I was a childhood foodie. Even at three I knew my destiny lay in the world of food. By my late teens I understood that being good at something meant being passionate about it. I sensed that cooking was magical and mysterious, closely tied to passion and also to love.
I have had an extraordinary journey through the world of food. I have been a caterer, a restaurateur, a private chef, a food stylist and a food editor. I have traveled the world, met amazing chefs, drunk the best wines and eaten the finest meals. Best of all, I have been able to do what I love.
A few years ago, my job as a food editor of House & Garden came to an end when the magazine closed. Eventually I got a call from the Los Angeles Times. They wanted to re-launch the magazine and needed a food editor. I thought, why not? I had always envisioned a return to California at some point so this was it.
Soon after I started the recession hit and my job was cut back. I found myself in a new city and wondering whether to stick it out or go back to New York.
I’ve had to face those big life questions recently that I thought had been resolved in my 20’s. I’ve been down and lost but one bad day I asked myself what is it that I have always have wanted to do? Maybe I wasn’t in the financial position to ask this but I did anyway.
There are two things I’ve always wanted to do. The first is to make wine, the second is to make bread. Wine is an expensive proposition so why not make bread? It seemed right for the times. Bread is so basic. Water and flour and yeast. Who doesn’t love bread? It is also something I can start doing in my house, a grass roots project that I can turn into business.
Now a new journey in the food world begins. The first thing I want to do is to apprentice with some of my favorite bakers for a week or so: Steve Sullivan at Acme Bread and Chad Robertson at Tartine.
Recently two things have happened that sealed the deal for me. Christine Muhlke wrote a piece in the NY Times about Jeff Ford of Cress Spring who sells his breads at the farmers market in Madison, Wisconsin. The story was so moving to me because he was doing what he loved and I could easily see myself doing just what he was doing. Then my friend and mentor Alice Waters visited and we had dinner together. I told her about my plan and she got it right away. She offered to do what she could to make it happen. Before we had finished dinner she was setting up my visit with Steve Sullivan.
My idea is simple: When I get the bread I’m happy with I want to start small by selling it to my neighbors and maybe one public outlet. I’d also like to sell it through a CSA program and then eventually open a small bakery in Los Angeles.
I believe my long journey has taken me here to LA for just this reason. This is my first entry of my new blog documenting my life as a baker. I’m excited, ready, and scared.
All of my work begins with my passion for food and the individual ingredients that have always inspired me. Whether I am styling a story, cooking a meal, baking bread, writing recipes, producing a photo shoot, writing a blog, or just traveling, my love of food and my curiosity about it show me the way.
Lora Zarubin was Food and Wine editor for House & Garden, a position she assumed at the magazine’s relaunch in 1996 and held until its close in November of 2007. She worked closely with Jay Mc Inerney on wine coverage, and initiated her signature column, “Larder,” a page of discoveries, passions, and prejudices about the best things in the world of food.
In the fall of 2003, Zarubin published I Am Almost Always Hungry (Stewart Tabori Chang), a book of culinary memories, seasonal menus, and recipes. The book won the 2004 IACP Julia Child prize for the best first cookbook published that year.