I have a master's degree in engineering and for nearly 12 years, enjoyed a successful career in that field as a process engineer, business analyst, and tech consultant. But the entire time, I secretly fantasized about opening my own gourmet shop, bed and breakfast, restaurant ... something to fulfill my true love of all things food and fun.
In those days, I squeezed as much cooking and entertaining into weekends and time between projects as I could. I traveled a ton (still do!) and never missed out on trying the local specialty or hole in the wall joint (still don't!). Finally, in 2007, I decided to ditch the dual-life and pursue a career I loved (instead of one dictated by my diploma).
Hi! I'm Julie Hartigan, a Professional Chef, Recipe Developer, & Writer about cooking, health and entertaining for companies like Weight Watchers, Bed Bath & Beyond, Real Simple, Fit Pregnancy and more. I also happen to be the girl who loves to turn the everyday into a party!
As a kid, I always jumped at the chance to try new things and would grill other kids’ parents for cooking lessons on their grandmother's family specialties from moussaka to empanadas. In fact, the first recipe I ever developed was for my own grandma's infamous Rhubarb Crunch...to make it taste better to my 8 year old self!
Despite my early forays into the culinary world, my first career was as an engineer and tech consultant. In fact, my first job out of college was in a Procter & Gamble manufacturing plant making Charmin (NOT kidding!)
Believe it or not, beneath the façade of the party-loving culinary creator before you, beats the heart of a total nerd-girl.
Goodbye, Engineering ... Hello, Culinary School!
I went to Culinary School in NYC and earned professional degrees in Culinary Arts & Culinary Management. Since I switched careers, I've done everything from work as a personal chef to teach cooking classes to work in magazine test kitchens and at Food Network to starring in videos on things like turkey carving and setting up a home bar ... and I've never been happier.
It’s all so ridiculously fun and doesn't feel like work—I seriously love what I do! And, what's really cool is that my engineering background helps me write clear recipes, seek efficiencies, and stay curious ... so it’s all worked out for the best.
As a busy mom of two girls I'm happy I can inspire them to follow their hearts to a career that brings them joy as well. Plus they don't mind serving as my guinea pigs when I tinker with new recipes! I've developed and tested thousands at this point in my career and love getting feedback from others.
Over my journey, I've discovered one of my favorite things is sharing what I've learned about food, health, cooking and entertaining with others. Whether it's how to host a killer party or ideas for healthier takes on comfort-food favorites … not much makes me happier than finding out a helpful tip or tasty recipe of mine positively impacts the way someone cooks, eats or entertains.
I hope to do that here for you!