Illustration by David Badders

Illustration by David Badders (April 18, 2012)

This New Orleans chef wanted to be a food writer so much that when offered a chance to write for a website by and for women, he took the pen name "Sally Bridges" and got busy.

"For me, it was just learning to be a better writer,'' said Bridges, whose recent hire as chef at Upperline Restaurant has put a dent in the writing he does on his blog, Yet, he still hopes to write a personal cookbook called "From the Rooter to the Tooter: A Southern Man's Journey of Nose to Tail Cooking."

This Louisiana native pitched a proposal to Judith Jones in an email. She liked what she heard — the voice was there. Then she retired. The book remains unsold and unpublished.

"When you have something as quirky as that, you have to have someone who loves it and will run with it," Jones said. "I would have gone to bat for it. He's an original."

Bridges isn't quitting.

"The writing is timeless and speaks for itself. It is quite the opposite of today's trend of cursing, sloppy, unintelligent dribble that is dumbing down the craft. Someone has to be the voice of reason, and it might as well be me," he said.

Michael Procopio

On this San Francisco waiter/writer's blog,, there's an "Apple Brown Betty White" salute to the 90-year-old comedian and a failed recipe for "love cake" inspired by one created in a movie by Catherine Deneuve. Both items are very funny. Then there's a posting called "Cauliflower Ears." It is not funny at all.

In the piece, Procopio realizes why he never cooked cauliflower. Seems "cauliflower ears" was a taunt he hurled at a schoolmate named Ben who was later found killed. He ends with a pasta recipe for cauliflower and orecchiette, which means "little ears" in Italian.

"It isn't meant so much as a pun as it is a kind of memento mori — a dish that I will add to my repertoire so that I might think of Ben from time to time, to remind myself just how short our stay in this world can be, and to make the most of what time I'm lucky enough to have left," Procopio explained on the blog.

It's that sort of spin on things, not necessarily the recipes, that draws readers in, he said.

"What I write is sort of what's on my mind," Procopio added. "I tend to answer my own questions."

Leela Punyaratabandhu

This Chicago resident wanted to post some recipes in remembrance of her mother. Thus was, a blog on Thai home cooking, born in 2008. It is not a theme she had originally planned to pursue.

"I realized there were not many blogs on Thai food written in English,'' Punyaratabandhu said, via telephone from Bangkok. "It doesn't matter how you brand yourself. In the end, people brand you."

SheSimmers has been a success. It was named one of Saveur magazine's "sites we love" last year. Punyaratabandhu has begun writing columns on Thai cooking for the blog, where she was introduced to readers as "a scholar of philology, history, linguistics, and all things culinary." And she's filing posts for CNNGo, CNN International's Asia-centric travel website.

"My world has opened up," she said. "Food puts me in a place where people can see me. It is the food that connects them to me."

Jess Thomson

Diagnosed with lupus, this Seattle writer is now learning to follow a gluten-, soy- and egg-free diet. Her 2-year-old son has cerebral palsy. And she's had three books — four if you include the ghostwritten one on main dishes — just published or on their way.

Readers of Thomson's blog, Hogwash, at, know all about this.