Highlights from a mighty year of conversations with authors and chefs like Ruby Tandoh, Vallery Lomas, Claire Saffitz, Alexander Smalls, Ina Garten, and more.
We had our fair share of cooking and cultural curiosities this year—and all of those answers were just a Zoom call away.
We dove into big industry trends and what they tell us about how we cook today, with cookbook critic Paula Forbes. We listened to opera singer and restaurateur Alexander Smalls’s insights on the overlap between music and cooking. We wondered what it really means to improvise while baking—and were given sage advice from video personality and cookbook author Claire Saffitz.
In 2020, we introduced “In Conversation,” a new series to bring together leading voices in discussion about the topics that are most important to them. Great Baking Show alums Ruby Tandoh and Vallery Lomas had shared experiences of authoring cookbooks, stints on competitive baking television, and navigating the food media landscape. Chef Chad Williams and photographer Clay Williams dove deep into Philadelphia’s “quiet segregation,” referencing Black-owned restaurants and challenging the norms of who gets to charge more money for their food. L.A. Taco editor Javier Cabral and chef-founder of Todo Verde Jocelyn Ramirez’s conversation revolved around the central question “how do you decolonize the taco?”
These candid conversations taught us new things, like a quick back-pocket trick to make crème anglaise, but they also asked bigger questions about how the restaurant industry model can change. Here are the interviews and conversations that stuck with us over this past year. —Tatiana Bautista
Claire Saffitz Bakes for Breakfast, Dinner, and Dessert
The internet’s favorite baker shows us how to improvise with confidence.
A Cookbook Critic Names the Season’s Best
Paula Forbes runs Stained Page News, a must-read newsletter for cookbook fans.
The Many Meals and Muses of Alexander Smalls
In his latest cookbook, the opera singer and restaurateur shows us that music and food have more in common than you might think.
How Do You Decolonize the Taco?
Writer Javier Cabral and chef Jocelyn Ramirez talk jackfruit carnitas and why “calling in” can be an act of love.
Life Through Hibiscus-Colored Glasses
In his new cookbook, Chicano Eats, Esteban Castillo sets out to show Mexican food’s colorful side.
Notes From a Noodle Empire
The family story behind the hand-pulled noodles that started in Xi’an and stretched across New York City.
A New York City Cookbook Store Survives
Kitchen Arts & Letters has hung on during the pandemic, and co-owner Matt Sartwell is ready for an exciting next chapter.
Leveling the Playing Field Between the Raviolis and the Beef Patties
Photographer Clay Williams and chef Chad Williams ask: Why are Philadelphia diners and restaurant critics so quick to undervalue the work of Black chefs?
The Virtuous, and Virtual, Activism of Studio ATAO
The culinary nonprofit, run by chef and poet Jenny Dorsey, taps AR/VR technology to tell the stories of modern food.
To Get to Know a Cuisine, Get to Know Some Grandmas
In a new cookbook, Hawa Hassan looks at the food of eight African countries on the Indian Ocean, united by their spice trade.
Even Ina Gets Sick of Cooking
The path to Ina Garten’s second cooking wind was paved in bagels and PB&Js.
Vallery Lomas and Ruby Tandoh on New Cookbooks and Old Food Media
A conversation between the two Great Baking Show contestants and authors on deadline.
Now Serving: Fall’s Best Cookbooks
The couple behind LA’s favorite cookbook store looks ahead to a big season in publishing.
Meet Dr. Sourdough
Ken Forkish, author of the resurgent bread-baking bible Flour Water Salt Yeast, reflects on our new age of artisan bread.
Where No Jewish Cookbook Has Gone Before
Eat Something looks at Jewish life through the culture of food, from bris to shiva.