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‘Serious Eater’ Ed Levine Visits LA – Kristin Marguerite Doidge – Medium


Ed Levine is a New York City food legend.

But tonight, he’s here with us in Los Angeles to discuss his new book, SERIOUS EATER: A Food Lover’s Perilous Quest for Pizza and Redemption (Portfolio/Penguin Random House).

Levine will be joined by Mozza’s Nancy Silverton and Kenji López-Alt for a conversation hosted by Live Talks LA in Santa Monica.

As the author of several New York Eats books and a freelancer for the New York Times, Levine spent his days scouring the city for the best food, from cheesecake to pastrami to pizza. He spent a month eating only burgers in search of that one burger that could change people’s lives. He was even given clever food nicknames: “The Homer of Rugelach” (Florence Fabricant), and the “Missionary of the Delicious” by then NYT restaurant critic Ruth Reichl.

In the early 2000s, however, Levine saw what was coming: a wave of digital media upstarts that would upend the food world. So, in 2006, at the age of 54, despite not knowing the difference between bite and byte, he took the plunge and started Serious Eats.

Courtesy of Penguin Random House/Portfolio

I’ve had the opportunity to interview a number of legends and luminaries for my own forthcoming book on Nora Ephron, but Levine certainly stands out for his lively and enthusiastic storytelling abilities — and for his love of Ephron, food, and writing.

Likewise, SERIOUS EATER: A Food Lover’s Perilous Quest for Pizza and Redemption is the mouthwatering and heart-stopping account of one food obsessive’s journey in pursuit of an unlikely dream. The book is filled with revealing looks behind the scenes of a beloved site, including how he won the affection of Ephron, his writing hero, after she asked for his help finding cabbage strudel (the resulting essay was ultimately included in her best-seller I Feel Bad About My Neck).

Levine also shares other fun anecdotes like only he can, such as the time he and Danny Meyer and Calvin Trillin almost missed their flight because Levine insisted on stopping at Gus’s, a legendary fried chicken joint on the outskirts of Memphis, and how he successfully navigated the complex world of the internet startup, won over investors, and dodged backstabbing partners who left to start competing ventures.

Today, Serious Eats remains one of the most popular food websites with over 11M monthly views and a cult-like following. In addition, Serious Eats launched the careers of talented food writers and recipe developers including NYT-bestselling authors López-Alt and Stella Parks AKA Bravetart. In all, Serious Eats editors and columnists have published an astounding twelve books in the last eight years.

This book is at once a love letter to food and a story about overcoming the seemingly impossible. Thank you, Ed, for refusing to let the dream die!

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