Laura Reiley sold her first poem to Seventeen Magazine when she was fifteen. Reaching near-adulthood as an English major/poet at the University of Virginia, she had made a total of $30 in the poetry biz. So she decided to focus on her other, equally impractical hobby, food. She moved to San Francisco and enrolled in the professional cooking program at the California Culinary Academy. After two years spent julienning and filleting, she decided the pen was still mightier than the chef’s knife and definitely less likely to cause her grave injury.

She spent the next twenty years reviewing restaurants and writing about food for magazines and newspapers in Baltimore, San Francisco and, most recently, Florida, where she is the food critic at the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times). After moving to Florida’s Gulf Coast in 2003, she fell in love with its “tumble-down, wild… general happy-go-luckiness” (Harriet Beecher Stowe said that), and wrote four Florida travel books in the Moon Handbook series.

She also writes about family travel, wrote the content for two family games and started a children’s literary magazine in Tampa. She lives there with her husband, a psychologist; her daughter, a 16 year old; and her dog, a balding schnoodle. When she’s not reviewing restaurants, she is a serious home cook. Her current obsession: tinkering with the New York Times no-knead bread recipe. She is at work on a dystopian YA series in which food—shudder—is outlawed.