How did you two first meet?
E: We met while living in Chicago. I was an editor at Daily Candy; Heather was an editor at Tasting Table. I emailed Heather, having never met her, to tell her what a great job she was doing. We made a lunch date to meet at a new restaurant that Heather had to try for a story. We bonded over a mediocre bowl of tomato soup and a lamentable fried mortadella sandwich, and the rest is history.
What was your first entry into the food industry?
E: I started getting interested in food and cooking a bit later in life—in my mid-twenties. I quickly became obsessed and wanted to learn anything and everything related to food, nutrition, and cooking. I started taking weekly trips to the farmer's market, collecting cookbooks, and reading blogs like mad. Yotam Ottolenghi published Plenty a few years later. Like most people who were fans, we were totally hooked. I figured the best way to get better at cooking would be to learn from the man himself. I sent a cold email that unbolted a lot of pleading and ended up with a month-long stage in London. Within five minutes on my first day, I was certain I wanted to redirect my career into something involving food.
H: I've been cooking my entire life—even in elementary school, I was doing Thai, Indian, and Japanese cooking projects. I dove into the food world right after graduating from college; I got two full-time jobs doing cooking demonstrations and recipe development for Whole Foods and working nights and weekends at a restaurant with a chef I admired. Food media felt like the best outlet for my culinary obsession and after a year, I had built up sufficient vocabulary to talk my way into an internship with a food-focused publication in New York. That lead to 10 years as an editor covering food, restaurants, and culinary culture.
What was the first meal you remember having that truly nourished you?
E: I remember so many meals that have been nourishing throughout my life for myriad reasons. For me, nourishment comes as much from the people I'm eating with and the conversations we're having as the food itself; in that vein, I'd say the most nourishing food memories come from my grandma Elaine's table, where there was always an abundance of food swept from her fridge and pantry onto beautiful plates and platters collected from her travels around the world.
H: I'll have to echo Emily here and mention my maternal grandmother, Mary. There's no one meal in particular that comes to mind; rather, when I think of nourishment, I think of the blue zip-top cooler bad that she'd bring over at least four times a week, always packed with ceramic contains of snacks, soups, stews, salads, and baked goods. My childhood was filled with her wonderful, homey cooking, which drew on her Polish-Midwestern background and my grandfather's Lebanese heritage: caponata and Cornish pasties; lentil soup, stuffed cabbage, and chicken cacciatore; hummus and lubiya made with fresh green beans; blue plum coffee cake, brown sugar bars, lace cookies, Syrian bread, and so much more.