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Michelle Stark, Times Food Editor

Michelle Stark

Michelle Stark is the Food Editor for the Tampa Bay Times, overseeing the food content online and in print, including cooking and restaurants. She also manages social media accounts for the Entertainment department, including food. Previously, she was part of the Things to Do crew and co-host of Play Tampa Bay. She has designed and edited the Times' daily entertainment page, and wrote weekly about television at The Feed blog. Stark joined the Times after graduating from the University of South Florida in 2010 with degrees in mass communications and international relations.

Phone: (727) 893-8829


Twitter: @MStark17

  1. From the food editor: Breakfast forms the major holiday food traditions in my house


    I don't have a ton of holiday food traditions. Growing up, and even now, we tended to have the same sort of fare for our Christmas dinner each year, influenced by my Protestant German grandparents: ham, applesauce, scalloped potatoes, that sort of thing.

    Not many specific recipes, aside from a famous shortbread cookie from my grandma that I shared in this space last year. (Find it at

    Pumpkin Cranberry Waffles [Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post]
  2. Readers share their holiday recipes, from appetizers to desserts


    Is it just me, or has 2016 felt like a particularly long year?

    More than ever, we need something comforting. And what better to soothe our anxieties than butter, sugar and the classic holiday recipes that conjure up sweet memories?

    Welcome to that time of year when we run reader-submitted recipes. This year, we have opened the field up to recipes from any part of your holiday meals — appetizers, side items, entrees and the beloved desserts. What hasn't changed is we are featuring recipes sent in by you, our readers. We received dozens that ran the gamut from Corn Souffle to Coconut Tarts. Featured below are a couple dozen we think you'll enjoy this holiday season....

    Cossack's Delight mushroom dish, made by Sue Conrad of North Redington Beach. [Photo by Cherie Diez, Times]
  3. Five steps to loving Stars Hollow: The Musical from 'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life'


    We have had a week to sit with the Gilmore Girls revival. And while I'm never going to excuse certain things — Lorelai would NOT be okay with Rory's questionable life choices; Paris and Doyle would definitely get back together because they are perfect for each other — I don't think I was ever going to be capable of hating whatever Amy Sherman Palladino and her husband Daniel produced. ...

  4. From the food editor: Eight things to know about the recently released Beaujolais Nouveau


    Every year, around the third week in November, we celebrate a very special holiday.

    No, not that one. I'm talking about Beaujolais Nouveau Day.

    This year, the wine debuted on Nov. 17, right in the thick of Thanksgiving prep and planning, so it didn't get much attention from us.

    So let's rap about it now.

    Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine harvested from old vines and smaller vintners at the end of the season. It is typically light and fruity, an easy-to-drink option that lasts through the holiday season. The best part: Its price point usually comes in at less than $20, making it ideal to have on hand at parties....

    Bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau stand on a bar during the official launch of the 2016 vintage in Lille, in northern France, on Nov. 17.
  5. A look inside some of Tampa Bay's various cooking classes


    The wine had started flowing long before class began.

    It was a Tuesday evening in Hyde Park Village, and a group of women were clustered around a table in the back of Sur La Table, a kitchen store that hosts cooking classes like Flavorful Fall Soups and Girls Night Out: Fast, Fresh & Fabulous. The group donned aprons provided by the store and swirled red wine; Sur La Table allows you to bring your own bottle or purchase one from them. ...

    Illene Sofranko teaches Theresa King-Smith how to put a jar into a water bath during a Drink Beer, Can Mustard crash canning course at the Urban Canning Company in St. Petersburg.
  6. Food hack: How to freeze leftover broth for easy use later


    Useful for: Saving leftover broth

    What you need: an ice cube tray, leftover broth or stock, a freezer

    What to do: Collect any leftover broths or stocks. Slowly pour liquid into a clean ice cube tray, filling each cube about ¾ full. Carefully place tray in freezer. Freeze overnight. Remove tray from freezer, and pop out cubes into a large zip-top bag. Place bag back in the freezer, and remove cubes as you need them....

  7. Five recipe ideas for leftover Thanksgiving turkey


    The first thing I do after Thanksgiving is pop a container of carved turkey into the freezer. In my house, we always plan on having a lot of leftovers, but I know we're going to get sick of all that turkey after a few days — or not be able to eat it all before it goes bad (that's about three or four days). It's nice to be able to break it out a couple of weeks after the big dinner and use it in different kinds of recipes. Here are five that will put leftover turkey to good use. ...

    Repurpose those turkey leftovers in chili.
  8. Your guide to 'Gilmore': What to know before the debut of Thursday's new Netflix episodes


    For this Gilmore Girls superfan, the release on Thursday of four new mini-movies called Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is surreal. I watched the show when it originally aired from 2000-20007, but have spent the past decade rewatching and rewatching. I had the DVDs before the old episodes came to Netflix in 2014, when it seemed like the rest of the world outside of Gilmore's strong but small cult fanbase started paying attention to the savvy family dramedy.

