We’ve got some great talent on tap:
Kim Severson has been a staff writer for The New York Times since 2004. Previously, she spent six years writing about cooking and the culture of food for the San Francisco Chronicle. She has also covered crime, education, social services and government for daily newspapers on the West Coast and in Alaska. She has won several regional and national awards for news and feature writing, including the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism for her work on childhood obesity in 2002 and four James Beard Awards for food writing. Her memoir, Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life, was published by Riverhead in April 2010.
Virginia Willis is the author of the acclaimed cookbook Bon Appétit, Y’all! Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking (Ten Speed Press, 2008). Her next book, Basic to Brilliant, Y’all: Recipes and Recollections of a Southern Culinary Journey is the lead book for Ten Speed Press for fall 2011. A graduate of L’Academie de Cuisine and Ecole de Cuisine LaVarenne, she previously she honed her attention to detail as kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living Television, where she supervised the food segments for the Emmy-award winning television show. With MSLTV, Virginia was also responsible for preparing private meals and events for Martha and her guests—including, among others, President Bill Clinton, Aretha Franklin, and Julia Child. As executive producer for Epicurious on The Discovery Channel, she traveled the world taping fantastic stories about food, from harvesting capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano to making authentic mustard in Dijon.
John Bowler is the Southern region seafood buyer for Whole Foods Market. He started working in seafood in 1994 with Harry’s Farmer’s Market until Whole Foods Market acquired Harry’s in 2001. He’s been the regional seafood coordinator, buyer, and facility team leader since. John lives with his family in Atlanta and is an avid sports fan.
Brooke Bell is the editor of Taste of the South, a fast-growing magazine that draws inspiration from our rich heritage and celebrates the future of Southern food. Brooke has also served as food editor for Cooking with Paula Deen, as managing editor for three of Grand View Media Group’s titles, as food writer for the Birmingham Weekly and as a freelance food writer for various publications. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Birmingham-Southern College and an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts from Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College in Birmingham, Alabama.
Marian Cooper-Cairns first appeared in the pages of Southern Living magazine at the ripe old age of eight, holding a homemade popsicle made in a Dixie cup. Fast forward a few decades later, and she’s on the staff of the Southern Living Test Kitchens as a food stylist. With a background in fine art photography, she decided to follow in the footsteps of her mother, former test kitchen alumna, and attend culinary school. She is a graduate of Texas Culinary Academy in Austin with a degree in Culinary Arts and has successfully merged her two passions of imagery and food into a unique career. Her work can also be seen in Cooking Light, Coastal Living, Design*Sponge and the recently published cookbook Southern Plate. She is a self described chronic dinner party planner and an aspiring beer nerd. Her favorite southern foods are okra, breakfast tacos, and pretty much anything that involves pork.
Based in Birmingham, Ala., Jennifer Davick has been Southern Living magazine’s senior food photographer for the last four years. The award-winning culinary lifestyle and travel photographer is best known for elevating the everyday moment rather than merely documenting it. She honed that skill while living and working in San Francisco, Tel Aviv, and Washington, D.C.
Lisa Ekus-Saffer is the founder of The Lisa Ekus Group, an award-winning public relations firm and literary agency that has been “promoting a world of culinary talent” for almost 30 years. A member of numerous professional organizations, Lisa travels and lectures frequently around the country. She is also an experienced media trainer and offers both on- and off-site programs for culinary professionals.
Ashley Hall is a wine professional, dining enthusiast, freelance writer and former newspaper woman living in Atlanta. A fourth-generation native of Birmingham, she has also passed some time in Montreal, Quebec and New York City. Her first whole-hearted experience with blogging was for Third Coast Byways, a temporary project produced in conjunction with the Southern Foodways Alliance that documented the plight of fishing communities on the Gulf Coast in June and July 2010.
John-Bryan Hopkins of Homewood, Alabama, is the creator of Foodimentary. As the Foodimentary Guy, he has been posting since 2007 and ranks in the top 100 among the leading destinations on Twitter @foodimentary. Since its launch, Foodimentary quickly grew to include almost 200,000 followers. Foodimentary was the first to use Twitter hash tags such as #dailyquote and #todaynfood. John-Bryan recently won a second consecutive Shorty Award, a recognition of the best in short (140 characters or less) real-time content, in the Food category.
Christy Jordan‘s unique way of sharing classic Southern dishes, along with her heartfelt stories, has drawn more than 43 million visitors to SouthernPlate.com since it launched. Jordan is the mother of two and lives with her husband in north Alabama, where her family has resided for more than nine generations. Jordan began Southern Plate as a hobby in July of 2008, and it quickly grew beyond all hopes as her book, Southern Plate: Classic Comfort Food That Makes Everyone Feel Like Family, was published by William Morrow/Harper Collins in 2010. The book has been endorsed by such Southern greats as Paula Deen, Dottie Frank, and Joshilyn Jackson, and Jordan has been featured in Southern Living, Guideposts, and national television appearances. She is currently signed with ICM Talent Agency of New York and Berman Braun Production Company of Los Angeles where she awaits her next venture. She has worked with such companies as Kraft, Velveeta, Hamilton Beach, Pioneer Brand, Rhode’s Bread, Pepperidge Farm, Milo’s Tea, and Domino Sugar.
