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David Leite


David Leite is the resident Fatty Daddy behind Leite’s Culinaria, which he founded in 1999, long before blogs came into existence. Though you may know David best by the witticisms and wisdom he shares online, he’s also shared his perspective on pretty much everything in print, radio, and television. His first book, The New Portuguese Table: Exciting Flavors from Europe’s Western Coast, won the 2010 IACP First Book/Julia Child Award. And his most recent book, Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression, was published by Dey Street Books in 2017.

In 2006, he had the distinction of being the first winner ever of a James Beard Award for a website. He won the 2008 James Beard Award for Newspaper Feature Writing Without Recipes for his article “In a ’64 T-Bird, Chasing a Date with a Clam” and was nominated for the same award the following year for his article “Perfection? Hint: It’s Warm and Has a Secret,” both from the New York Times.

David’s award-winning way of seeing the world has repeatedly been included in the Best Food Writing series. He’s also shared his opinion in the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Men’s Health, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times, The Washington Post, Charlotte Observer, and TheMorningNews.org.

Always a talker, David has been heard on NPR’s “All Thing Considered” and was a longtime correspondent and guest host on public radio’s The Splendid Table.

When David’s not hunched over the computer, chances are he’s cooking Tagliatelle with Leeks and Shrimp, Julia Child’s Coq au Vin, or Pumpkin Cake With Maple–Cream Cheese Frosting with his partner, The One Who Brings Him Love, Joy, and Happiness (aka The One).

Angie Zoobkoff

Angie Zoobkoff

Managing Editor

As a child, Angie spent her Saturdays cooking alongside her dad and has never looked back. As an adult, given her strong attention to detail and endless desire to try new recipes and discover new techniques, she quickly found her calling at Leite’s Culinaria.

Beyond editing recipes and collaborating with the team at Leite’s Culinaria, Angie spends the ridiculously short Canadian summers seeking inspiration in her garden and the infinitely long winters thinking about what to plant the next year.

When she’s not puttering in her garden, cheering her kids on at dance competitions, hockey, and baseball games, or curled up with a cookbook, she can be found happily making the recipes her family loves most, including Kimchi TacosSalmon Teriyaki, and South Carolina Slaw.

Karen ZimmermanKaren Zimmerman

Manager of Recipe Testing

Karen Zimmerman has been a Leite’s Culinaria recipe tester since 2016 and a writer for the Giveaways page since February 201.

She has a degree in English and working with LC has enabled her to combine her love of research, writing, all things cooking, cookbooks, and kitchen.

She has volunteered to help feed kids lunches, flipped pancakes at welcome back events, ensured teens are well nourished and ready for their standing ovations during performance week for high school theatre and kept her hungry athlete prepared to take on the next tackle.

While she could happily bake the day away making skillet cinnamon rolls or ginger chocolate chunk cookie, her family also loves slow cooker beef chiliTuscan roast pork, and roasted broccoli with soy sauce. Karen lives on an acreage with her husband and two teen sons.

Anna Scott

Anna Scott

Recipe Testing Assistant
E-commerce Outreach

Growing up in Louisiana it didn’t take Anna very long to learn that food reigns supreme. Her love of food was inspired by her father, who taught her that a meal isn’t just the act of eating, but rather an experience that involves all of the senses—the presentation on the plate, the warm smell of the kitchen, the lively conversations at the dinner table, and the texture of the bread that you break.

Her love of all things culinary led Anna to complete the Certificate in Culinary Arts at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta. To complete this course of study Anna participated in an incredible 3-month culinary externship in Sorrento, Italy at the Mami Camilla cooking school and Ristorante Tasso. 

After culinary school, Anna started Around Anna’s Table, LLC, a personal chef business in the Atlanta area.  The focus of both her clients’ meals and her personal cooking endeavors is on seasonal ingredients and on incorporating mise en place into her everyday repertoire.

