Cook Spotlight

Jennifer Vogliano, food52 Test Kitchen Assistant & Recipe Tester

by • July 5, 2011 36 Comments

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You've seen her striking face in countless photo slideshows. You've read her elegant reviews in Editors' Pick headnotes. You've tasted the fruit of her testing -- many times over. At long last, the time has come to reveal to you Jennifer Vogliano, food52 Test Kitchen Assistant & Recipe Tester extraordinaire.

When not at a Tuesday photo shoot, where she is a fixture (and desperately missed on days when other duties call), Jennifer is testing up a storm in her home kitchen, with a calm only a mother of two young boys could maintain (they're often the benefactors of said testing). She grew up at the stove and makes osso bucco even the in-laws can get behind (and hers own a restaurant!).

Read our interview with Jennifer, a.k.a. jvcooks, below.

  • Jennifer and Amanda making Aioli
  • Always at the ready, Jennifer (right) lends a hand to Amanda -- after all, aioli's a two (wo)man job.

  • What do you like to cook with your sons?
  • Maxwell (11) and Lorenzo (7) both like to cook with me, but Maxwell is a “real chip off the old block”.  He recently learned how to make risotto and wants to make it all the time. Lorenzo more enjoys baking and, every Christmas, the three of us make homemade roll-out cookies with frosting and colored sugars.

  • Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
  • I’m not sure there is one defining experience, but there was always food -- good food.  My mother is a great cook and I watched and learned from her. Without sounding cliché, my Mom watched Julia Child on TV and so, in turn, did I. As far as I can remember, all my birthday parties had a food/cooking theme. And as I got older, some of my first jobs were working in pastry shops, for caterers and in local sandwich stores – always in kitchen.

  • You swam competitively growing up, yes? What did you eat pre/post meets?
  • Pre-swim meets I would eat a Snickers bar. Post-swim meet would be a thin steak fried up in a skillet and mashed potatoes or a dish of pasta. My mom always had homemade tomato sauce in the fridge or freezer.

  • Jennifer's Tomato Salad  Jennifer at work at Amanda's
  • A simple tomato salad you might see on Jennifer's dinner table; hard at work at Amanda's.

    • With in-laws who own a restaurant, what's on the table at family reunions?
    • With my mother-in-law being from Friuli, a special family dinner would include prosciutto San Daniele, Montasio cheese, chicken cacciatore, polenta and a simple green salad.  And of course no meal would be complete without an after dinner grappa.

    • What's your go-to dinner party menu?
    • All fall and winter, I love to make osso bucco. I consider it one of my best dishes. I adapted a recipe from the River Café Cook Book by Rogers & Gray.  Served over risotto or polenta and paired with seasonal roasted veggies. In the summer, things are simple and the vegetables so bountiful -- corn, tomatoes, squash with grilled meat or fish. 

    • What's your least favorite food?
    • Coconut

    • What do you cook to feed the masses (i.e. the boys + playdates + hockey teams + sleepovers)?
    • My boys love meat, especially steak. I cook up a couple flank steaks, steam some broccoli and oven roast some potatoes. And then again, there’s always pizza.

  • Maxwell (left) and Lorenzo (right)  A True New Yorker, Jennifer's Black & White Cookies
  • Maxwell (left) and Lorenzo (right) are never far from la cucina and, a true New Yorker, Jennifer's Black & White Cookies.

    • Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
    • Not really a spectacular disaster, more like a danger.  I’m always burning myself and I have the scars to prove it!

    • You never leave the grocery store without ...
    • Cheese: I’m always picking up an aged Gouda or something soft and gooey like a Camembert or Robiola to snack on.

    • The ultimate chef's question: Your desert island meal?
    • Stoli vodka on the rocks and spaghetti pomodoro.


    • Jennifer Vogliano -- the one with the bowl cut!  Jennifer Vogliano now!
    • Then and now ... but always in an apron: Jennifer Vogliano, food52 Recipe Tester.


