The Herbalist in the Kitchen
New York, NY (PRWEB) May 11, 2006
On Sunday, May 7th, Leite’s Culinaria (http://www.leitesculinaria.com) won the 2006 James Beard Award for Best Web Site for Food, which was given out at the 16th Annual James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards held at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. This is first time the foundation has included a Web site in its roster of nomination categories. Other Web site nominees were epicurious.com, a CondeNast company, and alicefeiring.com, an independent blog devoted to wine.
David Leite, publisher and editor-in-chief, and Linda Avery, food editor, were present to accept the award. “It’s quite an honor,” says Avery. “All of our editors, recipe testers, and writers have worked tremendously hard, and we’re all very appreciative.”
Leite’s Culinaria began in 1999, a time when the Internet had few quality food sites. Leite, a freelance food writer, wanted to create a cyber-portfolio that editors could visit in order to read his work. In no time, he began receiving e-mails from readers who found their way to the site based upon its content, which, at the time, dealt mostly with Portuguese cooking.
“Frankly, I was shocked when people found me,” says Leite of those early years. “I had no idea that search engines spidered Web sites. I was planning to using it as a destination for editors, not for the general public.” Within the year, Leite added other content, including recipes, resources, and columns. In 2000, Gary Allen, author of the "Resource Guide for Food Writers" (Routledge, 1999) and the upcoming "The Herbalist in the Kitchen" (University of Illinois Press) was tapped as food history editor.
Avery joined the site in 2003 as one of a dozen recipe testers. She quickly became recipe-testing coordinator and grew the section to almost 200 members. In 2004, she became food editor, and her responsibilities increased to include planning each month’s issue with Leite as well as determining which books and recipes to highlight.
Leite writes for the site and edits the work of contributing writers, a group which now encompasses established and up-and-coming writers. The combination of editors, writers, and the site’s various offerings attracts approximately 1.3 million readers a year. To encourage new writers, Leite established The Leite's Culinaria Scholarship for Narrative Food Writing to the Symposium for Professional Food Writers at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, WV. The first winner was Ana Schwartzman, whose work will appear on the site later in the year.
In addition to the winning the James Beard Award, Leite’s Culinaria won the 2005 World Food Media Award for Best Food and/or Drink Web Site, the 2002 Best Writer’s Web Site award from "Writer’s Digest Magazine," and was a finalist in the 2006 Gourmet Voice Awards. Also, work from the site has been included in the "Best Food Writing" series (Marlowe).