Make us your home page

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: At the Grey in Savannah, the happy hour is appreciated


    My travel buddy and I bounded out the doors of our hotel and turned left, low-key galloping down the street with a determined focus. In just 15 minutes, happy hour would end at our new favorite restaurant.

    In Savannah, Ga., for a long weekend, my mom and I were staying on the north side of the city's historic district along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The Grey, a 2-year-old restaurant that has received national acclaim, happened to be a five-minute walk from our Hampton Inn. Good thing. It's how we were able to plop down onto two bar stools with 10 minutes to spare. ...

    Photos of Ham and Cheese Scones With Apple Onion Jam. Photo by Michelle Stark.
  2. From the food editor: Starbucks' new Cascara Latte reminded me where coffee beans come from


    The other day, I was in Starbucks, pondering whether I should add an extra shot to my tall latte, when I saw a sign for the store's new Cascara Latte.

    On another sign, a picture of a red berry, and this description:

    "Inside each coffee cherry are the seeds we've all come to know as coffee beans. Cascara is the dried fruit of the cherry itself. It lends delicious, subtle notes of dark brown sugar and luscious maple."...

    Get a delicious dinner on the table quickly with Weeknight Black Bean and Beef Chili.
  3. 10 out-of-the-box pizza recipes to try at home


    Have you dropped your New Year's resolution to focus on healthy eating habits, yet?

    Good, let's talk pizza.

    I'm not going to try to convince you that pizza is healthy, but it doesn't have to be the nutritionless grease pile you expect. Especially homemade pizza, which is also a fun way to get dinner on the table.

    Consider the dough — whether store-bought or handmade — a blank canvas onto which you can assemble a wide variety of ingredients. Some of them can even be vegetables! ...

    A cranberry brie chicken pizza with a cranberry sauce base, chopped chicken, brie and mozzarella cheeses is displayed at Taste editor, Michelle Stark's home in Parrish, Fla., on Sunday, January 10, 2017.
  4. Food hack: How to easily and quickly peel garlic


    Useful for: Peeling garlic quickly and easily

    What you need: A large bowl, a lid, or another bowl; fresh garlic cloves; a large knife

    What to do: Here is a fun way to peel garlic in less than 10 seconds. Start with an entire head of garlic. Place it on the counter and smash or break apart with your hands to loosen the cloves. Place in a bowl and cover with lid or another bowl. Shake bowl vigorously for about 10 seconds until garlic is peeled....

  5. From the food editor: Burrata inspires a simple, indulgent weeknight meal


    Like many avid grocery shoppers, I tend to rely on different stores for different kitchen staples.

    Publix has its reliable BOGOs; Winn-Dixie has a loyalty card that can save you lots of money if used frequently. And I will make a special trip to Aldi, the no-frills discount German grocery store with about 100 locations in Florida, for a few certain products.

    One of them is cheese. The chain carries a surprisingly wide variety, from smoked Gouda rounds to sliced cheddar to seasonal options like cranberry cinnamon goat cheese. And it is typically cheaper — in some cases, a couple of dollars cheaper — than at other stores....

    Burrata With Pesto and Tomatoes. Photo by Michelle Stark.
  6. College Football Playoff: Tailgating at the big game, Florida-style


    Say you don't care about football. The good news is only a few hours of Monday have to be devoted to the actual College Football Playoff championship game. The rest of the day can be spent eating and drinking your way to a fun time during the classic American sport of tailgating. As hordes of people head to Tampa to watch the Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide play, represent the Sunshine State with these themed tailgating ideas. ...

  7. From the food editor: Three ways to work more vegetables into your meals


    Eating habits can turn gimmicky this time of year.

    When Jan. 1 hits, we often wake up from the sugar-laden dream that is December and recall with a cringe just how poorly we've eaten over the holidays. So we scramble, promising to eat more salads and less cakes, to cook often and quit the take-out.

    Be careful not to take such a sharp turn as we begin a new year. If moderation is key when it comes to food choices, so is being reasonable about what mantras you will and won't stick to. ...

    Curried Chickpea Salad Sandwiches [Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post]
  8. Recipes and tips: 30-minute meals to kick start a healthy new year


    As a new year begins, cooking thoughts always turn to that unicorn of the kitchen: the wholesome, tasty meal that requires little time and hassle to put together.

