Westchester Native Scores Big With Debut Novel

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- When Jessica Tom was sent to the principal's office at Pleasantville High School for making crepes in the cafeteria, she never thought it would be the beginning of a successful career path.

Jessica Tom is the author of "Food Whore", her first novel.
Jessica Tom is the author of "Food Whore", her first novel. Photo Credit: Jessica Tom

Tom is the author of "Food Whore: A Novel Of Dining And Deceit", which was released last year. The book was excerpted in Entertainment Weekly and the movie rights were purchased by DreamWorks. She recently appeared on the Food Network's new show "Cooks v. Cons."

The book is about a young woman who secretly writes the New York Times restaurant review because the real critic has lost his sense of taste. She gets lavish dinners, an expense account at a luxury department store, and her words in the paper.But soon the critic starts taking all the credit for her words, and her life unravels under the weight of her secret. 

Tom graduated from Yale with a concentration in fiction writing and wrote restaurant reviews for the college paper. When she moved to New York, she ate out a lot and fantasized about the life of a food critic. 

While living in the city, Tom worked in the restaurant industry, in marketing and business development capacities. She's also been an incognito corporate cafeteria critic and a diet delivery program marketer.

"I tried to capture New York City restaurants in all their glory," Tom said. "On the one hand, there’s press hype and reckless behavior, but also deep camaraderie and care."

To research for the book, Tom admits she did do her fair share of dining out, but she also read a ton of restaurant reviews and restaurant industry memoirs.

Tom's love of cooking started when she was growing up in Pleasantville and it landed her in the principal's office.

During her senior year, she decided to make crepes in the school cafeteria. She made the crepe batter and her friends brought Nutella, fruit and whipped cream. She brought her electric crepe maker and made crepes for friends and teachers. All seemed well until she got called to the office.

"Apparently using cooking appliances in the cafeteria is against the rules," Tom said. "How was anyone supposed to know that? There was no fire, no smoke. Just some yummy crepes."

To order Tom's book, click here

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