Special Sauce: Ruth Reichl on Gourmet's Demise and the Future of Food Journalism


[Photograph: Noah Fecks. Onion ring photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

In a million years, I would never have guessed Ruth Reichl's guilty pleasure: "Onion rings," she told me during part two of our conversation on Special Sauce. "I can't resist a good onion ring." That's not the only surprising answer you'll hear on this week's episode from the woman I call the first rock star food journalist. For instance, on taking the job as editor in chief at Gourmet: "I didn't have a clue what to do.... I didn't know anything about business." Or on how responsible she felt when Condé Nast suddenly closed down Gourmet in 2009 after 68 years, the last 10 with her at the helm: "I felt guilty.... I still feel like, you know, if I had been smarter, they would not have closed the magazine." Or on her hiring practices, which in fact mirror my own: "Hire people who are smarter than you are, and then run interference for them." Take a listen to hear her take on the digital revolution in food journalism or her unique choice of guests at her last dinner on earth—you won't regret it.

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