Gail Monaghan has taught cooking and written about food—first from her apartment overlooking the Hudson River in Manhattan’s West Village and more recently from her loft just North of Madison Square Park—for over 25 years. She’s penned a How-to column and regular features for the Off Duty section of the Wall Street Journal while teaching cooking. Taking advantage of an expertise in culinary history, Gail wrote Lost Desserts and The Entrées, both for Rizzoli. The books give updated recipes for--and track the origins of--classic dishes from the past, sweet and savory respectively. It’s All in the Timing, her most recent cookbook, with how-tos and fool-proof tips on almost every page, offers readers unique dinner time when-tos. By treating the entire meal as an extended recipe, including detailed, step-by-step timing charts for every menu, the reader finds the chronological puzzle of seamless meal preparation completely demystified.
Gail has educated the audience and hosts of ABC’s The Chew on the history of dishes such as Beef Wellington, Baked Alaska, and Cobb Salad and has hosted the Wall Street Journal Digital Network web series Cooking Confidential with Gail Monaghan. She has published articles in Food and Wine, House and Garden, Oprah, Food Arts, Martha Stewart Living, and The New York Times.
Monaghan was passionate about food and cooking even as a child, but turning passions into a career was a circuitous journey. After college Gail’s first work was in design. Back when needlepoint was the rage, she designed and sold hand-painted needlepoint canvasses to hundreds of stores worldwide. This endeavor was followed by a luxury handbag business, again with an international clientele of high-end boutiques as well as department stores including Bergdorf's, Henri Bendel, Barney's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Charles Jourdain and I. Magnin.
After her children were born and a time out, Gail decided indulge herself and go to cooking school and received a professional degree from The Institute of Culinary Education. Her first culinary job was to create and produce gourmet cookies and scones for several New York City eateries, including Dean & Deluca. She then wrote Perfect Picnics for All Seasons and Some Like It Hot, a cookbook inspired by the movie of the same name, and began teaching cooking classes in 1997.
Monaghan has now come full circle and returned to design, her first great love. Making a simple baby quilt for her new granddaughter in the fall of 2017 led to a burgeoning textile business now including colorful, sophisticated table and bed linens for adults alongside the initial baby quilts and throws. Unwilling to let go of the food and cooking, Monaghan realized she could merge her passion for design with her passion for all things culinary under an “entertaining” umbrella. She is currently doing just that and having the time of her life.