Founded in 2006 by former New York Times food contributor, Ed Levine, Serious Eats is one of our favorite food destinations on the internet. It’s taught us a whole host of cooking techniques, from essential knife skills, to the in-depth science behind boiling an egg via The Food Lab column helmed by Chief Culinary Consultant, J. Kenji López-Alt. It’s helped us find the best cooking equipment to buy, like these affordable skillets that work just as well as fancier ones. And it’s got an impressive repository of recipes that we turn to on the daily, from baking wizard Stella Parks’ Glossy Fudge Brownies to the iconic Steak au Poivre—with, of course, some smart tweaks on the classic recipe to make it even better.
But it wasn’t always that way. For the first few years of its existence, Serious Eats didn’t have a single recipe on it. Below, we get a peek at how the site decided to begin its recipe platform, in an excerpt from founder Ed Levine’s new memoir, Serious Eater: A Food Lover’s Perilous Quest for Pizza and Redemption.