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Michelle Stark, Times Food Editor

Michelle Stark

Michelle Stark is the Food Editor for the Tampa Bay Times, overseeing the food content online and in print, including cooking and restaurants. She also manages social media accounts for the Entertainment department, including food. Previously, she was part of the Things to Do crew and co-host of Play Tampa Bay. She has designed and edited the Times' daily entertainment page, and wrote weekly about television at The Feed blog. Stark joined the Times after graduating from the University of South Florida in 2010 with degrees in mass communications and international relations.

Phone: (727) 893-8829

Email: mstark@tampabay.com

Twitter: @MStark17

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  1. From the food editor: A recipe for enchiladas, a good thing to make ahead for your future self

    Cooking

    By the time you read this, I will be back from spending a couple of days bopping around New York City with a friend.

    There will be lots of meals I don't have to cook, lots of gallivanting the night away. But as I'm writing this, I am in the throes of vacation prep. How will I fit everything into one suitcase? What subway line do I take from the airport? How soon can I get my hands on a slice of pizza?...

    Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  2. Get cooking inspiration, recipes and more in our new weekly Cooking email

    Cooking

    Looking for cooking inspiration? Get recipes, cooking tips, food videos and more delivered to your inbox every week when you sign up for our new Cooking newsletter.

    On June 22, we debut a weekly email from Tampa Bay Times food editor Michelle Stark that will offer ideas for what to make for dinner, point you to some of her favorite recipes from the past week and showcase things like food videos and photos. ...

  3. From the food editor: For Father's Day, steak with a side of mushroom risotto

    Cooking

    My dad is not what you would call an adventurous eater.

    But that doesn't mean he doesn't appreciate a good meal. In fact, he has come a long way from the more limited diet I remember growing up. A true meat-and-potatoes man, he now embraces zucchini as well as hot dogs, broccoli in addition to pork chops. He has recently discovered the wonders of things like short ribs and risotto.

    I don't think he would call himself an avid cook, but he's no stranger to the kitchen, always up for helping to grate cheese or slice potatoes. There are some things he makes regularly, lending his Dad touch to dishes including grilled cheese, zucchini noodles, hash browns. His scrambled eggs are still the best egg dish in town....

    French Onion Soup Risotto. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  4. From the food editor: Three ways to curb bread cravings, for after you try this Hazelnut Toast

    Cooking

    Every time I try to unfriend bread, it finds its way back to me.

    Like a no-good-for-you ex you really need to stop hanging out with already, it's alluring, dangerous, delicious.

    I am not one to condone a no-carb lifestyle unless it's absolutely necessary. Everything in moderation and all that — plus it's difficult and often unsatisfying. But even I will admit that the easiest way to get back into pants that have been feeling a little snug lately is to forego the puffy starches that are so easily consumed and rarely that satiating....

    Hazelnut Toast, with lemon zest, honey and mint. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  5. St. Petersburg's Story Brooke Craft Coffee Bar brings a cocktail flair to coffee shop menu

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG

    There are a lot of things to notice the first time you walk into Story Brooke Craft Coffee Bar, which opened just south of downtown in late January: the bright turquoise walls, the reclaimed wood pallets that hold clear bottles of syrups and teeny espresso mugs, the long line of matted photographs hung from the ceiling with jute.

    None is more crucial than the long, tiled bar behind which owner Story Stuart stands. It's a specific choice, her place behind the bar, customers on stools in front of it, that nods to Stuart's dream of one day owning a space that serves martinis instead of espresso....

    Customers Haris Lender and Tracie Thompson get their orders from Stuart, who seems to know most of the people who walk through the door, and if she doesn’t know you, she’s really good at making you feel like she does..
  6. From the food editor: I love that food is a huge part of Master of None's transcendent second season

    Cooking

    Deep into a late-night binge of Master of None, Aziz Ansari's Netflix series that returned for its second season May 12, I realized I was laying as far back on my couch as possible, blanket clutched up to my chin, eyebrows permanently raised.

    I wasn't scared in an oh-no-the-killer-is-right-there way. I was giddy.

    Ansari's show, in which he stars as the lead character as well as writes and directs along with co-creator Alan Yang, feels like essential viewing for the modern human, a meditation on the things in life that make us feel, and feel a lot: friendship, travel, success, love....

    Dev (Aziz Ansari) and Arnold (Eric Wareheim) eat lunch in Modena, Italy, in the second season of "Master of None."
  7. Three 'MasterChef' contestants from the Tampa Bay area talk cooking inspiration and more

    Cooking

    When Gordon Ramsay's MasterChef begins its eighth season tonight, the Tampa Bay area will have three contestants to root for. A marketing director from Tampa, a dentist and Palm Harbor native, and an employee for a steel supply company are all trying to impress a trio of judges with their home-cooking skills.

