Nach Waxman of NYC’s Kitchen Arts & Letters has died

One of the best known bookstores dedicated to cookbooks and other food-related tomes has just lost its founding father. We learned that Nach Waxman, who started Kitchen Arts & Letters in New York’s Upper East Side in 1983, died suddenly yesterday.

Before he became the “patron saint of food writers,” Waxman worked as an editor at Macmillan, Harper & Row, and Crown. After becoming disillusioned by the publishing industry, he turned his sights to being a bookstore owner, opening KAL and turning it into a haven for chefs and cookbook lovers. Waxman was “the dean of food letters,” says Leite’s Culinaria founder David Leite.

Despite running a store that made its livelihood in part from selling cookbooks, Waxman often said that he rarely followed a recipe while cooking. He may not have followed recipes, but he did write one that has become legendary, a brisket recipe published in The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. Along with his KAL business partner, Matt Sartwell, he also wrote a book, 2014’s The Chef Says: Quotes, Quips and Words of Wisdom.

We extend our sympathies to Nach’s family, friends, and business associates. He was a leader and a legend in the cookbook publishing industry.

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  • trudys_person  on  August 8, 2021

    So sad. I do hope the shop carries on — it’s on my list of places to visit when it’s safe to travel.

  • SerenaYLee  on  August 8, 2021

    So sad to hear this. Like the previous commenter, I hope his partner will be able to keep the store running, as it is on my bucket list of places to visit.

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