Jeni Britton Bauer is the coolest. If you’ve ever heard her speak, or follow her on social media, you know she has an energy and spirit that is pure joy. She’s witty, smart, inclusive, colorful, and flat out inspiring. Oh! And she and her team make the best ice cream you’ve ever tasted in your life.
I recently had the thought that it would be fun to ask a handful of quick fire questions to people that I find incredibly interesting. Yes, you could say I’m having a Barbara Walters moment. But I tried to take a different approach, and pose questions that they might not be asked too often. I recently had the opportunity to pose these questions to Jeni and here is what she said…
Who was your first concert?
Cory Hart and Rick Springfield. I wore a faux leather mini skirt, a red mesh top and a white tank top. Plus knockoff Converse shoes, which I traded with my sister so I would have one white one and one red one. I had a high, side ponytail. That was the best looking I had ever felt up to that point (I was 11). I asked for tickets for my birthday, and went to the concert with my younger sister, my dad and my aunt.
Least favorite font.
Times New Roman.
Worst combination of flavors you’ve tasted.
Strawberry spearmint, because it tastes like over-chewed Doublemint gum. And, sadly, the flavor was from my own kitchen.
Growing up, did you have a first name you wish you would’ve been named?
Jimmy. I always liked it and thought I would make a good one.
What is an unpopular opinion you have?
That history, philosophy, art, and learning to communicate well are as important as science, tech, engineering, and math.
What is your #1 most played song right now?
“We Know the Way” on the Moana soundtrack, though I am truly embarrassed to say it. I love Lin-Manuel Miranda, and I am a Hamilton fanatic. The movie Moana was amazing, though I am not a big Disney person. I love the song because I think the movie is about entrepreneurship—or having ideas! It’s that never-ending adventure of entrepreneurship and the feeling of being an explorer and being unafraid to push limits and go past boundaries. I take this song, “We Know the Way,” to mean we know how to do it. We just have to have the courage to do it. I almost always know how to do something, but am I willing to own it? To do the work it will require? And am I willing to accept all the consequences of it? Believing that we already know the way—that is, what step to take RIGHT NOW—is a wonderful idea. Instead of projecting too far into the future where we imagine all of our failures.
You do know the way. And I think that is a good mantra. Do what you think is the right way and you will go somewhere truly, truly amazing. But I won’t tell you it’s easy. Because when you are honest with yourself, and you ask yourself, “What do I think the right thing to do right now is?”, it’s often NOT WHAT YOU ARE ACTUALLY DOING!
That’s what that song is doing for me right now (oh, and for my daughter, Greta, who is 10).
The best part of waking up is…
That I have a lot to do today.
Favorite new restaurant you’ve been to (can be in Columbus or elsewhere).
I am often blind to the new things so it’s hard to say. It’s also hard to get me to a new restaurant. I need to give it a while and see how people react before I jump in. That said, I had a wonderful meal at Watershed recently. I also had a great meal (twice) at Rockmill (the pork rinds!). I also like the tried and true of Columbus: I always love and respect the cooking at Veritas. I have sushi at Akai Hana almost every Sunday (it’s a Sunday hangout for a lot of people in the city). Little Eater supplies my meals throughout the week. I try to get bread from Dan the Baker each week. I love a Harvest pizza. I also make a weekly trip to Belle’s to get Japanese white bread (which is glorious toasted with butter and honey). I mean, I love new joints, and I love the energy of this city to support them, but I am always the last to make the discovery these days.
Out of Columbus, I am eating out a lot because I travel a lot. So I go to all of them. I am still crazy about Maison Premiere in Brooklyn. I love High Street on Hudson in Manhattan. Gjelina and Gjusta in Venice Beach. And maybe my favorite restaurant of the last few years is Sqirl in LA. I eat well when I travel. I save my budget for one good meal a day.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever witnessed?
Well, it’s hard for anything to compare to bringing a new life into the world, which I’ve done twice.