The Hungry Engineer


03 Nov 2008

I generally am not a huge fan of posts full of links, however, this is too good not to share with all of you. Google hosts a series of informal talks called Authors@Google. A wide-ranging variety of authors discuss their recently published works to some very lucky Google employees. Sean (my husband) showed me recently that Anthony Bourdain had spoken there about a year ago, and after watching it this weekend, I dug around on Youtube to see who else had come to speak. The range was incredible - Salman Rushdie, Cory Doctorow, both presidential candidates … and several chefs and other food-centric authors. While my geek-meter was pegging at some of the incredible authors presenting (did I mention Cory Doctorow??), you’ll be happy to know that the following list is (fairly) strictly food-focused.

Anthony Bourdain, my wry food hero, presented on November 20th, 2007. This is the only of these 30- to 60-minute-long presentations I’ve watched to date, however, the following will serve as a great list of other videos to check in on as time permits.

Acclaimed chef Ferran Adria presented on October 13th, 2008. He was there to discuss his much anticipated book, “A Day at elBulli: An Insight into the Ideas, Methods and Creativity of Ferran Adria”. For half the year his restaurant serves a very lucky clientele. For the other half of the year, it becomes a gastronomic laboratory. I’m very excited to watch this one.

Peter Reinhart, author of several renowned bread-baking books, was there on July 24th, 2008 to discuss his most recent offering: “Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Bread”.

Chef Mario Batali was at Google on May 30th, 2008 to discuss his new book “Italian Grill”. I was first introduced to Mario Batali via his cooking show, Molto Mario, and it seems his fame and good fortune have skyrocketed since then.

Chef Masaharu Morimoto visited on November 12th, 2007 to talk about “The New Art of Japenese Cooking”. He too has come a long way since I first caught him on the original Iron Chef series.

Marco Pierre White was in Mountain View on May 10th, 2007 to discuss “The Devil in the Kitchen: Sex, Pain, Madness and the Making of a Great Chef”. He is perhaps best known for his 1990 book, “White Heat”. Both Mario Batali and Gordon Ramsay (among many others) worked for him early in their careers.

Food bloggers of the world, take note. Clothilde Dusoulier, the woman behind the Chocolate and Zucchini blog, was at Google on May 24th, 2007 to talk about her book, “Chocolate and Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen”.

Michael Pollan, well-known for his “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals”, was at Google on March 4th, 2008, to discuss his new book, “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto”.

There were a host of other food-related speakers whose names I was not so familiar with. Sarah Murray spoke on March 6th, 2008 about “Moveable Feasts”, a book of essays on the history of food transportation. On November 19th, 2007, Melanie Dunea, Dan Barber, and Noreen Springstead talked about “My Last Supper”, a showcasing of what fifty of the worlds greatest chefs would eat for their last meal, accompanied by interesting photos and recipes. The Hippy Gourmet, James Ehrlich, came to Google on May 6th, 2008 to talk about his cookbook, “The Hippy Gourmet’s Quick and Simple Cookbook for Healthy Eating”. On September 15th, 2008, Jeanne Kelley talked about her cookbook, “Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes: Recipes from a Modern Kitchen Garden”. It didn’t seem that Robin Miller was there to talk about any specific book during her March 15th, 2007 visit, but she has authored several cookbooks and contributed to many different magazines and associations as well. On February 15th, 2008, Steve Ettlinger discussed his book, “Twinkie, Deconstructed”. He follows the course of the Twinkie from its strange and varied raw materials to the completed snack “food”. For the vinophiles out there, I saw three videos that might be of interest. Benjamin Wallace came to talk about his book, “The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine” on June 6th, 2008. On August 10th, 2007, Julia Flynn Siler discussed her book, “The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty”. And on June 13th, 2008, Neal Rosenthal came to talk about his book, “Reflections of a Wine Merchant”.

There are likely more food-centric Authors@Google videos hidden in the list (I lost steam after digging through the first twenty pages), and certainly there are many other interesting discussions with authors of other topics. If you do get a chance to watch some of them, it’d be really great if you could drop back by and let us know which ones you did or did not like. (If you’re curious, the Bourdain talk was classic Bourdain - I loved it.)

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