Growing up with parents who worked hard outside the kitchen but not so often in it, I had my first culinary education at the local meat-and-three over plates of fried chicken and collard greens. My formal training comes from Boston University where I created my own food writing curriculum with courses in Journalism and Gastronomy, a cultural study of food founded by Julia Child and Jacques Pepin.
I’m author of Nashville Eats (Abrams, October 2015) and The Food Lovers’ Guide to Nashville (Globe Pequot Press, November 2012). I worked as food culture and lifestyles reporter at The Tennessean for six years before embarking on a freelance career that led to work in TIME, Serious Eats, Southern Living, Alimentum literary food journal and more. My work also has appeared in editions 5 and 6 of Cornbread Nation: the Best of Southern Food Writing, the Boston Herald and The Boston Globe, among others.
For some of my favorite stories, I went nude at a nudist community. I traveled with an unsigned rock band. I took Thomas Keller to Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, covered food at Bonnaroo, country music in Las Vegas, and I traveled with chefs from Nashville’s iconic Loveless Cafe to the James Beard House in New York City. I love stories about late bloomers, creators, lovers, dreamers and hard workers with dirt on their jeans and flour on their aprons.
Prior to journalism, I worked in qualitative research studying the emotional connections we make with food. I spent hours in the kitchens of home cooks looking for the reasons behind the comfort in a pot of chili and conducted deprivation studies with teenagers across the country to understand the craving for a slice of pepperoni pie.