I have had a pretty posh career as a food and wine writer since graduating with my degree in Art History. For ten years I was the restaurant and wine critic for the Village Voice Media newspaper City Pages, and in so doing I’ve eaten enough to choke a hippo. Or ten. I’ve also won enough awards to choke said hippo, including two James Beard Awards, one for restaurant criticism and one for wine writing. These are the Oscars of the food world, and I’m pretty pleased to have those medals lurking in the clutter at the back of my desk, even though I never win when I go out there — I’ve been nominated five times. I also have handfuls of awards from the Association of Food Journalists, and some from the Association of Newsweeklies, the Society of Professional Journalists, and more. My freelance work has appeared in magazines including Gourmet, Conde Nast’s Traveler, Wine and Spirits, and loads more. I’ve even won a few prizes for my novel, which I’ve been working on since graduation, including two Minnesota State Arts Board grants and a Loft McKnight Fellowship.

People are often surprised to find that I majored in Art History instead of English, especially as I am a lifelong literature nerd — I had my first editing gig working on my kindergarten haiku anthology. Seriously. But I found that Art History was a better fit for me, I care much more about history, historical context, and the evidence of physical objects (be they Etruscan bronzes or cultured-butter croissants) than I do about literary theory. I’ve used one of Alison Kettering’s tossed off remarks as the basis for my entire career: ‘Write what you see, not what you think you see.’ So it goes for slides in the slide room, and so it goes for the wine in the glasses, the chicken on the plates, and the life of a restaurant critic.

For more on Dara Moskowitz, read a profile on her in The Voice, Carleton’s alumni magazine.