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Ruth Reichl
Ruth Reichl
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Ruth Reichl
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Bestselling author, food critic, and judge on Bravo's Top Chef Masters Ruth Reichl is one of the most recognizable and beloved culinary voices, guiding people around the kitchen, showing them what to eat, how to make it, and where to satisfy their cravings. The Seattle Times called her “one of the nation's most influential figures in the food world.”

Most recognizable as a writer and editor, Reichl was the Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine for ten years until its closing. Before that she was the restaurant critic of The New York Times from 1993-1999 and both the restaurant critic and food editor of the Los Angeles Times from 1984-1993. 

She is the recipient of six James Beard Awards: two for magazine feature writing, two for restaurant criticism, plus one for journalism and one for multimedia food journalism. 

A judge on Bravo's Top Chef Masters, Reichl appears throughout Seasons Three and Four. She hosted three Food Network specials – Eating Out Loud – that covered her culinary exploits in New York, San Francisco, and Miami. Her ten-episode PBS show, Gourmet’s Adventures with Ruth, highlighted her trips to the best cooking schools on five continents with famous and foodie friends including actress Dianne Wiest and chef Dean Fearing.

Ruth’s first novel, Delicious!, debuted at #11 on The New York Times Best Sellers list in May 2014. 

Born and raised in New York City’s Greenwich Village, Reichl moved to Berkeley, California in the early 1970’s where she played an integral role in America’s culinary revolution as chef and co-owner of The Swallow Restaurant. She published her first book about food, Mmmmm: A Feastiary, in 1972. 

Reichl is the author of several bestselling memoirs including Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table and Comfort Me With Apples. Her third memoir, Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, recounts her adventures as the dining critic for The New York Times. The book is set to become a full-length movie produced by Cary Brokaw for Fox 2000 films.

Her 2015 book, My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life, was named the best cookbook of the year and one of the best books of the year by  An editor-at-large for Random House, Reichl is working on her fifth memoir, due out in 2018. She is also the editor of The Best American Food Writing of 2017, the first food series for Houghton Mifflin’s annual Best American series. It will be published in 2018. 

Full Bio >
  • Reichl on what food and kitchens say about people (2015)
  • What Everyone's Talking About with Ruth Reichl (2016)
  • Not Becoming My Mother (2009)
  • Ruth Reichl speaking at the Revelle Forum (2009)
  • The Politics of Food: In Conversation (2017)
  • Reichl On Her First Issue of Gourmet (2010)
  • Gourmet's 'Adventures with Ruth' (2009)
  • Ruth Reichl at the 92 St. Y (2009)
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Speaking Topics
AMERICAN FOOD NOW: How We Became a Nation of Foodies

Reichl has been called the Zelig of food. When Berkeley, California was becoming the gourmet ghetto in the early seventies, she was there. She moved to Los Angeles just in time to chronicle the creation of California Cuisine, and she was in New York as America discovered the joys of ethnic foods. Ruth Reichl has lived America’s food journey, and she explores it all with audiences from a very personal perspective.

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When a book goes out into the world, it takes on a life of its own. As Reichl describes, it can often take years for the author to understand what he or she was really writing about.

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Bouncing Back: How to Make the Next Course Your Best

After ten years as editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, its sudden closure left Ruth Reichl completely devastated, to say the least. Still feeling the shock, she retreated to the kitchen – the only place she could find solace, and began cooking up a storm. Over the next year, Ruth kept a journal of the comforting meals she prepared, the important lessons she learned, and discovered that the secret to life is finding joy in the simple things.

In this speech, Ruth will share how through doing what she loves most, she was able to not only survive – but thrive in the face of adversity.

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In Garlic and Sapphires, Ruth Reichl wrote about her life as Chief Restaurant Critic of The New York Times. But she has been a restaurant critic for thirty years, and most of the great tales from the table remain untold. From the front of the house to the back of the kitchen, these hilarious stories tell us a great deal about who we have become as a society.

