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Food Editor Amy Traverso ’89 Writes and Dines with Students

Amy Traverso ’89, cookbook author and senior food editor at Yankee Magazine, returned to the Island on Thursday, January 9, to share her professional writing experiences with students at a “Dinner and a Draft” event organized by Loomis Chaffee Writing Initiatives.

Amy shared a meal with a dozen student writing enthusiasts — many of whom are involved in student publications and other on-campus writing initiatives — and several faculty members, including Jessica Hsieh ’09, English teacher and faculty advisor to The Log; Karen Parsons, Loomis Chaffee archivist and history teacher; and Kate Saxton, English teacher and director of Writing Initiatives.  

After dinner, Amy led the group in a writing exercise.

 “I didn’t think of myself as a writer when I was at Loomis,” she said but noted that the practice of writing across the Loomis curriculum set her in good stead in both her advanced study and her professional writing career.  

In high school and college, Amy said, she enjoyed learning in all subject areas, and writing for a regional general interest publication allows her to continue to pursue her varied interests.

Amy’s career as a food writer and editor started with a focus on writing, she explained. Helping her college professors with research papers led her to identify writing as a strength, and then she took the advice of a publishing professional to enroll in Columbia University’s respected summer publishing course. After landing an editorial assistant job at Boston Magazine, she seized the opportunity to shadow the publication’s restaurant critic and discovered, “This is what I really want to do.”

Food writers need many tools to be able to support themselves financially she said. They should be able to cook, write for print and the web, style food, and appear at ease on camera. Theater training is helpful in gaining confidence in front of a camera, she noted. An entrepreneurial bent and an established social media presence also are important tools in a food writer’s “Swiss Army knife,” she said.

“And you need to learn how to write a ‘blurb,’” Amy added, introducing the group’s writing exercise for the evening. A blurb is a short, descriptive paragraph used to describe or critique food. The challenge in writing a blurb, she said, is to “come up with new and fresh ways to describe your senses.”

Amy described the kinds of blurbs she writes at Yankee Magazine and passed around samples of locally-sourced cheese and biscuits — a common subject for her writing at the New England publication — and asked the students to write a blurb to describe their senses after tasting a sample.

Several of the students shared their creative blurbs with Amy and the group. “The future looks bright for Loomis students,” Amy said.

In addition to her editorial role at Yankee Magazine, Amy is the author of The Apple Lover’s Cookbook, published in 2011, which was a finalist for the Julia Child Award for best first-time author. She is co-host of “Weekends with Yankee,” which airs on public television stations nationwide. She has served as food editor at Boston Magazine and associate food editor at Sunset Magazine, and her work has been published in The Boston Globe, Salon.com, and Travel & Leisure magazine. Her television appearances have included “The Martha Stewart Show,” “Throwdown with Bobby Flay,” and “Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.” Amy lives in the Boston area and returns often to Windsor, Conn., to visit her family.

Read "Yankee Magazine's Amy Traverso Returns to Loomis Chaffee Roots" in Hartford Courant January 17, 2020.

View a gallery of photos from Amy's visit. 

Connect to the Yankee Magazine website for more about Amy’s work.