Amanda & Merrill

A Note to the Food52 Community

Our co-founder, Merrill, reflects on the special memories she's made alongside all of you for the past 12 years.

November 26, 2020

Dear Food52 Community,

Like so many of you, I’ve spent the last several months thinking about my personal goals and what is most important to me. After a lot of reflection and many conversations with Amanda and our partners at The Chernin Group, I’ve made the decision to step away from my day-to-day operational responsibilities as President of Food52.

When Amanda and I started Food52 almost 12 years ago, we had big plans. But neither of us could possibly have imagined the company as it exists today. Before we embarked on this journey, I’d never worked in an office or managed anyone. Now Food52 boasts almost 100 smart, passionate, accomplished team members, as well as a cadre of equally talented freelancers and contributors.

Over the last 12 years, I’ve learned so much—especially from all of you. It is both special and rare to find empathy and encouragement on the internet, and the Food52 community is the best of the best in this regard. I’ve been inspired by the enthusiasm, knowledge, and passion you bring to discussions that go way beyond recipes and touch on everything from cookware design to user experience to the social, economic, and political implications of food. Your diverse perspectives have helped me refine my own cooking to fit an evolving lifestyle; I started Food52 as a single person, and I now have a husband and two school-aged children.

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Top Comment:
“And thank you to both you and Amanda for starting Food52 and for creating such a supportive environment. I am a better, more confident cook because of the two of you. And because of Food52, I have friends all over the country whom I otherwise would not have met. I wish you happy times with your family, and look forward to seeing what you do in the years ahead. Stay well. With love and gratitude, Barbara ”
— drbabs
Comment

Speaking of my children, a big reason for my decision is that it will allow me to spend more time with Clara (8) and Henry (5)—to pick them up from school regularly, to support Henry in his sudden, intense determination to become a reader, to supervise Clara’s weekly (virtual) baking class, or to coordinate an afternoon of making our own glass mosaics. While I’m looking forward to more family time and the opportunity to think about what’s next, this was a bittersweet decision because it comes at a moment when Food52's mission of helping people to eat thoughtfully and live joyfully has never been more relevant. I feel more excited than ever about what lies ahead. (No spoilers here, so stay tuned!)

It is also incredibly hard to leave a team and a co-founder who inspire and challenge me every day. Amanda and I have worked together for more than 15 years and I know that partnerships like ours exist once in a lifetime, if at all. Food52 wouldn’t be what it is today without Amanda’s clear vision and determination, and I would not be who I am without her personal and professional support over the years. We’re both really looking forward to spending time together without a to-do list, for the first time ever.

Rest assured that I'm not disappearing completely. I will continue in my role on the Board of Directors, and I am still a vested shareholder. I will stay close to Amanda and the team, helping out in whatever ways I can. And you’ll continue to see me too—in the comments section, maybe in a video here and there, and certainly at events once we’re able to host them again (you’d better believe I’m not missing out on all that fun!).

Thank you all for helping to create a true community for everyone who believes that food and cooking and the places we call home are fundamental to our collective health, happiness and well-being.

Much love,

Merrill


A Special Postscript


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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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    Michelle Adele Kenyon
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    mcs3000
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    Catherine Lamb
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    Michael Hoffman
  • Peter
    Peter
I'm a native New Yorker, Le Cordon Bleu graduate, former food writer/editor turned entrepreneur, mother of two, and unapologetic lover of cheese.

34 Comments

Michelle A. April 7, 2021
So I completely missed tbis announcement, but was thinking the other week that it had been ages since seeing a Merrill video on F52 IG account. And then I listened to Amanda’s NPR interview in which she mentioned you stepping back. Exciting new chapter for you Merrill, your kids are only young once, so great that you can take that step back and enjoy them! Enjoy!
 
mcs3000 December 6, 2020
Merrill -

It’s been so fun to watch you + Amanda build Food52, raise families and learn from you and the F52 community (some of whom I’ve been lucky enough to meet).

I make so many F52 recipes. My all-time fav is Sara’s granola bars. Made your friend’s bars for hikes, part of a meal packages for friends who have had babies and for my marketing team of 50. Always get so many requests for the recipe. https://food52.com/blog/2089-sara-s-granola-bars

Thank you for inspiring and making me a better cook. Wishing you and your fam the best!

 
Catherine L. December 3, 2020
Such exciting news Merrill! It was a pleasure working with you for my first ever "real" job -- Food52 is forever in my heart and brings me so much joy.
 
Michael H. December 2, 2020
Merrill! Thank you so much for all the joy you’ve brought me, my family, and so many others with your work building Food52. I am so fortunate to have been a part of it and to have had the pleasure of working with you. I’m so excited to see what you do next, and in the meantime I look forward to running into you (and Clara and Henry) more around town.
 
