I am a communicator. That's what I do for a living. So it's only natural for me to create a website that gives a brief portrait of my careers in the professional kitchen and journalism world with their many twists and turns. To accomplish that objective I must also provide a sense of my ideas about food, food preparation and how my values have directed my career. The various links give examples of my writing, editing and a look at a book review for one of the three books that I have written. First about the twists and turns...
Where to begin? Graduation from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) is probably the best place. It was right after graduation that I got my first job cooking at Jasper's, the premier American restaurant in Boston at the time. Chef-owner Jasper White was not only a wonderful mentor, honing skills that I learned at the CIA, but, he taught me to be respectful of how food was sourced, produced, and delivered. Although I was raised to be an ethical individual, Jasper helped transfer those values to the food world and cooking in particular.
After three years at Jasper's, I moved on to cook at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston, then returned to New York and worked in a number of fine restaurants including Le Bernardin and Orso. My objective in changing jobs was usually to increase my knowledge of food and cooking in both variety and style. At one point I had to make a decision about what my future in the food industry would be. Restaurant life is a very all-encompassing one, and I had to decide if I would be willing to give up friendships and many of my various interests in order to continue on an upward path. After much soul searching and consultation with family and friends I decided to alter my career path so that I could still maintain my interest and involvement with food, but, develop new skills as well. I decided to study journalism so that I could write about food from a unique perspective.
I received a BA in journalism from NYU and started my freelance career writing about all manner of things. Naturally, I wrote about food, and my first paid piece was a story about an Asian spice, galangal, published in the New York Times. But, I also wrote about education, finance, travel and personality profiles among other subjects. But, by far, food and cooking articles predominate.
Publications that I have written for besides the NY Times include Newsday, Newark Star Ledger and The Sun in the New York area and others throughout the country. Magazines include Time Out New York, Travel and Leisure, United Airlines' Hemispheres, Veggie Life and many others. Along the way I wrote three Cookbooks, starting with The Everything Vegetarian Cookbook and the Cup of Comfort Cookbook. The most recent is The Ethical Gourmet published by Broadway Books a division of Random House. (Click here for a review.).
One thing leads to another and since publication of articles and books I have done radio reports (for NPR), television cooking demonstrations, been a featured speaker at numerous food related events, done cooking videos for Sprig.com, a subsidiary of the Washington Post, blogged for Forecast Earth, a subsidiary of the Weather Channel, and at the end of 2008 was the keynote speaker at Saint Benedict College, Saint John's University in Minneapolis, MN. (A brief Q&A following the one hour talk can be seen here.)
One of the most complex and interesting activities that I've had during my writing career has been my tenure as the editor of a newsletter published for the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). I helped the publisher develop the concept for the magazine and sell the idea to the CIA.
In addition to editing the newsletter and contributing articles to it I did all of the cooking and styling for photos that illustrated the various stories. Besides the fun of cooking the great variety of dishes that we featured, I learned a great deal about different kinds of food. Unfortunately, the publisher was not able to make money on the newsletter even though it had a fairly large subscription base. After three fun years the newsletter came to an end. (Click here to see a typical issue.)