Hillary Dixler Canavan
This month’s Spotlight talent worked her way up in the culinary world from waitstaff to famed chef’s assistant to Eater restaurant editor. When she got a press pass to the James Beard Awards - which she calls “the Oscars of the food world” - she opted to wear ELOQUII. This showed us how confident she felt in our contemporary styles and I was sure she’d be a hit as our next Spotlight Series star. Read on to see what we mean.
Hillary Dixler Canavan Leverages Her Good Taste
Formerly with the hit restaurant brand Momofuku and currently at Eater, this trendspotter and storyteller has found success in the culinary world. Read what stories she’s writing and see what look she’s eyeing for the 2019 James Beard Awards.
When it comes to her career, Hillary Dixler Canavan always come back to one piece of advice she received: Always work with the best. So it’s no surprise that she was a server at a Michelin-star restaurant (The Breslin), an assistant to a chef named to the TIME 100 (David Chang) and, now, a restaurant editor at an ASME award-winning publication (Eater). “Career-wise, forward momentum is really important to me,” says Hillary, as she sits in the airport terminal and awaits her boarding call to return to L.A. after our NYC photo shoot.
This trip was a chance for her to be our model for a day, to see friends from when she used to live the East Coast life and, of course, to try a few white-hot restaurants. Not every meal was scheduled, but she made certain to get a table at - and post some mouthwatering Instagrams from - NYC’s Frenchette, Madame Vo, and Kopitiam - and her friend’s shabbat, too. “The line is so blurred between when I’m working and when I’m not,” she explains. Her research in every city feeds into her work at the media mecca for food obsessives. In short, she says, “I decide what is and what isn’t news.” This includes features about the restaurant scene, chef op-eds, city guides and new openings that are scoped to a national audience (e.g. “The 12 Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings of Fall 2018”). No matter what the story is, she shares her perspective that “stories about restaurants are ultimately stories about people.”
You’ll find Hillary writing, assigning and editing her stories from her new homebase in Los Angeles. Some days she’s working from the Eater office, from home or from Dinosaur coffee - but most days she’s working in her style staple: canvas sneakers.
“I love my Keds and my Chuck Taylors,” admits the editor who describes her style as classic with her own twist. “I’ve always loved clothes. Clothes are an important part of how you present who you are.” These days she does most of her shopping online and it wasn’t until she was on the Spotlight set that she realized she hadn’t been in a fitting room in a while. “Especially one where I try on outfit after outfit and they all fit,” she cheered.
Her favorites included two dresses - one informal and one formal.
First, the striped shift dress with self-tie cuffs in one of her favorite colors - red - and paired with her favorite footwear. Second, she’s already eyeing one look for the 2019 James Beard Awards: a black leatherette dress. It’s an ideal pick given its polished hint of shine and relaxed pleated skirt that moves with ease - especially because as a member of the press, she’s up and about not sitting for hours. It’s not the life she might’ve expected from her days at Brown University studying Theater Arts and English. “I’ve taken a nontraditional path,” says the casting assistant-turned server-turned chef assistant-turned editor.
She remembers what set her on her current editorial journey: when David Chang and writer Peter Meehan launched the quarterly food journal Lucky Peach in 2011. Hillary was working with the chef at the time and remembered how inspiring it was. “It turned my eye. My advice to others is that if they have a strong feeling about what your next step could be, do it.”
What was your first ELOQUII purchase?
A cooper circle skirt. I wore it to the James Beard Awards!
Who are your style icons?
Stacy London from What Not To Wear. I believe in what she says about what clothing can do for you and that there’s no conflict between being smart and caring about what you look like. Also, all the women who worked at Racked, our sister publication.
Name a look you’ve felt your best in.
My wedding dress. We just celebrated our one-year anniversary this summer.
How do you describe your personal style?
Relaxed and polished.
What trends are you rocking this season?
When I tried on the belt bag on set, I thought “I have to have this.”
Love what you see? Shop Hillary’s favorites and all of our newest arrivals for your taste!