Recently we had a chance to chat with Washington Post food & travel editor Joe Yonan who recently published the book Serve Yourself – a guide to cooking for one. As a single New York gal, I’ve often struggled with figuring out exactly what and how to make my own dinner. Yes, it sounds silly- but I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve actually developed a strategy for ordering off Seamlessweb. So I was eager to read Joe’s new book and jumped at the chance to find out a little bit more about the man himself- and his life in food and travel.
TDO: What does your typical day look like as a food editor?
JY: Well, there’s not really a typical day, so I’ll tell you about today: It began with editing and posting a blog item about “Top Chef” from home, then calling the IT department for help because I’m still fumbling with our new blog-publishing system. At work, I go right into the morning story meeting, where department heads present the stories they have in the works that might be A1 offerings, and the weekly editor(s) of the day present their section plans. (I also supervise the Travel section, part of the Sunday package, which gets talked about on Thursdays). During and after the meeting, I was catching up on email, deleting the hundreds of spam or otherwise uninteresting (read: bad pitches!) messages and zeroing in on the things that need action. Then I was communicating with writers and fellow editors about various things: Where’s that photo? When are you filing your story? How are the pages coming along? Then deputy Food editor Bonnie Benwick and I sat for our live video chat about “Top Chef,” making sure to Tweet the call for questions beforehand. After lunch with one of the higher-ups, a visiting freelancer walked into my office to get some tips on story ideas she’s mulling, and then I dove into story editing for awhile.
TDO: What are some of your favorite culinary destinations around the world? Around America?
JY: Worldwide, I’d have to put Tokyo and Kyoto at the top of the list, an inclusion that saddens me in the wake of the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe. Of course, Paris. Barcelona and San Sebastian, Spain. Rome, Florence. Around the nation, I’d have to say New York, San Francisco, Boston, both Portlands, Los Angeles, Austin, Chicago, Philly.
TDO: If you only had ten minutes to make something for dinner, you would make ________
JY: Tacos de huevos: These are soft corn tortilla tacos with roasted sweet potatoes, fried egg, roasted salsa and pickled onions. With only 10 minutes, I’d microwave the sweet potatoes, but with more time I roast them in the oven (often while I’m out with the dog).
TDO: What is your go-to dish to cook to impress a date?
JY: I take requests. Most recently, it was sweet potato soup with chorizo, chickpeas and kale, on request. Went well. It depends on the guy, and what foods he’s into, but next time I’m thinking it’ll be pizza: perhaps with figs, taleggio and radicchio.
TDO: Your current obsession:
JY: Kimchi. Can’t get enough of it.