Irena Chalmers has charted a broad and varied career path in the food industry, from cooking school owner and teacher to pioneering author of the single subject cookbook, awarding-winning publisher, restaurant consultant and mentor. A witty and captivating speaker on food trends, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Food & Wine, Gourmet, 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 life story unfolds to reveal an unlikely career that led to becoming a James Beard Foundation “Who’s Who” in the culinary world.
As 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); Books by Cooks, a 24-book series and the Creative Cook volumes. Chalmers also was the first to publish many culinary leaders, among them Romanic & 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.
Chalmers also held a number of consulting roles at the iconic Rainbow Room and Windows on the World in working closely with restaurant legend Joe Baum for 14 years. She has been a consultant for Epicurious.com, CuisineNet.com, and FamilyTime.com, 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 divides her time as a faculty member at The Culinary Institute of America, “The Last Word” columnist for Chef Magazine, food essayist for WAMC/NPR Northeast Public Radio, food blogger and mentor to many about to embark on their own culinary adventure.
Chalmers shares many lifetimes of insights and food knowledge in her latest book, Food Jobs: 150 Great Jobs for Culinary Students, Career Changers and Food Lovers (winner, Gourmand Book winner in the US and World) and Great Food Jobs 2: Ideas and Inspiration for Your Job Search.