My passion for food runs deep, whether it's my love for cooking nearly everything I eat from scratch or the fact that I always have a spare banana in my purse. Quite simply, I love food — making it, eating it, reading about it. As the new Tampa Bay Times food editor, I bring that passion to the Times' food content, in these pages of the Taste section and on our growing website, tampabay.com/food.
I've had an active role in our food coverage for the past year, cooking and testing dishes, including Christmas cookies for the annual issue, writing cover stories like the one about cast iron skillets, and growing our audience online.
You will find our engaging food content on our website at tampabay.com/food; on Pinterest (pinterest.com/tampabaytimes), where we post recipes and cooking ideas; and on Instagram, at @tampabaytimesfood. The goal is to tell our stories on as many platforms as possible, and that extends to instructive food videos, whether it's two minutes on How to Boil a Perfect Egg or a 45-second short on Cutting a Butternut Squash.
In the next few weeks I will introduce some new features, particularly in the area of cooking. My goal is to make everything we do useful for you, whether it's helping home cooks put dinner on the table each night or keeping you up to date on what's happening at local restaurants.
The first new Taste feature starts this week as our cover story: 5 Ideas For ..., which every other week will highlight a trendy or seasonal ingredient and offer five suggestions for quick, easy ways to use it.
Also look for coverage on healthy, clean eating down the line; cooking food from scratch and utilizing unprocessed foods is important to me. Other new features will include Word of Mouth, which will suss out the culinary desires of notable Tampa Bay foodies; Food Fight, aimed at the debate over how we prepare certain foods; and Cook Hack, where we will share secrets for making your life easier in the kitchen.
I succeed Janet K. Keeler, who held the food editor position for 15 years and presided over the annual Christmas cookie section. She has joined the faculty of the Journalism and Media Studies Department at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. As a Times staff writer, she will continue her weekly weeknight dinner column Stir Crazy and #CookClub, the online cooking community she established in 2013.
I am easily reachable on many platforms, from Twitter (@mstark17) and Instagram (shelly1717) to email ([email protected]) and phone ((727) 893-8829). Feel free to reach out and let me know what you think about the new features, what you'd like to see more of in the section, or just to dish on your foodie thoughts.