David E. Hoffman, TV writer, author and creator of Food Network shows such as “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” died Jan. 3 at his home in West Hollywood. He had been battling glioblastoma for six months.
As a producer, Hoffman created and executive produced the Food Network shows “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and “The Best Thing I Ever Made,” showcasing national food and recipes. Aside from his work in food, Hoffman also wrote for television shows such as “Matlock,” “Diagnosis: Murder” and “ABC AfterSchool Specials.”
He also served as a feature lifestyle reporter exploring trends and popular culture on morning shows in Los Angeles on both ABC and FOX, a stint with “Good Morning America,” and appearances on “The View.”
Hoffman was also the author of “The Joy of Pigging Out,” in which he provided recommendations for best places to eat across the country and also reflected on the happiness that comes with eating. From “The Joy of Pigging Out,” Hoffman developed a $2.5 million licensing campaign complete with mugs, magnets and T-shirts — showing a keen business sense in addition to praiseworthy taste.
Originally from Richmond, Va. and a Los Angeles resident for 50 years, Hoffman’s love of food came across in his life’s work. He authored numerous books about food and culture in his lifetime, along with being a producer on Food Network and Cooking Channel. His cookbooks, “The Easy-Bake Oven Gourmet” and “The Breakfast Cereal Gourmet,” contained recipes from chefs paired with history and were intended to make cooking more accessible to audiences of all ages.
In 2017, Hoffman took legal action regarding Food Network shows “Guilty Pleasures” and “Top 5 Restaurants.” Hoffman alleged that the two spinoffs were derived from “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and “The Best Thing I Ever Made.” He said he had been wrongfully cut out of their production and had not received any compensation for them. Hoffman filed a suit against Authentic Entertainment.
“Selected episodes have similar themes, if not the same themes,” read the suit. “Episodes feature similar talent (noted chefs and television food personalities), if not the same talent. Both ‘Guilty Pleasures’ and ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate’ are comprised of a variety of self-contained segments, each featuring a different contributor, who (in a fun, passionate, and somewhat confessional manner) discloses to an unseen, but sometimes heard, interviewer what he or she considers a favorite food within the scope of the show’s premise.”
Hoffman is survived by his sister, Susie Hayman; his brother, Howard Hoffman; his niece, Erica H. Driscoll; and his great-nephew, Declan H. Driscoll. Donations can be made to the UCLA Brain Cancer Research Center.