I have reported on and edited a broad range topics throughout my journalism career. I have won awards for hard and soft news, essays, personality profiles, and the sections I have edited. I just happen to be most drawn to subjects involving food, and those who grow and prepare it. The stories behind them inevitably lead to other conversations that often connect us to each other, and the world around us. I’m always learning, and love being able to put those lessons to use in my own kitchen. I am adept in the art of developing, testing and editing recipes and have done so for a variety of chefs, cookbooks and various publications.
I also have a deep understanding and appreciation of oral history. During the last few years as food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, I conceived a weekly feature called The Southern Recipe Restoration Project, where readers shared beloved old family recipes and the stories behind them in their own words. I was struck by how much more powerfully they resonated when I stepped back from the narrative so the contributors’ true voices could shine through. The feature was hugely popular with readers, and earned national recognition in Saveur magazine.
Little did I know at the time what a valuable skill I was developing to prepare me for my next chapter as a book collaborator!
I love assisting chefs and aspiring cookbook authors who want to tell their stories. Words are only part of what I have to offer. I also connect my clients with agents and publishers, help them to create and edit proposals, write query letters, advise them on marketing strategies that get editors’ attention, and more. Find out more.
I have taught cooking classes and served as a judge for both cooking and writing competitions. I also spent a semester as an adjunct instructor in a magazine-writing journalism class at the University of Mississippi, and have spoken or served on panels at many events. I have organized some of them as well. I can present or lead training sessions on a variety of topics including narrative writing, cookbook development and trends, the art of the recipe, and more.
I have chaired two major annual conferences for the Association of Food Journalists — one in Atlanta and the other in Memphis, with an optional overnight Delta Detour to Clarksdale, Miss., cradle of the blues. I am currently on the program planning committee for the Decatur Book Festival, the largest independent book festival in the country. I participate in several conferences and food tours every year and am an avid culinary explorer on self-guided road trips. I am passionate about strengthening local economies — especially in struggling but culturally rich areas like the Mississippi Delta — and welcome opportunities to work with groups interested in organizing tours involving local cuisine.
Working on a program or event where my expertise may come in handy?