Foreword by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt
Original recipes by J. Kenji López-Alt of The Food Lab and Stella Parksof BraveTart
James Beard Award-winning founder of Serious Eats Ed Levine finally tells the mouthwatering and heartstopping story of building–and almost losing–one of the most acclaimed and beloved food sites in the world.
In 2005, Ed Levine was a freelance food writer with an unlikely dream: to control his own fate and create a different kind of food publication. He wanted to unearth the world’s best bagels, the best burgers, the best hot dogs–the best of everything edible. To build something for people like him who took everything edible seriously, from the tasting menu at Per Se and omakase feasts at Nobu down to mass-market candy, fast food burgers, and instant ramen.
Against all sane advice, he created a blog for $100 and called it…Serious Eats. The site quickly became a home for obsessives who didn’t take themselves too seriously. Intrepid staffers feasted on every dumpling in Chinatown and sampled every item on In-N-Out’s secret menu. Talented recipe developers like The Food Lab’s J. Kenji López-Alt and Stella Parks, aka BraveTart, attracted cult followings.
Even as Serious Eats became better-known–even beloved and respected–every day felt like it could be its last. Ed secured handshake deals from investors and would-be acquirers over lunch only to have them renege after dessert. He put his marriage, career, and relationships with friends and family at risk through his stubborn refusal to let his dream die. He prayed that the ride would never end. But if it did, that he would make it out alive.
This is the moving story of making a glorious, weird, and wonderful dream come true. It’s the story of one food obsessive who followed a passion to terrifying, thrilling, and mouthwatering places–and all the serious eats along the way.
“Foodies and tech junkies will tear through this fast-paced tale from a food-loving entrepreneur who changed the course of food media.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Ed Levine’s Serious Eater is a hilarious and moving story of unconventional entrepreneurialism, passion, and guts. It’s also an important documentation of the very early days of foodie-ism as we know it, written by someone who rewrote the playbook on food journalism, and in doing so, generously inspired and encouraged scores of gastronauts, cooks, restaurateurs, and journalists alike.” —Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, founder of Shake Shack, and author of Setting the Table
“Serious Eater is 50 percent startup story; 50 percent Ed Levine’s meticulous food diary and 100 percent wild, wacky, and entertaining. Ed’s humor, charm, and genuine love and care for great food comes through on every page. The book makes you hungry for Ed to succeed . . . and for lunch.” —Christina Tosi, founder of Milk Bar
“Full of lively and believable dialogue and events…A reminder for all that good guys can finish first.” —Booklist
“Serious Eater is seriously good! A brilliantly written account of the journey of a food media startup in New York City, it’s a delicious, sometimes stomach-churning, roller coaster ride, and each page leaves you hungry for the next. Ed’s brutal and vulnerable honesty makes you root for him from start to finish, and you’ll be so glad he invited you to a seat at his table.” —Ree Drummond, New York Times bestselling author of The Pioneer Woman Cooks
“When it comes to eating, few are as serious about the sport as Ed Levine. Serious Eater is the untold story of how Ed built his groundbreaking website and why he has devoted his life to all things delicious. After decades of spreading the good food gospel, we get a glimpse of the missionary behind the mission.” —Dan Barber, chef of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns
“How did we all become obsessed with food? The answer might be: Ed Levine. A tremendous writer, eater, and human, Ed has written the hilarious, harrowing, passionate, definitive true story of the birth of Serious Eats, the world’s first major food site. This is good stuff. You will eat the pages.” —Phil Rosenthal, creator of Everybody Loves Raymond and Somebody Feed Phil
“Serious Eater is big-hearted, warm, fascinating, and brave. It also made me really hungry. I loved reading about how Ed Levine overcame the seemingly impossible challenges of growing Serious Eats, fueled by his never-ending optimism. And I think you will, too.” —Brian Koppelman, cocreator and showrunner of Billions
“The deliciously true journey (with recipes) of one man’s adventures in the food business. We all need to eat, but Ed needs (all of us) to eat well.” —Seth Godin, author of This Is Marketing