David Rosengarten: Food guru dedicates himself to passion [classic article]

Some people work at a job; others “have a career.” Celebrity foodie David Rosengarten lives out his passion for food. Rosengarten, former host co-host of “In Food Today” with the former first lady of New York, Donna Hanover, is popular because he actually gets it.

He does not spend his airtime or writing time rhapsodizing to the public about things they can never do, eat, buy or see. His philosophy has certainly paid off. His previous show, “Taste,” ran for eight years, and then there are his extensive writings such as “Red Wine with Fish: The New Art of Matching Wine with Food,” The Dean & DeLuca Cookbook” and “Taste,” which won the IACP/Julia Child Cookbook Award for Best International Cookbook of 1999. What’s more, he won the Versailles Award in France for Best Cookbook Based on a TV Show, and was associate editor for “A Dictionary of American Wines” as well as hundreds of articles for “Gourmet” magazine and other lifestyle and travel magazines.

A New York City resident, he teaches classes, travels, writes and lectures on his favorite topics: food and wine. He talked to Bankrate about food, growing up — and money.

Bankrate: What are your latest projects?

David Rosengarten: Two things take up most of my time. The first is my newsletter, “The Rosengarten Report.” Available at davidrosengarten.com, it’s crammed with small type and information. It’s subtitled, the “Foods and Wines That Make Me Swoon.” It’s what I was working on this morning. It’s totally geared toward what people can get nationally. Also, subscribers get a card, with a serial number that gets them all kinds of things. For instance, I tried more than 100 kinds of salmon and found three that were the best. Two companies were only wholesalers; they won’t sell to the public. My members can buy it, at wholesale prices. Here’s another example: Tetsuya, a restaurant in Australia, is considered the most difficult in the world for getting reservations. My members can get a table just by calling. I don’t accept advertising; I’m not beholden to anyone. Godiva (chocolates) did very poorly in our testing, for instance.

Bankrate: Who helps you with that?

David Rosengarten: I have two partners, T.J. Robinson and Phil Tevero. We have created Minds on Fire Ltd. Not only does that name suggest creative ideas, but we also will be marketing cooking equipment. I hope to market many things; I have an alliance with the man who invented the George Foreman grill. We are discussing one of his latest inventions with Home Shopping Network. I also will be marketing imported copper pots from Italy. Everything on my newsletter is highly personal — it’s what makes me swoon. It’s what “Martha Stewart Living” pretends to do. One day, it’s possible that I will do a magazine, but so far, I haven’t had a lot of publicity.

Bankrate: I see a proliferation of gourmet cheese shops popping up; is that a result of the high protein approach of the Atkins diet, or affordable luxury, or what?

David Rosengarten: The Atkins diet? Maybe. I didn’t think about that. Food now comes in waves in America, like fashion. There is a burgeoning of simple French food.

Some people work at a job; others “have a career.” Celebrity foodie David Rosengarten lives out his passion for food. Rosengarten, former host co-host of “In Food Today” with the former first lady of New York, Donna Hanover, is popular because he actually gets it.

He does not spend his airtime or writing time rhapsodizing to the public about things they can never do, eat, buy or see. His philosophy has certainly paid off. His previous show, “Taste,” ran for eight years, and then there are his extensive writings such as “Red Wine with Fish: The New Art of Matching Wine with Food,” The Dean & DeLuca Cookbook” and “Taste,” which won the IACP/Julia Child Cookbook Award for Best International Cookbook of 1999. What’s more, he won the Versailles Award in France for Best Cookbook Based on a TV Show, and was associate editor for “A Dictionary of American Wines” as well as hundreds of articles for “Gourmet” magazine and other lifestyle and travel magazines.

A New York City resident, he teaches classes, travels, writes and lectures on his favorite topics: food and wine. He talked to Bankrate about food, growing up — and money.

Bankrate: What are your latest projects?

David Rosengarten: Two things take up most of my time. The first is my newsletter, “The Rosengarten Report.” Available at davidrosengarten.com, it’s crammed with small type and information. It’s subtitled, the “Foods and Wines That Make Me Swoon.” It’s what I was working on this morning. It’s totally geared toward what people can get nationally. Also, subscribers get a card, with a serial number that gets them all kinds of things. For instance, I tried more than 100 kinds of salmon and found three that were the best. Two companies were only wholesalers; they won’t sell to the public. My members can buy it, at wholesale prices. Here’s another example: Tetsuya, a restaurant in Australia, is considered the most difficult in the world for getting reservations. My members can get a table just by calling. I don’t accept advertising; I’m not beholden to anyone. Godiva (chocolates) did very poorly in our testing, for instance.

Bankrate: Who helps you with that?

David Rosengarten: I have two partners, T.J. Robinson and Phil Tevero. We have created Minds on Fire Ltd. Not only does that name suggest creative ideas, but we also will be marketing cooking equipment. I hope to market many things; I have an alliance with the man who invented the George Foreman grill. We are discussing one of his latest inventions with Home Shopping Network. I also will be marketing imported copper pots from Italy. Everything on my newsletter is highly personal — it’s what makes me swoon. It’s what “Martha Stewart Living” pretends to do. One day, it’s possible that I will do a magazine, but so far, I haven’t had a lot of publicity.

Bankrate: I see a proliferation of gourmet cheese shops popping up; is that a result of the high protein approach of the Atkins diet, or affordable luxury, or what?

David Rosengarten: The Atkins diet? Maybe. I didn’t think about that. Food now comes in waves in America, like fashion. There is a burgeoning of simple French food.

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