Special/Signature Issues » 2012 State of the Plate

Eat With Us

About our reviewers.

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Don Baker, a journalist and one-time carhop, waiter, bartender and maitre'd, and member of the James Beard Society, divides his time between Richmond and Brooklyn. The former Washington Post political reporter enjoys Richmond's Southern accent (grits and sausage, rockfish, bay oysters, peanut soup, pimento cheese, ham biscuits) and New York's exotica (pork ears with kumquats, avocado-banana chaat, lamb belly with jalapeño and cold-smoked walu with fennel kimchi.).

Ellie Basch, after spending the first six years after high school rebelling against her caterer mother, has given in. She's embraced the food world for almost two decades as a waitress, bakery manager, line cook, restaurateur and caterer. Durian, stinky cheeses and dark, dark chocolate are among her favorite things. At home she whips up pasta and grain dishes that require no more than two pans to clean. She's happiest when someone else cooks for her, be it at a friend's house or a restaurant.

Tess Autrey Bosher, a former lawyer and dessert-business owner, uses her culinary school experience these days to mix baby food and make homemade pasta with help from her assistants, ages 6, 4, and 1. When she manages to get out, she embraces grown-up dining in the form of cloth napkins, seafood, novel veggies, prosecco and anything spicy. Her favorite food groups are bacon and chocolate.

Matthew Freeman has traveled to five continents in search of new food and cultural experiences. When unable to travel, he scours Richmond for unique dining experiences. His perfect meal is something he's never heard of, and it's even better if it requires instructions on how to eat. With three children, he's an avid home cook for financial reasons, trying to recreate exotic meals in forms his children will tolerate.

Robey Martin, daughter of a restaurateur and once the right hand to a German chef, will argue that a staff meal often is the best meal, that nothing is better than a good cup of coffee and that Richmond is one of the better places to eat in the nation. She seeks out the best food and talks about it vehemently. Her ambition is to surpass Jeffery Steingarten and become the "Woman Who Ate Everything" ... or at least everything in Richmond.

Karen Newton is a dedicated eater who will try anything put in front of her. She prefers small plates to entrees, a bar seat to a table and a menu that changes frequently. Her best dining experiences involve a good musical soundtrack, a well-priced wine list and swine. Dedicated to the restaurant experience, dinners at home are limited to Thanksgiving and Christmas just to ensure that her oven still works. She likes to eat out for brunch, lunch or dinner seven days a week.


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