Allen SalkinEarl Wilson/The New York Times30032917A Allen Salkin

Allen Salkin is a world-renowned trend writer, author, filmmaker and journalist. His article in the New York Times on the new popularity of monocles (2014) is one of many pieces that captured cultural attention, among them the first story pointing out the existence of hipster farmers (2008), the first on food bloggers (2007), the first on the celebration, outside Seinfeld, of Festivus (2004), news that Annie Liebovitz had pawned her entire photographic archive (2009), waterbed salesmen, men over 40 in summer share houses, the “Foxcatcher Five,” and secret parties for media types where no social media is permitted. Due to Allen’s ability to find the social significance in the trivial during his work at the Times, Gawker equated him, sardonically and yet with praise, to the reporter who uncovered the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War, calling Allen “The Seymour Hersh of the Sunday Styles Section.”

For his book From Scratch: The Uncensored History of the Food Network (2013), Allen interviewed on-camera talent like Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, Anthony Bourdain and Guy Fieri, and behind the scenes players including past network presidents, cameramen, drivers and recipe writers to tell the gripping 20-plus-year history of the network that changed the way the world eats and thinks about food. It is his second book. Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us (2005), with a forward by Jerry Stiller, a journalistic romp through the world of Festivus, is his first.

Allen appears frequently on television news, on radio and podcasts, and in documentaries as an expert both on pop culture and food media. He was a featured player on the E! channel reality series Lisa Loeb: #1 Single. (2006). He keeps his pen in the gastronomic game, creating and editing’s pages on Food Writing and Cookbooks. In the Los Angeles Times review of the Jonathan Gold documentary City of Gold (2015), Allen was quoted from the film, extolling its subject as “the food-writing equivalent of Raymond Chandler.”

As an investigative reporter in the 1990s at the New York Post, he worked with, among others, Jack Newfield and Maggie Haberman, filing articles about corruption in the surrogate court system, the death of John F. Kennedy Jr. battles between ambulance companies, and a little girl who was separated from her mother by U.S. immigration bureaucrats. After the article, and intervention by a U.S. Congressman, the mother and daughter were re-united.

Prior to making a living as a writer, Allen had many jobs, including casting industrial films in Hong Kong, wholesaling rubber duckies in Las Vegas, picking oranges in Crete, and peddling oil paintings door to door in Western Australia. A fan of the Olympics, he has attended nine.

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