Meet and Eat

Getting to know the folks behind the food and drinks you love.

Meet and Eat: Ben Jay, Serious Eats Editorial Intern

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Pilsner Urquell and Smoked Pork Knee at Bohemian Hall in Astoria, Queens [Photograph: Louie Frankel]

Name: Ben Jay
Location: New York
Occupation: Photographer / Journalist
Website: Benjayphoto.com
Twitter: @FakeBenJay

Guilty pleasures? In college, I found a recipe for "toxic ramen," which I can't find anymore and I'm assuming has been removed from the internet for public health reasons. Basically, you boil two things of beef-flavored ramen, strain the water, add both flavor packets and two eggs, cook for a few seconds until brownish-yellow, and enjoy! It's really salty, but I ate it regularly after late production nights on the school paper, and it's the quickest thing I can make aside from toast.

Describe your perfect meal. A big plate of curry, poutine, brisket, shawarma or a really good bacon cheeseburger, all with the right beer.

What food won't you eat? I really don't get why people love tapas so much. It's just a really good way to spend a lot of money for not very much food, and every time I've had tapas, I've had to buy a second dinner afterwards. Vegetables—I'm a fanatical carnivore. Mexican food is overrated, but Canadian food is really underrated.

Favorite food person? Noah Bernamoff. Mile End is easily my favorite restaurant in New York, and his take on Montreal Jewish cooking just fits perfectly in Brooklyn. He also gave me and my friend free smoked meat sandwiches one time because I told him how great his restaurant is. Honorable mentions: Anthony Bourdain and Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai.

When did you first realize you were a serious eater? Probably a few years ago when I was a photo intern at the Village Voice, where I had to do a lot of restaurant photography and find lunch everyday in the East Village, which is still one of my favorite food neighborhoods in New York.

What do your family and friends think of your food obsessions? I think they wonder how I don't weigh 500 pounds and haven't had several heart attacks yet.

Favorite food sites or blogs? The Village Voice's Fork in the Road

Everyone has a go-to person they call for restaurant recommendations. Who's yours? My friend David, who has a constant desire to explore the NYC foodsphere, especially in Queens, and knows the city so well that he memorized the Subway map by the age of four.

What is your favorite meal of the day and where do you get it? Breakfast at any place that can make me waddle after a good brunch and has good coffee.

Do you ever cook? What's the best dish you make? Pancakes. It's one of those foods that can be really good if done properly, but really mediocre if done wrong. I use a recipe Cook's Illustrated ran in 2003, but I add vanilla extract and cinnamon and skip the blueberries.

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