Gael Greene (born December 22, 1933) is an American restaurant critic, author and novelist. Ms. Greene is a graduate of the University of Michigan. She became New York magazine's restaurant critic in fall 1968, at a time when most New Yorkers were unsophisticated about food and there were few chefs anyone knew by name. She was a passionate early "foodie" before that word was used. Indeed, the American edition of The Foodie Handbook credited her with first using the word.
Given the spotlight of New York, the first city magazine, her writing gave New Yorkers a new way to think about dining out—as theater, as seduction, as social competition—and documented the city's growing interest in food and dining out. Articles like "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Ice Cream But Were Too Fat To Ask", "The Mafia Guide to Dining Out" and "Nobody Knows the Truffles I've Seen" were early pieces in the four decades she documented the city's growing obsession with food.
Greene famously went to great lengths to conceal her identity from restaurateurs, reserving and using credit cards under other names, and wearing hats that covered her eyes in photographs, on television, and in public appearances. Her writing inspired and documented the city's growing interest in food and dining out.
For more than 30 years, she served as the magazine's "Insatiable Critic" and then continued as a columnist until 2008, the magazine's 40th anniversary as well as her own. She was then fired. In a New York Times article (November 25, 2008) Glenn Collins wrote: "But even among those who might have seen it coming, many were taken aback at the expulsion of the sensualist who influenced the way a generation of New Yorkers ate, and who served as a lusty narrator of restaurant life in New York for decades."
The coverage seemingly sparked a revival of interest in Greene, leading to appearances as a judge on the TV show Top Chef Masters and international requests for interviews focused on her web site, Insatiable Critic.com.
Her first novel, Blue Skies, No Candy, a best seller in both hard cover and paperback, explores the fantasies and adventures of its adulterous heroine, Kate. Her second erotic novel, Doctor Love, focuses on a Don Juan seeking the meaning of love that eludes him. It is written from the male perspective.
In 2006 Warner Books published her memoir, Insatiable: Tales from a life of Delicious Excess, about the 40 year revolution in dining, what she ate and what she did between meals. It includes a description of a sexual encounter with Elvis Presley. Her other books include Delicious Sex, A Gourmet Guide for Women… and the Men Who Want to Love Them Better, Bite: A New York Restaurant Strategy and Sex and the College Girl.
In 1981 she co-founded Citymeals-on-Wheels, along with the teacher and food writer James Beard, to help fund weekend and holiday meals for homebound elderly people in New York City. She remains an active chair of the company's board, hosting an annual Power Lunch for Women. Greene has received numerous awards for her work with Citymeals and in 1992 was honored as Humanitarian of the Year by the James Beard Foundation. She is the winner of the International Association of Cooking Professionals' magazine writing award (2000) and a Silver Spoon from Food Arts magazine.
- Gael Greene's restaurant reviews at Crain's New York Business
- Insatiable Critic by Gael Greene
- Citymeals-on-Wheels, New York, New York