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Critic watch

Andrew Knowlton:

Portrait of a Foodist

Straight-talking, good-looking men seem to be par for the course at Bon Appétit, but it’s restaurant and drinks editor Andrew Knowlton whose brain is bulging with intel on the hottest, newest, latest boîtes and bistros all around the globe. Over an Einbecker Pilsner with The Daily at his neighborhood joint, Prime Meats in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, he talked both turkey and t-shirts. BY ASHLEY BAKER PORTRAIT BY DEAN KAUFMAN What was your entrée into food? I grew up in Atlanta, and my dad used to take me out to all of these crazy Indian restaurants where they had this flat bread called naan, and you would order chicken tikki masala, and it was all so foreign. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it had a huge influence on me. After school, I just fell in love with eating and going out. I wasn’t really into theater and movies as much as the next person, so it kind of became my form of entertainment. And then I was at a publishing course at NYU back in 1999, and I ended up interning at Bon Appétit. During that time, I was working as a waiter at a place on Smith Street in Brooklyn called The Grocery. That was my first window into the buzz and the high that you get from being in restaurants. I mean, of course a good writer can write about anything, whether it’s


cars or architecture, but I chose food. Now, everyone’s an expert. Have you ever posted on Yelp? Never. I truly believe that if the restaurant really sucks, it’s not going to get good reviews on Yelp. And if the restaurant is really awesome, it’s not going to have one Yelp star or whatever their rating system is. I agree with [Los Angeles Times critic] Jonathan Gold: Yelp is amazing if you want to know what a Taiwanese teenager thinks about a Taiwanese restaurant in Southern California. But would I ever use that website as a basis for my opinion about a restaurant? No. When did Americans become so much more curious about food? When I started at Bon Appétit, nobody was taking pictures of their dinner. The Food Network was in its infancy. Of course, the overnight celebrity chef stuff

The Daily Front Row  

The Daily Front Row

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