Food writer and former cook John Birdsall to speak at Yale on Oct. 5

John Birdsall, food writer and ex-restaurant cook, will speak at Yale on Thursday, Oct. 5, as a Poynter Fellow in Journalism. His visit is co-sponsored by the Yale Sustainable Food Program and Pierson College.

Birdsall will participate in a Pierson College Tea at 4 p.m. at the Leitner House in Pierson College, 231 Park Street.

Birdsall is an award-winning essayist whose work has appeared in Eater, Lucky Peach, and Jarry. The latter is a new magazine that explores where food and queer culture intersect.

Birdsall twice received the James Beard Award for food and culture writing: first in 2014 for his essay on the gay chefs that inspired American cuisine as he came of age, and then in 2016 for a story that is part personal essay and part reporting about queer chefs in San Francisco and across the country.

Next year Birdsall will publish a book in collaboration with Laotian refugee and chef James Syhabout (of two-Michelin star restaurant Commis in Oakland) about “owning your personal narrative,” according to food writer.

Before turning to full-time food writing, Birdsall worked as a cook for 17 years at Greens in San Francisco, after which he wrote for SF Weekly’s food blog, SFoodie. He began his career at a trade magazine after he graduated from the University of California-Berkeley. He lives in Oakland, California.

The Poynter Fellowship in Journalism was established by Nelson Poynter, who received his master’s degree in 1927 from Yale. The fellowship brings to campus journalists from a wide variety of media outlets who have made significant contributions to their field. Among recent Poynter fellows are Lindy West, Neil Barsky, and Scott Anderson.