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Dave the Cook

Steven Shaw

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I am so sorry to hear this news. It has been several years since I've been a regular on egullet, but like many of you, it was foundational in my transformation from being a recipe-following cook to a COOK cook. Stephen once sent me a pound of vanilla beans -- I think he did that for several on here -- because he wanted a bunch of people to experiment with making vanilla extract. I haven't bought extract since then.

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I’m shocked and deeply saddened to lose Steven, who has been a great friend. eGullet is a gift that he created for everyone— especially for me.

 

In many ways, the inspiration for Modernist Cuisine was born on the eGullet forums. Steven was a tremendous influence on the development of the book; a sounding-board throughout the writing process.  

 

He was a trailblazer, a genuinely great guy, and a truly amazing person to share a meal with. He will be truly missed.  

 

Honoring an incredible friend, who inspired us all to explore, debate, and eat: http://bit.ly/OLerWF

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Very sad. My thanks to Steven for what he has done for the food community, for allowing me to learn so much, and for connecting me with so many amazing people. My condolences to his family and friends.

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It's been a long time since I've posted on eGullet, but with this news, I felt compelled to do so.  Imagine that the first page of names are mostly of people I recognize from years ago (I found eG in 2003, and one of my dearest friends is a result of this board)--that right there is a testament to what Steven and Jason built.  My heart breaks for Steven's family and those who knew him best; having lost a close friend in his 40s a similar way, I know what a shock it is, but what a wonderful legacy Fat Guy has left behind!  

 

It was far too short a run, but he certainly gave it his all.  Eat/drink well wherever you are, Steven.  


Edited by Curlz (log)

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I never met Steven. I didn't really interact with him much in the forums. That was nothing intentional, we just rarely seemed to be in the same discussions, Yet I find myself saddened by this in a way that goes beyond the general sadness of someone passing. I've never met any of the people on eGullet in person but there are some here on the forums that I consider friends. I've always been skeptical of the online friends thing so just the fact that what Steven helped create was able to bring me around on that means a great deal to me. Not to mention all that I've learned here. I wish I'd taken the time to say "thanks". So I'll say it now. Thank you Steven, may you rest in peace. Peace and strength be with your family as they try to move on without the wonderful husband and father the testimonies of those who new you personally show you to have been.

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My time on eG was brief, but a stone groove. Priscilla and I made life-long friends here. My interactions with FG, especially while contributing to the nascent Daily Gullet, were so gratifying that I must remind myself that I never met the man off-line.

 

FG's generosity, gregariousness and joie de vivre will continue to inspire and infect eG old-timers and newcomers, through this fine monument.

 

Thank you, Steven. It was a privilege.

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I have spent the majority of my day thinking about Steven and the effects that my friendship with him had on my life. Steven Shaw changed my life. He was one of the most giving people that I have ever encountered and I am blessed to have known him. My sympathies and thoughts go to Ellen and P.J. 

 

Though I haven't posted here in years, today I will and it's gonna be a long one because eGullet is where I think that this should go. I used to get alot of crap from Steven about starting fights and angry conversations on eGullet just because instead of typing a post about cake or something, I would write a long story with a question attached. Fights ensued. I have to admit, now, that I did kind of enjoy my first shot at being an erudite, albeit electronic, redneck. 

 

I don't expect a battle from this one. I really miss the opportunity that I will never have again.

 

A long time ago my wife and my two boys were on their way home from Western N.C. where the boys had been at camp. In New Orleans there was a minor weather event (most of you would call it a hurricane) and driving into it seemed kinda stupid. It was the Fourth of July weekend and she elected to overnight with the boys in Memphis. She called and asked me if I would look up a few spots to eat that were great and not filled with tourists (young people-smart phones did not exist 15 years ago). I started bumping around on the internet, found her a hotel, a good list of dining options and fireworks times. Good dad. 

 

The source that I ended up using was eGullet. I had never seen a food site or anything close to it. Suddenly, I realized that there were other people, all over the world, who wanted to talk about how to cook, where to eat, what they loved and what they hated. Lord, Thank You, I am home!

 

A couple of months later, after posting alot, I get a call from this guy in NY that I had enjoyed sparring with. Steven called (remember when people actually talked on phones?) and asked if I would be interested in meeting with his partner, Jason Perlow, who was going to be in New Orleans for a long weekend. I was a bit taken aback, given that I had never met a "virtual friend" in the then new blog universe and kind of mumbled an "ok" thinking that it would just take a few minutes. I was wrong. Way wrong. Turned out that nothing with Jason and his wife Rachel was quick...ever.We spent time doing things in New Orleans and then, at their insistence, took a long day drive through South Louisiana. We made alot of stops that day while traveling and Jason was either on the phone or texting Steven constantly. Though I directed a really bad stop to Poche's meat market (sorry Rachel, I swear that I said "take a right") we ended up becoming fast friends. By the end of the day, I put together what all of the texting was about. Steven and Jason asked me to take over the Louisiana board on eGullet. I was pretty fired up and immediately took the job. Little did I know that this one choice would change my entire life. 

