LOUISVILLE Ky. Phillip S. Cooke, a lifelong foodservice communications specialist who served as editor in the early 1960s of the publication that became Nation’s Restaurant News, died of a heart attack last week at age 76.
Cooke was the retired president and founder of FSA Group, an association management and public affairs company based here. Cooke sold the company in 2003 to NRN’s parent, Lebhar-Friedman Inc.
In 1982, Cooke convened an event called the Symposium on American Cuisine to publicize Sixth Avenue, a restaurant here that featured upscale American fare. The event coincided with, and fostered, a newfound interest by fine-dining chefs in what would soon become known as New American cuisine. More Symposia would be held in subsequent years in New Orleans, San Francisco, Santa Fe and Boston, spotlighting the cooking of New American proponents like Paul Prudhomme, Robert Del Grande, Dean Fearing, Brendan Walsh, Michael McCarty and Mark Miller.
Cooke’s involvement in foodservice began in the early 1960s with such industry trade magazines as Restaurant Management and Restaurant Equipment Dealer. He later moved to Lebhar-Friedman, where he served as editor of Chain Store Age, Restaurant Edition, a publication for the managers of in-store soda fountains and lunch stands. The magazine was recast a few years later as Nation’s Restaurant News.
Cooke is survived by his partner of 44 years, Daniel Maye; and a brother, Thomas Cooke, who lives in Indianapolis. Contributions in his memory can be made to the Phillip S. Cooke Memorial Fund, c/o New England Culinary Institute, 56 College St., Montpelier, VT, 05602.