Given I love nothing more than a simple carbohydrate, when not working at HMA, I spend my spare time as a food, drink (and travel) writer for several local magazines. The benefit of this hobby – lots of delicious opportunities to sample chefs’ new menus, preview new restaurants and sip on cocktails with very fancy names.
Another benefit – hanging with cool foodie media folks. The local food writing community is a tight-knit one, and one I truly love to be a part of.
Over the past several years, I’ve spent many a night at a media table with today’s #MediaMonday, Sandy Wasserman. And, funny enough, Abbie here in our office has gotten to know him a bit over the years, too, as they both go walking in the same park several days a week! Before she knew his name, actually nicknamed him “flip flop man,” for his affinity for wearing flip flops even when it’s “winter” here in the Valley.
So, Sandy, time to share. What do you want to tell the blogosphere about yourself today?
Having grown up with two Jewish grandmothers in suburban New York City, I knew food would play a part in my life but never knew exactly how. I did know that I liked to eat most things especially cheeseburgers, pizza, Buffalo wings (with only blue cheese, mind you) as well as the classics, including cassoulet and prime rib.
I got started in the restaurant industry far before I started writing about it – answering an ad in a local newspaper in Stratford, Conn. one summer during college. No experience necessary and hired on the spot at a family-owned Italian seafood restaurant, there I learned the ins and outs of the kitchen....prepping, working different stations including fryer, sauté and pantry. I had issues with broiler though – getting those filets to the right temperature not so easy.
Fast forward to 1993 when I moved to Scottsdale sight unseen. I began working at the now-defunct Café Terra Cotta restaurant as a server, and eventually began pricing (and sipping on) their wines. Between reading the labels and sampling the inventory, I found myself quickly transfixed with the local wine industry, and started working full-time in wine soon after. I would spend the next several years working with some of the Valley’s best restaurants on their wine programs, in fact. Loved selling them “their juice!”
But you know what I didn’t love – the recession. Neither did my industry.
I started my website – Pulling Corks and Forks – in 2010 in an effort to re-invent myself, post-recession, as well as my own little love letter to the local food and drink scene, which is wholly underappreciated, in my opinion, especially on the regional and national stages. Four hundred-plus posts later, I am still loving it – and always looking for great new stories. Along the way, I’ve also had the chance to serve as a food judge at some great local taste events, and make tons of great new friends.
Going forward, I am looking at expanding my coverage to include some travel and lifestyle, as well as video and guest columns. I am also working in the real estate industry, similarly loving it, and an ambassador for #FoodieChats.