When she’s not cooking for clients, you can bet that Anna is in the kitchen cooking Roasted Cauliflower with Jalapeno and Capers, a Blueberry Clafouti, or Pan Roasted Tarragon Chicken for her husband, friends, and family.

Dan Kraan

Dan Kraan

LC Community Moderator

Dan began his cooking career in his early childhood. He’s a meticulous and self-taught cook and occasional baker. Relying on cookbooks, international media, and traveling as his teachers, an inspired love of global cuisine has grown and flourished over the years.

We’re lucky enough to count him among the original recipe testers for Leite’s Culinaria. Dan curates our “What’s For Dinner?” on Facebook. Along with some exciting global moderators, he has been inspiring others to be as excited as he is about what ingredients are used and what preparations are chosen to grace the dinner table.

Our devoted, good-natured Canadian considers many of Leite’s Culinaria recipes to be quite exceptional. Over the years, Spring Lamb with Rosemary and Venison Bolognese, Bucatini all’Amatriciana are some of the regular visitors to his table. Other favorites include Baked Ricotta, Panzanella from Ina Garten, and an absolutely fabulous Carrot Crostada.

Kim MedalisKim Medalis

Giveaway Manager

When Kim isn’t enthralling giveaway winners with their prizes and keeping our giveaway section in enticing shape, she’s kicking back reading cookbooks and baking to relax after a long day at work.

Some of her earliest memories include her grandmother making Concord grape jam at the kitchen stove. While she hasn’t been brave enough to foray into canning for herself, she has almost mastered homemade bagels, croissants, and making three different batches of cookies at once.

Diana Fijalkowski

Diana Fijalkowski

Social Media Specialist

Diana began cooking with her mother and grandmother at an early age. She most remembers taco nights after a day at the lake, angel food cakes resting atop glass Pepsi bottles, a counter spread with fresh praline pecans, and thousands of frosted Christmas cookies each December.

Diana is responsible for our Pinterest and Twitter content and has been working with us since 2013. When she’s not busy at the computer, she’ll likely be found sipping at a local Virginia winery, pulling weeds in her garden, mulling through her ridiculously vast cookbook collection (by the way, it’s not hoarding if your stuff is cool), or relaxing on the back deck with her husband, Joe, and trying to get him to agree to adopt another dog.

Some of her very favorite recipes from our website include Chocolate Bourbon Spiked Banana Bread, Middle Eastern Chicken Thighs, and Coffee Crème Brûlée.

Jenny Latreille

Jenny Latreille

Freelance Writer

Growing up in Northern Ontario, Jenny was always curious about the food unavailable in her small hometown. As the city expanded, so did her desire to taste everything and learn all she could about cultures around the world.

Forty-something years later, she’s amassed an enormous collection of spices and recipes for making many regional cuisines. This hunger for cultural knowledge also led to an education in literature and linguistics, with a Master’s Degree in Globalization and Culture. She lives in an indoor urban jungle with a pack of cats known as The Adorables.

Cenk Sonmezsoy

Cenk Sönmezsoy

Contributing Photographer

Cenk is an author, photographer, and food stylist based in İstanbul.

After graduating from college, he moved to San Francisco, where he earned an MBA from the University of San Francisco and worked at a high-tech PR firm. On realizing that he’d rather eat glass than sit through another client conference call discussing another “groundbreaking” product, he returned to İstanbul.

There, in 2006, he started his food blog Cafe Fernando, which has been cited as one of the “World’s 50 Best Food Blogs” by the Times of London and awarded “Best Culinary Travel Blog,” “Best Original Baking and Desserts Recipe,” and “Best Piece of Culinary Writing” at Saveur magazine’s Blog Awards.

He ditched the corporate world in 2010, became a full-time food blogger, and began work on his first cookbook. His Turkish cookbook, Cafe Fernando, published in June 2014, became the bestselling cookbook of all time in Turkey.

