was a leader in the local and sustainable food movement. Friedman recently took on the role of executive chef at the Lakefront Restaurant at the newly revamped Theater on the Lake. 

Event address: 

1026 North Blvd.
Oak Park, IL 60301