The Piglet 2012
Tournament of Cookbooks
Roz Chast is a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker. Over 1,000 of her cartoons have appeared in the magazine. Her most recent book is What I Hate From A to Z, published in 2011, and her signature dish is Saltines à la Crunchy Peanut Butter.
James & Caitlin Freeman
James Freeman is founder and owner of Blue Bottle Coffee. Prior to opening Blue Bottle, he was a San Francisco-based freelance clarinetist, performing in classical ensembles from Maine to New Mexico. He forgot his instruments to a performance once, in 1994. He opened Blue Bottle in the summer of 2002 in a 186-square-foot converted potting shed in Oakland, California. Between the Bay Area and New York City, Blue Bottle Coffee now has seven cafes, two roasteries, an espresso cart, and a coffee trailer. By the end of the winter, Blue Bottle will be opening two cafes in Manhattan — one in Rockefeller Center and one in Chelsea. James lives a block from Alamo Square in San Francisco with his son Dashiell and wife Caitlin, whom he met while making coffee at the Berkeley farmer's market.
A self-taught baker, Caitlin Freeman is the resident pastry chef for Blue Bottle Coffee. A longtime owner of the San Francisco cake and sweets shop Miette, Caitlin made a name for herself creating simple and lovely cakes and cupcakes using local and organic ingredients. Inspired to bake by the confectionary paintings of California painter Wayne Thiebaud, Caitlin built a small cake shop in San Francisco's historic Ferry Building and a lovely candy store in San Francisco's Hayes Valley neighborhood. After selling Miette in 2008, she started the pastry program at Blue Bottle, creating small cookies and cakes that pair well with coffee.
Caitlin has earned national media attention for her desserts at the Blue Bottle Cafe in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Creating desserts inspired by art on view in the muesum, she expresses her love of art in her working medium, pastry. Caitlin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz, where she studied photography. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, James, step-son Dashiell, and two big, sweet dogs.
In 1978, Ina Garten left her job as a nuclear budget analyst at the White House to pursue her dream of working in the food business. While working for President Carter, Ina came across an advertisement in The New York Times for a specialty food store in the Hamptons. The next day, she and her husband Jeffrey drove up to see the small store in Westhampton, New York. To her surprise, two months later, she found herself the owner of a 400-square-foot food store called Barefoot Contessa.
Eighteen years later, Barefoot Contessa had grown to a 3,000 square foot store in East Hampton, New York and Ina decided it was time to shake things up. She sold the store to her chef and manager and tried her hand writing cookbooks. The first book, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, was published in 1999 and to her surprise was one of the best selling cookbooks of the year. She has since gone on to write five more phenomenally successful cookbooks, Barefoot Contessa Parties!, Barefoot Contessa Family Style, Barefoot in Paris, Barefoot Contessa at Home, and Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. In addition, her current book Barefoot Contessa, How Easy is That? was published in the fall of 2010 and became an instant bestseller. Ina has been a monthly columnist at House Beautiful and in prior years at Martha Stewart Living and O, the Oprah magazine.
In 2002 Food Network approached Ina to do a cooking show based on her cookbooks and her love of entertaining. Ina was reluctant but decided to challenge herself to do 13 shows. That was 8 ½ years ago and her Emmy-winning cooking show, Barefoot Contessa, is one of the highest rated shows on Food Network.
In 2005, Ina, with her friend and business partner Frank Newbold, started a company called Barefoot Contessa Pantry, which produces the highest quality baking mixes and are distributed to thousands of specialty food and gift stores around the country.
Ina lives in East Hampton, New York with her husband, Jeffrey.
Dorie & Josh Greenspan
Dorie Greenspan is the author of ten cookbooks; her latest, Around My French Table, was on The New York Times Bestseller List and named 2010 Cookbook of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Epicurious, and Amazon. A four-time James Beard Foundation award-winner, Dorie's book Baking From My Home to Yours is at the core of her iPad application, Baking with Dorie, and the inspiration behind the creation of Tuesdays with Dorie, the online baking club whose members just celebrated baking and blogging through all 300 recipes in the book — a project that took almost four years. A similar group, French Fridays with Dorie, with over 2000 members, was created to cook through Around My French Table. Dorie is a long-time blogger (well, long-time as blogging goes) and, with her son, Josh "The Kid" Greenspan, co-owner of CookieBar, where she's in charge of dreaming up new cookies for grown-ups. Dorie does her dreaming in Paris, New York City, Westbrook, CT and The Cloud.
Josh Greenspan has nearly a decade of experience in New York City's restaurant and nightlife industry. Although he grew up in the food world, he thought he'd become a sportswriter, but he got the bug and right after graduation went to work with Chef Daniel Boulud's Dinex Group. He started at the top, at 4-star Daniel, where he got to work with award-winning sommelier, Jean-Luc Le Du, and then he graduated to floor manager at the then brand-new DB Bistro Moderne.
