While we’re at it, here are three more compliments:
"He talks in copy," says New Orleans Times-Picayune restaurant critic Brett Anderson. "He says smart things that you can put right on the fucking page and it would look like good writing."
"Without question, those that knew Pete in his early years, knew that he'd ascend to the highest levels," says James Beard Award-winning chef John Besh, whom Pete Wells profiled in a 2003 story for Food & Wine.
Author Gary Shteyngart: "Anything Pete Wells writes, I read like the almighty truth."
In 2004, while at Details, Pete Wells freelanced his first story for the Times, a punch recipe. And then two years later, a book review. Not long after that, he joined the Times as the food editor, and began writing Dining Briefs for the blog. His first was for a place called Natsumi on W 50th St, which served sushi pizza, which is gross. During this time, his pieces were all over the place: he wrote stirringly about Chicago-based Alinea chef Grant Achatz’s sickness (and Achatz himself many more times, including his real-estate hunt and how he was shopping a memoir) and also compassionately about his own son Dexter and his battles with severe food allergies in his "Cooking With Dexter" series for the Times Magazine. Most of his work found its way into the Styles section, which has always been the more experimental Island of Misfit Toys for the Times, but not (usually) in a bad way, necessarily. "I think Pete’s voice is a magazine writer’s more than a newspaper man's voice," says Anderson. "There's more of a mandate to entertain the whole time, and I think you can see that in his writing."