Communications consultant and Birmingham Blogging Academy founder Wade Kwon has written thousands of posts and created blogs big and small. He loves to tell stories, both in person and in print and online, as Birmingham’s best blogger. Birmingham magazine readers selected Kwon as Best Tweeter in the Best of B’ham 2010 online poll. A Birmingham native, he started his award-winning blog Wade on Birmingham in 2005 and has worked with Time Inc. and Scripps-Howard on blogging and new media. His latest site is Magic City Post, a hyperlocal site about Birmingham.
Tanner Latham believes in a life lived experientially. After more than 10 years as a travel editor at Southern Living magazine, he left to pursue a freelance career covering all types of destinations and the personalities encountered in them. He can tell you the perfect time to order shrimp burgers at a seafood dive in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, what it feels like to slumber in a luxurious, $500-a-night country inn in Virginia Hunt Country, and what you never want to ask the 4-foot-tall bartender slinging longnecks at the oldest saloon on the Mississippi River. And he now documents his rich, quirky travel experiences on his blog, Edge of the Road.
Alison Lewis is a nationally known recipe developer, television and social-media food spokesperson, mom and food blogger, food photographer and stylist, and owner of Ingredients, Inc., a food consulting company in Birmingham. She is known for creating healthy, family-friendly recipes that are easy to prepare, and she offers great entertaining ideas on her blog. Her first cookbook, 400 Best Sandwich Recipes: Ideas for Every Meal and Occasion, will be published internationally by Robert Rose Books in the spring of 2011. Lewis’ work has appeared in magazines such as Southern Living, Cooking Light, Better Homes and Gardens, Clean Eating, Diabetic Living, Cuisine at Home, Birmingham magazine, Yum Food, and many more. She has represented such food clients as Coca Cola, Whole Foods Market, Wisconsin Cheese, General Mills, and the Florida Department of Citrus.
Food blogger is just one of the many hats that Stacey Little wears on a daily basis. In additional to being a dad, photographer, foodie, food critic, and full-time marketing professional, Stacey spends his free time sharing Southern recipes, reviews, and culture on his blog, Southern Bite. Coming from a long line of amazing Southern cooks, he delights in sharing tried-and-true Southern favorites along with stories of Southern history and culture. Professionally, Stacey is the marketing manager for Legacy, Partners in Environmental Education, a statewide non-profit organization. His connections throughout the environmental community have allowed him to stay on top of the oil spill situation and how it relates to food safety and the coastal restaurant industry.
A native of the Bronx, Andre Natta studied architectural history and architecture at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He worked in the field of economic development in both Savannah and Birmingham before starting The Terminal, a community news site, in 2007. The site was included in Birmingham magazine’s Hot List, has placed in the best local website category in the Birmingham News‘ annual reader poll for each of the last three years, and was recently included on a list of more than 100 promising news sites by the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri. In addition, Andre maintains an urban-design blog, Urban Conversations, and a personal blog, Dre’s Ramblings, and he writes the “Digital City” column for B-Metro magazine.
Brys Stephens is a cook, food and travel writer, editor and recipe developer. He is currently a restaurant critic for the Charleston City Paper and the founder and creative director of the award-winning food and cooking application Cookthink.com. He has developed, tested, written and photographed thousands of original recipes and related cooking content. A seventh-generation Southerner and native of Birmingham, Alabama, Brys has lived in Paris, Rome, Washington, D.C., and Charleston, S.C.
Amanda Storey is Assistant VP of Community Health & Wellness at United Way of Central Alabama and Project Director of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program, Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities, aimed at reversing childhood obesity in Jefferson County, Alabama through policy and environmental change. She is founder of FoodRevival.com, a website dedicated to recipes featuring locally-sourced ingredients (including her Jones Valley Urban Farm CSA share), food justice, and childhood obesity. In her previous life, she worked as a marketing manager for Cooking Light magazine and an editor at Health magazine. (She is passionate about food and community work and will never eliminate butter or bacon from her diet.)
As an associate editor at Southern Living magazine, Erin Shaw Street travels the South gathering stories, with an emphasis on health and wellness. She’s covered health issues for more than 12 years, serving as a newspaper reporter, public relations practitioner, and magazine editor. With a passion for bridging print and digital storytelling, she can often be found tweeting @erinshawstreet and also writing for her blog, erinstreet.com.