Lesley Balla’s Chef Hazing Story–Two Years in the Making


Lesley Balla, blogstress at Eater LA, wrote If You Can’t Take the Heat two years ago, and it’s finally published. She tells the tale:

In early 2006, just when I started freelancing, I heard the James Beard Foundation was launching a new print magazine and looking for
pitches. I thought this was the perfect vehicle, lots of chefs would
read it, restaurant people, food magazine editors. I honestly would
have done it for free because I loved this story. I interviewed chefs from all over the country, some I knew, some I’ve never heard of, Anthony Bourdain because he happened to be in town on a book tour, a chef who hazed me (a server) almost 15 years ago. I submitted the story in August/Sept 2006. The editor loved it!

But then…nothing. Months went by, very little word, nothing. They finally paid; at least there was that.

The print magazine turned into a newsletter, and I was told the story would run in November or December 2007. Came, went. So I put it all out of my mind because really, would the story hold up? Would it still be relevant? Would I be embarrassed if it went out now? Well it did hold up, is still relevant, and I’m not embarrassed one bit. It’s here!

I remembered how much fun it was to write. Would I write it differently today? Perhaps…probably. But I’m glad it finally saw the light of day.

Bottom line: Persistence and patience paid off.

FBLA Meets Eater LA–Lesley Balla