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Karen Hochman
Karen Hochman, Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE, began writing the Top Pick Of The Week newsletter in 2002. Photographed at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York.
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Karen Hochman

Founder & Editorial Director, THE NIBBLE

 

Karen is a third-generation foodie. Other families took trips to the zoo; hers hopped in the car to check out a new restaurant or bakery miles away. Her mother, aunt and grandmother “competed” weekly, cooking up a storm. At the age of 12, Karen remembers being chided by Nana: “When your mother was your age, she was already giving dinner parties. What’s wrong with you?” By 16, Karen and her boyfriend were pooling their weekly allowances for forays to New York’s temples of haute cuisine: 21, The Four Seasons, and the late, lamented Lutèce, Le Pavillion, Tower Suite, Forum of the Twelve Caesars, Chateau Henri IV and Quo Vadis.

During her college years Karen “minored” in ethnic cuisines. Her first job was as executive assistant to the scion of one of the premier gourmets and wine collectors in America. Her employer dined nightly at New York’s fine restaurants, and Karen found herself accompanying him to Caravelle, Le Grenouille and La Cote Basque. After months of dining out, Karen said, “I can do that!” and proceeded to study with Peter Kump at what is now the Institute of Culinary Education, and at The New School. It is not surprising that after receiving an MBA from Columbia University, she became assistant buyer of gourmet cookware at Bloomingdale’s.

Karen then moved to product development for major consumer products companies. In the food area, she has marketed CitiDining (Citigroup’s proprietary dining program for CitiCard customers, which evolved into universal-access programs like Dining á la Card, Transmedia, and iDine). As a consultant to the restaurant services area of American Express, she has interfaced with some of the finest restaurateurs in the country.

In 1984, in order to visit New York’s great restaurants with enough people to taste through the entire menu, Karen co-founded a still-thriving gourmet dining club, The Raiders of the Four Stars. Karen is also a serious wine collector, and owns more bottles than she will ever have time to drink. Her proprietary food and wine database, begun more than 20 years ago, contains thousands of listings both domestic and international, and is accessed by friends and acquaintances on a daily basis. It has been suggested by more than one user that a “Call 1-900-Karen” listing could be the beginning of new and lucrative career; but she decided to launch THE NIBBLE instead.

Karen

Before devoting herself to specialty foods, she was a vice president of marketing at Citigroup and U.S. Wireless Data; and president of the integrated marketing division of Jordan, McGrath, Case & Partners, a national advertising agency (now Arnold Worldwide).

Karen’s Favorite Foods*

  • Caviar (osetra, salmon and flavor-infused whitefish roes like Tsar Nicoulai’s—photo at right) served in many different ways
  • Ice Cream and Sorbet (anything great, and especially Wine Editor Kris Prasad’s beet, lavender, saffron, and truffle ice creams)
  • Foie gras (especially torchons and Chef Richard Farnabe’s 9-way tasting plate)
  • Molecular gastronomy, nouvelle, fusion, cutting edge and experimental cuisine (her own and anyone else’s)
  • Sushi (especially served already garnished, without soy sauce or wasabi, at New York’s Sushi Sekki)
  • Truffles in every format, including in D’Artagnan’s black truffle butter and a good truffle cheese (which is even better as macaroni and cheese)
.

Ahi Sashimi
Heaven: Infused caviars, ahi sashimi, and a great
presentation. At Tsar Nicoulai in the Ferry Building
in San Francisco—one of America’s best specialty food markets.

 

*These are favorite gourmet and restaurant foods, in alphabetical order. Karen’s favorite specialty foods are too numerous to cite here, and are noted throughout this magazine.

 



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