Despite having no professional training in the kitchen, Mark Bittman is a highly regarded food journalist, cookbook author and culinary aficionado on a mission make fine cuisine accessible without sacrificing the complexity of the finished product. Although he advocates for the consumer (taming intimidating recipes for the home cook), Bittman’s got broad tastes and big aspirations—and he’s rubbed shoulders with many of the industry’s top dogs. A journalist for 40 years, Bittman is best known today for his “Minimalist” persona, whether it appears in his weekly columns for The New York Times food section or in his do-it-all tomes on simple cuisine, the How to Cook series. Suffice to say, Bittman loves food, and like many of the best chefs, he believes the best food can be done simply without dumbing down the final product.
But Bittman isn’t just about accessible cuisine; his culinary interests are decidedly and generously global. Case in point, the unabashedly celebratory The Best Recipes in the World, which brings Bittman’s favorite international dishes back to his home cook audience. And with Food Matters, Bittman’s taken his passion for food to a socially conscious platform, delving into issues like obesity, global warming, over-eager carnivorousness, and “other nasty features of modern life,” as he describes it.
Bittman’s legacy is writ large, scrawled over myriad publications, websites, and television shows—from The New York Times (newspaper and magazine) to Food & Wine, Saveur, Martha Stewart Living, The New York Observer, and Cook’s Illustrated (where he was executive editor) to CNN, The Food Network, Public Television, The Today Show, and beyond. How to Cook Everything morphed into a public television series, and Bittman most recently traveled all over Spain in the high-caliber company of Gwenyth Paltrow, Mario Batali, sundry friends, and copious amounts of olive oil, cured meats, and cheeses, much to the vicarious delight of his legions of fans. In 2012, Bittman was inducted into the James Beard Who's Who of Food & Beverage in Americas.