Bite-sized Advice from Alex Delany
Last week, Alex Delany, Associate Web Editor of Bon Appétit, spoke with D1A about food journalism, New York eateries, and curating a social media presence. Although young, (he’s 25) Alex has made a name for himself in food media by creating unique and honest content both for Bon Appétit and individually. Here’s what he had to say…
What’s your home cooking style?
Take as many shortcuts as possible.
What is the best meal you’ve had recently?
I always have great meals at Achilles Heel. The menu is the perfect size. I’ll just go there with three other people and order the whole thing. It’s always good. In terms of older places, Lanzhou in Chinatown is absolutely amazing.
Achilles Heel in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
How do you feel about “trendy” foods like rainbow bagels and charcoal ice cream?
People are now taking into account how something is photographed, how it looks, how it’s shared, and how viral it can be instead of “how good does it taste?” “How much does it cost?” “Is it fair how much it costs?” “Can I make it better, not just more colorful?” I guess the word to describe my feelings about trendy food is extremely skeptical.
You have created a social media presence/personal brand outside of Bon Appétit. Why do you think people are so receptive to the more informal content you produce on your Instagram, Twitter, etc.?
There’s two ways that people use social media. The first is playing into trends and forcing things to be what people tell you works. The second type is posting what you’re actually interested in. I think across the board with any creative pursuit, honesty brings about the best results. When I’m walking down the street and taking a picture of something, I’m not thinking “will people like this?” I’m thinking, “Wow, I really like that, its beautiful” or “Wow, that’s so hilarious.” It’s not calculated. If there’s something you’re honestly passionate about and honestly interested in, it will come across better.
Alex’s Instagram is full of drool-worthy plates, like these.
What are the best food and drink spots in NYC?
Flora Bar, Ultra Paradiso, Estella, Hart’s, Win Son, Achilles Heel, and Marlow and Sons. In terms of drinking, Lois, Ten Bells, As Is, and Goldstar Beer Counter. The best coffee shops are 9th Street Espresso, Abraco, Blackfox is maybe the best drip coffee shop in New York, Voyager, and Third Rail.
If you opened a restaurant, what would you serve and what would the vibes be like?
There’s a place I went to in Buffalo called Remedy House that was super cool. It’s basically an espresso bar and cocktail bar that focuses on weird liquors. You go there and you have your coffee and you have your amaro cocktail. It’s the ultimate old man spot. I hung out there for like, four hours.
People ask me a lot if I want to stay in food media and I think for now, yes but ultimately, no. I would love to open up an all day cafe that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, closes at 10pm, has amazing coffee, and an amazing pastry chef. Comfort and happiness: that’s all I’m after.
How do you see your industry changing in the next few years? Have you seen significant changes in the industry since you’ve started working as a food editor?
I think the importance of diversity has never been more apparent for companies. At Bon Appétit, we’ve always been very aware that if you cover food, which is something that literally every human being on this planet eats and needs to live, you need a diverse voice for it. Over the past few years there have been a lot of companies that hadn’t realized that and now are really starting to. Food journalism needs to be inclusive and it needs to represent everyone because those are the stories that are worth telling.
Bon Appétit recently released their top 50 nominees for Best New Restaurant, featuring a very diverse list of chefs and restaurants.