Hi! Thanks for stopping by. I'm the author of FOOD WHORE: A Novel of Dining & Deceit, out now from William Morrow/HarperCollins. I'm also the winner of season 14 of Food Network Star.

I like working with my hands and making something out of nothing. That has led to obsessions with cooking, paper crafts, weaving, botanical experiments and more. In college, I realized that making dioramas was no longer a suitable class project, so I decided to make fiction writing my craft. I studied English literature and fiction writing at Yale University and was lucky enough to study under some amazing authors.

Food Whore is my first novel and a story that has been burning in my heart for many years. 
Keep up-to-date on my Food Network Star thoughts here. In April 2016, I competed on Cooks vs Cons. Read about my experience here. 

See me around the internet here: Twitter | Instagram | GoodReads | Pinterest | FacebookLinkedIn  or email me at

Amazon: Paperback | Kindle
Barnes & Noble: Paperback | Nook

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A Lil About Me...

Family pic.JPG

1984 - Born in NYC to a family obsessed with food.

1987 - Favorite game: “Big Fish” -- where my parents pretend to catch, cook, and eat me. So much fun.

1993 - Start cooking, but with lots of shortcuts: canned sauces, cake mixes, powdered drinks ... yuck.

1994 - Start reading cookbooks for fun. Favorite is The Good Housekeeping's Illustrated Cookbook, a charmingly outdated classic with recipes you never see anymore: Zabaglione, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Oysters Rockefeller. 


1996 - Develop an original recipe ... and it's actually good: a peppery, creamy borscht. Encouraged.

1997 - Host dinner party for friends with disastrous results. Rice is undercooked, chocolate overheated. Most edible "dish" is chips and salsa.

1999 - Start building cooking repertoire -- madeleines, panna cottabright and hearty salads. Went to the principal’s office for making crepes in the cafeteria.

2000 -  Write the first story where I thought that maybe I could be a writer. Last line about an empty suitcase -- imagery I’ve used again and again.

2001 - Spend the summer as an incognito corporate cafeteria critic and review NYC’s top investment banks and media companies. Even wear disguises.

2002 - Enroll in Yale University and ultimately major in English, with a concentration in Fiction Writing.

2003 - Intern at ZAGAT Survey. Eat lunch with Tim Zagat at Jean-Georges and see first-hand what it's like to dine with a big-time food critic.

2004 - Date a waiter at Union League Cafe, New Haven’s go-to fine dining restaurant. Fall in love with restaurant dynamics and profile the restaurant in a front page story for the Yale Daily News Magazine.  Start writing regular column. Topics include: DIY dishes from the dining hall salad bar, restaurant reviews, and the agony of being allergic to chocolate (happily, no longer the case).

2004 - 2006 - Start three-year study under novelist Amy Bloom who tells us, most memorably, “people are not a bowl of oatmeal with a raisin on top”.  

2005 - Tired of schoolwork, look for a side project that’s creative and entrepreneurial. Pair up with an illustrator and launch Lei Lei dolls. She designs the dolls and provides illustrations; I write book and packaging copy. The dolls are sold exclusively at FAO Schwarz.

2008 - Work at a direct marketing company and move towards food-oriented projects. Write copy and marketing plans for a wine-of-the-month club and a meal delivery service.

2009 - Start writing Food Whore: A Novel of Dining and Deceit. Ravenously read books about and by waiters, chefs, and restaurant critics. 

2011 - Work at an art-and-design incubator in Brooklyn with a focus on restaurant growth. In two years, circulate three RFPs for a Brooklyn restaurant, Brooklyn food truck, and Philadelphia restaurant. Get to know restaurateurs and the business of expansion and concept development.

2012 - Discover RFP from the New York City Economic Development Committee and the City of Brooklyn for a culinary incubator. Spearhead proposal, meet with leading food makers, get them on board -- and win.

Jessica Cooks vs Cons Food Network

2013 - Work as the Community Director at the "offline dating site" HowAboutWe. Serve as the point person for all success stories, special occasion date-planning, and blogger relations. If you joined HowAboutWe between 2012 and 2014, yes, that was me who sent you your welcome message!  

2014 - Sell Food Whore: A Novel of Dining and Deceit to William Morrow / HarperCollins.

2015 - Work as the Marketing Director of SevenRooms, technology that enables high-end restaurants and nightclubs to provide the best possible service.  

October 27, 2015 Food Whore: A Novel of Dining and Deceit goes on sale.

December 7, 2015 - Variety announces DreamWorks has optioned the rights to Food Whore with Lisa Rubin attached as screenwriter.

April 14, 2016 - Make my Food Network debut as a contestant on Cooks vs Cons (full episode here).

June 10, 2018 - I start my journey on Food Network Star

Jess Tom Food Network Star
Jess Tom Food Network Star full cast

August 10, 2018 - I win season 14 of Food Network Star, along with Christian Petroni.

Jess Tom Food Network Star

… to be continued…