A food and cooking editor sets the menu

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Since Emily Weinstein took on her role as food and cooking editor at The Times in December 2021, she has overseen her share of ambitious projects and popular recipes. Whether it’s an investigation into why food prices have skyrocketed or a collection of Thanksgiving dinner favorites, the team strives to reach people who are seasoned foodies or just beginning their journey into the kitchen.

Prior to assuming her current role, Ms. Weinstein contributed to the work of The Times’ Food and Cooking team. She started as a freelancer in 2007, working on the newspaper’s restaurant database.

In a recent conversation, she spoke about focusing on readers’ interests and what’s next for food and cooking. This interview has been edited.

As a journalist, when did you first learn to think about food?

I trained at the New York Times; It was an amazing education for me. I joined us years ago as a freelancer and worked on our restaurant database at the time. That was a fact check. As much as I loved food – and I love food and reading about it – it never clicked for me that it could be what I wanted to do as an editor and reporter. Then I came to The Times and kept thinking about it.

I also love to cook, but I don’t see myself as a professionally trained chef. One of NYT Cooking’s great strengths is that we have culinary professionals, but we also have many seasoned editors who are home cooks and just really love food. It is the marriage of these two skills and sensibilities that creates NYT Cooking.

Besides Thanksgiving, what do you have in mind for your reporting right now?

I want to write about restaurants the way people who love restaurants talk about them. We post heavy restaurant reviews, but I also want to make sure we tell you where to go on any given Tuesday night. We launched a restaurant newsletter this year, the Where to Eat Newsletter. That’s a big part of that overall accomplishment. And I want to keep growing and thinking about it.

For Cooking, we’re excited about our video team and operations in our Manhattan studio. When it comes to recipes, we always think of our readers: what are their needs? How do we help make your day easier? How can recipes help you?

You wrote that ice cream is your favorite food. Is there something that captures a universal idea of ​​good food?

There is an art and science behind exceptional ice cream. But basically it is purely pleasant. Ice cream can appear in the most luxurious context imaginable; It can also be something you eat at a snack bar on a boardwalk. But it’s really all about bliss. Nothing kills like ice cream. It makes you so happy.

Food is infinitely interesting. But I think our recipes should make you hungry. They should provide some basic level of satisfaction. And ice does that.

You write those too Five weekday dishes Newsletter. Are the muscles you use when putting this together different than what you rely on when editing?

It’s really nice to have that moment every week when I’m on the treadmill. But I see it as a very important part of my job as an editor. It keeps me close to the readers and what they need and what they want.

My newsletter is very specific. Weekday cooking, relatively short ingredient list, not many pots and pans, designed for busy people who still want something good to eat at the end of the day.

Many people use cooking to learn about the world. So the recipes for the week should be interesting, or readers should learn a new technique. But above all, they should be tasty and not so much work.

I think it helps me as the editor in charge and me as the person ultimately responsible for setting the editorial vision for Cooking.

After a year in this job, what have you learned and what do you hope to do next with the desk?

I want to treat restaurants and restaurant culture even more voraciously; I want to make our restaurant reviews and reporting even more useful. We have our national restaurant list – Covid has crystallized how much people love restaurants and how important restaurants are in public life, especially in cities. I would like to expand this coverage.

We have expanded our staff significantly and the greatest joy of the past year has been seeing all these new employees settle in and do a great job. The dynamic of our Covid world has shifted this year and our team is getting out more and it feels like something has clicked. We did a great job in 2021 but this year I’m looking at everything our team is doing and I’m inspired.

The next step is to keep the overall mission focused on great food journalism and great recipes that help people and bring them together.