end of year roundup
Features

Back of the House: Meet Our 2022 Contributors

Learn more about many of the talented contributors who helped shape Serious Eats this past year.

We take a lot of pride in the work we do at Serious Eats, and very little of it would be possible without the stellar roster of writers, recipe developers, photographers, and artists who bring their talents to the site. Our present and past contributors are some of the best in the industry, and we're incredibly lucky to get to work with them. We wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the recipe developers and photographers who have contributed the most this past year, and learn a little more about their own personal highlights of the year. We hope you enjoy learning about them as much as we enjoy working with them!

Tim Chin Head Line

Tim Chin is a professional cook and writer who started contributing to Serious Eats in early 2020. He cooked for years at restaurants in New York and Boston, working at Rouge Tomate, Northern Spy, and most recently, BiSq. He also spent three years at America’s Test Kitchen, creating and testing recipes. He is passionate about sourdough, funky hot sauce, and sustainable agriculture. Outside of cooking, Tim spends most of his free time rock climbing and trying not to kill his house plants.

Tim Chin EOY Collage

Serious Eats / Sabrina Tan

Favorite recipe developed this year for Serious Eats? I don't think I developed any recipes this year, save for the three kombucha recipes I developed for the Bubbles! digital issue. I really like how the strawberry, rhubarb, and parsley kombucha turned out. [Editor's Note: 2022 saw fewer recipes from Tim, but that doesn't mean he didn't contribute quite a bit to the site. His other 2022 contributions include a guide to cornstarch; a complete overhaul of our multi-part series on wok techniques; and in-depth reviews of both woks and sauciers.]

What was the most memorable meal you had this year? Hoppers in London, UK. The place is legendary at this point (and everyone should check out their new cookbook), and it had been on my bucket list of places to eat. It was so good—I went twice in the span of three days.

What’s the coolest thing you learned in the kitchen this year? I got a lot of knife skill practice on my non-dominant hand (I had a climbing injury for a couple months)! That's probably not that cool, but now I can slice a deli of chives almost as quickly as my good hand.

What are you most excited to delve into in the kitchen next year?  I'm making a lot of misos these days—with lots of interesting choices like purple sweet potatoes, peas, and various legumes. I'm excited to crack into them when they're ready. 

If you could win a truck full of one item, what would it be? Yakumi pans. I would be the most organized human being in existence.

Andrew Janjigian title

Andrew Janjigian is a former long-time test cook at Cook's Illustrated magazine. He is a breadhead who has, for more than 10 years, been teaching baking and pizza online and at places like King Arthur Baking Company and Maine's Kneading Conference. Before working at Cook's Illustrated, he was an organic chemist in the biotech industry and earned a master's degree in mycology. He's been mining his family Armenian recipes (and more) for Serious Eats since late 2020.

Andrew Janjigian EOY graphic

Serious Eats / Sabrina Tan

Favorite recipe developed this year for Serious Eats? My baguette! It’s been many years in the making, but the quality of my baguettes improved by leaps and bounds working on that. 

What was the most memorable meal you had this year? We still aren’t eating out all that much, but we did have an amazing 9-course tasting meal for my wife’s birthday at one of our favorite Boston-area joints, Lynn’s Nightshade Noodle Bar.

What’s the coolest thing you learned in the kitchen this year? Hard to pick one thing! But maybe the upgrade to my baguette-steaming method in which you seal the container with a sheet of foil. It’s a simple trick, but it makes all the difference in the quality of the crust. 

What are you most excited to delve into in the kitchen next year?  I am writing a book next year for Ten Speed, Breaducation, on the fundamentals of bread baking, and I cannot wait to start working on it. 

If you could win a truck full of one item, what would it be? Can you have a truckload of time? That is the one thing I need more of in order to get all of the many projects I want to do done. 

Reem Kassis headline

Reem Kassis is a Palestinian writer whose work focuses on the intersection of food with culture, history, and politics. You can find some of her writings in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The New York Times. Her debut cookbook, The Palestinian Table (2017), won The Guild of Food Writers Award and Gourmand World Cookbook award, was nominated for a James Beard Award, was short-listed for the Andre Simon Award and the Edward Stanford Award, and was picked as one of NPR's best books of 2017. Her second cookbook is The Arabesque Table (2021).

Reem Kasiss EOY Graphic

Serious Eats / Sabrina Tan

Favorite recipe developed this year for Serious Eats? Mansaf.

What was the most memorable meal you had this year? Dinner at Kalaya in Philly when my parents came from Jerusalem for a visit. 

What’s the coolest thing you learned in the kitchen this year? I made a lot of dumplings this year (Asian, Ukrainian, Armenian, etc.), so it’s been cool learning all the different doughs, shapes, and techniques. 

