Front of House

It was two years ago that Christopher Hirsheimer first noticed a for sale sign on the vacant old train station in Milford, New Jersey. She immediately asked Melissa Hamilton, her business partner, to come see the place. “This building—this building—told us it wanted to be a restaurant,” Hirsheimer recalls. “We said, ‘No, no…,’ and the building said, ‘Yes. I want to be a restaurant.’” Hamilton nods in agreement. “We have a thing,” she explains. “We go on saying ‘no’ until something makes us say ‘yes.’”

Both women live nearby, in the Delaware River Valley, where they met shortly before Hirsheimer co-founded Saveur in 1994. Twenty-five years into their friendship, the two communicate intuitively, conserving words and finishing each other’s sentences as they talk about how food should be cooked, seen, written about, and enjoyed. Their distinct vision of culinary authenticity has won them many admirers: Hirsheimer and Hamilton have tested recipes and styled and photographed food for cookbooks by Jacques Pépin, Danny Meyer, Alice Waters, and the late Julia Child.

For more than a decade, that work has been done largely in private, in rented studios along the Delaware River. Every day, as Hirsheimer and Hamilton cooked and photographed food at the behest of others, they made meals for themselves, too, and wrote

about what they were eating on a blog called “Canal House Cooks Lunch.” Recipes from that blog gradually evolved into the quarterly journal , as well as the 2012 cookbook . In September, they published a second cookbook, , which features a gorgeous jumble of green onions on the cover.

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