For five years his byline has terrified restaurateurs in New York and beyond, but his face remained virtually unknown. Now Publisher's Weekly has unveiled the first photo of departing New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni, who announced that he'd be stepping down from the position in May to become a writer-at-large with the Sunday Magazine and to promote his book, Born Round: The History of a Full-Time Eater.
"In his spare time, between aerobic eating and the requisite gym time to burn it all off, he has managed to produce a memoir of his lifelong, complicated relationship with food," NYT Executive Editor Bill Keller said in the announcement in May. "Recognizing that the book is certain to seriously compromise his ability to be a spy in the land of food, Frank picked this as a natural time to move on."
Reacting to the publication of Bruni's photo, food blog Eater said, "It is the visage of a man who has for four years made and broken restaurants, the face of a man with three chances left to make and break some more. His days are numbered, but it is still advised to be on the lookout."
In the book, Bruni discusses his struggle with weight and his lifelong obsession with food.
"[The book] didn't exist in my mind as a narrative until I was offered this job at a moment in my life when I had come to terms with my struggle with food and weight," he told Publisher's Weekly. "One of the editors who actually offered me the job had met me when I was at my heaviest. Later on, I repeatedly heard the comment, 'Gee, I expected you to be a little fatter. You must be one of those people who never had a weight problem.' These were people who didn't know me as anything but a restaurant critic and didn't know anything about my struggles. If with my past and present I'd managed to establish a healthy relationship to eating, then I felt I had an unusual vantage point for telling this story, particularly as a couple years down the road I haven't gained that weight back."