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In the wild: Amanda Hesser

Amanda Hesser is an innovator. Co-Founder and CEO of Food52, she is also a former New York Times Magazine food editor and is in-the-know about all things for foodies. Go in the wild with Amanda at the Food52 offices with her Mini Circle in Black.

  1. When did you know you wanted to work with food?

  2. I was lucky to be born into a family of resourceful and opinionated cooks. The food I grew up with was classic American home cooking -- fried chicken, bread-and-butter pickles, pie. When I went away to college, I got exposed to a bunch of new and different foods, and I found myself much more interested in this than in what I was studying!

  3. Food52 is such a go-to destination for all things food-related – how did you dream up such a comprehensive concept?

  4. It grew out of our own desire for such a place. My co-founder Merrill Stubbs and I felt frustrated that cooking content was relegated to food magazines and wasn’t a more communal conversation. Food is central to how we live and all the choices we make about our homes and how we travel and how we spend our free time. So we wanted to create a place that reflected this and acted as a comprehensive resource for people who love food.

  5. What's your favorite part of your job?

  6. I love getting to work with creative problem solvers -- when you’re building a company, this is what you do all the time, and I find it really inspiring to work with people who relish the chance to experiment and to figure out things that might not have seemed possible at first glance.

  7. What is your go-to meal when you’re in a rush, and also when you want to cook up something more decadent?

  8. I’ll make a frittata because I can use up leftover vegetables, bacon, or bits of cheese. You just toast the leftovers in a little oil, then pour the eggs in, shower with cheese and finish it in the oven. It’s super low maintenance, hits all the food groups, and the clean up is a snap. My husband loves a white bolognese dish that I make -- that’s definitely my decadent go-to.

  9. What cookbook do you recommend for someone just starting out in the kitchen?

  10. Well, we’re going to have a great one -- Genius Cooking -- coming out in 2021! But if you need one right now, then I’d recommend How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman because it’s helpful with so many basics. I still turn to it myself.

  11. What is the worst food myth you’re determined to bust?

  12. That you shouldn’t drink whole milk. Blasphemous!

  13. 5 things that are always in your bag?

  14. My MTA fold-up grocery bag, perfume, toothbrush/toothpaste, Beats earbuds, and a Uniball pen.

  15. What’s something every woman needs out of a handbag?

  16. Handbags help us carry the items we deem most important to us -- what we literally can’t leave home without -- so I think of a handbag as a kind of security blanket. Something that’s pleasing and yet serves a very practical purpose.

  17. What is your favorite song/soundtrack to listen to while cooking?

  18. Not to sound like a party pooper, but I don’t like listening to music while I cook! I love the sounds of the kitchen, the whoosh of the fridge door, the hum of our dishwasher, the sizzle of onions in a pan. To me, it’s like being out in nature. The sounds are organic and varied and it’s entirely relaxing to me.

  19. Where or when do you feel most empowered?

  20. I’m fiercely independent (youngest child!) so I feel most empowered when I’m able to make decisions and follow my instincts. This may explain why I started a company!