Amanda Hesser

Amanda Hesser (b. 1972) is a food writer, editor and cookbook author. She was the food editor of "The New York Times Magazine" and the editor of "T Living", a quarterly publication of "The New York Times". She is best known for the "Food Diary" columns she wrote from 2000-2002 in the "The New York Times Magazine", which were collected in her second book, "Cooking for Mr. Latte: A Food Lover's Courtship, with Recipes"

Both that and her first book, "The Cook and the Gardener" (1999), won the International Association for Culinary Professionals' Literary Food Writing Award. She is now working on a "New York Times" cookbook, collecting 400 of the most noteworthy recipes published in the paper since 1853. It will be published by W.W. Norton & Company in 2008.

Hesser was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. After graduating with a degree in economics and finance from Bentley College in 1993, she studied cooking in Europe. With a grant from Les Dames d’Escoffier, she worked in bakeries and restaurants in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France.

She spent two years in France, where she worked for Anne Willan, the founder of Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne. It was during this time that Hesser's writings started appearing in newspapers and magazines, including "The Washington Post".

After finishing her first book, in 1997, Hesser was hired as a food reporter for "The New York Times". Hesser has since written about the influence of Costco on the wine industry. She has uncovered the politics behind the New York City Greenmarket. And she was the first reporter at a major publication to write about Ferran Adria of El Bulli in Spain.

Early in her career at the paper, she wrote a controversial story in which she examined the failings of the popular chef Emeril Lagasse.

Her work has appeared in numerous collections, including "Women Who Eat" (2003); "Best Food Writing" (2002, 2004); "Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant" (2007); and the Fiftieth Anniversary Edition of M.F.K. Fisher's "The Art of Eating" (2004). There is a chapter about her in Julie Powell’s book "Julie & Julia".

Personal

Hesser lives in Brooklyn Heights with her husband, Tad Friend, a staff writer for "The New Yorker", and their two children.

Controversy

While filling in as the lead restaurant reviewer for the "Times", she gave three stars to Spice Market, but failed to note that the chef of the restaurant, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, had written a back-cover blurb for one of her books. (Hesser’s publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, requested the blurb; she did not.)

Departure from The New York Times

According to New York magazine, Hesser applied for a buyout from the Times in late March 2008 and is no longer with the newspaper. [http://nymag.com/daily/food/2008/04/amanda_hesser_out_at_the_times.html] She will continue to write her "Recipe Redux" feature for the Times magazine and has launched Seawinkle, a digital company that Hesser describes as having been launched "to help people deal with the overwhelming amount of digital information they create." [http://nymag.com/daily/food/2008/04/amanda_hesser_sets_us_straight.html]


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