    For me, a storyteller who adores pop culture, the show means comfort. I have it on in the background when I'm cleaning, or cooking. It's what I watch when I don't feel like watching anything, but need a life distraction. I can't tell you many times I have tried and failed to start watching Mr. Robot because all I really wanted to do was watch the Gilmore episode where Rory goes to college.

    I'm watching the revival at midnight Thursday with my brother, who got me the DVDs and who may be the only man who supports my position firmly on Team Jess. To prepare, I'm rewatching my favorite season, 3, this week. If you're bingeing A Year in the Life this Thanksgiving weekend, consider the following your Guide to Gilmore, a comprehensive primer of best episodes, top quotes and tips for how to watch amid the frenzy of turkey and family....

    Lauren Graham (left) and Alexis Bledel are reunited in 'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.'
  9. Here's how you should watch 'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life' on Thanksgiving weekend

    The Feed

    Gilmore girls (and guys), we are in unprecedented territory. The original WB show Gilmore Girls ran from 2000 until 2007, which means you probably did not binge the episodes on a streaming service. It was a simpler time in America, when people were still waiting a week to see what happened on their favorite TV series.

    But just after midnight Thursday, Netflix will bestow upon Gilmore fans six hours of brand new content, written and directed by show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband, Daniel, who both left before the show's final season....

    Milo Ventimiglia, left, and Scott Patterson in “Spring,” the second episode of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
  10. From the food editor: Four not-so-traditional dessert ideas for Thanksgiving dinner


    We're here to help you better prepare for the year's biggest food holiday: Thanksgiving. Throughout the site, we have Thanksgiving recipes galore, from a spoon bread side to a parsnip dish to corn recipes. We offer ideas for nine different kinds of stuffings, not only for your bird but for other vessels like squash and apples. And there is a Thanksgiving game plan as well as a by-the-numbers cheat sheet to help you make sure everything arrives at the table at (roughly) the same time....

    Warm Pumpkin-Bourbon Cheesecake: yum!
  11. Nine stuffing recipes for apples, squash and your Thanksgiving turkey


    Forget the bag — stuffing can be so much more than dried bread cubes brought to life by chicken broth.

    Everyone has their Thanksgiving dinner priorities. Maybe you make a pie from scratch, so side dishes get the dump-out-of-bag-and-heat treatment. Or maybe you outsource all of your dessert, so you can focus on homemade mashed potatoes. This year, why not go all in on the stuffing?

    That means expanding the definition from the traditional bread-based casserole cooked in a turkey (or off to the side) to a mixture of ingredients that can be stuffed into many foods, namely squashes and fruits like apples. The favorite on most Thanksgiving tables, stuffing is difficult to screw up, and lends itself to many variations. We've gathered three stuffing recipes each for these three vessels....

    Quinoa Apple Stuffed Butternut Squash incorporates dried Black Mission figs, dried cranberries and pine nuts.
  12. For something different, try these corn recipes for Thanksgiving


    If you're looking for a way to jazz up your standard corn dish, try one of these two recipes for something a little different.

  13. Wait, is Tristan — but not Chad Michael Murray — coming back in the 'Gilmore Girls' revival? We have six theories


    No one ever remembers Tristan, the second strapping young dude Rory Gilmore encounters in the original run of Gilmore Girls. The prep school jerk played by Chad Michael Murray takes an immediate liking to Rory after she transfers to his school, Chilton. We know this because, much like the way a 5-year-old shows affection, he mocks her mercilessly, calling her "Mary" (because she's a virgin) and bothering her nonstop....

    Here's a blurry screen grab (because everyone has forgotten this guy) of Chad Michael Murray as Tristan in the original run of Gilmore Girls.
  14. From the food editor: What you should be doing now to prepare for Thanksgiving


    Let's face it: Most people don't wait until the week of to start thinking about Thanksgiving dinner. Many cooks, especially those who are hosting a lot of people, are planning/dreading/anticipating the year's largest meal weeks before. I know I am, as I prepare to host about a dozen people at my house on Nov. 24.

    Here are some key things to start thinking about in the coming weeks if you also have turkey on the brain. ...

    Order a turkey early if you're buying fresh.[Times files]
  15. Pie primer: Tips for perfecting pie, plus terms and savory recipes


    It's time to start getting reacquainted with that buttery seasonal mainstay: pie. • Not just sweet pies, but savory ones, like shepherd's or chicken pot or — arguably the most popular category of savory pie — quiche. Really, it hardly matters what the filling consists of. The crust makes the pie. Pretty much anything can be dumped into that flaky shell, and it will taste like comfort. • A pie is everything we want a dish to be during the final two months of the year: warm, gooey, fattening and relatively simple to put together. It's worth mastering the art of the pie, not only for those beloved sweet ones we trot out at Thanksgiving, but for the following savory examples that can be an exciting counterpoint to the one-dish casserole. • Consider this your pie cheat sheet, a way to pump up your tart game. We've got tips for basic crust, recipe ideas and a glossary of pie terms you can throw around at your holiday party when you really want to impress people. Actually, your cooking can do that for you....

    Green Chile Tamale Pie