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Frank Bruni was working as the New York Times’s Rome bureau chief when he got a call from an editor in New York: How would he like to become the newspaper’s next restaurant critic, a job draped in myth, glamour, intrigue and sometimes controversy? The most important question the editor asked, however, wasn’t about nerves, editorial confidence or culinary erudition. It was about Bruni’s weight: Was he willing to risk becoming fat again?
In his New York Times bestseller, BORN ROUND: A Story of Family, Food and a Ferocious Appetite, Bruni shares his very surprising life-long struggle with food and weight. Stout, chubby and always and endlessly hungry, Bruni spent his much of his life fighting all manner of eating drama – fad diets, pills, fasting, purging, cleansing, and the all-too-familiar roller coaster of gains and losses. When his weight ballooned up to about 270 pounds, and his love life all but dried up, something had to change. And something indeed did. By the time he was offered the job of restaurant critic in 2004, he was 65 pounds lighter than he’d been at his worst. The new job was going to be his acid test: had he finally achieved a truce with food and found the ability to enjoy it without being undone by it?
Frank Bruni was named restaurant critic for The New York Times in April 2004. Before that, he was the newspaper’s Rome bureau chief, a White House reporter, the lead correspondent covering George W. Bush’s 2000 Presidential Campaign, and a frequent contributor to the Sunday Times magazine. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Ambling into History, about George W. Bush, and his restaurant-related articles for the Times have appeared in each of the last three editions of “Best Food Writing” in America. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing for his work before the Times at the Detroit Free Press. He currently is a reporter-at-large for the New York Times and lives in New York City.