She's been Gourmet Magazine's editor in chief and the chief restaurant critic of both The New York Times and the L.A. Times, and she's got two bestselling culinary memoirs under her belt. Now Ruth Reichl is making her debut as a fiction writer, with a new novel about a young food writer trying to make it in New York City, called Delicious!
On Saturday, May 17, Reichl will be in town headlining the 3rd annual LitFest Pasadena. The event has been christened LitFest on the Prowl and will take place in various locations in Pasadena's Playhouse District, kicking off at 5 with a conversation at Vroman's bookstore between Ruth Reichl and Laurie Ochoa, Arts and Entertainment Editor of the L.A. Times (and former L.A. Weekly Editor).
Reichl is looking forward to the sit-down with Ochoa, who was the managing editor of Gourmet during the magazine's Reichl era.
"Laurie is one of the people I admire most," Reichl emailed. "She's not just a good editor, she's a great one, the kind who agonizes over every word. She will sit and wrestle with a piece until she thinks it's perfect. I feel so lucky to have worked with her."
Ochoa may have left the food-writing world in her day job, but she is married to Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer Jonathan Gold, a proud Reichl protege. ("She is our most important food writer," Gold emailed, "and my mentor.")
The festival's organizers - who have from the start tried to brand it as the anti-L.A. Times Festival of Books, with a more frisky, irreverent attitude - bit right away when they learned that Reichl had a novel coming out in the spring.
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"I've been reading Ruth delightedly ever since she was the L.A. Times restaurant critic in the 80s," festival founder Larry Wilson said. "And the food world is such a huge part of the culture right now, it's exploded like fashion did 50 years ago."
There will be complimentary wine from Everson Royce wine store, along with small bites provided by Robert Simon's Bistro 45 in honor of Reichl, who gave the first big review to Simon's Cafe Jacoulet in Old Pasadena back in the mid-1980s.