 

At the time, I was in temporary retirement from running breweries and working a weird job. I was a manager at an incall center and part of that job was spending all day on the net. I spent most of my time doing eGullet stuff instead of work stuff (how much time can you watch  people wearing headsets selling Total Gyms and not try to find something else to do?). A rather overzealous tech person figured this out after awhile (thanks to an article that Todd Price wrote for Gambit about local food blogging-Thanks Todd!) and I got waxed in one fell swoop. 

 

I wrote a supervisor only email to my eGullet colleagues about the dangers of farting around at work and, not an hour later, Steven called with a job lead for me in New Orleans that involved food and the internet. Bingo! I applied and, thanks to rec from Steven, was immediately hired. While it turned out this was kind of a weird company, I loved everything about it. Hell, they were paying me to do stuff like play on eGullet!

 

Not long after that event, I had to go to NY for the Fancy Food Show in New York and Steven asked me out to dinner. Of course I said yes. I was thinking Eleven Mad Park or somewhere else pretty swell. I was wrong. He asked me to meet him at Tavern on the Green. What the hell? A tourist trap? I didn't comment and showed up on time. What transpired changed alot of things in my life and it was all thanks to Steven. 

 

We met at the front door and I was surprised that he had a guest with him. Because of Steven's influence and my gift at using the proper fork for any given course, I ended up with a regular column in a national magazine. The woman that he had brought with him was one of the owners of a niche publication called Chile Pepper magazine and he was setting me up to write pieces about the Deep South for them (Deep South because they weren't interested in just NOLA). He was of the opinion that I should write more and, as opposed to eGullet, actually get paid for it. It was, absolutely, the largest compliment that I have ever been paid. 

 

Through that one, very bad, dinner I ended up getting all kinds of work in a broad variety of publications. Some paid well, some not, but it sure beat the hell out of arguing about Cake vs. Pie (cake wins, everytime).

 

Thanks to the ability to travel to NY  over the years I regularly got to do things with Steven and it was always a pleasure as well as an educational experience. 

 

I'm dragging on, because I can't help myself, but my point is that I have gotten jobs and done things that I NEVER would have been able to do without his interest, friendship and stewardship. I am not in this boat alone. He helped many, many people over the years just because he wanted to and because he could. Most of all, I made friends through this that I will treasure forever. For this I owe him more than could ever be repaid if he had lived to be 100 years old. 

 

Thanks, Steven. I hope that you have a fast connection and bottomless memory where you are. We all miss you and I think that a number of us are sorry that we never expressed it sooner. 

 

Rest well, my friend.

 

Mayhaw Man

 

p.s.-I also had an editor at eGullet that taught me alot about writing. I wish she had a shot at this drivel that is being driven by sadness, wonder, happiness and Pappy's. Thanks, Mags. You are an awesome force, especially for a Northern type.

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Steven at times argued with me, at times confided in me, certainly challenged me, and always, looking back on it, for the better. All, I believe, for reasons he thought were right and just. I cannot not admire that.

 

Public displays of condolence aren't necessarily my thing, and thankfully I haven't had much reason to express them. But I'm hoping that adding my voice to this positive and loving chorus has an impact in some small way. Heartfelt condolences to Steven's family, friends, associates, and everyone that he has touched. A legacy as great as Steven's is to be admired.


Edited by tommy (log)
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Like so many here, finding this site has enriched my life in ways too numerous to count. What a legacy you leave, Steven Shaw. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Peace and light to your wife and little boy.

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It's so cool to see so many familiar names come out of the woodwork to honor Steven. Of course, I wish the circumstances were different.

 

Steven impacted and changed so many lives in so many ways. RIP and thank you.

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I can't add anything original to these comments, but feel compelled to join the chorus thanking Steven (and Jason) for creating such an amazing space for exchanging knowledge and fostering lasting personal relationships. Along with so many others here, I've made enduring friends through eGullet, and gained an amazing education about food and drink as well.  I can credit eG with leading to a few professional opportunities as well.   I'm thankful for the contributions of so many people here on this site over the years, but most of all to those that did the heavy lifting to build and maintain it.

 

I'm not sure any of us understand all the shifts in technology and behavior that have resulted in so many of us drifting away from the site, but it remains an amazing resource, and certainly catalyzed a lot of amazing projects over the years. It's too bad that something so sad was the reason, but it's been really heartwarming to see so many old names and avatars in this thread, it feels kind of like old times.  (Although somebody might have to start an argument or go off on a tangent... )

 

Hope everybody's doing well, nice to "see" you all back up here again.  And I join you in offering my condolences to Steven's family, and again, offering heartfelt thanks to him for providing this place where we all met.

