Tanya Steel is a well-known food writer and Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning food Web site, Epicurious.com. Before joining Epicurious, Steel was the New York Editor of Bon Appetit magazine, where she wrote columns and features. Ms. Steel won the prestigious James Beard Foundation Journalism Award for Magazine Restaurant Review or Critique, 2003. She is a member of the American Society of Magazine Editors and a James Beard Restaurant Judge. Prior to Bon Appétit, she was an editor at Diversion, Food & Wine, and Mademoiselle magazines. In recent years, Steel created the charity program Wine. Dine. Donate. to combat hunger in conjunction with America's Second Harvest. Steel is the co-author of Real Food for Healthy Kids, which was published in late 2008.
Tanya Steel: I’m Tanya Steel, Editor-in-Chief of Epicurious.com. I was actually born in London, but I moved here when I was six years old – moved to New York City. And it’s been a very interesting influence in my life, England, because I’ve spent every summer of my life from the age of zero to about 21 years old where I would go back every summer. And I grew up in a very Anglo household in New York City, so I’m very much 50 percent kind of English and 50 percent New Yorker. And it’s created kind of an interesting . . . interesting bubble and meld of influences and cultures.
I think that growing up in New York in the ‘70s and ‘80s, which is when I was really here, it was a great time to be in New York, and New York was very different at that time. It had a real grittiness and an edge to it that it no longer has. And so I took a lot of that kind of more raw part of New York City and went to clubs all the time when I was a kid. I went to . . .Kansas City, and . . , and Studio 54. And the guy I ended up marrying actually worked at Xenon, which was a big disco at the time. So I grew up in a very interesting time in New York, and in some ways I’m kind of sad that New York no longer exists like that – kind of the taxi driver that you see in New York; the New York scene of the taxi driver. But in many ways I think that I still retained a very Englishness. And part of that is being very polite and solicitous and maybe overly so. And my kids, in fact, are very polite. And I have two identical twin boys, and they are probably the most polite kids I’ve ever met.
Recorded on 1/17/08