PERSONAL: Married Lettie Teague (an editor and columnist). Education: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, degree (with honors), 1965.
ADDRESSES: Office—French Culinary Institute, 462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013-2618.
CAREER: Journalist and restaurant critic. New York Times, New York, NY, reporter; Boston Globe, Boston, MA, assistant managing editor; People magazine, writer-at-large, Gentleman's Quarterly, senior correspondent and restaurant critic; French Culinary Institute, New York, NY, dean of food journalism, 2004–. Sports writer for Evening Bulletin, Montreal Star, and Boston Globe. Journalist for Portland Indiana Commercial-Review; television cohost of Dining Around, Food Network. Military service: U.S. Army, served in Vietnam War; awarded Bronze Star.
AWARDS, HONORS: Twelve James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards for food writing, including two M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Awards; National Magazine Award.
(Author of forword) Fran McCullough and Molly Stevens, The Best American Recipes: 2003–2004, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2003.
Fork It Over: The Intrepid Adventures of a Professional Eater, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to numerous periodicals.
SIDELIGHTS: "For a decade and a half he has been one of America's most discerning, original and voracious food writers," wrote Jerry Adler of Alan Richman in Newsweek. Richman, who began his career as a sportswriter, sees his career in a broader light, however; as he said in an article on the French Culinary School Web site: "Whenever I'm asked what I do for a living, I don't say I'm a writer, a reporter, an editor or, heaven help me, a foodie. I say I'm a journalist. I'd love to see more people take up that cause."
Richman presents a collection of essays about food he has eaten around the world in his book Fork It Over: The Intrepid Adventures of a Professional Eater. On the one hand, Richman writes about his esoteric search for black truffles, but he also reviews a more down-to-earth appetite in another essay describing his hunt for North Carolina's best barbecue restaurant. Other essays discuss an expensive Chicago restaurant owned by Louis Farrakhan, a dinner with actress Sharon Stone, and his distrust of restaurants in the Hamptons. While focusing on his career, the author provides glimpses of his personal life, talking about his mother as a great cook, and how he had a good idea of what his calling might be when he had the best pastrami sandwich of his life at a Philadelphia as a kid. He also claims that, during his service in Vietnam during the war, he was the only soldier to gain weight. In addition to his essays, Richman offers tips for people eating out called the "Ten Commandments for Diners," which include such advice as never taking the waiter's word for a favorite dish and pretending to be a food critic by taking out a notebook and a pen.
"Richman's dry, witty prose will delight readers who crave good culinary writing," wrote John Charles in the Library Journal. A Kirkus Reviews contributor commented that the author's "short, simple, funny sentences both engage and surprise." The reviewer added, "His prose lets readers in on the joke without directly acknowledging it." Melissa Parcel, writing on the BookLoons Web site, called Fork It Over a "delectable treasure," noting that people "who enjoy narrative nonfiction, food lovers of all kinds, and those who are looking for an unusual and humorous writing style will thoroughly enjoy" the book. In a review in Entertainment Weekly, Kim Severson wrote that the author "loves lean sentences built on sharp observation and blustery opinion." Writing in Booklist, Mark Knoblauch noted that the author makes "deftly worded ruminations on food and restaurants." Knoblauch also wrote that "Richman's storytelling ability serves him well." In a review in the School Library Journal, Barbara A. Genco commented: "This guy can flat out write—and he's funny. Just remember—don't read him with your mouth full."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 2004, Mark Knoblauch, review of Fork It Over: The Intrepid Adventures of a Professional Eater, p. 540.
Entertainment Weekly, October 29, 2004, Kim Severson, review of Fork It Over, p. 72.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2004, review of Fork It Over, p. 854.
Library Journal, October 15, 2004, John Charles, review of Fork It Over, p. 83.
Media Week, May 11, 1998, Lisa Granatstein, "GQ Restaurant Reviewer Richman Dresses for Awards Dinner," p. 32.
Newsweek, December 6, 2004, Jerry Adler, review of Fork It Over, p. 89.
Publishers Weekly, September 15, 2003, review of The Best American Recipes: 2003–2004, p. 59.
School Library Journal, December, 2004, Barbara A. Genco, review of Fork It Over, p. 54.
BookLoons, http://www.bookloons.com/ (September 17, 2005), Melissa Parcel, review of Fork It Over.
Curled Up with a Good Book, http://www.curledup.com/ (September 17, 2005), Barbara Bamberger Scott, review of Fork It Over.
French Culinary Institute Web site, http://www.frenchculinary.com/ (September 17, 2005), "The French Culinary Institute Appoints Alan Richman as Dean of Food Journalism and Announces New Curriculum on Food Writing."