    There is no magic switch that makes creating healthy food habits easy, but you can start them — or pick up where you left off before the holidays — simply enough by committing to cooking at least one of your meals from scratch at home each day....

    Quickly sliced avocados are one of the garnishes atop black bean quesadillas.
  9. Finger food recipes for New Year's Eve


    You're going to need something to soak up all that bubbly. To pair with the sparkling libations of New Year's Eve, consider these finger foods. They're as simple to eat as they are to make, with hardly a need for utensils. Many of these snacks can also be assembled in advance, so you can get to eating long before the ball begins to drop.

    Michelle Stark, Times food editor

    Cheese ball...

    A Cranberry Nut Cheese Ball will look elegant on your table. It’s easy to make, too.
  10. From the food editor: Four New Year's cooking resolutions for 2017


    There comes a point every December when I am up to my eyeballs in wrapping paper, cookies and the (stressful) excitement the holidays bring. That's when I, without fail, turn to food options I don't have to think about: frozen meals, pizza, more cookies.

    And by the end of the month, I am actually craving a healthful plate of food.

    Well, overindulgence has struck again. This week's recipe attempts to be an antidote to that, a creamy soup that is lush and satisfying but still pretty wholesome. ...

    Soups are easy and filling. Just look at the recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Soup.
  11. Champagne, cava, prosecco: Which bubbly is right for your New Year's Eve celebration?

    Bars & Spirits

    If you're popping a bottle to celebrate New Year's Eve this weekend, consider its intended purpose. Are you having a party, and pouring for 20? Are you mixing the bubbles with other alcohol to create a festive cocktail? Will the fizz stand alone as you sip it slowly, awaiting midnight?

    A certain type of sparkling wine may be best for each of those different scenarios.

    Champagne is often the default bubbly for celebrating, but recently, more affordable varieties like cava and prosecco have become popular....

  12. Try this: Seedless mandarin oranges Halos now come in two-packs


    It might sound weird, but one of the foods that most signals Christmastime for me isn't shortbread cookies or candy canes or holiday ham, but a sweet orange fruit. Small, seedless mandarins, most prominently sold by the Halos and Cuties brands, pop up in stores around November and stick around for a few months. Peeling away the thin skin on the tiny fruit and releasing a burst of citrus scent always reminds me of Christmas morning, and the inevitable snacking between present-opening. The small oranges are sold in large bags of a couple dozen, but this year, the Halos brand has released a two-pack. It's 99 cents for two of the small oranges, which make great on-the-go snacks for the day you tire of eating nothing but cookies....

    Halos’ new two packs of mandarin oranges. Courtesy of Halos.
  13. From the food editor: Three things you can do brighten your Christmas food festivities


    Every year, we produce a special Christmas issue of Taste. It's usually on a weekend, to make sure you have enough time before Christmas to put our holiday food tips to good use. The calendar worked in our favor this year, with our normal Wednesday release day proving suitable to prepare for Sunday. Throughout this issue, we have ideas for decorating your dishes in a festive way, recipes for a classic holiday cookie and more. And here are three small things you can do to brighten your Christmas food festivities. ...

    We have a winner: Chocolate-Pretzel Cookies.
  14. Best of 2016: Here are this year's top 10 TV moments


    I used to watch (and write about) a lot of television. But these days, I couldn't tell you the premiere date of any show not named Dancing With the Stars. Finding myself with less time to catch up on the daunting volume of TV now being produced, I don't have patience for shows that need four episodes to figure themselves out or series that make me feel sad or terrible or grossed out. (No, Game of Thrones, I will never love you.)...

  15. 12 Blogs of Christmas: Local food gifts that will impress the foodies in your life


    The 12 Blogs of Christmas, featuring stocking stuffer-sized holiday stories about pop culture and beyond will run each weekday leading up to Christmas Eve. You can find all of them on The Feed blog.

    With the rise of artisanal food products, it has become a lot easier to wrap up something edible and pass it off as a present. If you’re coming up blank in the gift department this time of year and want to get your family and friends something more creative than a coin sorter, consider the following ideas. These are ideal for people who will appreciate the craft that goes into making, say, a Pineapple Cilantro ice pop, or those in your life who deserve a thoughtful treat but not, like, a shiny Apple product.      ...

    Ice pops from the Hyppo.