But that doesn’t mean I was a picky kid. I like to think I was just choosy. I loved food. In fact, I was obsessed with it. I named my teddy bear Peanut Butter. My guinea pig was Apples. My love birds were Peaches and Cream. Although I wasn’t big on kid food, I loved everything else: my grandma’s cioppino, my dad’s smoked oysters on crackers. Chinese takeout.
I grew up in the Bay Area and started cooking young, with my Easy Bake oven of course, before graduating to Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in the cardboard tube. By the time I left for college, I was making tiered wedding cakes with rolled fondant, baking my own bread, and catering meals for my mom’s office.
I turned my obsession into a career in 2000, when I became the food editor at The Oakland Tribune and its five sister publications. In 2005 I moved to Portland, Ore., and joined The Oregonian’s FOODday staff, writing, editing and developing recipes for one of the nation’s best food sections. In 2010 I transitioned to the super fun, full-color world of magazines, first as the senior editor of Imbibe Magazine, then as the editor of MIX Magazine, Portland’s premier magazine of food and drink. In 2014, I took a deeper dive into digital media as the editor of Eater Portland.
In addition to my staff jobs, I keep very busy freelancing for a range of publications, including EatingWell, Slate, Modern Farmer and Seattle Magazine. I consult on product ideation and media strategies for SRG. I edit cookbooks and test recipes, and I write cookbooks, too. I co-authored “Mother’s Best: Comfort Food That Takes You Home Again” (Taunton, 2009) with chef Lisa Schroeder of Mother’s Bistro, and “The Sugar Cube” (Chronicle, 2012) with pastry chef Kir Jensen.
For 15 years and counting I’ve been creating recipes, writing stories and helping others tell theirs. I’m a cook, a writer, and an editor at my core. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
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I started my photography career in San Francisco long before digital cameras, Instagram, and Photoshop. I would load each sheet of film into the camera one by one, then rush it to the lab and wait, fingers crossed, for an hour while the transparency was processed, hoping the film looked even better than the Polaroid.
Clearly, a lot has changed since then. But though the mechanics may be different, what makes a gorgeous photograph — perfect composition, beautiful light — will never change. That’s the art of photography.
I grew up in Colorado and went to the Colorado Institute for Photography. I got hooked on the artform in high school, and knew right away I had to follow my passion. I moved to the Bay Area after college and started my photo career in San Francisco, specializing in food, product, still life, and location photography. I shoot for both commercial and editorial clients, including Rejuvenation, Williams-Sonoma, Target, Design Within Reach, Pottery Barn, Chefs, Tempur-Pedic and Restoration Hardware. (You can see more of my work at nordeckphoto.com.
After 20 years in the Bay Area, my husband and I packed up the kids and moved to Portland, Oregon in 2012. It’s been fun discovering a new city, with all the different neighborhoods, little shops, and amazing restaurants. My list of places to try just keeps growing.
As much as I love food and entertaining, you won’t find me slaving over the stove. I’ll be arranging the flowers, lighting the candles, choosing the table linens, setting the mood and making cocktails. Don’t get me wrong: I can make a mean salad and the best Margarita you’ve ever tasted. But lucky for me, my husband loves to cook and enjoys being in the kitchen. So he does most of the heavy lifting and I set the scene.