Early on in my career as a writer and editor, I faced a choice: take a job focusing on one beat that I would develop my expertise around (in my case, the burgeoning hedge fund industry) or stay the course as a generalist, covering film, books, music, food, travel, and wine (in other words, all the fun stuff that makes up the good life). Given where you’re reading this today, you can probably guess what I chose: Hedge funds were not my bag.
Perhaps because I took the generalist route, today I appreciate the importance and value of expertise even more. For AFAR’s annual food and travel issue, we went straight to the specialists who spend their days testing recipes, interviewing chefs, and traveling in pursuit of culinary obsessions.
In Insatiable, chef and photographer Michael Harlan Turkell writes about tracking vinegars halfway across the globe. Samin Nosrat, the Bay Area–based chef and author of the new cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, recounts traveling from California to Florence to taste the world’s most sublime beef sandwich. And former Saveur editor Georgia Freedman, at work on a cookbook about China’s Yunnan cuisine, shares her discovery of sand-pot breakfast noodles.
Among this issue’s features, Anya von Bremzen returns to her native Moscow to report on the city’s “incredible and improbable restaurant renaissance.” Francis Lam tells the highly personal story of San Francisco–based chef Azalina Eusope, who journeys back to her home in Penang, Malaysia, where she reconnects with family, untangles childhood memories, and revisits the street food stalls that shaped her cooking.
Contributing writer David Farley writes from a small town in Germany’s Black Forest, now as famous for its restaurants’ eight Michelin stars as it is for its picturesque backdrop. And finally, 16-time James Beard Award–winning food critic Alan Richman spins the globe and lands in Oslo, a city he explores by, no surprise, following his appetite.
All of these experts helped us show you the flavors of the world. Now it’s up to you to book a trip to get out there and taste them.