Sam Sifton, The New York Times’ food editor, took part in a Reddit AMA. Below are some of our favorite exchanges.
On the mood at the Times after massive buyouts/layoffs were announced:
We’re okay here. Newspaper people are a dark lot, generally speaking, so bad news is often greeted with a shrug. Could be worse. But there’s an undercurrent of optimism on my desk as well: We’re really excited about Cooking, and hope that it can help us weather the storm.
On Anthony Bourdain:
I have met him! (True fact: His mom was a copy editor here at the Times.) He sent me a story when I was an editor at New York Press. I loved it. We put it on the cover. Then the boss editor came back from vacation and spiked it. Bourdain took the story to The New Yorker. It became a book you may have heard of: Kitchen Confidential. Later we would meet again on a dais, where we absolutely ROASTED Alan Richman, the GQ restaurant critic.
On the grossest food he’s ever eaten:
Deep-fried cow brain at a German joint in St. Louis. It had been frozen before it went into the fryer. It was not quite cooked when it came out. It was served with a slice of pumpernickel, a slice of onion, and a bunch of potato chips. I asked for fries. “It comes with chips,” the waitress said. I got some veins caught in my teeth.
On why he moved on from the national editor role:
I got the chance to build something new, something that could help build the future of the Times, and I got to do it from Craig Claiborne’s chair. That’s a once-in-a-career opportunity.