Kathleen Squires ’88 used her English degree to build an editing career with a major New York City book publisher, and by 1997, she was living the dream. The only problem—it wasn’t her dream. So she did a gut check, a savings check, and a reality check. When all three squared up, she jumped into the world of freelance writing.
Squires quickly found a niche reviewing food and restaurants for such publications as Time Out New York. “I learned to write reviews from James Lusardi and June Schlueter when I was involved with the Shakespeare Bulletin,” she says, a literary journal published at Lafayette between 1983 and 2003.
These days, you can find Squires’ byline in many top publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Saveur, Cooking Light, Zagat.com, Real Simple, Fodors.com, National Geographic Traveler, The New York Post, and The New York Magazine. To research her work, she has visited all seven continents and more than 60 countries.
The more Squires wrote about food, the more she came across a legendary name—James Beard. The famed cookbook author and food columnist, who died in 1985, is widely considered to be the founding voice and first champion of American cookery.
To her astonishment, she also learned no one had ever done an in-depth documentary about the man who changed America’s understanding of its own food. So last year, she added a fourth word to her job description: producer.
In early 2014, she teamed up with Beth Federici ’86, an independent filmmaker, fellow alumna, and longtime friend. The two launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign to produce the first-ever feature-length documentary about James Beard.
The film, America’s First Foodie, is now in post-production. “I helped her navigate the food world, and she helped me navigate the film world,” says Squires. “It was so great working with an old friend from Lafayette.”