A Woman Who Lived Life Her Way
I had admired Gael Greene for many years, and always looked forward to her brilliantly written restaurant reviews in New York Magazine where she was a food critic for 40 years. When they let her go due to budget restraints in 2004, she along with the foodies who followed her were shocked. But Gael was not to be deterred and created her own web site, Insatiable Critic and continued to write about the NYC restaurant scene, which she so loved. And I was thrilled when about four year later she became a contributor to The Three Tomatoes. That happened, like many things in my life, through serendipity.
How I Met Gael
I had become a big fan of Arthur Schwartz, aka “The Food Maven” who was the restaurant critic and executive food editor of the New York Daily News for 18 years. He also had a radio show I loved on WOR called Food Talk that ended in 2004 when he resigned. Arthur, like Gael, had also lost his job at the Daily News due to budget cuts, and he had started a web site, posting some of his favorite recipes and stories.
As it happened, I was invited to a press event dinner at Felidia’s. I arrived and was seated at a table for eight, next to a man who was holding court. I immediately recognized his voice. It was Arthur Schwartz. We started to chat and when he told me about his new web site, I asked him if he’d like to contribute some of his posts to The Three Tomatoes, and he immediately agreed. And then about two days later, I got a phone call from Arthur, and the conversation went something like this:
“I had dinner with my good friend Gael Greene last night, and I told her about your web site, and she was wondering if she could be a contributor too.”
I nearly fainted. And that was the start of Gael Greene contributing her restaurant reviews nearly once a week to the pages of Three Tomatoes for many years, up until 2020, and my getting to learn so much more about this remarkable woman. Whether you were a foodie or not, Gael’s writing was a joy to read, and her insider knowledge of the New York City food scene was par none.
She Changed the Way We Thought About Food
Gael Greene helped change the way New Yorkers (and many Americans) think about food. A scholarly anthropologist could trace the evolution of New York restaurants on a timeline that would reflect her passions and taste over 30 years from Le Pavillon to nouvelle cuisine to couturier pizzas, pastas and hot fudge sundaes, to more healthful eating.
An Insatiable Woman
Her memoir, “Insatiable, Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess” was truly an insatiable read. She recounts her story of becoming a journalist and then a food critic, along with her love life along the way. Her conquests include Elvis Presley and Burt Reynolds! One of our most favorite Three Tomatoes’ events was when Gael was part of a series we were doing, Cocktails and Conversations, and Valerie Smaldone interviewed her about her remarkable life—and yes, she shared details of the Elvis counter! She also penned two erotica novels (New York Times Bestsellers) called “Blue Skies, No Candy” and “Doctor Love”, and a very helpful guide called “Delicious Sex.”
A Lasting Legacy – City Meals on Wheels
Her legacy, and one she was so rightfully very proud of, was founding Citymeals in 1981, after reading an article in the New York Times describing the plight of homebound elderly New Yorkers facing hunger. Citymeals has delivered over 67 million meals since then and become woven into the fabric of the city.
Please honor Gael Greene by making a Donation to Citymeals . This was Gael’s request.
The tomato behind The Three Tomatoes.
Cheryl Benton, aka the “head tomato” is founder and publisher of The Three Tomatoes, a digital lifestyle magazine for “women who aren’t kids”. Having lived and worked for many years in New York City, the land of size zero twenty-somethings, she was truly starting to feel like an invisible woman. She created The Three Tomatoes just for the fun of it as the antidote for invisibility and sent it to 60 friends. Today she has thousands of friends and is chief cheerleader for smart, savvy women who want to live their lives fully at every age and every stage. She is the author of the novel, "Can You See Us Now?" and co-author of a humorous books of quips, "Martini Wisdom." Because she's lived a long time, her full bio won't fit here. If you want the "blah, blah, blah", read more. www.thethreetomatoes.com/about-the-head-tomato