“I came to realize, over 20 years, that food was much more important than what you cooked for dinner or what cool ingredient you were into or what groovy restaurant you’re going to. And gradually what I wrote about…became the bigger picture in food. I don’t want to leave cooking behind; cooking matters. But it’s a small part of the food picture and talking about that is really important to us.” — Mark Bittman

Mark Bittman, Melissa McCart and the team at The Bittman Project are building a new kind of food media empire — one that can only be born in the post-2020 era. Naturally, recipes and cooking advice are at the heart of why people might subscribe to their newsletter or listen to Mark’s podcast. But their strategy is for you to come for the cooking and stay for the impact, whether that’s learning how to eat less meat, expanding the voices you might hear from in food, or bucking conventional wisdom in and out of the kitchen. 

I indulged my inner foodie by geeking out with Mark and Melissa on what it’s like to build a brand after leaving a major publication, how their values map to their curation strategies, how home cooks can curate their kitchens and grocery shopping trips, and whether you really get what you pay for when purchasing olive oil. 

Highlights, inspiration and key learnings:

  • How Mark developed his brand and expertise around food after he left the New York Times
  • How current issues, like the coronavirus, climate change, and racial injustice, impact their content strategy
  • The criteria for what’s curated into The Bittman Project Substack newsletter
  • The values of The Bittman Project
  • What Mark and Melissa read to keep up on food trends and the industry
  • How the art of curation comes into play when planning and writing a cookbook like “How to Cook Everything”
  • How they curate their team 
  • How they curate guests and content for the “Food With Mark Bittman” podcast
  • How a home cook should curate their kitchen
  • Ideas for curating your grocery shopping

Browse the accompanying Storyboard to get the episode itself, plus the cookbooks, TV shows and podcasts they recommend in the conversation, all in one place. 

And don’t forget to rate and subscribe to our podcast if you like what you hear. You can find “The Art of Curation” on Flipboard and wherever you listen to your podcasts: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Amazon Podcasts. A new episode drops every Tuesday!

Mia Quagliarello curated this Storyboard with last week’s episode in case you missed it