The (Other) French Chef

“Julia Child’s collaborator Simone Beck has lingered as an object of pity in public memory. But maybe Beck didn’t want stardom at all.”

Author: Mayukh Sen
Source: Hazlitt
Published: Jan 3, 2022
Length: 15 minutes (3,956 words)

A Comet Called Raji

“Fusion” had already become a dirty word by the time Raji Jallepalli made a name for herself. It connoted confused attempts to patch together different cooking languages under the patina of multiculturalism, as if two worlds jostled for dominance on a plate. Raji disentangled fusion from the gracelessness that the label implied.

Author: Mayukh Sen
Published: Nov 5, 2019
Length: 14 minutes (3,700 words)

A Flower in the Debris: The Legacy of Benihana, Rocky Aoki’s All-American Empire

By diluting its Japanese character and turning food into theater, this millionaire chef introduced Japanese cuisine to American diners neither familiar with or open to it. He was both a culinary pioneer and a brilliant opportunist.

Author: Mayukh Sen
Source: The Ringer
Published: Jul 24, 2018
Length: 15 minutes (3,967 words)

Barbra Streisand’s Singular Women

Mayukh Sen looks back at Barbra Streisand’s career as an actress, director and producer — shedding light on the sexist double standards in Hollywood that have led to her being portrayed as “difficult” for the kinds of demands and expectations her male counterparts are never called into question for.

Author: Mayukh Sen
Source: Hazlitt
Published: Apr 23, 2018
Length: 19 minutes (4,789 words)

The Short-Lived Normalization of Breastfeeding on Television

When Buffy Sainte-Marie had her first child in 1976, she woke up in the hospital next to a basket of formula. As a Native American, she came from a culture in which best-feeling had been discouraged and even prohibited. So she decided to take the issue into her workplace, breastfeeding her son on an episode of Sesame Street.

Author: Mayukh Sen
Source: Hazlitt
Published: Jan 22, 2018
Length: 9 minutes (2,490 words)

The Sad, Sexist Past of Bengali Cuisine

While being punished by a cruel sexist practice in West Bengal, the Indian widows considered “husband-eaters” created a rich cuisine made without meat, onions, fish or garlic. Writer Mayukh Sen honors these creative women through the story of great-grandmother, a widow at 37.

Author: Mayukh Sen
Source: Food52
Published: Jul 5, 2017
Length: 8 minutes (2,122 words)

She Was a Soul Food Sensation. Then, 19 Years Ago, She Disappeared.

From the 1960s through the 1990s, Princess Pamela ran a thriving word-of-mouth restaurant inside her Manhattan apartment, and it attracted enough taste-makers to make her a legend. Then she abruptly closed shop and disappeared. Like many black culinary figures, her memory was nearly lost, until white celebrity chefs used their influence to revive it.


Author: Mayukh Sen
Source: Food52
Published: Feb 2, 2017
Length: 15 minutes (3,919 words)

How—and Why—Did Fruitcake Become a Slur?

A personal essay about queerness, dessert and the origins of a homophobic and gastronomic slur.

Author: Mayukh Sen
Source: Food52
Published: Dec 22, 2016
Length: 11 minutes (2,782 words)