The Interview — Amanda H. and Merrill S., Founders, Food52
Amanda Hesser is the CEO and co-founder of Food52, which has won the James Beard Awards’ Publication of the Year and the IACP’s Best Culinary Website. Named one of the 50 most influential women in food by Gourmet, she wrote the award-winning books Cooking for Mr. Latte & The Cook and the Gardener, as well as The Essential New York Times Cookbook, a Times bestseller. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter. After graduating from Brown and Le Cordon Bleu, Merrill Stubbs, co-founder and president of Food52, worked at Cook’s Illustrated and behind the counter at Flour Bakery in Boston’s South End. In addition to her work with Amanda on The Essential New York Times Cookbook, Merrill has written for the Times’ T Living, Edible Brooklyn and Body+Soul. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.
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What is your most favorite holiday tradition?
Amanda: On Christmas Eve, my husband’s family sits by the fire and reads “The Tailor of Gloucester” – everyone takes a turn, including the kids.
What is your favorite holiday meal?
View Amanda's Essentials
What is your favorite holiday dessert recipe to make?
Amanda and Merrill: We both love this classic apple pie.
Your best holiday gifting tip or piece of advice:
Merrill: Make sure your wrapping supply is in good shape early in the season. You don’t want to run out of paper or ribbon at the last minute, and the selection is better the earlier you shop for these things.
The best holiday present you’ve ever received?
Amanda: My husband once bought me a goat-hair brush for the bath, which at first I thought was the strangest – and smelliest! – gift, but once the barnyard-y aroma wore off, I found it to be the best bath brush around! I love that he took a risk and found something that I wouldn’t have thought to ask for yet very much matches my sensibilities.
You’ll be buying most of your holiday presents at:
Amanda: Provisions – yes, it’s self-serving to say this (sorry!), but Merrill and I have selected every one of our 2,000 products, so we really do love them and want to give them to our friends and family.
Your biggest fashion faux pas, or a regrettable style phase:
Amanda: The 1980s and my teenage years collided – it wasn’t my fault! Shoulder pads and Jon Bon Jovi hair are a tough combo to live down.
Merrill: I had a pair of houndstooth stirrup pants in the early 90s that I wore at least once a week.
Your current Netflix addiction:
The beauty product found in your bag at all times:
At 9am each day, you are…
Amanda: Often arriving at Morandi for a breakfast meeting. Merrill and I used to treat Morandi as an office before we had one (despite the restaurant atmosphere, they have plugs and WIFI), and we still go there, 5 years later, for morning meetings. Poached eggs, toast, OJ, and coffee.