It was kind of scary yet exciting to have an interview with the infamous New Yorker magazine. Because our company is a resource about specialty produce, it’s not unusual for us to get calls several times a week for interviews. Last week was a busy one – I did an interview with both the Wall Street Journal (see the story here) and The New Yorker.
New Yorker writer John called our company because he was doing a story on a tropical fruit. (I can’t tell you which one, as I am sworn to secrecy until the story is published). He contacted us on Monday and my interview with him was set for Wednesday mid-day – reporters almost always have a short deadline. I never know how the interview is going to go, so I always give myself a pep talk before they call, and close my door, and shut off my email, so I am not distracted.
John had kind of a gravelly voice and got right to the point. “Karen, I am doing a story on XXXX and I want to know how your company decides how to market a new item and how all that works.”
Needless to say, I explained to John that I really couldn’t divulge our company marketing strategy, but we did talk for about 20 minutes about the product he was profiling and the challenges he was facing in writing a story on a rather obscure fruit. I find it is always better when talking with a writer to be honest, yet careful that I don’t say something that I might regret -- as nothing is ever “off the record.” We actually brainstormed on what his readers would enjoy learning.
As our conversation was ending he told me that I should be a writer! I laughed and said that I actually write a blog and invited him to read my last post about why Pine Nuts were so expensive.
Shortly after I hung up, I got a lovely email from John (he liked the blog) with a link to one of his favorite stories. He said “I’m sending a link for a story you might find interesting as a food person: a piece on a Michelin inspector. (Supposedly the first such interview with one of these famously anonymous critics!)
The Michelin hotel and restaurant guide is more famous in France, whereas in the United States we are used to the Zagat guide for restaurants. Nevertheless, if you are reading What’s on Karen’s Plate, you certainly have an interest in food, so I invite you to read John’s article here.
I wrote John back and told him that I was quite impressed with his Michelin story. After all, if a chef would consider committing suicide over their Michelin rating, they must be pretty impressive critics.