Pamela Heiligenthal, Journalist
What did you study at Harvard?
I studied chemistry, art history, and dance.
Were you involved with any food or wine activities while a student?
Absolutely! I met my husband when we were undergrads, and he kept me grounded, yet changed my perception of the hospitality industry. He was a chef in Boston and mingled with many intriguing people—Todd English (Olives), Chris Schlesinger (East Coast Grill) and Gordon Hamersley (Hamersley’s). After many late nights, he would tell me about his talks at the Chef’s Roundtable at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe University, and the interactions he had at the Anthony Spinazzola Foundation. He’d introduce me to his frequent diners, Julia Child, Steve Martin, Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top, and Senator John Kerry. The industry was buzzing and I knew I could learn a lot about the business, so I decided to work part-time while balancing college and studying for the Master Sommelier exam. Now, I really enjoy taking Harvard’s science and cooking lectures, which dive into the scientific principles of cooking.
Do you think that Harvard has prepared you for a career in food and wine or hospitality in general? If so, how?
Certainly! Harvard helped me broaden my way of thinking, and to take ownership of my destiny. It is because of this that I ask myself and those around me to challenge the status quo, and to think courageously.
What work do you do now?
I balance my time working as a security architect at Nike, and I also run a secret wine society to educate athletes, executives and employees. By night, I am a freelance photo/journalist, where my work appears in print and online, including the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio (NPR), The Harvard Gazette, Vegetarian Times, The Sommelier Journal, The Oregonian, U.C. Berkeley Astrobiology News, the Washington Post, The Associated Press and USA Today.
Websites that are relevant to your work or special interests: