Two weeks ago, John talked to Walter Nicholls, food writer and long-time friend. The two of them were cooking up an article on rockfish, which ran in The Georgetowner on May 21. Like so many of Walter’s pieces, this was not just about the rockfish — it was a story of the people, the fishing expedition, the catching and then the cooking of the fish.
That was Walter, taking in the full picture around the food. He and John met 30 years ago, both acting true to type: John was barbequing at Rocklands Apple Orchard, Walter was checking out local food options near his Sperryville place. Over his career, Walter helped to expand Washington’s food horizons. His Washington Post food-section cover article on his beloved Rappahannock County, published in 2000 and nominated for a James Beard Award, opened many new eyes to the full possibilities of locally produced food. Seems odd now, doesn’t it?
Those of us who have lived in Washington for a while were privileged to follow Walter’s ingredient, recipe, cooking and food exploits over the years. In one of his final foodie cloaks, Walter was the East Coast purveyor of Cook’s vanilla. Like the other ingredients he’d uncovered over the years, Walter was thrilled with his vanilla. So were we.
Walter died on Sunday, June 1, at the age of 64. We will miss our friend Walter.