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Renee Schettler Rossi, our new Deputy Editor

Say hello to Renee Schettler Rossi, our new deputy editor. All of us are thrilled about her joining LC, and we’ve been sitting on our hands, refraining from writing, blogging, tweeting, and FBing about it. I wanted to wait until the redesign was up (thank you, thank you for all the well wishes) and our Valentine’s Day coverage was lined up before announcing Renee’s new postion. But you’ve already seen some of the results of her work (and I’ve seen early-morning hours, the likes of which I haven’t experienced since college), as we started to revamp the site’s design and content, think differently about how best to present recipes and articles, and shift writers—wonderful, quirky, beloved, thoughtful writers—back to the forefront of LC.

But let me back up a bit. I first met Renee several years ago when she was second in command at Martha Stewart Living. She wanted to chat about my possibly writing a story for the magazine. We met at Starbucks at Broadway and 75th St. (what we would later call “the office”).  It was a long year before an MSLO article and I were eventually paired. In the interim, I figured Renee had forgotten about me, but I didn’t know back then how she worked. Not only didn’t she lose track of me, but she was following everything I was writing. Eventually, I wrote five pieces for the magazine, with Renee as my editor.

As we became friendly—hard not to do when you discover your editor lives a block away from you—we would meet at the office and catch up. Me: a tall latte (sorry, Amanda Hesser), and Renee: a bottle of water. Every once and a while one of us would say, “Wouldn’t it be fun to work together on a project of our own?” Then she’d peel off to 42nd St., and I’d head home and peel off my jeans and jump back into my sweatpants to write.

But we knew it was inevitable. We liked each other too much, held too many of the same convictions, and loved writers too much not to eventually find a way to become collaborators. Last month when I asked her to join LC, she agreed, and I shouted out to The One, “SHE SAID ‘YES’! It’s the second proposal she accepted in a month!” Renee and her fiancé had tied the knot not three weeks earlier.

Since then, it’s been gargantuan e-mails, marathon phone calls with each other and with experts across the pond, and meetings at my apartment. (The office just isn’t big enough to sprawl out; and neither one of us wants to cower beneath the withering glances of ticked-off Upper West Siders.) The dining room table has been strewn with cookbooks, food books, computers, papers, and my and The One’s two cats. Rolodexes were exchanged—perhaps the work analogy of wedding rings—lists of ideas drawn up, an online virtual office was created (thank you, Google Docs), and the sleepless nights began.

We’re just beginning our re-tooling of the site, and we look forward to your input. In the meantime, please take a moment and join all of here at Leite’s Culinaria in welcoming Renee by leaving her a comment below. And if you have a suggestion or other thoughts that require a few more characters, you can always shoot her an e-mail.