Chef & Author Becky Selengut ’88 Visited Society of Skeptics
Joanne Miceli

A chef’s toque is only one of the many hats Becky Selengut ’88 wears. The author, humorist and cooking teacher returned to her alma mater on October 29 to speak about her latest book, How to Taste: The Curious Cook’s Handbook to Seasoning and Balance, at the Society of Skeptics. Her presentation began at 7 p.m. in the Chiang-Elghanayan Center for Innovation and Collaboration.

Since graduating from the Seattle Culinary Academy with top honors in 1999, Ms. Selengut has enjoyed a diversified career in the culinary world. She worked for several years in acclaimed Seattle-area restaurants before stepping away from restaurant kitchens to pursue a range of culinary opportunities, including cheffing on an Inside Passage yacht tour and teaching immigrants to cook and helping them find work in the food industry. She established Cornucopia Cuisine in 2004, a private chef and culinary education business, and has since become a regular instructor at several Seattle-area cooking schools.

Ms. Selengut has written extensively about food as the founder of the educational website Seasonal Cornucopia, as a freelancer and recipe developer for Seattle and national publications, and as the author of the award-winning books, Good Fish and Shroom: Mind-Bendingly Good Recipes for Cultivated and Wild Mushrooms. She is also the co-author of The Washington Local and Seasonal Cookbook and the humor and travel memoir Not One Shrine: Two Food Writers Devour Tokyo.

How to Taste, Ms. Selengut’s most recent work, is a humor-laced yet science-packed dive into the underpinnings of culinary theory aimed at helping home cooks become better cooks by using all their senses. She will lead Skeptics attendees in a quick experiment to help them figure out their “taster type” and delve into the anatomy of taste and smell during her presentation.

"What a joy to come back to Blair and share with students and faculty a little slice of culinary science,” Ms. Selengut said. “I was encouraged to get curious and have fun with new knowledge when I attended Blair, and it's an honor to bring some of that back. It feels like I'm coming home.”

To watch her Skeptics presentation, please click below:

The History of Skeptics

The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.

The program was an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon.’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please click here.

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