I was standing next to Michael Batterberry in the crowded Rainbow Room. We were listening to Reese Schonfeld as he revealed his plans for the launch of the TV Food Network.
It was 1993 and I’d guess just about everyone in the room was secretly hoping we’d be discovered, and he’d invite us, (beg us), to sign a contract for our future appearances on his network.
The more he said, the more our hopes were dashed.
After a few minutes, Michael turned to me and said, “Let’s go and have a glass of champagne in the bar, there isn’t a place for us here.”
From the outset it was clear there would be no room for anyone of Michael’s depth and breadth of interests. Michael and his wife, Ariane had the intellectual heft and undaunted persistence to raise the money for the publication of Food & Wine magazine.
Later, a bitter dispute with their partners resulted in the Batterberry’s ouster from this magazine. The tragedy eventually led to their next venture: FOOD ARTS Magazine.
Food & Wine lives on with a current circulation approaching a million subscribers.
FOOD ARTS also lives on as the most influential magazine for top flight restaurants.
Ariane lives on as publisher of FOOD ARTS.
Michael was managing editor. He too will live on as the generous visionary who encouraged the flow of ideas into the magazine. (He even allowed me space to discuss issues related to biotechnology.)
Michael earned the respect of legions of food professionals who admired him as a historian, as a great writer, a wonderfully witty speaker, an insightful forecaster of food trends and a mentor for innumerable chefs and other food folk.
We were so fortunate to have known and admired him.