Beyond the Grill


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
For the last 10-15+ years, the majority of your focus, professionally has been grilling and barbecuing and that is what people seem to know you for nowadays, but before that you had written a number of other books, not related to grilling or barbecuing.  It must be difficult to get away from that sometimes.  But when you do, what do you like to eat?  What kind of restaurants do you like to frequent?  What ethnic cuisines are your favorite?
Joined May 5, 2011
My professional food writing has been an evolution--just like my life.   I started writing about French culinary techniques (Taste of the Mountains Cooking School Cookbook and Celebration of the Seasons) because I had been living and working in France.    Then, after I became the restaurant critic for Boston Magazine, I wrote a series of books on New England restaurants.    I moved to Miami in 1990, and quickly became smitten with the emerging New Floridian cuisine, not to mention the nearby Latino and Caribbean cuisines.    These gave rise to my books  Miami Spice, Caribbean Pantry, and Healthy Latin Cooking.   

My interest in low fat cooking came from a cholesterol problem I developed after a decade of reviewing restaurants.   (This was back in the days before Lipitor.)   So I wrote a series of High-Flavor, Low-Fat cookbooks to help me manage my own diet.    These were reborn recently as The Big Flavor Cookbook  and Bold Healthy Flavors.    Yes, I currently write about ribs, pork shoulders, and brisket (although I write with equal pleasure about the healthy and vegetarian grilling of Asia.)    But at home, we still stick as much as possible to a healthy low fat diet with a lot of vegetables. 

My grilling epiphany came in 1994 and I have focused on world barbecue from then until the present.    It's been an amazing journey--around the globe a half dozen times, with stops in more than 50 countries.   TV shows in English and French.   Book tours.    Barbecue University.    Best of Barbecue and Planet Barbecue products.    Wow. 

I still love barbecue and I plan to be involved with it for a long time.  But I'm exploring new avenues, including fiction.    (I recently wrote a novel, which will be published next spring.) 

When eating out, my tastes are varied.   I love ethnic food, but I'm also fascinated by the molecular cuisine of chefs like Ferran Adria and Grant Achetz.   But I'm not above a great steak house.   

At home, we try to cook as locavore and organic as possible.    I guess more than anything, I look for authenticity and clean wholesome food.   

For ethnic cuisine, I have a strong bent for Asian--Japanese (land of my birth), Korean, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, Thai.    When I'm on tour for barbecue, and especially when I get home, the food I most crave is sushi.
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