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Food for Thought

Food Luminaries Share Kitchen Insights with NYPL


We love eating food, obviously. But, we also love reading about it, planning it, and making it. Now, add to that list hearing culinary masters wax poetic. Over the years, NYPL has been lucky enough to host some of the world's top chefs, food writers, chocolatiers, and other taste-makers. Here are some of the best recipes, culinary tips, and philosophies of cuisine from the NYPL video archive.

The top of the season to you from two "Chaps"
The top of the season to you from two "Chaps"
Image ID: 1585608

Ferran Adrià on his favorite foods

"There's not just one thing I like to eat, and there's not just one thing I like to cook. I like everything. There's so many hundreds and hundreds of things."

Ruth Reichl on food writing and editing Gourmet magazine

"Everybody eats, and everybody has something to say about food. So I went to writers I really liked and tried to persuade them to say something about food... Writing about food is very difficult because you're writing about something that's intangible, and it takes real talent to do it well."

David Chang on the secret of genius chefs

"That's the secret. There's no geniuses. It's just how many failures they're willing to make."

Melanie Rehak on her favorite brussels sprouts recipe from NYPL's Jean Strouse

"It's my favorite recipe alteration ever because Jean wrote on the copy that she gave me when I was at the (Cullman) Center: 'Here I usually add a stick of butter,' which — I think you want to read that in every recipe."

Rocco DiSpirito on healthy cookies

"Parents, if I told you, we could makes cookies that your kids could eat all day long, as many as they wanted without any harm to their bodies, what would you say? Well, you're New Yorkers, so I think the first thing you're saying is, 'You're full of it,' right? Is that the first?... But I'm really telling you the truth."

Elizabeth Gilbert on meeting her great-grandmother through her cookbook

"My great-grandmother published this book in 1947. She was a columnist for Philadelphia newspapers and Delaware newspapers writing about food, and a terrific, natural, lively, vivid writer. And I had sort of known about her existence but chose to completely ignore it. I wasn't interested in the domestic arts, and I just sort of cast it away and discovered it last spring and just thought, 'I should take a look at what this thing is.' And found this extraordinary living person inside that book who was much more Dorothy Parker than Betty Crocker."

Lidia Bastianich on Italian-American cuisine

"Italian-American is really a cuisine of adaptations, and when the early immigrants came, they used the ingredients they found. And of course vegetables always play such a big role in Italian cuisine. And one vegetable that always resurfaced in Italian-American cuisine was the much-loved artichoke. They stuffed it. They braised it. They fried it."

Sarah Endline on chocolate

"I wanted to create something new in the candy world, but what I got really fascinated about was chocolate because chocolate is like the bellwether of the candy industry. When you think of candy, you've got to think of chocolate. And what I started to realize is, you know, chocolate does not come from a factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania... It comes from a tree!"

Marcus Samuelsson on foie gras

"Fois gras is obviously something that's highly controversial. But in Göteborg it came out of a tin, and we sliced it. It was 'very expensive — don't touch it!' In France, it was just delivered, and we had to clean it constantly and it had to be room temperature and you had to clean very carefully, and if you do it well, you can pull all the veins out with one rip. After cleaning it so many times, I started to think about how come it was served in a terrine. When I came to America... started to sear it and served it with figs or mango. I thought it was such a cool American approach."


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

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