Lam in 2011

Francis Lam is an American food journalist, cookbook editor, and since 2017 the host of American Public Media's The Splendid Table.

Early life and education

Lam was born to Chinese immigrant parents living in New Jersey and working in Manhattan's Chinatown, where they operated a small garment factory.[1] His mother wanted him to go to business, dental, or medical school.[1] Lam remembers trying to hide his "stinky lunches" from schoolmates and that he "wanted to eat what white people ate."[1]

Lam attended the University of Michigan, where he majored in creative writing and Asian studies, graduating in 1997.[1][2] He graduated first in his class[2] from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in 2003.[1][3]


After graduating from Michigan, Lam moved back to New York and worked as a grant writer for non-profit organizations before attending CIA.[1]

While at CIA, he wrote emails to friends describing his experiences.[1] The emails got passed around, and he was contacted by an editor at Financial Times who had read some of them and asked Lam to write for the publication.[1] In 2004 he met Ruth Reichl, then editor of Gourmet, and started freelancing for Gourmet.[1]

In 2007 he received a contract from Gourmet for regular work.[1] At the time he was living in Biloxi, Mississippi, working part-time for a non-profit helping with cleanup after Hurricane Katrina. In 2009 he moved back to New York.[1]

He has written for Food & Wine, Salon[4] and Bon Appétit and wrote a regular column, Eat,[5] about immigrant cooking for New York Times Magazine.[3][6]

In 2013 he became editor-at-large[7] at Clarkson Potter, editing cookbooks.[8][9][10] One of his first acquisitions was Victuals: An Appalachian Journey by Ronni Lundy.[1][11] He also acquired Tacos: Recipes and Provocations by Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman, Food of Northern Thailand by Austin Bush, The Jemima Code by Toni Tipton-Martin, Night + Market by Kris Yenbamroong, Chrissy Teigen's Cravings,[8] Eat a Little Better by Sam Kass,[1] and Ryan Jacobs' Truffle Underground.[12]

He was a contributor to and guest host for American Public Media’s The Splendid Table radio show from 2010 until being named in 2017 as the replacement for retiring host Lynne Rossetto Kasper.[8][13] He served two seasons as a judge for Top Chef Masters.[1][3][6][14] He is a board member for Southern Foodways Alliance.[15]

Personal life

Lam met his wife, Christine Gaspar,[16] in Biloxi, Mississippi, while they were both working for organizations helping rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.[1] They married in July 2013.[16] They live in New York City and have a daughter.[1]





  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Weissman, Michaele (January 26, 2018). "How Francis Lam, son of immigrants, became the voice of America's food culture". Washington Post. Archived from the original on March 28, 2019. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  2. ^ a b "Food for Thought". Michigan Alumnus. 2017-12-11. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  3. ^ a b c Krystal, Becky (February 7, 2017). "'The Splendid Table' radio show announces a new host: Francis Lam". Washington Post. Archived from the original on December 19, 2018. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  4. ^ Stein, Joshua David (2010-08-31). "Francis Lam on Ruth Reichl, Gourmet 2.0, and Barry Sanders". Eater. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  5. ^ Crowley, Chris (7 February 2017). "'The Splendid Table' Names Francis Lam as New Host". Grub Street. Archived from the original on 2017-02-10. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  6. ^ a b Mannheimer, Emma (2018-02-26). "Francis Lam on Drinking & Entertaining at Home". Imbibe Magazine. Archived from the original on 2019-04-04. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  7. ^ "Francis Lam Joins Clarkson Potter As Editor-at-Large". Grub Street. 15 January 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-09-29. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  8. ^ a b c John, Steven (2019-05-23). "Francis Lam on Storytelling Techniques, Trend Fatigue, and Avocado Toast". Grub Street. Archived from the original on 2019-06-13. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  9. ^ "Francis Lam is on a Bleisure Trip to Thailand". Roads & Kingdoms. 2019-03-18. Archived from the original on 2019-03-20. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  10. ^ Rainey, Clint (2018-02-09). "America's Food Writers Reveal the Food Words They Can't Spell". Grub Street. Archived from the original on 2018-10-21. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  11. ^ a b "Host Francis Lam wins multiple 2017 James Beard Media Awards". Archived from the original on 2019-03-19. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  12. ^ Aaron, Shulman (July 14, 2019). "Rooting Out the Dirt: A Conversation with Ryan Jacobs". Los Angeles Review of Books. Archived from the original on July 15, 2019. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  13. ^ "'It's just kind of sad': Minnesota pride takes a hit as our radio shows move to New York". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on 2019-07-04. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  14. ^ Rosner, Helen (2016-12-12). "Francis Lam Wants You to Tell Your Story". Eater. Archived from the original on 2017-02-28. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  15. ^ "Francis Lam". Sun Valley Writers' Conference. 2018-12-12. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  16. ^ a b Lange, Caroline (2013-07-09). "Food Writer Francis Lam and Christine Gaspar Marry". The Daily Meal. Archived from the original on 2014-09-02. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  17. ^ a b c d "Francis Lam James Beard Foundation". Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  18. ^ a b Filloon, Whitney (2017-03-06). "Here Are the 2017 IACP Cookbook Award Winners". Eater. Archived from the original on 2019-05-10. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  19. ^ a b c "International Association of Culinary Professionals 2016 Awards Winners" (PDF). 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 26, 2018. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  20. ^ "2018 International Association of Culinary Professionals Awards Winners" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 May 2019. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  21. ^ "Francis Lam Wins Mulitple[sic] James Beard Awards". American Public Media. Archived from the original on 2017-12-28. Retrieved 2019-07-17.