Delicious Gatherings with Tara Bench
In Episode 53 of the Kitchen Confidante Podcast, Liren Baker talks with Tara Bench about ll about cooking with her mom growing up, her career as a food stylist and now book author and blogger, and the inspiration behind her new book, Delicious Gatherings.
Recipes to Celebrate Together — with Tara Bench of Tara Teaspoon
On the podcast, I recently chatted with Tara Bench, better known as Tara Teaspoon.
Tara Bench is a veteran in the food publishing and magazine industry and a trained chef. She has over 20 years of experience, with prominent roles as Food Editor at Martha Stewart Living and Food Director at the Ladies’ Home Journal, and is also known for her own site, Tara Teaspoon. She is celebrating the release of her new book, Delicious Gatherings: Recipes to Celebrate Together.
In this episode, Tara shares all about cooking with her mom growing up, her career as a food stylist and now book author and blogger, and the inspiration behind her new book.
Listen to the full episode here or keep reading for some of my favorite moments with Tara.
How did you get started as a food stylist and a chef?
I decided to pursue food as a career in college. I started out studying food science because I loved food and thought that could be a good entry into cooking, but it ended up being more chemistry than food. So, I ended up transferring to a degree in culinary arts.
Upon graduation, I was required to do an internship in food. Most of my classmates were getting internships at restaurants or big catering companies, but I wanted to do something different that wasn’t food service. So, I went hunting for an internship in publishing. I got an interview for a food stylist internship in the test kitchen at Martha Stewart Magazine, and the rest is history!
I worked in food styling for several years, which is essentially making food to be photographed.
What is the inspiration behind your new book?
Family gatherings were a big part of growing up. There were always big meals to eat and share with family. I was often in the kitchen with my mom or grandma, learning to cook and connecting with our family community.
So, a chapter of the book is organized around the theme of “gather-around meals” that people will love to come together around. The chapter provides several complete meals that answer the question, “I’m organizing a gathering: what should I cook?” It completely takes the guesswork out of creating inviting dinner menus that crowds will love.
The book also includes many of my mom’s recipes that she made for the family growing up and new takes on some of her favorites. She taught me how to cook and work around a kitchen from the start, so I wanted her to be a part of the book. One of her favorites is the Secret Chocolate Cake recipe. There is a secret story behind it that you’ll have to get the book to find out!
This book was written during the pandemic when people could not gather, and I wondered what gatherings would look like in the future. Now that things are opening up, I hope my book will be a welcome invitation for people to try new recipes, get together, talk, eat, and share.
Delicious Gatherings: Recipes to Celebrate Together, by Tara Teaspoon Bench (Shadow Mountain, 2022).