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What’s your culinary Mt. Everest?

Addie Broyles

Another highlight of today’s food section was this story from Melissa Martinez about making macarons.

We’ve published macaron stories before, but this one is different. It’s the kick-off to a new series we’re doing this year called Culinary Conquest, in which we face our culinary fears and help readers do the same.

Melissa is a very talented baker who often writes on the subject for us, but late last year, she confessed that she’s always been scared to try making macarons at home.

It was her Mt. Everest; the culinary task she’d always wanted to tackle but wasn’t sure how.

So, we paired her up with Christina Villarreal and Caitlin Simmons of Walton’s Fancy and Staple for a little one-on-one lesson. (You’ll have to check out the video Tina Phan made of their lesson, which has a very creative title sequence.) Then, Melissa took her newfound knowledge home and accomplished what once seemed an impossible feat: Homemade macarons that didn’t taste like hockey pucks.

My goal this year is to figure out how to smoke a brisket and maybe bacon in my own backyard, but we’re also looking to help a few readers tackle their own culinary fears, big or small. (My editor, Sharon Chapman, has also promised to participate. Her Mt. Everest? Roasting a whole chicken.)

If you’re interested in participating, shoot me an email at, and maybe we can pair you up with a local expert to conquer that culinary task that has always intimidated you.