The Recipe of Life: 2004 Journalism Grad Follows Path to Food Writing

by Stephanie M. Salinas

Picture of Holeman in front of a wine rack Food writer Laura Longero Holman has found that writing about what you know can be a recipe for career success. Holman’s story did not lead straight from the heart of Texas to Nevada, but in the end she found true joy in what she does.

A 2004, Journalism graduate, Holman covers food and drink and home and garden for the Reno Gazette Journal. But her job in Nevada started with a move to Kansas.

After she graduated from Texas State, Holman’s sister was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, so she, along with her parents, moved to Kansas in November 2004 to be with her sister. While in Kansas, Holman began a job as a reporter at a small community paper, and her sister won her battle with Hodgkin’s disease. In 2006, she got invited to her best friend’s wedding in Las Vegas.

“I flew to Vegas for the wedding and while there, flew to Reno to visit family,” said Holman. “I flew up here and thought that while I was in town I should just drop off my resume there at the newspaper, so I dropped off my resume and went back to Kansas.”

A few days later, Holman received a call from the Reno Gazette-Journal for a phone interview. By April she was moving to Nevada.

From Copy Editor to Food Writer

Holman began working as a copy editor at the Reno daily, but was interested in writing about food. She approached the features editor and was instructed to write a restaurant piece that was later picked apart byholeman and other women at a restaurant the editor. Food and drink editor Johnathan Wright also read the review, offered comments and began mentoring Holman.

Holman said Wright taught her what she had to do to become a food writer.

“First, I had seen her work, so I knew she could write well — and with focused editing and mentoring, write even better,” said Wright.  “Also, Laura had traveled widely with her family, she had lived in Europe and she had worked in the restaurant industry. A good food and wine writer needs to have this sort of background because there is a baseline palate and expertise you can’t acquire quickly.”

Holman began doing restaurant reviews and also focused on dishes that could be prepared from fresh ingredients found at the farmer’s market. Now each week, Holman offers new recipes using farmer’s market produce.

Love of Food Leads to Love in Life

In the midst of a budding career as a food writer, Holman found love in a chef named David Holman.

holman with her husband“I met him in Nevada. He works for the Charlie Palmer Group,” said Holman. “I met him through my editor Johnathan. I obviously do not write about his cooking because that would be a conflict of interest.”

As a way to challenge herself and to learn more about wine, Holman took an introductory course for the court of master sommeliers, whose standards and examinations are recognized internationally. After passing the introductory course, she now writes a wine column for “RENO,” a magazine, published by her newspaper.

Trying Different Paths

Along with writing about food and wine, Holman also writes home and garden articles for her newspaper’s Saturday Local Life section. When she was first assigned this section, Holman told her editor that she did not know a lot about home and garden, but that she would write about what she did know. With that in mind, Holman began a new series this summer called “Ten Gardens in Ten Weeks,” which became very popular with the locals in Reno.

“Each week I will go to a different person’s home, and they will tell me about their plants and what they do for fertilizing, watering, all that stuff,” said Holman. “It has been really interesting, everyone has been very different, and has different methods.”

After a long and winding career path, Holman found a niche that she enjoys.

“When I graduated from college, I don’t think I really knew what I wanted to do exactly. I just ended up going in different directions because of personal things and it is where it took me,” said Holman. “I used to try to make plans, and I have learned that, there is no point in it. Things just happen.”

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