Shalom Life | April 19, 2015

Top 20 Under 40 – David Sax

Sax is the James Beard award-winning author of ‘Save The Deli’ and ‘The Tastemakers’

By: Ashley Baylen

Published: February 11th, 2015 in Culture » Food » News

Shalom Life is proud to present our 5th annual Top 20 Under 40 list. Over the next 20 days, we will showcase 20 individuals of diverse talents and backgrounds that have made a significant contribution to their field both locally and globally. From entrepreneurs to philanthropists, entertainers to doctors, this list places a spotlight on a small sampling of the spectacular, innovative, and passionate Jews that call Toronto home.

Top 20 Under 40: David Sax

Age: 35

Toronto’s James Beard award-winning author and journalist, David Sax, always knew that he wanted to be a writer. Before having regular pieces published in the New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Saveur and releasing two successful books, 12-year-old Sax attended summer camp in Ontario… where his mother sent his Newsweek subscription every week.

Sax writes on a variety of topics, but is best known for exploring food trends and culture. His first book ‘Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen’ won him a James Beard award for writing and literature. It explores the world of Jewish delicatessen, seeking to answer the question “Can the Jewish deli thrive, and if so, how?”

His follow up book, ‘ The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up With Fondue,’ examines how food trends have the power to affect our cultural fabric from the economy and business to marketing and health.

“The most successful food trends reflect what’s going on in society at a given time. The cupcake trend reflected a desire for comfort and childhood simplicity in the years after 9/11. The fondue trend took off at a time when Americans were moving out to the suburbs and wanted something a little more sophisticated than, say, a Jell-O salad,” Sax explains.

Sax travels the world for his writing, but still calls Toronto home. He lives in the city with his wife and one and a half year old daughter. When he’s not off exploring food culture around the world, Sax cherishes the simple things that fatherhood has to offer.

“In the summer this means hitting the playground again and again and again, but in the winter it involves a lot of running around the house, ‘cooking’, reading stories, and using my clothes as her own personal hanker chief,” Sax shares in an interview with Shalom Life.

Sax plans to continue interviewing people globally and pursuing topics of interest. He also plans to return to Toronto to write about everything he’s learned in between trips.

“If I can have the privilege of interviewing people around the world, on any topic I find interesting, and then write about all of it from the comfort of my home (in the comfort of some Roots sweatpants) in 2, 10, or 30 years, then I'll consider this a life well lived.”

This ‘Save the Deli’ author might not follow a kosher diet, but he credits his Jewish heritage for his world outlook.

“Someone asked me that the other night, and it was a Friday night, and we were in a Chinese restaurant, and I was eating soup with BBQ pork and shrimp wontons...so not in the culinary sense. But I do identify as Jewish culturally in almost every aspect of my life, and especially the way I look at and interpret the world. That sense of skepticism, humor, and yes, sarcasm is an ingrained Jewish trait, passed down through generations of hard times, and it has served me well in what I do time and again,” Sax responded when asked how Judaism plays into his life.

And how does this nice Jewish boy want to be remembered?

“As a mensch who not only taught people a few things, but made them laugh. And who was good to his family and friends, first and foremost. Also, as humble, while being fantastically handsome.”

Find out more about David Sax and his books at www.tastemakersbook.com.

Follow him on Twitter @saxdavid

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