Few people outside of my family have made as much of a difference in my life as Steven Shaw. Steven, along with Jason Perlow, was one of the co-founders of eGullet.com, which went on to become the eGullet Society of Culinary Arts and Letters (www.egullet.org). Little did I know when I joined back in late March of 2003, how it would open up a vast new world for me and change my life and as a result the life of my family. For better or worse, this blog would not exist were it not for Steven and eGullet.
The first time I met him in person was in the early fall of 2003 on a beautiful day at an eGullet pig roast at the original location of Bobolink Dairy. It was a great event. I attended with my sons and brought home made apple cider. The compliments from “Fat Guy” meant a lot. I became friends with him, his wife, Ellen and a number of others with whom I am still friends. That event solidified my participation in eGullet, which lasted until 2008 and the start of this blog.
Steven was trained as a lawyer and started his career as such, but soon morphed into a food writer and a pioneer food blogger. eGullet came about as co-operative venture between a number of early food bloggers and while it is still a site of culinary erudition, for a time, thanks to the work of Steven as the head honcho, and others, it was THE place on the internet for the discussion of culinaria. Participants included well known professionals and lesser known enthusiasts, a number of whom eventually went on to become well known professionals themselves in various culinary fields. I have and value highly many friends from these days.
I would see Steven off and on over the years since that pig roast, in private events, eGullet sponsored events like the pig roast at Bobolink, personal events like his book launch party for Turning the Tables: Restaurants from the Inside Out at Tavern on the Green and at more public events like the Big Apple BBQ Block Party, where I would track the growth of his son, P.J. and he would note the growth of my sons.
Just last week, I got a message from Steven, telling me that we was in my neck of the woods. Quirky, the company that he went to and became “Head of Community” of, had just opened an office in Schenectady, about an hour away from where I live. I wanted to get together that night, but he wrote me via Twitter DM, “Working working working until about 9pm then having dinner someplace bad.” He added, “I have 3 trips planned here in the next month so we should be able to figure something out. This trip is crazy booked up though.” Having not seen him for some time, I was looking forward to the prospect of getting together, catching up and breaking some bread. I guess that we won’t be doing that now. Steven Shaw died suddenly this past Tuesday, April 8th. Rest in peace, Steven. He was 44 years old.