Peter December 1, 2020
So at dinner last night I was commenting on this thread to my wife, Sarah. In listening, my son Henry asked "who's Merrill?" In explaining that she's one of the two co-founders of Food52, he exclaimed "Food52?? THAT'S FAMOUS! Merrill must be FAMOUS!" So congratulations Merrill, according to my 7-year-old, you're FAMOUS. (Oh, and 7-year-old Henry is not to be confused with almost 9-year-old Charlie of 'Clara and Charlie' fame: https://food52.com/blog/3741-too-many-babies-no-such-thing
 
Mmabatho December 1, 2020
Wishing you the very best of everything Merril x
 
Ann December 1, 2020
Let the new adventures begin! As a Mom who did a similar thing, I never regretted my decision. Your kids are only young once, not to be cliche but it’s true. And besides you aren’t “really” leaving Food 52.....
 
Lauren K. November 30, 2020
I loved working for and with you, Merrill! Big changes often bring the most surprising and magical things—I trust that will be the case with this decision, too.
 
louisez November 30, 2020
I'm sad, as I'm sure many of us, especially those of us who've been involved on the site for some time, are.
I hope Merrill knows how much she's appreciated, how much she's loved, and wish her every happiness as she goes forward.
 
Nozlee S. November 30, 2020
Ahh I watched both videos and it was so wonderful to see your face—this is bittersweet news for Food52, of course, but I'm so excited for you! (I was also catapulted directly back 8 years to that Food54 shoot, one of the best shooting days ever!)
 
Peter November 30, 2020
Nozlee, I wasn't going to be the first one to mention it but YES! Studio 54! I *completely* forgot about that until I was watching the videos and thought "Hey. That's my basement!"
 
Olivia B. November 30, 2020
Merrill, I'm so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with you and witness all the love, enthusiasm and thoughtfulness (and excellent taste in all things home and kitchen) you brought to f52. I still remember our very first "casual coffee" at 7 Grams and am forever grateful to you for inviting me to join the f52 family. Enjoy your next adventure!
 
Olivia B. November 30, 2020
Merrill, I'm so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with you and witness all the love, enthusiasm and thoughtfulness (and excellent taste in all things home and kitchen) you brought to f52. I still remember our very first "casual coffee" at 7 Grams and am forever grateful to you for inviting me to join the f52 family. Enjoy your next adventure!
 
creamtea November 30, 2020
Sorry to see you step down but happy we'll see you still chiming in! I remember meeting you, Amanda and some fellow members about 11 years ago at Sur la Table in NY when you two demo'd Kale and Quinoa Pilaf. It's great that you'll have more time with your family. As Jennifer said, kids grow up fast! I can still look back at my recipe headers and see the time period when mine were home and I was cooking for them. You both had a big influence on my cooking and confidence. Thanks to you and Amanda, I was able to pass that on to my daughters--both are now great home cooks who entertain their friends regularly. Best of luck and love and thank you for your warmth and generosity! -Lisanne aka creamtea
 
Lindsay-Jean H. November 30, 2020
What an incredible community you've created and poured yourself into, and now another equally exciting chapter awaits. Congrats Merrill!
 
Westcoasty November 30, 2020
Hi, Merrill, I've enjoyed Food52 for several years now, and now that I have a partner to cook for, this site has become more important than ever to me. So I thank you for what you have brought to my life, and the meaningfulness it has brought to my cooking. I wish you the very best in your next adventure, and I hope it brings you much joy, just as this site has brought joy to me and mine through my (greatly improved) cooking. Do what makes you happy, and savour every minute of it!
 
Bonnie November 29, 2020
You will be missed. 😢.
 
cookinginvictoria November 28, 2020
Thank you, Merrill, for all that you have done for Food52. Your generosity, warmth and amazing recipes (your warm chicken salad and applesauce cake have remained staples in my kitchen since you first posted them) have added so much to the community and have made me a better cook. I too took a step back in my professional career when my daughter was young, and I am so glad that I did. Those years are precious and can never be recaptured. Enjoy the family time -- and so excited to see what the future holds for you. Paula (cookinginvictoria)
 
Megan November 28, 2020
Thank you for creating and nurturing food52 with Amanda, Merrill. It really has been a bright spot in my life for the past 11ish years! Congratulations on coming to this decision and enjoy your new rhythm with your family!
 
lizpaley November 27, 2020
So happy for you, Merrill, and will make a few of your favorite recipes as a virtual toast to your next chapter. What an incredible adventure you’ve had at Food52 and my thanks for all you’ve done to make it a community I love and rely on.
 
luvcookbooks November 27, 2020
Sniff... very moving video. Happy for your future, both with your family and with food52. I stepped from a bigger job to a smaller one when my kids were small. There were losses but I never regretted it. :)
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. November 27, 2020
Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. xo