    Ramsay's show is all about the home cook. These people are not professional chefs; you'll find those over on Bravo's Top Chef. Instead, contestants often have other, unrelated jobs that they balance with their passion for kitchen creativity. It's often like that in our own lives, reality show or not. ...

    Jeff Philbin displays pan-seared beef rib with scallops and Brussels sprouts in his home kitchen in Tampa. (LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times)
  8. From the food editor: Up your sauce game with these simple recipes

    Cooking

    Most food is incomplete without a sauce. At the very least, almost everything benefits from the addition of it, a creamy capper to your dish that has the miraculous ability to tie everything together.

    But sometimes, you don't have the energy or skills (or butter) to create a luscious pan sauce. That's where no-cook sauces come in to make your life better.

    I realized how deep my love for a good no-cook sauce goes recently when I was heating up some leftover falafel. Chickpea falafel? Yum. Chunk of feta cheese? Exquisite. Bed of mixed greens and herbs? Fresh as anything....

    Tzatziki sauce is easy to make at home. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  9. Got corn? How to use up the season's bounty

    Cooking

    Corn takes a lot of flack.

    There's all the confusion about its identity, whether it's a grain or a vegetable. The fuss over whether it's nutritionally beneficial. The fact that it's not easy to digest. And don't get me started on high-fructose corn syrup, one of the most maligned ingredients of our time.

    But as we revel in the summer corn season, we're sticking to one basic fact above the rest: Corn is delicious. ...

    Consider using fresh, not frozen, corn in chilled Southwestern Corn Soup With Shrimp.
  10. Video: How to make tzatziki sauce

    Cooking

    Tzatziki sauce is a yogurt-cucumber condiment that makes a variety of dishes way better than they already are: falafel, chicken, most vegetables, anything involving a pita. It's simple to make, and really benefits from some common but specific ingredients.

     ...

  11. From the food editor: Zucchini provides the base for a light summer meal

    Cooking

    Where do you find inspiration in the kitchen? It's a question I've been asking myself lately, in an effort to become more creative with my meals in the weeks ahead.

    We're heading into one of the most ho-hum times of the year for cooking. From about September to December, we're in holiday cooking mode. Even though we don't get seasonally appropriate temperatures in Florida, things feel cozier, more festive. January and February bring challenges of trying to eat healthier and cook meals that can help counteract the gluttony of the previous months. March and April offer a bit of spring. ...

    Zucchini with Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor
  12. Bitters: What exactly they are, and how to use them in cocktails and more

    Bars & Spirits

    Think of bitters like the spice rack of the cocktail world.

    That's the first thing Hunter Bryant, bar manager at Haven in Tampa, tells me when I sidle up to the restaurant's bar on a recent weekday for a Bitters 101 lesson. It instantly helps me understand the allure of the alcoholic extracts.

    Like most people, I was familiar with bitters, those mysterious dark dashes of potent liquid gingerly administered to a cocktail, but never too sure what function they served. I've seen Angostura and Peychaud's, two popular national bitters brands, in the liquor store, always intimated to bring them home. Up until a couple of years ago, I only regularly encountered them in something like an Old Fashioned, a classic drink made up of a spirit (usually bourbon or whiskey), water, sugar and bitters. ...

    The bar at Haven has an assortment of commercially available bitters.
  13. Video: How to make Rosemary Spiced Nuts

    Cooking

    These are an ideal snack if you're craving something salty and flavorful but still want to err on the side of healthy. They also work really well as bar snacks, so stock up your mixers and have these ready for your next home happy hour.

    Rosemary Spiced Nuts

    3 cups mixed raw nuts such as pecans, walnuts and peanuts

    2 tablespoons water

    2 tablespoons maple syrup...

    Michelle Stark
Rosemary Spiced Nuts
  14. Recipes and tips for celebrating Mom on Mother's Day

    Cooking

    This Mother's Day, food is likely to be a major part of the celebration. But before you honor Mom by making her sit down to a two-hour brunch at a fancy restaurant, or keeping her in her bed while you bring in breakfast dish after breakfast dish, talk to her.

    It's her day, right?

    We've come up with three recipes to keep in your Mother's Day arsenal and deploy based on how much time Mom actually wants to spend celebrating herself....

    A nice lunch of Sauteed Shrimp With Arugula and Tomatoes will come together in just about 15 minutes. LARA CERRI   |   Times
  15. From the food editor: This Mother's Day, ask Mom what she wants

    Cooking

    This one's for you, moms.

    We are devoting much of this week's issue to Mother's Day, which is May 14.

    I don't know about you, but food is always top of mind when I begin planning anything celebratory. I think I get this from my mom, someone who, more often than not, knows what she's eating for dinner when she gets up in the morning. When it comes to birthdays, holidays or major food outings, what we are going to eat is always a priority. ...

    Looking for a sweet treat for Mom? Make her a batch of Lemon Bars.
(Photo by Associated Press)