David Leite (his last name rhymes with eat–of course), in case you’re not familiar with his inimitable ways, is the resident Fatty Daddy, Fearless Leiter, and benevolent Oz behind this site. David’s most recent project is his book, Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression. It was published by Dey Street Books in 2017; the paperback was published in 2018.
David founded Leite’s Culinaria in 1999, long before blogs came into being. In 2006, he and former food editor, Linda Avery, had the distinction of being the first winners ever of a James Beard Award for a website, a feat they repeated in 2007.
Though you may know David best by the witticisms and wisdom he shares online, he’s also shared his perspective on pretty much everything—from Champagne to Welsh cuisine, from his complaints about growing up with Momma Leite to the trials and tribulations of being a supertaster—in print, radio, and television. His first book, The New Portuguese Table: Exciting Flavors from Europe’s Western Coast, explored the food of his heritage and won the 2010 IACP First Book/Julia Child Award. He’s also shared his opinion in publications including 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 a frequent guest and host on Martha Stewart Living Radio programs, including “Cooking Today,” as well as a guest on Lucinda Scala Quinn’s program, “Mad Hungry Monday.” He’s also been heard on NPR’s “All Thing Considered” and for 13 years was a correspondent and guest host on public radio’s The Splendid Table hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. He’s appeared on History Channel 2’s “United Stuff of America,” Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay,” The Today Show, “Radical Sabbatical,” and is a regular guest on WTNH-TV and Food and Wine with Chef Jamie Gwen, the nationally syndicated radio program from KABC. David has been both interviewer and interview subject at the 92nd St Y in New York City.
David’s award-winning way of seeing the world has been included in the Best Food Writing series from 2001 to 2008 and 2010 to 2015. 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. He was a 2006 winner of the Bert Greene Award for Food Journalism. In 2014 he was nominated for both Best Blog and Best Podcast Series by the IACP.
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).
Renee Schettler Rossi
Editor in Chief
Renee grew up in the kitchen alongside her grandmother, a determined clipper and tweaker of recipes. As a teen, she both lost and found herself in the essays published in her father’s issues of Gourmet, less for the recipes than the way the accompanying words captured all the many ways food slows us down, asks us to stay in the moment at hand, and create memories with others. During the past three decades, she’s left her trace on food-related content not just on Leite’s Culinaria but at The Washington Post food section, Real Simple, and Martha Stewart Living, and her writing and editing have drawn recognition from NPR, the Association of Food Journalists, and The Best American Recipes cookbook series. Renee can usually be found poring through recently published cookbooks that teeter in Seussian stacks throughout her house, emerging every so often to drop in on our Facebook page or plant something she first encountered at the Union Square greenmarket in her backyard garden in Phoenix. When she’s not at her computer or stovetop, you’ll find her teaching or taking yoga class, which, similar to cooking and sharing food, is all about being aware enough to embrace the surprise and beauty of whatever’s in front of you. She tends to be over the moon for minimalist (sometimes surprisingly so) recipes such as Salt and Pepper Rib Eye Steak, Momofuku Fried Chicken, Watermelon and Ginger, and Cantaloupe Soup and Prosciutto Sandwiches.
Director of Recipe Testing
Years ago, while friends traipsed back from Paris toting suitcases bulging with the latest French fashions, Beth lugged bags laden with mandoline and copper cookware from E. Dehillerin. It proved to be a smart choice. She still relies on that cookware as Director of Recipe Testing for Leite’s Culinaria, which requires testing, tweaking, retesting, and sometimes more tweaking before she’ll deem a recipe fit to publish. Got a query about gluten-free flour, an overly dense bread dough, or a new-to-you cut of meat? Beth can dish on any or all. She’s also styled food for photo shoots, prepped ingredients for video clips and live television appearances, assisted in professional cooking classes, and rubbed elbows with an eclectic array of cookbook authors and chefs. Her styling and original recipes have been featured in Where Women Cook, Celebrate!, Pieography, The Local Palate and the Post and Courier. She mentored and learned her craft under Nathalie Dupree and was thrilled to be a part of the James Beard Awards for Nathalie’s win with Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking. Beth divides her time between Charleston, South Carolina, and Grand Cayman. When not communicating with our 100+ home cooks who serve as recipe testers, Beth can be found making Spicy Tomato and Blue Cheese Soup, Thai Basil Pork, and Lemongrass-and-Cilantro-Crusted Ehu with Black Rice and Mango for her sons and husband.
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 Tacos, Salmon Teriyaki, and South Carolina Slaw.
LC Community Moderator
Dan has been fascinated by food since childhood and has cooked everything from the simple to the sublime. He’s a meticulous and self-taught cook and occasional baker, relying on cookbooks, television, and traveling as his teachers. We’re lucky enough to count him among the original recipe testers for Leite’s Culinaria. Besides his regular and rigorous testing duties, Dan curates our “What’s For Dinner? on Facebook, inspiring others to be as curious as he about what food they choose to put on their table. Our devoted, good-natured Canadian considers many of Leite’s Culinaria recipes to be quite exceptional. Spring Lamb with Rosemary and Duck Breast with Warm Goat Cheese Salad are frequently found on his table. It doesn’t stop there, though! He also counts Linguine with Mixed Seafood, Tomahawk Chops with Sweet Potato Puree, and Burnt Carrots with Goat Cheese, Parsley, Arugula, and Crispy Garlic Chip recipes among his fave
Manny the Milkman
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.