We all know and love Martha, but what some of us might not know is that Martha Stewart spends each and every day surrounded by creative, talented people who have contributed to the empire that she’s built.
At Mad About Martha, we’re taking you behind the scenes at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to introduce you to some the finest minds in style, fashion and food.
Those of you who enjoy your time in the kitchen as much as I do would undoubtedly recognize Debra Puchalla's name from the masthead of Everyday Food. Debra, the reigning editor-in-chief has spent the past decade in the Martha Stewart test kitchen honing recipes and sampling simple culinary creations to suit the tastes of every home cook. Debra and her talented staff are dedicated to making life - and dinnertime - easier with their blog Dinner Tonight. We decided listen to Debra dish out her favorite parts of being an editor at Everyday Food, both on and off the job, as well as some tips for staying on top on top of social media trends whether she's at home cooking with her three boys or out on-the-go.
Q) What's the best editorial assignment you've worked on at EDF?
A) About a year and a half ago, we were looking to respond to readers’ hunger for healthy recipes and created our Upgrade column. It’s just one recipe per issue but I love the idea behind it: take an iconic, notoriously indulgent recipe—think mac-n-cheese or artichoke dip—and tweak it to be almost virtuous by swapping in better substitutions. I love that it teaches home cooks how to cook smart without sacrificing what they crave.
Q) What's a typical day in the office like for you?
A) My best days include a mix of activities—some time at my desk, writing and editing stories; some time with colleagues, strategizing about how to make our content better and even more relevant as we shape future lineups; and some time in the test kitchen, tasting recipes that are in development and deciding what information about them is best shared with our fans.
Q) What's your favorite part about your job?
A) Years ago, I worked in news and found that I got home and wanted to learn about how to live a better life. Working at Martha Stewart has helped me do just that: I learn something new every day that makes my life even better. I’m fortunate that what I do helps shape the home life that my husband and I share with our kids.
Q)Why did you begin blogging with EDF?
A) We were finding with the magazine that we have a passionate audience who not only wanted meal solutions, they wanted to know the ones we (editors) choose to cook at home and why, and they wanted a direct line to our expertise. Food and cooking can be fun—why not celebrate this with our audience in print as well as on an ongoing basis online?
Q) A lot of your readers follow you on Twitter. What do you like best about social media?
A) That’s easy. Listening to what gets people excited, what they’re curious about, what they need.
Q) Have you always wanted to work in the food/beverage industry?
A) Doesn’t everybody want to work at a food magazine? I’m very lucky that I get to merge my love of smart writing, good cooking, and sharing information. I worked in restaurants in high school and college (a “fancy” German restaurant with a waterfall outside Hartford, Connecticut, pizza parlors, etc) but really wanted to be in political journalism—way led to way, though, and I came to Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia a decade ago and never looked back.
Q) How do you manage to work full-time, blog and find the time to cook? A) We have three sons, and I think it’s important for us to have meals together. We don’t get to have dinner on weeknights all the time, but it’s a big priority for weekends. First, we cook together; the big guys, 6 and 4, are good sous chefs (though cookies are their specialty!) I have a laptop on my counter and I jot a few notes as I go.
We have friends over a lot too, who are my knowing test cases. I see what they like best and what pan empties first and try and write about that. My work is very important to me too. At Everyday Food, we’re helping people eat well without a lot of effort and I like being part of that.Q) What is the best piece of advice you would offer to novice bloggers today?
A) Be honest, listen to others, and ask more questions than you intend to answer. Offer your true point of view and share your curiosities.