Meet Irena Chalmers


“Irena has married her love for the food world and her passion for sharing knowledge in her latest and possibly greatest, contribution: Food Jobs. Through this valuable resource, Irena opens up a world of opportunities in our growing industry.” Kathy Merget,
Dean of Liberal Arts and Management Studies,
The Culinary Institute of America


Author of Food Jobs and Great Food Jobs 2

Irena Chalmers has charted a broad and varied career path in the food industry, including: cooking school owner and teacher, pioneering author of the single subject cookbook and awarding-winning publisher, restaurant consultant and mentor. A witty and captivating speaker on food trends, her work has appeared in The New York TimesFood & WineGourmet, Gastronomica, Food Arts and Nation’s Restaurant News.

Chalmers is a founding member and past president of both the International Association of Culinary Professionals and Les Dames d’Escoffier International. Her own life story unfolds to reveal an unlikely career that led to becoming a James Beard Foundation “Who’s Who” in the culinary world.

As an author and editor, publisher and packager, Chalmers has written, and contributed to literally hundreds of award-wining titles, successful cookbook series and food guides, including: the ‘Round the World cookbooks; the Great American Cooking Schools 12-book series (winner of the Art Directors Club Award and eight Tastemaker Awards); the Books by Cooks 24-book series and the Creative Cook volumes. She was the first to publish many culinary leaders, among them Romantic & Classic Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum, American Food & California Wine by Barbara Kafka, Quiche & Pate by Peter Kump, and Christmas Feasts from History by Lorna Sass, among others.

The Great American Food Almanac, The Food Professional’s Guide, The Great Food Almanac (winner, IACP Julia Child Award), The Working Family’s Cookbook and American Bistro are just a few of the many food books Chalmers has written. She also held a number of consulting roles at the iconic Rainbow Room and Windows on the World, having worked closely with restaurant legend Joe Baum for 14 years. She has been a consultant for,, and, and Modern Maturity magazine, now AARP magazine, with more than 37 million readers.

In addition, Chalmers has been a visiting professor at New York University and the New School for Social Research and an associate of the International Food Information Council on Food Biotechnology and BIO: Council for Biotechnology Information Bureau.

Chalmers currently writes The Last Word column for Chef magazine, and works as a consultant, speaker, food blogger and commentator; and mentor to many about to embark on their own culinary adventures. She recently retired from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY where she taught Professional Food Writing, Food in the News and Food Jobs for nearly 16 years.

Chalmers shares many lifetimes of insights and food knowledge in Food Jobs: 150 Great Jobs for Culinary Students, Career Changers and Food Lovers (winner, Gourmand Book winner in the US and World) and her latest book, Great Food Jobs 2: Ideas & Inspiration for Your Job Hunt (winner, Gourmand Special Jury award).