Do you love food? 16 year old New Yorker David Pines’ passion turned into a blog, a book (and a second, then a third), and appearances in numerous radio stations, websites, newspapers, and tv shows. Through this unorthodox conversation, I myself realised two things: 1) passion and hard work > all other factors like age, and 2) think of your passion as something invaluable. The greatest gift you can bestow upon the world and yourself at the same time. Grab hold of it, leaven its power and add 500 cups of hard work and voila, you are out there too, finally doing your thing.
Hey there, self-introduction first: I live in New York City and attend the Collegiate School.
What got you started on Pines Picks?
Ever since I was very little I would track the best places to eat (which eventually led to the first draft of my NYC food guide). My biggest passion is definitely eating and writing about food.
And what motivates you to keep going?
What motivates me and keeps me interested is the constantly changing restaurant scene and the infinite variety of food out there. One day, I hope to have tried the majority of the world's cuisines.
Nice! What are some of your proudest achievements?
So far I run a blog called “pinespicks.com,” which I constantly update with new picks. I have been featured in many blogs, radio stations, websites, newspapers, and television shows. Most notably I just appeared on the “Food Network,” and I appeared in the London Times and the New York Daily News. Sales of my books have been active, I have won a couple awards and have loved the whole process. Notably, Pines Picks was also a top seller in the dining section of Amazon.
That's awesome, congratulations! Do you remember the funniest moment on your food journey around NYC?
Yeah so one time, when I was at a restaurant trying to review it, a kid at the table next to me stood up and jumped into a pit full of hermit crabs. This is obviously horrible and funny, but what made it even more hilarious was that the waitress, as the kid jumped into the pit, was telling my family how “some kids are not well-behaved and some of the things I have seen are truly shocking.” That felt like something straight out of a television show – definitely one of the funniest things I have seen throughout my journey through the restaurant scene.
Wow, that's some story. What did your first book look like?
You also run a blog right? Can you show me some snippets?
OK, this is a recent review. “A very delicious, cool restaurant called Restaurante Informal is in the Serras Hotel in Barcelona. The restaurant has a tremendous menu and was one of the most well rounded meals I have ever had. My favorite starters were the anchovies which were delicate, light, and smooth, and the Potato Fritas, which were like French fries on steroids with super thin slices of potatoes stacked and fried into a single thin French fry and served with a great spicy sauce.”
"French fries on steroids" is a great phrase! So, did you always know you would write a book? What was the process of publication like?
I never knew it would actually happen, but I always dreamed of publishing my findings for NYC and the world. I found a publisher and it all worked out from there. It took two years to write the first version, so, a lot of drafting, but it was an amazingly complicated and fun process. After seeing what happened in the first version, I fixed up a few things and updated new Picks to the newer version, and again for the third. The NYC restaurant scene is constantly changing, so there are always new places and great dishes.
Right. Can you remember when and how you developed such a love for food?
Since I was very little, I always loved food and kept track of the places I had been and what dishes I liked there. This became a hobby over time, and it has been really fun. On my blog, I constantly update my readers on openings, closings, and new Pines Picks.
So what's your personal favourite restaurant in New York?
Hmmmm. Tough Question. I love sushi, but it can get a bit expensive. My favorite place to eat in New York City is probably Totto Ramen.
(If not on a budget, Sushi Yasuda)
Sounds delicious. If you could interview anyone past, present, or future, who would you choose, and what would you ask them?
I would interview the oldest sushi chef in the world - Jiro Ono. I have eaten at his famous 3-star Michelin - a 20 minute sushi meal restaurant in Tokyo, but I would love to ask him a few questions. Perhaps I would ask how he started with just a simple piece of tuna and elevated it to indescribable flavors. Unreal.
That sounds so interesting! And last question - where do you see yourself in 15 years' time?
I really am not sure where I will be in 15 years, but I know one thing for sure: Food will be a big part of my life.
It was really nice meeting you!