With a new book and podcast under way, it’s time to take Toqueland out for another spin …
Where in the world do I begin? Poor Charlie Palmer and that Citymeals on Wheels recipient have been hanging around the top of this site for 16 months and I’m sure many of you have left me for whatever the blog equivalent of “dead” is. But the truth is that I’ve just been struggling under the weight of work, indecision, and perfectionism (what turned out to be clinical indecision/perfectionism at some points, but that’s a story for another time) and unsure what to do here. But that’s largely over now–knock wood–and I’m going to try my level best to stay in regular touch throughout 2018, at least that’s the plan.
Before I share the vision for this site and what you can expect here starting next week, please indulge a brief catch-up on some projects you might be interested in:
At long last, Chefs, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: How Food Lovers, Free Spirits, Misfits, and Wanderers Created a New American Profession, my book about the rise of the American chef in the 1970s and 1980s, will debut on February 27. As many of you know, it’s been a five-year labor of love (and of pain for my publisher and family; no book should take that long). I conducted more than two hundred interviews and read I-don’t-know-how-many books and articles to produce it, and I can’t wait for you all to see it. What distinguishes the book–I hope–is that its focus isn’t food, but chefs, and how that profession rose to its place of prominence in this country.
The cover photo is my absolute favorite chef image of all time, the opening crew of Michael’s Santa Monica–Michael McCarty, Ken Frank, Jonathan Waxman, and Mark Peel–taken in 1979. The book’s now available for preorder and I hope you’ll consider purchasing one and let me know what you think of it by email, Facebook, or social media (links to all of that at the top of this page). Also, I’ll be on the road promoting the book in Philly, Los Angeles (3 times!), San Francisco, and Napa, with more cities on the way, in February, March, and April. Those events/talks/signings will all be gathered on a new Appearances page my site manager is creating for me as I write this, and I hope to meet some of you on the road and to share my adventures in book promotion here with dispatches from around the country. (For the moment, New York readers might like to know that I’ll be in conversation with Esquire‘s food and drinks editor Jeff Gordinier at the 92nd Street Y on Thursday, March 15, followed by a book signing; tickets are already available.)
Back in September, I launched a new podcast with my friends at Heritage Radio Network. It’s called Andrew Talks to Chefs and it’s mostly deep-dive biographical interviews with a diverse group of toques from around the country, and the world. In the first season, I welcomed (in order of appearance): Alex Stupak, Amanda Cohen, Michael Anthony, Amanda Freitag, Paul Kahan, Stephen Harris, Greg Baxtrom, David Kinch, Victoria Blamey, Massimo Bottura, Marcus Samuelsson, Elise Kornack, Phillip Tessier, Michael White, Curtis Stone, and Richard Blais.
We kicked off Season 2 this afternoon with Lilia’s Missy Robbins and I hope you’ll subscribe and/or leave a comment and/or review on iTunes.
As for Toqueland, in my desire to both post more and simplify things, I’m setting two regular commitments each week: Starting January 22nd, on Mondays (or Tuesdays, if Monday is a holiday) I’ll be posting an article or interview about a chef or industry figure who’s on my mind. In the coming months, many of these will likely be interviews with chefs or writers I interviewed for, but couldn’t fit into, my book.
On Fridays (or Thursdays, if Friday is a holiday), I’ll post notes on the week that was: anything of interest from chefs and industry figures I might have spoken to or corresponded with; commentary on top news stories (or overlooked ones); and/or whatever else seems pressing or top of mind. This will likely take a few weeks to find its groove but at first I expect it’ll take a segmented, “reporter’s notebook” style format rather than something cohesive.
I might also post on other days if I find the time, or if the spirit moves me, but I’ve realized that I’m one of those poor souls who needs structure–not unlike a puppy–or I just flail. A personal goal will be to post more even if it’s not always as ambitious, complete, well-honed, or prettily laid out as I’d like. And I might tweak all of the above, but will be posting twice weekly in some fashion and format regardless.
That’s my story. Sorry to check out for so long but I really do love posting here, and have missed it, and hope you’ll come along with me as I pick things up and carry on into the new year.
Until next week … thanks for reading …