Joe Yonan


Get to know the Chef(s)

Joe Yonan is a two-time James Beard Award-winning food and travel editor and writer for The Washington Post, famed for his column about cooking for one, and he most recently authored the cookbook, “Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook.”

Upcoming class: Eat Your Vegetables on 3/8 at 5 p.m.

What are your top 5 kitchen tools?

1. My cook’s knife, of course!
2. My Clever coffee dripper, for easy single-serve coffee prep every morning.
3. My Mexican-style citrus squeezer/juicer. I love a hit of citrus juice in many dishes.
4. Multiple half-sheet pans, perfect for roasting vegetables without crowding them (therefore getting them nice and caramelized).
5. My immersion blender, just the thing for pureeing (or, even better, partially pureeing) soups without sending black beans to the ceiling.

What is your favorite culinary destination?

San Francisco, for the combination of restaurants, markets, and easy day trips to wine country.

What smell evokes a wonderful memory?

The smell of peppers roasting in tomato sauce. Takes me back to my mother’s kitchen! 

What do you have that is interesting in your refrigerator?

How much time do you have? One current obsession is miso, the fermented soybean paste I use in dressings, glazes — even risotto and pasta dishes sometimes!

When did you discover you wanted to cook for a living? What was the defining moment?

I was working at the Boston Globe and didn’t get a promotion, and was relieved, which told me I was unhappy working in news. When I did a “What Color is Your Parachute?” type exercise imagining myself working and happy, I was quick to realize that my favorite interviews and writing had been about food. I decided to go to culinary school then and there, and to turn my journalism and newspaper career toward food.

How do you decompress?

Exercise. Steam room. Massage. Pedicure. Shopping.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Writing, cooking — and growing (my own food, and myself). 

If you were not a cook/chef, what would you be?

If I could choose now, I think I’d pursue farming. Or possibly music. A singing farmer!