Those mouthwatering photos fronting the food magazines every month are the result of test-kitchen chefs who brave sharp knives, spatters of grease—and eating themselves sick—to come up with the picture-perfect concoction. Here, three culinary geniuses replicate the dishes gracing their current covers. While television cooking shows serve principally to entertain, the challenge for the magazine chef is to create meals that not only jump off the page but can actually be whipped up by the typical reader—be it an elegant arrangement of greens or a decadent platter of fried chicken. Dig in.
Photos: Steven Freeman
Lucinda Scala Quinn
Executive Food Editor Martha Stewart Living
Tell me about this dish.
It is a sophisticated, contemporary, modern look at a bruschetta using heirloom tomatoes. The other thing is, it’s made on one slice of bread. That’s an easy way to serve a crowd.
It looks blessedly easy.
Just like every other brand, Martha Stewart Living has evolved. People are busy; they have less time. You really want to empower them to make something healthy and delicious with the least amount of anxiety.
Do you have a five-second rule in the kitchen?
Some people have gloves on, and some people don’t. It’s all a matter of preference. But we run a pretty fastidious ship.
How sick did you get of eating tomatoes?
There’s something about tomatoes and bread—that’s an iconic combination. You just never get sick of a really good tomato.
Test Kitchen Senior Editor Food & Wine
What did you make?
It’s a beautiful ceviche, which is our fun way of saying it’s a marinated vegetable dish. It kind of speaks to the trend of how vegetables are so popular right now.
Bacon’s not popular anymore?
We never get sick of bacon, but now we are celebrating seasonable, fresh produce. I think people are ready for something else.
Does a veggie dish deserve to be followed by a big ice cream sundae?
That’s defi nitely what we like to think, yes.
Test Kitchen Director Saveur
How did you come up with this dish?
It’s about the heartland of America. In the food world, we tend to think very East Coast-West Coast. The cities where there’s such great food culture tend to get overlooked, so we thought it would be a great idea to focus on those.
How did you make it?
This fried chicken is from Rye, in Kansas. They make a chicken that’s brined, battered and fried. We tested it eight or 10 times. We were getting oil splattered on our clothes, in our hair—you go home and you smell yourself, and you know what you cooked that day. We at Saveur think about being health conscious, but what butters our bread is what people do in their home.
What do you eat when you get home?
Mostly nothing. Fried chicken is heavy, it’s greasy. When I go home, I’m not even hungry.