I'm Michelle Stark, a home cook living in the Tampa Bay area of Florida with my husband and a constant craving for fresh bagels.

I spend most of my days based in St. Petersburg, a city that was once known for barely more than retirees and beaches and a covered baseball stadium. Now, it's a hip spot in the greater Tampa Bay area, an oasis of too much sun, too few seasons and a growing food culture.

I'm also a food writer and editor for the Tampa Bay Times, the largest daily newspaper in the Southeast.


Other questions you might have

What do you do at the newspaper?

I’m the Food Editor, which means I edit, write for and put together a weekly food section called Taste. (You can see all of that online here.) That includes testing recipes, exploring local food businesses, interviewing people who have done cool things, making recipe how-to videos, and taking iPhone photos of just about anything I eat.

Do you have a life outside of the paper?

When I’m not working, I’m taking iPhone photos of just about anything I eat, spending time with my husband (the world’s least picky eater, #blessed), attempting to relive my Orlando childhood with trips to Walt Disney World, and making just about anything from scratch.

What’s the first thing you remember cooking?

One time when I was probably old enough to know better, I placed a toy plastic pizza in the real oven, then my mom preheated the oven for dinner and soon the whole house spelled like burnt toy. Does that count?

Favorite thing to eat?

I have a major sweet tooth. Cakes and cookies, oh and chocolate croissants and pies and anything made with almond meal, are a particular fave. Also, bread, bagels, fresh pasta, things fried lightly in olive oil. It is for these reasons that I also enjoy weekly Zumba classes and multiple daily servings of fruit.

Least favorite?

I actively dislike a lot of seafood, though I eat some every once in a while just to make sure I’m still grossed out by it. A Florida native who doesn’t like shrimp? It’s not a good look.

What’s the most ambitious thing you’ve ever cooked?

Probably bao, these fluffy Asian buns, which did not turn out how they were supposed to but which were still absolutely irresistible. Let this be a lesson to us all – nothing can go too terribly wrong when there is flour and yeast involved.