Does anyone know whether the food 52 staff tests the recipes that appear in the features not as recipe reviews, but in menu posts or theme (Valentines Day) posts and such
They are almost all tested. Any of the recipes with photos by food52 (James Ransom and Sarah Shatz are most commonly credited) have been made in the test kitchen. I'm not sure if they test all the recipes thirschfeld submits for his column, but I don't have any qualms about trusting the quality of his recipes.
It is my perception that almost all of the recipes that appear in the features posts are either contest winners, runners-up, community picks (meaning they were recipe tested by food52), or were created by a food52 columnist, such as Tom Hirschfeld or Gena Hamshaw.
Agreed, not question THirschfeld or Hemshaw. It was the others I was wondering about. but I suppose, HLA, that's a good point re the photography.
Hardlikearmour and cookinginvictoria have it right -- anything that was shot by us (including recipes by Gena Hamshaw and most other contributors) was tested at least once in our test kitchen (when we shot it!). Contest finalists and CPs generally go through a couple more rounds of testing too -- first by the community, then by our recipe testers at their homes, then by us.