Native Los Angelena Evan Kleiman knew she was a culinarian by the age of nine, and a geeky food scholar by twenty. Food was the way she navigated the world.
Her first visit to Italy at the age of 17 changed her life. Food became linked with cultural experience and was to infect every part of her world. Her University studies in Italian Literature and Film allowed her to graze at the table of Italian food culture at a young age, which created a foundation for understanding and a belief in the role of a food-centered life. She ate, she cooked, she read. Evan’s insatiable lust for food information led her down a road of wide- ranging personal study and involvement with the subject.
Eventually Evan walked into a professional restaurant kitchen and found her home. She cooked first for others, then in 1984 at her restaurant Angeli Caffe. By serving rustic, regional Italian food in a beautifully designed, yet casual atmosphere she created a restaurant archetype that inspired imitations all over the country. By the time her beloved restaurant closed in 2012 it was an L.A. institution known as much for the warmth of the welcome as for the food.
During the early 1980s she co-authored her first cookbook Cucina Fresca that is still in print and considered a classic. Several other cookbooks were to follow, as did more travel, more writing and a lot of cooking. Since 1998 the radio show and podcast Good Food has been the place where she could explore every aspect of food and how it intersects with human (and sometimes animal) life. It’s the place where a lifelong interest in food, reading and asking questions about how people tick comes together each week. The show airs on KCRW, an NPR station in Southern California and has a worldwide audience on the web.
After more than a decade and 6000+ interviews Evan’s interest in food also embraces issues of food policy and the “Good Food Agenda”.
The founder of LA’s Slow Food Chapter she served for a period on the Stewardship Council of Roots of Change, a California focus organization. She is a member of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council.
Evan is an active speaker on culinary subjects as well as issues of food culture and sustainability and, just to keep a balance, she has a very public love affair with Pie. She’s been called the Jerry Garcia of cooking with the freewheeling improvisation she brings to the kitchen.