The A.G. Team

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You can all breath a collective sigh of relief: this, I’m pleased to announce, is the very last post of my 5th Year Anniversary Week. Ok, maybe I went a little too far profiling anyone whose visage ever graced these pages, but, I must confess, it was quite a kick taking such a long stroll down this blog’s memory lane. Our final gesture is to give some credit where credit is due–that is to credit The A.G. Team, the people who keep this blog running.

Starting on the top left you’ll see Leah McCombe who gave this blog its beautiful, useful, whimsical and memorable design; next, on the upper right, is Ben Lim who is my savior and saint–he responds to all my pesky IMs when the blog goes down (which it’s been doing quite a lot lately)–and, more importantly, he’s the one who programmed all of Leah’s design and brought this blog to life; beneath Ben is the irreplaceable Lindy Groening who illustrates our awesome, hilariously kooky banners each month (she really is amazing: if I dream it, she can do it!), and–finally–next to her is Justin Dickinson who started here as an intern and graduated to our design team where he seamlessly uploads Lindy’s banners as soon as she’s done with them.

I’m really proud to call these guys my A.G. Team and I’m so, so, so grateful for their generous, thankless work. (Well, I hope it’s not entirely thankless.) I decided to ask them all a few questions which they’ve answered for you below. Let’s hear what The A.G. Team has to say.

Leah McCombe, A.G. Designer

How did you discover The Amateur Gourmet?

A few years ago, I was living in Richmond and employed at an ad agency with a lot of downtime. I started reading blogs, and somehow, through a link, I ended up reading a few entries on The Amateur Gourmet and was hooked. I ended up reading every single archived entry in under a week. I’m still a super fan, and that’s what makes our design team great – all of us are regular readers and appreciate what you’re trying to accomplish.

What was your initial involvement?

I sent Adam a picture of my iPod cake out of the blue. I was so excited when you decided to post it to your site. I showed my sister, and right above that entry was a call for a web designer to freshen up the site. My sister convinced me to submit my portfolio and offer to work on the design, and voila. Out of this project, I’ve gotten a lot of other great opportunities, like redesigning Michael Ruhlman’s blog. It’s been a web designer/foodie dream come true.

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What are your proudest contributions to the blog?

Coming up with the idea of rotating mastheads…I think it’s a nice surprise element for regular readers of the blog (and we couldn’t have done it without the amazing talents of our illustrators). It’s sometimes a pain to coordinate, but it’s always worth it.

Any favorite posts?

I think I’ve watched the Miracle Almond Cake video 20 times…I’m a musical theatre nerd. I think it’s hilarious (and I’ve made that cake twice to rave reviews)

What are you working on now?

I currently work at a full-time ad agency as an Interactive Art Director. My main client makes pasta sauce and frozen dinners, so I’m lucky that I get to combine my two loves, food and design. I’m always up for freelance jobs that merge the two!

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Ben Lim, Web Guru

How did you discover the Amateur Gourmet?

I think I discovreed the site via a list of the best blogs on the web that I stumbled across. They had the Amateur Gourmet listed under food blogs and cited the Janet Jackson Breast Cupcake as an example of your off-beat sense of humor. I thought it was hilarious and have been a fan ever since.

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What was your initial involvement?

A friend of mine (Smorgasbite), who I think I had introduced to your blog, saw the post about you looking for a web designer to help out with the site. She suggested I apply for the position so I did. The job turned out to be for the redesign of the blog that happened about a year ago (?). I did the web development for the site, while Leah, your fantastic designer, created the look and feel. Since then, I’ve been helping out with little tasks as they come up.

What are your proudest contributions to the blog?

Definitely the redesign. It took a lot of work and ended up looking great. There’s a lot of crazy stuff going on behind the scenes to make Movable Type (the blogging software) do some of the things it’s doing but everything seems to be working. *knock on wood* As for least proudest contribution: the post with the photos of me after we launched the new site are a painful reminder of what was by far the worst haircut I ever received.

Any favorite posts?

Being from around Seattle (shout-outs to Lynnwood and Bothell!), I always love the posts about your trips to visit the area. I think I’d like to add that shout-out to the list of my least proud moments…

What are you working on now?

I work at American Express Publishing where we’re currently working on a major relaunch of Travel and Leisure Magazine’s website. We’re completely rewriting the site in Ruby on Rails and have been working on it for well over a year now. We’re adding a lot of really cool features to the site and have worked really hard on it so hopefully people like it once it’s released.

In my own time, I’m trying to stay involved in film (which is my first love) while working on some web stuff as well (because it does a better job of paying the bills). Just to plug a few of my own projects: I run a film blog (LucidScreening.com), a site that randomly suggests places to eat lunch in Manhattan (Lunchboxr.com), and a blog to chronicle my beer brewing adventures (FourthAvenueBrew.com).

The beer blog is brand new but the film blog has been around for almost three years now. Unfortunately, it lost a lot of its momentum over the past year but I’m hoping to pick that up again while also resuming work on Lunchboxr which has been on the backburner for almost a year now. Those sites barely pay for themselves though so I’m always looking for interesting freelance work :)

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Lindy Groening, Illustrator

How did you discover the Amateur Gourmet?

The Fabulous David Lebovitz.

What was your initial involvement?

I began as a big fan & reader of the blog. I really liked how you blended text and pictures (like your comic-format post about crabs). So, when you posted a request for illustrator help, I jumped aboard!

What are your proudest contributions to the blog?

Turkey Kong. Hands down.

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Any favorite posts?

Any of the musical posts. Great Moments in Musical Theater Featuring Eggs… because you can’t pass up eggs singing West Side Story, or meeting their doom beneath the blades of a helicopter/eggbeater in the bowl of Saigon.

What are you working on now?

I have a couple of paintings in the works. One features woodsmen hunting for deer. The other is a Tiki-inspired depiction of an exploding volcano. I try to preserve any food-themes for the Amateur Gourmet banners.

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Justin Dickinson, Other Web Guru

I was always aware of Amateur Gourmet but it really hit my radar when you put out a call for interns. I was chosen to participate and started helping out with the site administration, and I wrote a couple posts. I’m proud to have worked on the blog behind the scenes, and I enjoyed writing my post about pastrami last St Patrick’s Day. The post that jumps to mind as a favorite is your description of lunch at Per Se, that just sounded like such an amazing food experience.

Right now, I’m working on launching an online cooking show. Two host format, but based around the idea that home cooking is easy and doesn’t take a lot of time. Hopefully it’ll launch in the next month or two.

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So thanks again to my awesome design team and thanks to all of you patient readers who indulged me this week. Next week it’s back to regular posting! Have a great weekend.

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