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Fat Guy

Welcome new forum hosts and site managers

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The eGullet community is the most amazing collection of people I've ever had the pleasure of being a part of. I am continually amazed at the diversity and thoughtfulness of our readers, members, and staff. When I think of the dynamic international organization that eGullet has become, I'm certainly impressed by our accomplishments, but I'm far more concerned about who we are.

Our forums hosts have always helped set the tone of our community by encouraging members to contribute and by adding their own expertise to the dialog. Many new hosts have joined us over time as our staff has grown to 50-plus. Today I'm proud to announce that several new forum hosts will be joining our staff, and I know eGullet will be richer for their voices.

Elie Nassar (“Foodman”) will be joining the Texas forum hosting team, and will also host the Middle East forum. Elie was born and raised in Lebanon. More specifically, he spent his childhood and youth between Beirut, where he went to school and where his family worked, and Rahbi, his hometown in northern Lebanon, where he spent vacations, holidays, weekends and any chance he got. It was in both of these places, his mother’s kitchen in their Beirut apartment and his grandmother’s kitchen at the family house in Rahbi, where the love of good food was ingrained in him. He left Lebanon for Houston to finish his education. He graduated with a business MIS degree from the University of Houston and is now a Systems Analyst living in Houston, TX with his wife and son. He is a cook and an amateur food writer. Currently Elie prepares food almost every day for his family but is stretching his horizons beyond Lebanon. Italian, French, Chinese, Mexican and of course Southern dishes now make regular appearances on the family table. Elie joined eGullet in July 2002 and has been addicted to the site ever since. He presented a class on Lebanese cooking as part of the eGullet Culinary Institute.

Melissa Goodman (“Gifted Gourmet”), will be co-hosting the US Southeast forum. Melissa was raised in a home where cooking in any form was minimal. As a result of living in this culinarily deprived atmosphere, and having briefly run a small catering company, she developed a lifelong passion for all things culinary, and spent long years attempting to channel Brillat-Savarin, with some degree of success. Melissa earned several degrees in educational curriculum development, and pursued those areas as an educator for more than twenty years. Upon retiring, she returned to her lifelong loves: gastronomic adventures, food writing and restaurant reviewing, travel both at home and abroad, visiting art museums (having what must surely be the largest collection of Arcimboldo food prints and accessories), and classical music. Thoroughly convinced that learning can take place apart from the classroom setting, Melissa spends time enlightening and enriching the food education of the members of eGullet, as humorously as legally permitted. She currently lives with her husband in Atlanta, Georgia.

Alberto Chinali (“albiston”) will be co-hosting the Italy forum. Alberto was born in Germany from an Italian family and spent a good part of his life moving from one end of Italy to the other, with a few years spent between the US, Belgium and the UK. Growing up on home cooking from Mantua and Rome, and having lived a long time in Naples, he loves regional cooking from all over Italy and would like one day, possibly before he retires, to be able to say he finally knows Italian cuisine. Nonetheless, the years abroad gave him a strong curiosity for other cuisines, and he hopes one day to have enough money to make a grand tour gastronomique of the world. Like every good Italian, Alberto has a soft spot for wine. Strange as it may sound, this was sparked off by the discovery of Belgian Abbey Beers. While studying for his PhD he managed to earn his only official food-related title, completing the AIS (Italian Sommelier Assoc.) courses to become a Sommelier. But he never had a chance to employ his skills on anyone except his guests. Having recently discovered a passion for baking, he started a little blog, Il Forno ( http://ilforno.typepad.com/il_forno ), to keep track of his experiences. Now back in Germany, with his wife Daniela and their little son Saami, he works as a biochemist for a local university, but not too secretly hopes to quit this job and find a way to turn his food and wine passion into his professional future.

Chris Anderson will be our new New England forum co-host. Chris is a freelance writer specializing in food, technology, personal finance and slice-of-life people profiles. A Maine native (a claim disputed by some whose families are generations deep in the state), Chris grew up in the mountains near the New Hampshire border, where the best practice was to accept the pizza made there as a separate food from, well, pizza. Prior to self-employment, Chris served (in the mid 1990s) as managing editor of Gourmet News, a b2b newspaper for the specialty food trade, and spearheaded the editorial start-up of a business newspaper for the security industry. Chris finds equal pleasure in properly prepared foods, from fried clams and pulled pork, to foie gras and crème brulee. He lives just outside of Portland, Maine, with his wife and two children, and enjoys torturing himself through his complete devotion to the Boston Red Sox.

John Talbott will join us as co-host for the France forum. John has been eating in France since 1953 and now lives there 1/3rd time. He's convinced he was born to French parents and was switched at birth. He began cooking when his father went off in WWII, was the culinator at a college humor magazine and taught his wife Colette to cook. He is often asked if he is related to the St-Julienais folks at Château Talbot but admits to getting a family discount only at Robert Talbott vineyards in California. When not at "home" in Paris, he teaches at the University of Maryland. He has written over 200 books, articles and other drivel, not one of which deals with food.

And the multi-talented Lucy Vanel (“bleudauvergne”), upon returning from her August vacation, will join John as France forum co-host. We'll add her bio and welcome her again later this month.

In addition, three of our current forum hosts are becoming site managers. The site managers are the head administrators of eGullet, each responsible for working with a group of forum hosts to ensure the smooth function of the forums as well as managing many of the site's central functions. Many site managers also host forums.

Janet A. Zimmerman (“JAZ”), who currently hosts our cocktails forum; Kristin Yamaguchi (“torakris”), our current Japan forum host; and Brooks Hamaker (“Mayhaw Man”), our Louisiana host and Beer forum co-host, are our newest site managers. We look forward to reaping the benefits of their level heads and selfless devotion to the eGullet community.

Bios of all eGullet staffers are, as always, available on our Meet the eGullet Team page.

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