Saveur

25 Years of Saveur

Founding executive editor Colman Andrews on Saveur’s origins

IN EARLY NOVEMBER 1993, I was eking out a living as a freelance writer in Santa Monica when I received a call from Dorothy Kalins, who’d given me lots of work during her tenure editing Metropolitan Home. “I’ve found us a new magazine,” Dorothy announced.

This magazine doesn’t exist yet, she said. We’d need to invent it. Whole cloth. In Manhattan. Eventually, and more than a little wrenchingly, I would have to leave Los Angeles, the only city I’d ever considered home, and move my wife and two very young daughters to the East Coast. That move changed my life, as did the magazine, which was to become Saveur.

I’d been an editor, in some sense, since launching a mimeographed school paper in the eighth grade, but I didn’t learn how magazines were made until working (often through the night) to get Saveur to the printer on time.

More importantly, collaborating with Dorothy and our fellow cofounders, Christopher Hirsheimer and Michael Grossman—as well as with the other top-notch editors and writers Saveur was able to attract—confirmed something I’d long suspected: that food is the most important subject in the world, and not just because we need to eat to survive.

Food influences, or is influenced by, virtually every other human concern. It’s inextricably interwoven with history, geography, race, religion, politics, power, sex, all of the arts, and most of the sciences. Food touches everything.

So when we published a recipe for gougères or Sri Lankan fish curry, when we covered Oaxaca’s Tlacolula market or Argentina’s Mendoza Valley, or when we went on about a soft-ripe cheese from California’s Cowgirl Creamery, we were ultimately attempting to express who we are and how we all connect to each other.

I believe that those of us who helped create, or simply consumed, Saveur over the past quarter century spoke this same shared language. I believe it’s why we’re still talking today.

COLMAN ANDREWS, WHO ALSO SERVED AS THIS MAGAZINE’S EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, STUCK AROUND UNTIL 2006.

THE CLASS OF 1994

Saveur has never worshipped restaurants. Forget about the hottest young chef in town; we’ve always been more interested in what his or her grandmother cooks at home. The exceptions: those places that carry substantial cultural weight, in that they speak to how we were eating in a certain place at a certain time. The following restaurants, all born 25 years ago, qualify.

Astrid & Gastón Lima

French Laundry* Napa, California *at least the Thomas Keller version

Gramercy Tavern New York City

Guelaguetza Los Angeles See p. 80 for owner Bricia Lopez’s feature on Oaxaca.

Higgins Portland, Oregon

Il Buco New York City

I Trulli New York City

Judson Grill* New York City *closed in 2004

La Pergola Rome

Le Bernardin* New York City *under Eric Ripert, who took over in 1994, following the untimely death of founder Gilbert LeCoze at age 48

Les Amis Singapore

Nobu New York City

St. John London

Sullivan Street Bakery New York City

Former test kitchen director Hunter Lewis on Jacques Pépin

saveur was the most real food magazine from the get-go. We simply cooked everything, then shot everything. I didn’t know food stylists existed until I went to Bon Appétit, where everybody had an assistant. Was Saveur’s corporate culture sustainable? Or even functional? Maybe not, but what an education!

Where else would Jacques Pépin waltz into the test kitchen and start baking his mother’s apple tart? The legend arrived that day, in 2010, wearing crisp chef whites and acting a bit sheepish. He may have, by his own admission, enjoyed too much Champagne with friends the night before. I was fixated on his hands the entire time. You could blindfold this guy, and he could still cook. Pépin pulled the tart from our oven and held it up to the camera for the shot at right. Assuming the baking dish couldn’t have been that hot, I picked it up after he set it down—and immediately dropped the thing on the counter. I’m telling you, Jacques Pépin has asbestos fingers, oven mitts for hands.

HUNTER LEWIS, WHO WORKED HERE FROM 2008 TO 2011, IS NOW THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF FOOD & WINE.

RECIPE

Maman’s Apple Tart

SERVES 8

Total Time: 2 hr. 15 min.

Jacques Pépin learned to make this rustic tart from his mother. To form the crust, he suggests covering the dough with plastic wrap to more easily press it into the pan.

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking powder
5 Tbsp. chilled, unsalted butter, cut into ½-in. cubes, divided
3 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
2 Tbsp. whole milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 large Empire or Cortland apples (1 lb.), peeled and cored, each cut into 8 wedges
2 Tbsp. apricot preserves, warmed slightly in the microwave to soften

1 Preheat the oven (with its rack positioned in the center) to 375°F. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, the salt, and the baking powder. Add 3 tablespoons butter and the shortening and, using your fingers, rub the fat into the flour mixture to form coarse, pea-size pieces. Add the milk and egg, and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Press the dough together with your hands and transfer it to a 9-inch glass pie plate. Press the dough evenly along the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Refrigerate until firm to the touch, 30–35 minutes.

Retrieve crust from the fridge, then arrange apple wedges side by side, overlapping slightly around the bottom of the crust, like the spokes of a wheel, pushing gently into

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