The Amateur Gourmet
Charyn Pfeuffer hits up her new partner in culinary crime Adam Roberts for a Q&A interview
Recently, I was faced with the delicious duty of going to Puerto Rico for the 3rd Annual PR Food & Wine Festival. I had the rare pleasure of traveling with a handful of super talented food and travel writers and bloggers, including the delightfully witty Adam Roberts of The Amateur Gourmet (amateurgourmet.com).
In his third year of law school, Roberts decided to call it quits and pursue playwriting. Instead, food writing seemed to be Roberts’ calling and in 2004, his popular blog, The Amateur Gourmet was born. From the instant it hit the web, Roberts has earned endless praise and press. His book, The Amateur Gourmet: How to Shop, Chop, and Table Hop like a Pro (Almost) (Bantam, $13), chronicles his self-styled culinary journey to haute cuisine-hood.
I caught up with Roberts for a quick cyber chat on 10 pressing questions I wanted to know:
CP: What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve gotten on your blog – be it from a reader, your elementary school teacher, media praise, an award, etc.?
AR: One of my favorite playwrights, Jon Robin Baitz (who created the show "Brothers & Sisters") wrote me an e-mail and said, "You are a tonic." I'd never been called a tonic before, so I really appreciated it.
CP: Have there been any haters? IMO, getting someone riled up enough to put pen to paper, or fingers to the keyboard, is a sure sign of success.
AR: Oh my God, are you kidding? I've gotten more nasty comments than all the other food bloggers combined. I'm not sure why that is: maybe it's because I put myself out there so much? Or because I express such strong opinions on such a wide variety of topics? I have found, over time, that the more positive my posts, the more positive the comments, and vice-versa.
CP: What food blogs do you love, follow and have an LTR* with?
AR: Since I've been doing this for over five years now (yowza!) all my favorite food bloggers have actually become good friends: Clotilde Dusoulier from chocolateandzucchini.com, David Lebovitz from davidebovitz.com, Molly Wizenberg from orangette.blogspot.com, Heidi Swanson from 101cookbooks.com, and many many more, including Matt Armendariz from mattbites.com who I met with you in Puerto Rico.
CP: Have you had any standout wacky interviews or dining experiences? C’mon, dish. We’ve all had ‘em.
AR: Well the wackiest interview, by far, was the time I interviewed Rachel Ray when I was host of Food Network's FNDish. The cameras were on as we sat down, the director said "wait for my signal before you ask questions," so I turned and introduced myself to her. She shook my hand and then we sat around, uncomfortably, for 23 seconds. This led to my proudest accomplishment: "23 Awkward Seconds with Rachel Ray."
Watch it: (click here)
CP: What’s your dining out to eating-at-home ratio?
AR: We eat home pretty often – especially in the cold weather months – so I'd say 50% meals cooked at home, 25% meals ordered in, and 25% meals eaten out.
CP: Do you have a go-to, crowd pleaser dish that you like to pull out of your bag of culinary tricks?
AR: Absolutely: Cavatappi with Sun-dried Tomatoes. It's really easy and really delicious.
Here's the recipe: (click here)
CP: I have a two-part, highly unoriginal and completely self-serving question because I’m trying to make it to NYC next month and may need some dining guidance – what is your favorite splurge and steal restaurant in New York City?
AR: There are so many levels of splurge in New York that you really have to define what kind of splurge you want to splurge. For example, if it's a splurge splurge splurge, you can do no better than Jean-Georges – it's one of the finest fine dining restaurants I've ever been to. It's always original, inventive, but most importantly, scrumptious. If it's a lesser splurge, but still a splurge, I'd say go to Blue Hill or Blue Hill Stone Barns. As for a steal, the food at Prune isn't cheap, but for the quality and atmosphere the prices are a bargain. I love it there.
CP: Beer, wine or booze – what’s your grown-up libation of choice?
CP: Okay. This one is kinda tricky. I don’t want to sound morbid, but one of my favorite books is My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and and Their Final Meals by Melanie Dunea (Bloomsbury USA, 2007, $39.95). If you could pick what your final meal would be, where would it be, what would be on the menu and who would you want to share the table?
AR: My final meal, I think, I would want to cook myself. I'd invite my closest friends and make comfort food: Caesar salad, a roast chicken with potatoes, and Martha Stewart's chocolate chip cookies. I would die happy.
CP: Is there anything we should keep our eyes peeled for this fall or in delicious future of The Amateur Gourmet?
AR: Oh yes! But nothing I can talk about, except for my delightful "Amateur Gourmet Show" on food2.com. Check it out and learn how to cook the perfect steak.
To buy Adam's book The Amateur Gourmet: How to Shop, Chop, and Table Hop like a Pro (Almost) $11.05 Click Here!
(* Long term relationship)