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Phoenix New Times' new food editor — Lauren Cusimano.EXPAND
Phoenix New Times' new food editor — Lauren Cusimano.
Courtesy of Lauren Cusimano

Meet Lauren Cusimano, Phoenix New Times' New Food Editor

Let me start by saying, it's wild I have the privilege to be the new food editor here at Phoenix New Times.

Having lived in various cities as a military kid before landing in Glendale as a preteen, I was raised primarily on Cuban sandwiches in Tampa, Florida, Dairy Queen chicken-finger baskets in Texas, shrimp po’ boys in New Orleans, pasta dishes in western New York, and my favorite snack, Flamin' Hot Cheetos. This is to say, after enjoying incalculable servings of Chicken Tonight and trips to Outback Steakhouse (so good, sorry) in my youth, I didn’t know much about finer foods.

That is, till I started writing for the New Times food and drink section years ago.

A little more background: I first moved to the west Valley in 1996 and relocated all over town till settling in Tempe in 2016. I graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2009, and have written for everything in town from the defunct 944 Magazine to State Press Magazine, PHOENIX Magazine, True West Magazine, and of course, Phoenix New Times.

I started at New Times as a proofreader in 2015, and gradually began writing for the culture section, followed quickly by the food and drink section. My first stories covered restaurant openings and simple food-news posts till I realized I could write about my interests and passion for certain dishes — i.e. chicken wings, big salads, niche appetizers, dining field guides, and neighborhood bars.

My favorite food stories include my tale of getting fired on my day off from Cold Stone Creamery, naming off some great hot wings in town, defending Cool Ranch Doritos, my quest for a good pina colada, and my first cover story about neighborhood bars throughout the Valley.

Second to writing, I can’t get enough of traveling — and especially eating while doing so. I’ve been lucky enough to stuff my face in places like France, Spain, China, and all over the country. I had a bowl of noodles in Wuxi I would travel back to China for alone, and an almond-crusted walleye in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, I still think about often.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to cover, and learn even more about, food and drink in this city and the many amazing people behind it. I want to dive deeper into our many great farmers' markets and underrated eateries, get to know more chefs and bartenders, cover important topics like food waste, and better explore growing restaurant hubs like Glendale, Peoria, Mesa, Gilbert, and more.

I’ve been reading New Times since I was a teenager, and I’m ready to make the absolute most out of this role. Let’s have fun with this.

Catch up with our new food editor on Instagram at @laurenski or get in touch at lauren.cusimano@newtimes.com.

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