But a club-kid is always a club kid and after he got out of the suit-and-tie he wore for Dinex, Josh worked a second job, promoting at some of New York City's hottest nightclubs, including Life, Spa and Halo. Eventually leaving the restaurant side of the business completely, Josh became the manager at Suede, whose A-List celebrity clientele helped make it the city's best club for nearly three years. Josh went on to open Rande Gerber's Stone Rose in the Time-Warner Center, ran Steve Hanson's nightclub Level V and most recently was in charge of Andre Balazs's hipster haven, Le Bain at The Standard Hotel.
Carla Hall discovered her love for food while modeling in Europe. After graduating L'Academie de Cuisine, Carla worked as sous chef at the Henley Park Hotel, and Executive Chef at both The State Plaza Hotel and The Washington Club. America fell in love with Carla’s heartfelt approach as she cooked her way into the finals on season five of the award‐winning Bravo show Top Chef, and again in season eight on Top Chef All-Stars. Today Carla continues to cook from the heart and balances her Southern traditions, classic French training, and holistic approach to food as one of five hosts on The Chew, ABC's newest daytime talk show, and as the creator and owner of Alchemy by Carla Hall, an artisan cookie company headquartered in Washington, DC.
Sara Jenkins is based in New York City, where she has developed a reputation as a fine rustic Italian chef. At Porsena she draws on memories of her Tuscan and Roman childhood to create a pasta-centric menu featuring Italy's finest artisanal pastas. In 2008 she opened Porchetta, a wildly successful storefront in the East Village focusing on porchetta, a richly seasoned roast pork common in Italy as street or festival food, sold out of a truck as a sandwich. Wherever Jenkins cooks, she creates excitement with cuisine based on the Mediterranean flavors she grew up with.
Nigella Lawson, food enthusiast, television personality, and journalist, is the bestselling author of Nigella Kitchen, Nigella Express, Nigella Fresh, Nigella Christmas, Nigella Bites, Feast, How to Be a Domestic Goddess (for which she won the British Author of the Year Award), and How to Eat, which together have sold more than 6 million copies worldwide. These books, along with her groundbreaking iPhone App and her television shows on Food Network, E! Entertainment Television, and Style, have made hers a household name around the world. Nigella's most recent Food Network series is Nigella Kitchen. Nigella lives in London with her family.
Hunter Lewis is the food editor of Bon Appétit. Prior to that, he was the Saveur kitchen director. Lewis cooked under Jonathan Waxman in Sonoma County, California, and at Barbuto in New York City, where he also tested the recipes for Waxman's 2007 book, A Great American Cook. He was a reporter at The Herald-Sun in Durham, North Carolina, where he wrote restaurant reviews and covered several beats, including higher education and crime. He also served stints as a short order cook from North Carolina to Idaho. A devout University of North Carolina basketball fan, he wants to see the team compete in next year's Piglet.
Photo by Penny De Los Santos
Anita Lo, chef and owner of Annisa in New York City, is one of the most respected chefs in the country, earning numerous accolades for her inventive contemporary American cuisine that reflects her multicultural upbringing and classic French training.
Lo, a second generation Chinese-American, grew up with her family in Birmingham, Michigan and fostered an interest in food at a young age. While earning a degree in French language at Columbia University, she studied at Reid Hall, Columbia's French language institute in Paris. She fell in love with the food culture and vowed to return. Back in the United States, Lo accepted her first kitchen job as garde-manger at Bouley, but after a year she decided to move back to Paris and enroll in the revered culinary institution Ecole Ritz-Escoffier. She received her degree, graduating first in her class with honors, while interning under Guy Savoy and Michel Rostang. Back in New York, Lo worked her way through all the stations at David Waltuck's Chanterelle. She developed her culinary style during her time at Mirezi, where she earned a two-star review from The New York Times. After two years at Mirezi, Lo left to travel the world, explore food in Europe and Southeast Asia, and plan her own restaurant, a project that would eventually define her culinary career.
In 2000 Lo opened Annisa (which means ''women'' in Arabic) an intimate, upscale restaurant in Greenwich Village serving contemporary American cuisine. It was an instant hit, earning a two-star review from The New York Times. Food & Wine magazine named her one of ten "Best New Chefs in America" in 2001, and the Village Voice proclaimed Lo as "Best New Restaurant Chef." In June 2009, after nearly ten years in business, Annisa suffered an unfortunate blow: a fire destroyed the restaurant entirely. Lo decided to take some time to travel as plans for rebuilding Annisa got underway. She scoured the globe — Mongolia and Egypt — for inspiration. Meanwhile, Lo appeared on the first season of Top Chef Masters where she battled her contemporaries on weekly challenges that tested their culinary prowess. She finished fourth out of 24 chefs.
In April 2010, after a complete renovation of the original Barrow Street location, Lo reopened Annisa. She kept many of the same elements — clean design, welcoming atmosphere, small menu, and a few signature dishes — but shook it up with new additions to the menu inspired by her recent travels and a renewed perspective about cooking, eating, and being a chef in New York City.
