Steven Shaw’s brilliance and wit is taking life through the students, chefs, food writers and restaurateurs he shepherded or engaged or supported through the life that came to a close this past week.
Steven was my blogging instructor, the Director of New Media Studies at the International Culinary Center in New York City.
In 2011, I acted on an impulse to seek blog training. An impulse, indeed. Each Thu morning for six weeks, I grabbed a flight to La Guardia, booked a cheap Queens hotel (if such thing can be said to exist), and wandered the streets of Midtown and Soho, writing about community gardens and farm-to-table restaurants. That evening, I took Steven’s class at ICC, and I headed back to Cincinnati the next morning.
At age 58, I was likely 30 years older than everyone else in the class and certainly the only out-of-towner (no less Cincinnatian), but I loved every minute of it. I remember his first reaction as I introduced myself and my geography. “Ah, Cincinnati, he ruminated… home of the Roebling Suspension Bridge. The predecessor to the Brooklyn Bridge.”
Steven had a wry sense of humor, a type of humor I always find appealing… one that casted a very thin veil over his quick brilliance.
Steven even invited me to tour PS 333, his son’s elementary school, where the kids’ parents had raised $800,000 ( a very New York number) for a completely self-contained rooftop garden. When I arrived with my friend and we located him and his wife, Ellen, he first had to play an instrument in his son’s classroom, all part of the managed chaos of a New York public elementary school, and then he guided us through the garden. Remarkable.
Steven founded what most consider the first food blog, long before a moniker existed for it, called fat-guy.com, so in love with food was he. This evolved into eGullet, co-founded with Jason Perlow, a vehicle that hit stratospheric heights in connecting chefs, food writers, professionals and consumers in ways that had no precedent.
Steven was published in salon.com, the New York Times, Elle and Saveur, and won a James Beard Foundation Journalism Award in 2002.
I believe Steven Shaw represented what is best about New York and about the culture of food in general. He immersed his considerable skill and talent into reviewing and supporting and helping to refine the fantastic New York dining scene and its characters, with an irascible humor you couldn’t help but love.
I’m one of countless people who will miss him deeply, and am so, so grateful for his presence in my life as a mentor and a friend.
Thank you, Steven.