The English version of his cookbook, The Artful Baker–Extraordinary Desserts From an Obsessive Home Baker, was published by Abrams in October 2017. David’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, Dorie Greenspan’s Korova Cookies, and Christina Tosi’s Cereal Milk are in constant rotation in his kitchen.

Ilda Costa-Sarnicki

Ilda Costa-Sarnicki

Recipe Tester/Photographer

Ilda treats her kitchen like a stage and her niche for creativity. From simple to elaborate, she strives to create dishes that appeal to all the senses.

She’s had no formal culinary education and pursues her culinary passion as a hobby. On her quiet days, she reads cookbooks like novels, watches how-to cooking shows, and dreams up her next cuisine ensemble with her daughter, who refers to herself as “sou chef” (‘I’m a chef ” in Portuguese). She is also our budding resident cheesemaker.

Ilda regards food photography as an extension of her love of food. Her Instagram account is what first drew us to her, and we were delighted when she agreed to become a tester. Her “encores” include Portuguese custard tarts, wine-braised pork shoulder, papo-secos, miso glazed eggplant, piri-piri sauce, serradura pudding, and homemade guanciale.

Jessie Hagen

Jessie Hagan

Recipe Development Intern

Jessie’s earliest memories of food are her mom’s dinners of heart-warming, classic comfort food at home.  This, balanced with the family eating adventures at restaurants along the Jersey Shore, where she’d follow her dad’s lead in ordering some more exotic fare. 

Jessie has a degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas and more than twenty years of experience in and around the world of hospitality and food.  During the past five years, she has nestled into her passion and narrowed her career path to focus on recipe development and testing . . . and a  little photography along the way. 

In addition to working in the field, she is also attending culinary school in Frisco, Texas, working toward her Associates of Applied Sciences in Culinary Arts.  When she’s not learning about food or working with food, she’s cooking, creating, baking, and eating with her husband of 17 years and two daughters, 9 and 12 years old.  She’s a proud member of the Leite’s Testers team since 2019 and is loving her new role as a Recipe Development Intern.

Adam Clairmont

Adam Clairmont

Podcast Producer

Adam began pursuing a career as an audio engineer at the age of 12 and never second-guessed it. He kept his head down, found some fantastic mentors, and made it happen. And he still makes it happen by continually finding new ways to educate himself and experiment. Adam’s career has brought him face to face with some of his childhood idols in television, film, sports, and music as well as with world-famous venues. Upon meeting David and Renee, he quickly felt comfortable surrounded by their dry wit and banter. After all, they were the first clients to ever drop a South Park reference, and if that’s not a good measure of your company, then what is? [Editor’s Note: No, it wasn’t David.] Always a wannabe foodie, Adam’s found it to be an honor and pleasure to be a part of “Talking With My Mouth Full.” And it’s even inspired him to begin his first sourdough starter!

When not making noise between the speakers, Adam might be found cooking for his wife and three children, something along the lines of a slow-cooker pulled pork, a lemony fettuccine alfredo, or salmon teriyaki. And if the sourdough starter never starts, then probably our famous 5-minute artisan bread!

Manny the Milkman

Manny the Milkman

Brand Ambassador

Manny may be new to you, but in fact, he’s been around for decades. He first made an appearance in 1966 when one day Momma Leite looked at David and said, “Hey, kiddo, you know something? You’re the milkman’s son!” Perplexed, David looked at his father, then his mother, then back at his father. They both nodded solemnly. He walked to his room shaking his head, wondering how on earth Mr. Lawton, their milkman, could be his father, seeing as he was old enough to be Momma Leite’s father. It took him several days, but he finally figured it out. “Leite” means milk in Portuguese. David’s dad is Manny, who’s a man and has the last name of Leite, er milk. Ergo, David is the milk man’s son. When Manny asked to come on board as LC’s brand ambassador, he was welcomed with open arms. Because he’s eternally in a crisp white uniform, which he’s careful not to sully, Manny eats only white food, such as Fork-Mashed Potatoes, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, and, of course, Cereal Milk.