In October 2011, Lo released her long-awaited first cookbook highlighting her passion for bringing simple, multicultural flavors to her American kitchen. Her recipes celebrate the best flavors and ingredients from around the world at a time when access to international ingredients is greater than ever before. Interspersed are stories from Lo's life as a Chinese-American, memories of her travels and tips on cooking.
Christopher Hirsheimer & Melissa Hamilton
Christopher Hirsheimer is an award-winning photographer and the co-founder of Canal House, whose facets include a publishing venture, culinary and design studio, and an annual series of three seasonal cookbooks titled Canal House Cooking. Prior to starting Canal House in 2007 in Lambertville, NJ, Hirsheimer was the executive editor of Saveur, which she co-founded in 1994, and the food and design editor of Metropolitan Home. She co-wrote the award-winning Saveur Cooks series and The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market Cookbook (Chronicle, 2006). Her photographs have appeared in more than fifty cookbooks for such notables as Colman Andrews, Lidia Bastianich, Mario Batali, Julia Child, Jacques Pépin, David Tanis, and Alice Waters, and numerous magazines, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, InStyle, and Town & Country.
Melissa Hamilton is a renowned food stylist and the co-founder of Canal House. She previously worked at Saveur, which she joined in 1998 as the test kitchen director, and was its food editor for many years. Hamilton also worked in the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living and Cook's Illustrated, and was the co-founder and first executive chef of Hamilton's Grill Room in Lambertville, NJ. She has developed and tested recipes and styled food for both magazines and cookbooks, including those by acclaimed chefs and cookbook authors Colman Andrews, Lidia Bastianich, John Besh, Jonathan Waxman, David Tanis, and Alice Waters. She and Hirsheimer currently work on Canal House Cooking, for which they do all of the writing, recipes, photography, design, and production. Thousands of devotées check in daily to their blog Canal House Cooks Lunch to see what Melissa and Christopher have cooked up for lunch in their pretty kitchen studio. Their forthcoming book, Canal House Cooks Every Day (Andrews McMeel), inspired by their daily offering, will be published later this fall.
Celia Sack was born and raised in San Francisco. During her seven-year tenure at Pacific Book Auction, Sack channeled her passion for rare books into a private antiquarian cookbook collection, and then into a bookshop. Since November 2008, when she opened Omnivore Books on Food in Noe Valley, San Francisco's only culinary bookshop, Sack has gotten to know Alice Waters' tastes (books on victory gardens, not surprisingly), has enticed Ruth Reichl into buying a first edition of A.J. Liebling's Between Meals, and has seen her store become the destination for internationally known food writers touring their new books and for collectors expanding their shelves.
Kim Severson has been a staff writer for The New York Times since 2004. After six years writing about food for the Dining section, she was named the Atlanta bureau chief in the fall of 2010. Previously, she spent six years writing about cooking and the culture of food for the San Francisco Chronicle. Before that, she had a seven-year stint as an editor and reporter at The Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. She has also covered crime, education, social services and government for daily newspapers on the West Coast.
She has won several regional and national awards for news and feature writing, including the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism for her work on childhood obesity in 2002 and four James Beard awards for food writing. Her memoir, Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life, (Riverhead) is out in paperback. She has also written The New Alaska Cookbook and The Trans Fat Solution: Cooking and Shopping to Eliminate the Deadliest Fat from Your Diet.
David Tanis is the acclaimed author of two modern cookbook classics, A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes, chosen as one of the 50 best cookbooks ever by the Guardian/Observer (U.K.), and Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys, nominated for a James Beard Award. As chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, Tanis has worked with Alice Waters to define the restaurant's groundbreaking style for the better part of 25 years. A great fan of home cooking, he is known for his simple, seasonal, gutsy fare. Tanis writes a weekly column for The New York Times Dining section and is at work on a new cookbook.
Photo by Joe Vaughn
Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California, has championed local, sustainable farms for over four decades. She is also the founder of the Edible Schoolyard at Martin Luther King Middle School in Berkeley, a model public education program that brings children into a new relationship to food with hands-on planting, harvesting, and cooking. Waters is also the author of ten books including 40 Years of Chez Panisse: The Power of Gathering, The Art of Simple Food: Notes and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution, and The Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea.
Photo by Brigitte Lacomb
Jacob Weisberg is Chairman of The Slate Group, a unit of The Washington Post Company devoted to developing a family of Internet-based publications through start-ups and acquisitions. The Slate group's roster includes Slate, The Root, the video site Slate V, and ForeignPolicy.com, as well as the bi-monthly print journal, Foreign Policy. Weisberg served as editor of Slate from 2002 until 2008. He has also been a Contributing Writer for The New York Times Magazine, a contributing editor of Vanity Fair and a reporter for Newsweek in London and Washington, as well as an editorial page columnist for the Financial Times. His regular opinion column is published by Slate.