The resurgence, Steel believes, is fueled by food TV.
Tanya Steel: I do think that there’s been a resurgence in cooking at home, particularly for young people. And I really do feel that the reason that that is, is there’s something . . . Anybody can go to any restaurant and plunk down some cash. But to invite people into your home, which is already saying, “I have a cool home. Come and look.” You know, “I’m not embarrassed.” And to say that I feel confident enough to . . . to show you my chops, so to speak, and to get people to feel good enough about what they have to offer is a new thing. And I really think there are a number of reasons for it. One of them is that in the last 10 years with all the new food shows that are out there both on Food Network and on all the public televisions. Also the celebrity chef phenomenon has really taken off. And so men especially find that very appealing and aspire to be kind of that, you know . . . kind of gutsy, rugged, sensual, you know, cook. There’s something very sensual about a man that can cook. So I think that’s another reason why. And also the proliferation of food magazines and food web sites. I mean it’s kind of a huge blossoming community. I know that when Epicurious started you know we . . . 12, 13 years ago we had, you know, maybe half a million unique visitors. You know last month I had six million unique visitors. And it’s . . . It’s all . . . You know it’s about two-thirds women, but a third men. And the male population keeps growing and growing, and the age keeps getting younger and younger because more people are excited about doing it. My husband is actually a high school history teacher, and his students . . . The amount of students that go onto Epicurious and have been reporting back to him that, “Oh, you know, Mr. Steel, I made this … and my parents were so impressed,” it’s really gone up in the last 10 years. It’s really fascinating to see that teenagers are really cooking now. That’s such a great thing for us. I mean that really bodes well for the future.
Recorded on: 1/17/08