David Rosengarten is one of the foremost authorities on food and wine. He is a well-respected cookbook author and has penned, amongst others, the 500-recipe Dean & DeLuca Cookbook. Dean & DeLuca is America’s most celebrated food shop and I hope to be able to publish the review of David’s book in the next few weeks.
He is known by me as a very thoughtful, charming and knowledgeable man but he is perhaps best known in the US for his popular TV programmes on American Food Network, where he has hosted or co-hosted approximately 2,500 shows. A frequent guest on NBC’s Today show, David has also written about food, wine and travel for Gourmet, The New York Times, Food & Wine, The Wine Spectator, Newsday, Bon Appétit, Harper’s Bazaar, and lots more.
I caught up with David when he was in Austria tasting wine and some good food in a lovely location. I asked him if he had a favourite food destination. “If I had to pick one and only one country it would have to be France. It’s as if there was a national agreement to keep standards high. A cheese maker takes pride in the quality of his cheese as he knows that all the other cheese makers will do the same. It keeps the quality.”
David teaches and travels frequently throughout the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia, where he writes and speaks on a wide range of food-related subjects. He has served as the only American judge on an international panel that selected the world’s greatest sommelier.
Gastro Tours conducted by David himself are very popular and more information can be found at the Joseph H. Conlin Travel Management site at www.jhcbh.com. There are lovely tours to Alsace (5th – 12th October 2008), and a great tour called Doing New York Right in December (that’s the one for me!). 2009 has tours to Miami, India and many European locations including the UK. I’ll keep you posted with more details of these dream foodie holidays.
I first came across David when he co-presented “In Food Today” on the US Food Network. He fronted the show with the former first lady of New York, Donna Hanover, (ex Mrs. Giuliani). It was an immensely popular programme being the only “quality” TV food magazine. The hosts were professional, personable and often funny.
Each episode of “In Food Today” presented items on current culinary issues as well as guest interviews and product reviews. David’s in-depth coverage of each subject was admirable and totally different from the “food entertainment” that was more typically available. It was evident that this man knew his stuff! He holds a doctorate in dramatic literature from Cornell University – that must account for his confidence before the TV camera!
David Rosengarten is passionate about food. His previous show, “Taste” aired for eight years and “Taste” the companion book won the IACP/Julia Child Cookbook Award for Best International Cookbook of 1999. David also won the Versailles Award in France for Best Cookbook Based on a TV Show. The French obviously like this chap. David has recently started work on a wine guide for restaurants. I’ll tell you more about that in future months, but he knows wine and restaurants so the book will be well worth investing in.
But how did David get his start with food writing? “I wrote an article, with 10 recipes, about balsamic vinegar. It was around, but nobody was talking about it. I sent it to “Gourmet” magazine … and they sent me a check for $1,500! Score!” …..er, could I have their address, David?
David writes a regular newsletter which won the James Beard Award for the Best Food and Wine News Letter Written in the USA, “The Rosengarten Report”. (Have a look at www.davidrosengarten.com) It reviews the best food products, and covers everything from cheese to chocolate. He has tried and tested his selections and offers his readers the chance to experience the quality of his choices. They are called “Foods and Wines That Make Me Swoon” and they are all available in mainland USA. David had made it his job to educate the American palate. He doesn’t accept advertising so all the products he offers are his own considered favourites.
Has he ever thought of having his own eatery? “I never wanted to open a restaurant. I was a private chef for a New York psychiatrist. He had a contract that made the state hire a personal chef for him.” Sounds like a being New York psychiatrist isn’t all bad!
You knew I was going to ask….What do you think of the food and restaurant scene in London these days? “I have always thought that London has great ingredients, fish, meat, vegetables but the restaurants improved a lot in the 1970s and 80s. I have had two trips to London in the last year or so and I have found a couple of great places to eat. ‘Roast’ in Borough Market and ‘Bumpkin’ in Notting Hill.”
Has David got a secret to success? “Passion and dedication. I’ve never been dedicated to success, per se. I love food and I make no distinction between caviar and a tuna salad. A great experience is a great experience. I look for quality and I can be just as obsessive about a BLT as foie gras.”
You can find David’s books at Amazon.co.uk.
Chef interview by Chrissie Walker © 2018