What are you most excited to delve into in the kitchen next year? I just bought a vegetable chopper (those manual box shaped ones), and with a baby, it’s been life changing because I can chop large batches of things quickly and often with one hand only!

If you could win a truck full of one item, what would it be? Le Creuset pots and pans and everything else they sell!

Clarissa Wei Name plate

Clarissa Wei is a freelance writer and video producer with over ten years experience. She graduated from New York University with a double major in journalism and politics. She has been a freelance writer and video producer since 2011, covering topics such as regional Chinese noodles, an epidemic of kidney disease linked to sugarcane fields in Nicaragua, and the Lakota Sioux's fight for food sovereignty.

Clarissa Wei EOY Contributor Graphic

Serious Eats / Sabrina Tan

Favorite recipe developed this year for Serious Eats? I was very pleased with my iteration of Taiwanese popcorn chicken with furu, which is a typical dish found at a lot of outdoor beer restaurants in Taipei. I've been obsessed with furu for the last year—smearing it liberally on bread, using it in salad dressings—so to be able to share it with the world was such a delight. 

What was the most memorable meal you had this year? Dinner at JATAK in Copenhagen. I adored everything about it. The restaurant is by Chef Jonathan Tam, and his menu is a dreamy progression of seasonal dishes merging his Asian roots with local Scandinavian ingredients.

What’s the coolest thing you learned in the kitchen this year? How to make cheese foam (it's easier than you'd think!). 

What are you most excited to delve into in the kitchen next year? Bulk meal planning. I currently live in a very small apartment in Taipei, but I'm planning on moving next year to a place with bigger square footage. The first thing I'm getting is a chest freezer so I can make freezable meals ahead of time. 

If you could win a truck full of one item, what would it be? Hot Cheetos. I moved to East Asia in 2018 and after nearly five years away from the States, I find myself desperately craving American junk food. 

Maureen Celestine Header

Maureen Celestine is a photographer and food stylist who runs Worldly Treat, a blog dedicated creating quick, easy, flavorful, family-friendly meals found worldwide. She was raised in a family of six in Nigeria and has been cooking since the age of twelve. Maureen began photographing for Serious Eats in 2022.

Maureen Celestine EOY Graphic

Serious Eats / Sabrina Tan

What was the most memorable meal you had this year? The most memorable meal I had this year was a massive bowl of authentic tom yum soup served over sticky rice. It was so good I shed a tear. This brought back memories of my early college years.  

What’s the coolest thing you learned in the kitchen this year? The coolest thing I learned in the kitchen this year is a money-saving hack. No more tossing out my hardened brown sugar; instead, I add marshmallow pieces in the jar with sugar to keep it moist. Who knew!

What are you most excited to delve into in the kitchen next year? I am most excited about getting a pasta maker to start experimenting with making pasta. I am equally stoked about making Nigerian Pap (Ogi, Akamu) from scratch using fermented corn. 

If you could win a truck full of one item, what would it be? Quail (Coturnix or Bobwhite).

MAI Kakish headline

Mai Kakish is a photographer and food stylist who began shooting for Serious Eats in 2022. She runs Almond & Fig, a blog that is a memoir told through food. She cooks to remember the place she came from (Palestine) and to pass that connection on to her children.

Mai Kakish EOY Graphic

Serious Eats / Sabrina Tan

Favorite photo taken this year for Serious Eats? Ka'ak al Quds.

What was the most memorable meal you had this year? It was at my parents' home on the outskirts of Jerusalem, this past summer. We had a musakhan feast (Palestinian taboon bread, slathered with olive oil, caramelized onions, sumac, and roasted chicken) served al fresco–style in my grandparents' garden and enjoyed with my family. We sipped on arak, ate, and laughed till it was too dark to clean up.

What’s the coolest thing you learned in the kitchen this year? How to make Palestinian ka'ak al quds and taboon bread. And while I was in Palestine, a visit to a local artisan in the village of Beit Sahour to learn all about arak spirits (a distilled Levantine spirit made of anise and grapes), one of my favorite drinks.

What are you most excited to delve into in the kitchen next year? Mastering my grandmother's recipes and learning the techniques behind old recipes like hand-rolling maftoul. Maftoul are pearls a little larger than couscous made out of whole wheat and eaten as a delicious Palestinian winter stew.

If you could win a truck full of one item, what would it be? Authentic Palestinian za’atar—a taste of my home so I can pass it out to everyone to try.

Ozoz Header

Ozoz Sokoh is a food explorer and exploration geologist focused on celebrating and documenting West African culinary heritage. She wrote her first piece for Serious Eats in 2020 and has also written for Food52, Basically by Bon Appétit, Parts Unknown, Al Jazeera, and more. Ozoz also runs Feast Afrique, a platform dedicated to West African culinary heritage. Her blog, Kitchen Butterfly, was the 2018 winner of the Saveur Best Food Blog reader's choice award for food culture.