    Topics: New & Now, Profiles

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    Comments (36)


    over 3 years ago Jennifer Sherman

    Jennifer cooked for me when we were kids and it was always amazing! Cook on!


    almost 4 years ago Sagegreen

    What a great spotlight! How did I miss this before? How incredibly flattering to be included in your list of favorite recipes you've tested! Thanks, Jennifer!


    about 4 years ago mcs3000

    Great spotlight - loved the Q&A and pics. Ditto @drbabs: please post the recipe for those beautiful cookies.


    about 4 years ago tessa022707

    Oh my! Black and white cookies! Such nostalgia! I have yet to find those anywhere in San Diego or So. Ca. I remeber walking home from elementary school, always stopping at the bakery and buying a black and white for 25 cents! Please please the recipe please!


    about 4 years ago MyCommunalTable

    Fun spotlight. Your feed the masses meal is quite similar to my families. We alternate between roasted potatoes and baked sweet potatoes. Thanks for sharing.


    about 4 years ago wssmom

    I loved reading this, and then I nearly fell over when Jennifer mentions A Bowl of Red! LOL!


    about 4 years ago EmilyC

    What a nice Q&A and spotlight, Jennifer.


    about 4 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

    Great to know you a little better Jennifer! i'll have to try out your osso bucco.


    about 4 years ago jvcooks

    Thanks everyone for all the support and comments! I will post the osso bucco and black & cookie recipes as soon as a get a chance.


    about 4 years ago Fairmount_market

    It's nice to meet one of the food52 behind the scene foodies. I can't wait until my kids are a little older and I can teach them how to make risotto.


    about 4 years ago Aperitif

    Jennifer makes us all so happy at home with her great cooking.
    Way to follow thru with your childhood passion...


    about 4 years ago Panfusine

    Inspiring to see a food52 insider spotlighted.
    Falling in love with the Black & white cookies, would love for you to share the recipe please!


    about 4 years ago fo

    i so love behind the scenes pix etc. how can i become a food tester for food52?? :)


    about 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

    Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

    Love the photo of your boys! And so glad we get to cook together every week.


    about 4 years ago lorigoldsby

    Really enjoy the "Behind the Scenes at Food52" stories. Can't wait to see the osso bucco recipe sometime...that and those cookies might become my new "desert island meal"!!


    about 4 years ago boulangere

    Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

    Wait a minute! How do the two of you cook (and obviously eat) so much and appear rail thin?


    about 4 years ago boulangere

    Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

    That will be lovely, but would you mind explaining "rail thin" part? Oh, and tall. I'd love to know how you both became so beautifully tall.


    about 4 years ago boulangere

    Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

    So this is what the most perfect job in the world looks like. I have a Maxwell of my own, and I hope I get stranded on the deserted island as you.


    about 4 years ago boulangere

    Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

    make that the "same" deserted island


    about 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

    So nice to meet you! Thanks for all the work you do for all of us!!


    about 4 years ago amy

    sister i am so proud of you keep on cooking


    about 4 years ago Midge

    What lucky boys you have! So fun to learn more about you Jennifer.


    about 4 years ago lapadia

    Nice to meet you, Jennifer and thanks for your superstar Food52 work! Cheers to your desert island meal :)


    about 4 years ago hardlikearmour

    hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

    Nice to learn about one of the lovely food52 kitchen assistants! I'm a total cheesehead, too!


    about 4 years ago inpatskitchen

    Congratulations on your spotlight and contributions to this wonderful food community!


    about 4 years ago Burnt Offerings

    I love learning more about the wonderful people at food52 - thanks! And Jennifer - please post the osso bucco recipe when you get a chance!


    about 4 years ago inpatskitchen

    Yes please post Jennifer!


    about 4 years ago mrslarkin

    Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

    So nice getting to know you, Jennifer!


    about 4 years ago jvcooks

    Thanks Merrill!


    about 4 years ago sdebrango

    Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

    I love this congrats Jennifer, its so good to see you in the spotlight, So good to get to know you!


    about 4 years ago francesca gilberti

    Francesca is the former Assistant Editor of food52 and believes you can make anything out of farro.

    Where does one enlist to be one of your children?


    about 4 years ago Kristen Miglore

    Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

    Please, Jennifer, bring us some of those lovely black & white cookies! (You knew I'd say that, didn't you?)


    about 4 years ago drbabs

    Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

    And for those of us who don't work with you, please post the recipe!


    about 4 years ago gingerroot

    Cheers, Jennifer! What a great spotlight. Love all the photos (that "simple tomato salad" is stunning!) and getting to know you better. Thanks for all your hard work to make food52 the place we all love!


    about 4 years ago Lizthechef

    So nice to see you in the spotlight!


    about 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

    Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

    Jennifer, loved reading all of your answers! You're such a star.