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Rule #1 of a healthy diet: know what you’re eating. But while many count calories, read ingredients labels, and research where their food comes from, some of the most important aspects of our food still go unchecked.
In “Protect What You Eat,” Ruth Reichl examines the problems with our food, from school lunches to the glaring holes in food policy, and how government inaction is hurting consumers, cooks, and food producers. More importantly, Reichl shows audiences what they can do to help remedy this.

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These days we’re doing a lot of writing about food. The question is, why? This little romp through history looks at food writing in different times and places in the world, in an attempt to discover what the changing language of food can tell us about ourselves. Our attitudes about food have been in constant flux, and by looking at the past we can understand why we are living in such a food-focused present.

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Books & Other Works
  • My Kitchen Year
  • Delicious!
  • Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise
  • Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table
  • Gourmet Today: More than 1000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen
  • Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table
  • For You Mom, Finally.
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“Ruth Reichl began her talk at the Hartford Public Library with a nod to the importance of libraries, and then worked her way, with referential charm, through the stacks. History, her own and that of dining in America; sociology, the delight of her own odd family and that of wavering social construct; commerce, her ability to find a way to succeed as each chapter ends, and that of the sad slaughter of Gourmet; non-fiction, her response to the vagaries of consumption and that of the country’s cultural shape-shifting around how we iconize food; and finally fiction, the costumed years as the New York Times food critic and now her wonderful Lulu. We loved her and we loved sharing ravioli, pulpo, and wine with her.”
Hartford Public Library
“Ruth was FANTASTIC – the audience thoroughly enjoyed her talk and there was a great Q&A session, followed by a robust book signing, and an awesome reception.”
Museum of Fine Arts Boston
“Everything was "perfect!" Ruth was terrific! She is so personable, easy to be around, she spent so much time with everyone, answered many questions, and was a great fit for the event.”
El Camino Hospital Foundation
“We certainly did enjoy Ruth. I would say: best keynote speaker ever! And the easiest, and the most fun. I am wholly converted to the concept of a keynote LECTURE instead of a keynote READING. Or maybe it’s just that Ruth’s lecture, Eating Our Words, was so very fascinating and well researched. She was just great.”
Kentucky Women's Writers Conference
“Ruth Reichl was amazing...Her lecture was a sell-out; we had to open two overflow rooms and hire Dartmouth security to keep the crowd in order...The audience was wildly passionate about hearing her. It goes without saying that her lecture was magnificent: clear, articulate, intelligent, insightful, and informative.”
Dartmouth University
“It was fabulous. Everyone LOVED Ruth Reichl...She was the hit of the party.”
Woodstock Writers Festival
“Ruth Reichl is quite the popular foodie/ writer in our area. The lecture was completely sold out and I received a good deal of very positive feedback. It was my pleasure to have her featured with our series -- she was funny, engaging, absolutely enjoyable.”
California Lectures
“Ruth Reichl was fab. Really, really great. And also so good with donors and patrons etc...”
Literary Arts
“She was incredibly gracious and charming with our patrons, brilliant on stage, honest and funny in her Q&A and kind during her book signing. I can’t say enough about her lecture -- she is as witty and thoughtful in person as she is on the page.”
The Cabin
“The event was wonderful. Ruth Reichl was both gracious and lovely. We had over 800 people come to hear her talk and they were charmed. She signed for nearly an hour afterward and made many people happy. I had a really nice time chatting with her. Books, food, people’s stories – I imagine sitting next to her at a dinner party would be a fabulous evening.”
Pierce County Library
“Ruth Reichl was wonderful! I love the way she knows everything about food. It is like meeting a bit history when you listen to Ruth Reichl. She has watched food trends come and go and continues to educate us on what is out there. I am awed by her ability to discern flavors and enjoy the way she relates the experience of eating/cooking. We loved her.”
Tuckahoe Women's Club
“RAVE reviews for Ruth Reichl and the experience at Premier Chefs Dinner. The Center community is absolutely elated. We have much to celebrate.”
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
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