Who: Jamie Schler. I write stories and tell tales inspired by food, culture, travel, the people who surround me and the people I meet in real life, every day. Always in words, sometimes in images, invariably meant to inspire emotions and ideas. An American living in France since 1987, married to a Frenchman, I am completely and irrevocably immersed in the culture; lived seven of the last twenty-eight years in Milan, Italy, the other years in France. Former culinary guide and interpreter, one-time milliner (I trained in the oldest, chicest millinery studio in Italy); mother of two grown multicultural, multilingual young men, one an architect, one an interactive design student. Parent of Marty the intrepid Boston Terrier.
What: Life’s a Feast. Births and birthdays, marriages and anniversaries, deaths and funerals, religious and personal celebrations, how many events in our lives are observed and consecrated with a feast? Savory, sour, bitter and sweet, Life’s a Feast is one such, sharing the events of my life (comic, tragic, adventurous, epicurean) as a feast laid out before my guests, a space where I share my stories of life in France, life in our hotel and in our multicultural home, the food we prepare in our kitchen, dishes served up with stories of their own. And you are always welcome at our table.
When: Since April 2008, which saw the birth of Life’s a Feast when my husband and son, fed up with listening (or not) to me talk about food all day, every day, created this place where I could share my passion (obsession) with a like-minded community. A new beginning seven years later, an exciting adventure in life for my husband and me with the purchase of l’Hôtel Diderot, our move to a new city, a new region, deserves a new start, a new home for my blog.
Where: Chinon, France. It has been a long and winding road from Florida’s Space Coast, that narrow strip of land sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River, the beaches and the citrus groves, where I grew up. From NASA to Philadelphia to New York and finally Paris. Paris to Milan and back again, following my husband’s job and our dreams, to Nantes, the City of Dukes, the city of Jules Verne, and now to Chinon, the ancient city of Rabelais, famed author of the satirical, bawdy, gluttonous tales of Gargantua and Pantagruel, where we own a romantic boutique hotel.
Why: Because I write. A voracious reader since I could, I have always loved stories, language and words, loved reading those stories aloud to a room full of imaginary children, spent hours daily reading in silence, breathing in the words used to recount those comedies, tragedies and lives, listening to the music of the language. I escaped into my books. But I never wrote before Life’s a Feast when I discovered the power, the magic, and the joy of writing. And now I cannot stop.
How: Slowly. Quickly. Madly. Passionately. Occasionally with my husband, a wickedly funny man, a man of ideas, a history buff and an excellent cook.
Bonus question: What else? I have written for Huffington Post Food since the page’s creation in April 2010. I have been writing professionally since 2013 when my first articles were published. My writing, my stories appear both online and in print on/in Leite’s Culinaria, The Art of Eating, France Magazine, Modern Farmer, Fine Cooking, deliberateLIFE, The Foodie Bugle, American Food Roots, Huffington Post TED Weekends, French News Online among others. I teach food writing at my own workshops, first Plate to Page and now Plated Stories with photographer Ilva Beretta; I will also be teaming up with well-known, popular, experienced food writers to offer food writing workshops as well. I have spoken at conferences and events around the world on such topics as food writing, food and culture, and working as an expat.
Ilva Beretta and I blog together at Plated Stories, a food blog dedicated to the experience of, our connection to the food we grow, prepare, cook and serve everyday, the gestures, the utensils, the colors, odors, sounds and movements, and the ingredients; a purely creative collaboration and endeavor, a source of energy and inspiration. Plated Stories won the 2014 International Association of Culinary Professionals Digital Media Award for Best Photo-Based Blog and was a 2014 Saveur Magazine Best Blog Award finalist for Best Writing.