Ozoz Sokoh EOY Graphic

Favorite recipe developed this year for Serious Eats? Curry-flavored Nigerian stock. Finally making it a recipe complete with proportions just how I like it.

What was the most memorable meal you had this year? A series of Nigerian eats at Afrobeat Kitchen in Toronto, for the opening of their new space. Back-to-back hits. When the small chops (a.k.a appetizers) started coming out, I had to pace myself because I knew there was dinner. From stunning tostones, to the perfect crusted suya wings, wonton goat meat pepper soup, delicious Jollof rice, and perfect dodo, with refreshing glasses of zobo and Vitamalt to complete things. Outstanding.

What’s the coolest thing you learned in the kitchen this year? Food bubbles aren't always spherical/round...just like other bubbles. Yeah, I know, I know. In my head, bubbles are round. But I know I've seen non-round ones. But yes, this is it for me.

What are you most excited to delve into in the kitchen next year? The Thermomix, if I get one. Otherwise, crafting the best brownie cookie I can.

If you could win a truck full of one item, what would it be? Homemade cookies and biscuits—of the Belgian Biskwi kind, of the British kind, and everything in between.

Pailin Chongchitnant Header

Pailin Chongchitnant grew up cooking with her family in Southern Thailand. After receiving two degrees from the University of British Columbia in Nutritional Sciences and Home Economics Education, she graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in San Francisco. After working in professional kitchens, Chongchitnant launched her YouTube channel Pailin's Kitchen and in 2016 published Hot Thai Kitchen: Demystifying Thai Cuisine with Authentic Recipes to Make at Home. She co-hosts the Canadian cooking show One World Kitchen.

Pailin Chongchitnant

Serious Eats / Sabrina

Favorite recipe developed this year for Serious Eats? Thai chile paste.

What was the most memorable meal you had this year? An Afghan meal at a restaurant called Zarak, in Vancouver.

What’s the coolest thing you learned in the kitchen this year?  I learned that tapioca or corn starch is the trick to making creamy ice cream bars that involves no machine of any sort. This blew my mind, so I developed this recipe.

What are you most excited to delve into in the kitchen next year? I'd like to do some more Korean and Indian cooking next year.

If you could win a truck full of one item, what would it be? Lottery tickets. 

Nik Sharma header

Nik Sharma is a molecular biologist turned cookbook author (Season and The Flavor Equation) and food photographer who's been writing for Serious Eats since 2020. Nik left his career in biomedical research behind to pursue a career in cooking, food writing, and photography, in which he uses his background in biochemistry to understand flavor.

Nik Sharma EOY graphic

Serious Eats / Sabrina Tan

Favorite recipe developed this year for Serious Eats? It has to be between my science essay on brining beans and my recipe for vegan cardamom meringue cookies with strawberry compote. Both of these involved extensive experimentation and research, and I learned a lot in the process, which made it rewarding. 

What was the most memorable meal you had this year? The best meal I ate this year was at Bacetti in Los Angeles. The focaccia, rigatoni all'amatriciana, and cacio e pepe with the strozzapretti are my go-tos, and so is their fico pizza with figs and walnuts. 

What’s the coolest thing you learned in the kitchen this year? How to use my vacuum storage device to suck air out of the custard to make a flan. It reduces bubble formation in the flan during cooking. 

What are you most excited to delve into in the kitchen next year? I'm looking forward to finally fiddling around with some molecular gastronomy ideas that have been on mind. 

If you could win a truck full of one item, what would it be? A very cozy and comfortable bed so I can nap. I don't nap enough. 

Yana Gilbuena header

Yana Gilbuena, a Philippine-born chef, started the SALO Series to share the vibrant food culture of the Philippines with the world. In her American tour, Gilbuena hosted kamayan pop-up dinners in 50 states in 50 weeks, as well as across Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Australia, Europe, and the Philippines. At these meals, diners sit at banana leaf-covered tables and eat decolonized Filipino food with their hands.

Yana Gilbuena EOY Graphic

Favorite recipe developed this year for Serious Eats? Definitely chicken inasal.

What was the most memorable meal you had this year? At the restaurant called King of Snake in Christchurch, NZ. Very well executed dishes and flavors that were on point. 

What’s the coolest thing you learned in the kitchen this year? Natural yeasts and fermentation.

What are you most excited to delve into in the kitchen next year? I'd like to delve into Filipino baked goods and also different spices and sauces (not necessarily Filipino).

If you could win a truck full of one item, what would it be? Caviar and/or truffles!