You read them here, now find out who the hell they are: We give you the diverse group of men and women who cover the local food and drink scene for you on SFoodie.
Name: Jesse Hirsch
Blogs about: Events and Happenings
Having moved here from Queens, New York, in October, Jesse Hirsch is both the new guy around SFoodie and the San Francisco food scene. A UMass journalism grad, experienced freelancer, and the former editor of Edible Queens magazine (sister mag of Edible San Francisco), the kid has some skills. Using the allure of Korean pickled veggies (banchan), I met up with him at Stone Korean Kitchen for some kimchi fried rice and Korean rice bowls (dol sot bi bim bap).
Lou: What was it that got you interested in food?
Jesse: I took a job in a Wisconsin town of 4,500 and was one of two reporters covering an entire county. While I was there, I developed an appreciation for the Friday Night Fish Fry, a Catholic tradition. In Wisconsin, they really do it up: huge family-style dinners with all-you-can-eat fried fish, coleslaw, fries, biscuits, and strawberry shortcake. You're in a major food coma by the time you're done. Amazing! I get a little emotional thinking about it.
So what took you from the news reporting world to writing about food?
I had a big break moment when I was living in Queens [New York] and this great food magazine came out, Edible Queens. I was like, "That is so badass! Finally someone is giving Queens the respect it's due." I was reading their website late at night and I found a typo, so I sent an e-mail to the publisher. I mentioned that if they ever needed any help editing, I could pitch in. She wrote back and said, "I need help making a monthly newsletter." I asked her, "What would you need me to do?" and she said, "Everything!"
You hadn't done any food writing before then?
Not really. That isn't to say I wasn't a passionate eater, but it was just a hobby. I didn't have any food writing experience, but my girlfriend is a great cook (and coach) and she said, "You like to eat, right? And you know how to write, right? Just combine those two things." [Food writing] is definitely not where I expected to end up, but now I can't picture it any other way.
Do you find there are big differences between the New York and San Francisco food writing scenes?
People are a lot less willing to be negative here. In New York it was skewed to the other end of the spectrum. I felt like there was far too much bitchiness and food world gossipy stuff; here there's mostly a vibe of positivity. It's great that everyone is upbeat and supportive, but you can't have good without a bad standard to compare it to. There's also a lot of food writing here that's like, "I went here and I ate this," but doesn't tell you about its quality.
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