Mark Bittman Put His Money Where His Mouth Is
Why the activist-columnist left journalism to run a vegan startup
In fairness, the offal was sent compliments of the kitchen.
Mark Bittman grabs the ramekin of chicken liver brûlée with a hand the size of an NBA power forward’s before breaking through the caramelized crust with a dagger of crusty bread. I’ve met the author of the best-selling VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 for lunch at the Breslin, April Bloomfield’s New York City restaurant famous for lamb burgers and boards stacked with liverwurst and head cheese. “Today is a bad day,” says Bittman when asked about breaking his famous meat-and-dairy-free-during-daylight edict during our flowing conversation, which skips between millennial slackerdom, Bill Clinton and Bittman’s next chapter after leaving The New York Times in September: He is serving as chief innovation officer at vegan meal-kit delivery service Purple Carrot, which was officially announced this morning. “But, really, we are celebrating, so it’s not so bad,” he says with a laugh.
The lunch was part of a two-day media blitz promoting the author’s latest book, which was being released that day, a compilation of his popular New York Times Magazinecolumn Kitchen Matrix. Earlier in the morning, the tall and trim 65-year-old had been hawking the book on television and NPR, and later he will tape with the “really intense” Dr. Oz. So it’s clear the dude deserves a basket of beer-battered Long Island fluke and Bloomfield’s supreme pomme frites. “You should eat some of these,” he insists in a long-simmered Manhattan drawl. Bittman was raised in New York City’s Stuyvesant Town, and until earlier this year lived mostly in the Northeast — between Boston, Connecticut and New York City — before relocating to Northern California in January. “Living in Berkeley is fucking awesome,” he says with a smile. And with a new job building a plant-based cooking brand, his first full-time gig outside of media in over 30 years, the roaring startup economy might be pretty fucking awesome for Mark Bittman, too.
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