Name: Ari Rudess
Occupation: Student at Wesleyan University
Guilty pleasures? I never feel bad about eating really, really good desserts, like handcrafted ice cream or homemade baked goods, but I do feel bad about eating Marshmallow Fluff straight out of the jar. I also love it.
Describe your perfect meal. The other day I had a near perfect meal. It was teriyaki salmon over ginger scallion noodles (the Momofuku recipe, of course), served with mashed cauliflower and roasted radishes in a honey-soy glaze. The only thing that could've made it better would've been a heaping bowl of salted caramel ice cream for dessert.
What food won't you eat? I have a fairly significant phobia of sardines.
Favorite food person? Ruth Reichl. She's such an eloquent writer and her food descriptions are spot on. I love her book Garlic and Sapphires.
When did you first realize you were a serious eater? 'Twas the year 2001. I was at a tiny seafood restaurant in Martha's Vineyard with my mother and my sister. At the time, I really, really wanted my family to get a dog. I had also just discovered a serious passion for New England clam chowder. It was at that restaurant that my two obsessions collided and I declared that our future dog would be named after this delicious soup. Chowder the dog came home with us a month later, and chowder the food has remained a love of mine even to this day.
What do your family and friends think of your food obsessions? I think that my food obsession is hereditary. My great grandmothers were amazing cooks, my aunt and uncle are professional chefs, and my mother was the person who inspired my love of finding great restaurants everywhere in the world. As far as my friends are concerned, most of them share my love of food. It works out really well. I never have to worry about shocking my friends or family when I jump for joy that the local Whole Foods just started selling a new artisanal yogurt.
Everyone has a go-to person they call for restaurant recommendations. Who's yours? I usually rely on blogs for restaurant recommendations, and SE is my go-to!
What is your favorite meal of the day and where do you get it? I love breakfast. It seems like there's an infinite amount of choices! Whether you want something sweet, salty, big, or small, there's probably a breakfast food out there that will fit your requirements. The only thing better than breakfast is brunch, because then you add all the lunch foods to the mix as well. I like getting it at Egg in Brooklyn. You really can't go wrong at that place.
Do you ever cook? What's the best dish you make? I am a TERRIBLE cook. I've been known to set the fire alarm off at least five times trying to sautée vegetables, and to literally burn soup to smithereens, but I'm hoping that will change this summer! I got Mark Bittman's cookbook How to Cook Everything and I'm going to document all my attempts at culinary success on my blog.