Who Was Stendahl the Food Writer?


The other day, at another used book store (this one in Atwater Village), I stumbled upon the cookbook you see above and what caught my attention wasn’t the picture or the title but the name of the author. Like Madonna or Cher, here was a food writer with a one word name. Are there any other food writers with one-word names? I can’t think of any. So I opened to the back flap to read more. Here’s what I found.


“A mentor to millions!” “A familiar media figure whenever culinary matters are discussed.”

How come I’d never heard of him before? How come his name is never referenced in the same breath as Ruth Reichl, Calvin Trillin and all the other greats?

When I came home, I Googled him and it turned up nothing. I Googled “Dining With Stendahl,” same result.

I was ready to give up until I turned to Twitter and asked my followers for help. One follower, JosePiano, offered the answer: “Stendahl was the pen name for Arthur W. Bernal.”

Arthur W. Bernal. I Googled that and it brought me to his New York Times obituary: “Arthur W. Bernal, who under the name Stendahl was a food and restaurant critic for The Daily News and WNCN-FM radio, died Sunday morning at his home in Bayside, Queens. He was 78 years old.”

Turns out he was a filmmaker who, after traveling the world and growing his palate, chose the pen name “Stendahl” and reviewed restaurants both in The Daily News and on TV.

Thanks, JosePiano. Mystery solved.

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