It seems odd that a farm girl from the South would develop an affinity for eating her way around the world. But then maybe not. Not when you consider that before I was even of school age my mother dressed me in red so she could find me, a tiny crimson dot on the horizon out exploring the fields and trucking down the gravel road that led from our farm to the main highway. I don’t recall just where I thought I was going, but I certainly was intent on getting there! When I wasn’t out and about, I was writing stories, illustrating them with pictures scissored from magazines and taping them into books I stapled together. While my friends were reading Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, I was engrossed in National Geographic and studying maps.
And then there was my proclivity for eating pretty much anything I found on the farm that looked like it might be worth the experience (I’d appreciate if you’d not tell my mother about that!). While I was brought up on some pretty basic food—and it was good stuff, mind you—I was always on the lookout for any new culinary experience I could find.
Food, travel and writing framed my growing up years. Little did I realize they’d be my lifelong passions. But they are.
After a number of years of working as a freelance writer/editor and tour guide (I trained at the International Tour Management Institute), I decided to shift my focus to food. To bolster my culinary knowledge, which primarily consisted of that Southern penchant for deep frying everything, I attended the California School of Culinary Arts and earned a Le Cordon Bleu degree. Now I write about food (see my blog or click on the “Published Writings” tab to find my work) and make it the focus of the tours I conduct (that page is still under construction, but you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information).
Les Dames d’Escoffier honored me in 2014 with the M.F.K. Fisher Award for Excellence in Culinary Writing for my essay, “My Fishing Trophy.” In 2010, I received the Apicius Scholarship from the Symposium for Professional Food Writers (this award is presented to “a professional food writer whose prose rings with a clear voice and reflects the delicious joys of the table. In the spirit of Apicius, the first Roman to write cookbooks, the goal is to grant this award to that writer whose work will stand the test of time.” I just had to include the scholarship description—it both tickles and humbles me.). That year I was also a finalist for the M.F.K. Fisher Award for Excellence in Culinary Writing.
My work has appeared in Best Food Writing 2013, Leite’s Culinaria, Gastronomica, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Cornbread Nation IV: The Best of Southern Food Writing, Farmhouse Magazine and the Christian Science Monitor. I am a past editor of Edible Los Angeles and a contributor to Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods and to a number of magazines within Edible Communities. I have taught at Le Cordon Bleu Los Angeles, and I teach the occasional class in blogging and food writing for Writing Pad, winner of the 2012 award from LA Weekly for Best Writing School for Foodies.
I am a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the Association of Food Journalists and the Southern Foodways Alliance, and I serve on the board of the Culinary Historians of Southern California, whose newsletter I edit.