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I'm a national award-winning food writer, radio personality, cooking instructor and public speaker who learned much of what I know about food during my first career: waiting tables. Readers embraced me as the longtime restaurant critic and food columnist for The Seattle Times, where my byline appeared for nearly two decades. These days you’ll find me conjuring recipes and rejoinders co-hosting Food for Thought on NPR affiliate KNKX. I'm a popular emcee, host international food tours and teach cooking classes throughout Greater Seattle at PCC Cooks.

Work experience


Radio food commentator


Each week, I provide lively food commentary as Food for Thought with my radio co-host, Dick Stein. We laugh and argue, share kitchen tips and recipes, and bring our very private conversation into the lives of KNKX listeners. Segments air and repeat on Wednesday's Morning Edition and All Things Considered  and again on Saturday's Weekend Edition.



Nancy Leson Culinary Ink

I do it all: I write. I edit. I teach. And then there's the bit on the radio.


Staff restaurant critic and food columnist

The Seattle Times

As the voice of food for The Seattle Times I spent a decade as the paper's lead restaurant critic and food columnist and contributed to Sunday's Pacific Northwest magazine.

In 2008 I introduced our online audience to All You Can Eat — a daily blog covering restaurants, cookery and food news — and print readers to a Wednesday food-page column of the same name. Solely written, edited and (in most cases) photographed by me until 2012, All You Can Eat swiftly became one of the Times' top blogs and in 2011 won a first-place award for Best Food Blog from the Association of Food Journalists.

My Taste columns, recipes and quarterly cover stories appeared in Pacific Northwest Magazine from 2012 through 2014 and I wrote monthly restaurant round-ups and chef profiles that garnered cover treatment in Friday's Arts & Entertainment section. As the Seattle Times food writer and restaurant critic I frequently appeared as a guest speaker at local and civic events.


Writer, editor, food columnist and restaurant critic


My work appeared regularly in The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer (restaurant criticism, features writing), Seattle Homes & Lifestyles (monthly food column), CityFood Vancouver (monthly restaurant column). National and international clients included: Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Town & Country, Time Out London, Bride's. I've edited, authored or provided content for Seattle Best Places, Northwest Cheap Sleeps, Northwest Budget Traveler, Zagat Survey Seattle and Microsoft Sidewalk Seattle.


Restaurant critic and associate editor

Sasquatch Publishing

I wrote restaurant reviews and related food columns for the company's alternative newspaper, Seattle Weekly. As Best Places editor, I was responsible for the assigning, final editing and budgeting of 10 travel guidebooks for the regional Best Places series.