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Okay, this is very sat; I really enjoyed Fat Guy and he helped me with my first restaurant, Rare in Vancouver... his advice on "a term not yet coined' social media and concept were invaluable.

Then his dog ate the floor out of my car. I was totally pissed off, but...

...I got to meet Anthony Bourdain through him. 


We chatted on 911 - first hand account of the tragedy as he watched the smoke and destruction from his window a few blocks away. A very surreal day.


Ate oysters at 5am, drank wine all day - and was amazed by a lawyer who left a million dollar practice because; as quoted by him "I really enjoyed practising law, with Lunch being my favourite part of the day".

Smart guy, fat guy, fun guy and a pompous ass.

Glad I was able to spend a little time with him.

Fat Guy's Dog Eating!

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I...am stunned.  45 years old?! 

 

My kindest thoughts to Ellen and PJ, and also to Momo.  I imagine that Eternity's banquet hall is ringing with laughter right now, since the Fat Guy's arrival.

 

Warm greetings also, to the old gang I recognize from 2003 and thereabouts; I hope it's all good for you folks.

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Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends. He created a wonderful place for so many. Thank you Steven. RIP 

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I think that it is a lasting tribute to Steve that his passing cuts in so many different directions at once, as he himself so often did. I will start by offering my deepest and most sincere condolences to his family, whose shock and sadness I cannot begin to imagine. Fat Guy was one of a kind, and for me, back in the day, very much a kindred spirit...fellow Fordham law grad and fellow Wall Street lawyer (same building, even!), turned fellow eGulleteer. I still chuckle when I think of my days as the co-host of the Italy forum, and the equal measures of inspiration and abuse that he served up which kept me pumping out new content, never stopping to think that I was but unpaid help using a surprising amount of my scarce free time to help drive the eGullet bus. And I savor the bittersweetness of this moment, when I see the names of so many of the prominent and invaluable contributors of the Steve and Jason era, but realize that few of them regularly grace these pages any more. I was also delighted to see his obit in the Times, which itself shines the spotlight not only on Steve, but also on what eGullet once was and the important contributions that it once made. In some sense, the eGullet community has lost the Fat Guy twice, and he is surely the yardstick with which I am measuring loss today. Godspeed, Steve. We will not forget you...

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I never met Steven, but seeing news of his death on twitter was a real shock, and I thought for his family and especially his son, it would be appropriate to pay respects here and say thank you for what he & Jason created.

 

The UK board launched many high profile writing careers, that was never my aim, but I did buy a Pub, and that was probably largely in part due to feeling part of a UK food renaissance that was fuelled by eGullet and meeting such a range of likeminded people who I still meet and eat with regularly has made a massive impact on my life. Now no-one bats an eye-lid if I say 'I'm off to Spain with my foodie mates from the internet'. No matter we now have the immediacy of twitter and facebook, EG is where most of us started out. It is a legacy to be very proud of.

 

RIP Steven & My sincere condolences to Ellen, PJ &  his family.


Edited by Gary Marshall (log)
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Oh wow, Steven was way, way too young. eGullet played a vital roll in my life when I joined back in '02 -- it was such a blessing to meet so many great people that also loved food as much as I do. I will be eternally greateful for Steven for such great memories. I distinctly remember him starting his coffee roasting diary which inspired me to start a sausage diary as I tried to figure out how to make true Polish kielbasa. He was upset because he felt my diary trumped his! The man loved his meat.

 

RIP.

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What greater gift could one bestow than turning strangers, from next door to around the world, into lifelong friendships?

 

I hope you knew the magnitude of what you were responsible for and how much joy you brought directly and indirectly to others.

 

You (and Jason) created something special and we are all indebted. 

 

Thank you and peace to those close to you.   

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It was an honor to attend Steven Shaw's memorial service yesterday with Dean McCord, his wife Marcella, Katie Loeb, Sam Kinsey, John Deragon, and Mitch Weinstein. All rooms of both floors of the funeral home we're packed with friends, relatives and others, and dozens of us later attended his graveside service with Ellen, his mom Penny, and his son PJ.

 

Both were humbling displays of the wide, deep reach of Steven's life. Though my tears dripped steadily all day, I found myself laughing at new stories and nodding at familiar traits; though we were all devastated, we were all grateful to be among the many people whom he engaged, loved, and enlivened.

 

What an astonishing, and far too brief, life.

 

You will be missed, Steven, but I join the many others who pledge to remember your zest for a life well lived each time I raise a fork or glass.

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I've lurked here for years & years, and I truly regret never getting the courage to join any of the in person activities we used to have. But so many of the most memorable threads were ones that Steven started and hosted and I thank him for starting such a lively forum. My heart goes out to his family, especially his son, as it was Steven's love for PJ that I saw most clearly in his posts.

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