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Words about words, brands, names and naming, and the creative process.

#sparkchamber 052719 — eatquestnyc

052719 eatquest.jpg

It’s a ten-course, five-star treat at #sparkchamber today, as we welcome food romancer Debra Kletter, aka eatquestnyc.com. Her personal restaurant-recommendation service dropped on our radar via Alec Baldwin’s podcast, Here’s the Thing, on which she was featured a few months back.

A New Yorker with a passion for good food and an encyclopedic knowledge of most things edible in the Big Apple, Debra knows what to eat and where to eat it. Unlike guidebooks or websites, she is up-to-date on the ins and outs of the ever-changing New York City restaurant scene. Whether you’re in town for a week and would like to sample a variety of the best NYC has to offer, or you are celebrating a special occasion, entertaining an important visitor, or just up to try something new and different, she creates food itineraries custom-made to your cravings or dietary restrictions — for vegans, pescatarians and gourmands alike. Eatquestnyc is “a twist on a matchmaking site, a dating service for people and their food.”

Her world and her influences in her words:

I can remember what you had for lunch yesterday, and what you had for dinner at that shack on a deserted beach in Bali seven years ago. And what I had that day I came back from sightseeing to a B&B in Telc, Czech Republic and found homemade garlic-toasted cheese sandwiches waiting in the kitchen with thick hot chocolate on the side. On the outside, I was a lighting designer in the theatre and for private clients. But on the inside, I was on my own private eat quest. My passion for all-things-food led to reading and writing about it on various online food chat rooms.

I love telling people where to dine. Eventually my quest blossomed into a full-fledged global dining service, matching the right meal with the right diner. I love to personally curate your food experience, big or small, quirky or simple. For me, it’s a dating service for people and their food. And I cover the waterfront from ingredients, to a hole-in-the-wall, to planning a party, an array from premium, to intimate, to cool casual. 

I loved reading Jonathan Gold’s reviews of course, how he drew you into his culinary landscape wonderland and had the pill that made you any size at all. Bryan Miller, a former NYT food critic, wrote his reviews like mini novellas where you couldn’t wait to see what happened next. Food writer Patience Gray, [Honey From A Weed ] who shared recipes of foraging and eating seasonally/locally long before it was a trend. Jennifer Tipton, theatrical lighting designer who sculpted mood with her lighting. And Michael Kenna, who did the same with his ethereal photography. Among others! It all comes from the same, intuitive, impassioned, spark that I admire and relate to. 

 Feast your eyes and follow your heart!

1.] Where do ideas come from?

They’re blurry, floating in and out of my consciousness and then one tumbles out, landing perfectly in a shaft of light. 

2.] What is the itch you are scratching?

It’s just so much fun. Sometimes I’m at my computer and I think, I’d better stop doing this and get back to work. Then I remember I am working! Food connects generations, it’s an alliance, it gives us a chance to tell our stories to each other. It’s an essential, beautiful, ritual that I’m privileged to share with others. 

3.] Early bird or night owl? Tortoise or hare?

Definitely a night owl. Definitely a tortoise. Sometimes I procrastinate for hours but I sense threads weaving together on their own... then a lightning bolt and I suddenly can’t stop. I count on a mystical switch being flipped. At least I tell myself that. While I read and write political Twitter rants and call Congress. 

4.] How do you know when you are done?

I’m never done. It’s hard for me to let go. I always think, what if they also went to this spot and I structure the evening/trip/event another way instead. I’m desperately trying to learn time management. Clients are satisfied long before I am.