As we celebrate the magazine’s 35th anniversary with this issue, I realize that I’ve been the editor for more than half its entire life! I’ve had some truly extraordinary experiences and look forward to many more. Here are a few of my favorites.
Having dinner at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Vong in New York City with F&W’s Executive Managing Editor, Mary Ellen Ward. It’s where I discovered that in this job, you can order a bottle of wine, a first course, a main course, a dessert, even tea! When I was growing up, I was discouraged from getting more than a main course and water.
Going to Julia Child’s house in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with F&W’s Executive Food Editor Tina Ujlaki, seeing Julia’s famous kitchen, then going out to lunch with her. The drive to the restaurant was unnerving—passing motorists, distracted by the sight of Julia at the wheel, risked an accident for a better look. Over dessert, Julia explained that whenever a chef visited her table after a bad meal and asked how she liked it, she would smile and say, “We had a lovely time,” with no comment on the food.
Visiting Jacques Pépin in coastal Connecticut. He and his best friend, Jean-Claude Szurdak, picked me up at the train station and drove directly to the beach. They parked, got out of the car and dropped their pants. I turned away, but when I turned back, they were in their bathing suits, ready with nets to catch tiny fish to cook for a delicious lunch.
A party at the lodge on Ajax Mountain during the Food & Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen. The F&W team surprised me with a five-foot-high cake to celebrate my 10 years as editor in chief. After restaurateurs Danny Meyer and Drew Nieporent pulled the cake into the room on a dolly, chefs Eric Ripert and Daniel Boulud popped out of the top.
Exploring Singapore while I was in town to judge the finale of Top Chef Season 7. I took the best tour of hawker stands with omnivores Dave Chang and Gail Simmons, led by K.F. Seetoh, the world’s expert on the local cuisine. He entertained us with tales of laksa (noodle soup) wars and more.
A winter dinner at Copenhagen’s Noma—one of my most memorable meals ever—with F&W’s Restaurant Editor Kate Krader and some friends. Afterward, we couldn’t catch a cab. The night was beautifully cold and snowy; the hotel was miles away. We were reluctant but ready to walk. Luckily, a pedicab lurched by and gave us a midnight tour of the city on the way “home.”
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