United States Chef
Cynthia Clampitt Profile
I'm a freelance writer, culinary historian, and world traveler.
I am the author of the award-winning travel narrative Waltzing Australia, the story of the six-month, 20,000-mile solo journey around and across Australia that marked my departure from the corporate world in pursuit of my dream of writing.
I write two blogs: Waltzing Australia, which supports the book, and The World's Fare, which features culinary history, along with travel tales, culinary insights, and recipes from the many countries I've visited (other than Australia that is—those culinary insights are included on the Waltzing Australia blog).
The interweaving of culture, history, and food is the focus of my research—and my cooking.
I am a fourth generation “foodie.” My parents shared a love of cooking and a business as gourmet food brokers. My maternal grandmother had university degrees in nutrition and home economics and wrote cookbooks for one of Canada’s largest food companies, and my great-grandmother, though I never knew her, made clear her interest in food in the well-worn, heavily annotated first edition of Fannie Farmer’s Boston School of Cooking Cookbook that she left behind.
My father grew up on the Gulf Coast of Florida, in a milieu that exposed him to Cuban, African American, and Native American foods and traditions. He was an enthusiastic pursuer of culinary adventures, from his days in North Africa and the Middle East during World War II to his tireless search for intriguing restaurants in our hometown or as we traveled. He was a wine taster for the Mid-America Club and worked for Beatrice Foods for years before he and mom started their own food business. International travel began when I was 14 (dad was with the airlines before he went to Beatrice). My father prepared us as much for the foods we would encounter as he did for the art, history, language, and culture of the countries we visited, spending months before each trip on research. It was he who introduced me to escargot, mangoes, calamari, and the idea of trying everything once. (It was my mother, however, who introduced me to Chinese food, having haunted Chicago’s Chinatown as a child with her father.) So perhaps it was inevitable that food would be part of my life and work.
I have continued the pursuit of food and travel started with my family. I have visited nearly 40 countries on six continents (so far). In addition to sampling a multitude of cuisines, I have studied cooking in many of these places, from cooking school to day classes, and have also visited farms and processing plants, to get inside how things get to the table.