About Lauren

Hey there! I’m Lauren Grant, a professionally trained Culinary Food Scientist and Journalist.

Hi, thanks for being here! I’m Lauren, the founder and editor-in-chief of Zestful Kitchen. Thanks so much for being here, may we make your day more delicious!

Background 

I grew up in the heart of the midwest and home of the Cyclones—Ames, Iowa.

My love for cooking has always been strong, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be in the kitchen, standing on a step stool and begging my mom to let me help. I was even entrusted with a paring knife at age three, but that’s a story for another time.

young girl holding a decorated cake

Cooking for others brings me immense joy, but on a one-on-one level, food and I haven’t always gotten along. As life will do to us all, I was thrown some curveballs in my early college years. To find what I thought was control and solitude, I turned to running and food, which snowballed into a dangerous disease.

Some of the hardest years of my life ensued while I tried navigating back to a “normal” life. As time passed, Zestful Kitchen and working as a server at The Cafe helped me rediscover the delight of cooking and my love for the art.

ZK has changed a lot since the beginning, and although most of the recipes shared here are healthy-ish, there are a fair share of treats as well. What works for me may not work for you, but I believe in—and continually work towards—living a balanced life in all aspects.

two women holding a bowl of salad in front of a sign

Education 

I attended Iowa State University where I earned two Bachelor of Science degrees in Culinary Food Science and Journalism and Mass Communications

While at Iowa State University I was a part of the Food Science Club, was honored as a Cardinal Key Member and was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for the graduating class of 2015. 

Photograph of interns at America's Test Kitchen in Boston
Photograph of the 2014 Interns at America’s Test Kitchen

Culinary Internships

During my college years I interned for The Soy Foods Council, even competing in a soy foods competition at the Iowa State Fair with my Basil Lime Dressing. I was also one of five Dotdash Meredith Apprentices from ISU and had the privilege of working for Diabetic Living Magazine (which has since folded and is now a part of EatingWell Magazine.)

And finally, I had the immense pleasure of interning with America’s Test Kitchen in Boston Massachusetts for a summer. Since working there I have had the opportunity to write for them occasionally and review some of their cookbooks and recipes. 

Photograph of America'sTest Kitchen with test cooks testing recipes

Career

Throughout my career, I have worked for countless food magazines and in numerous test kitchens including America’s Test Kitchen, Cuisine at Home Magazine and Test Kitchen, and Better Homes and Gardens (DotDash Meredith) Test Kitchen

(I still write and develop for many leading food publications, check out my list of published work here or keep reading to see the list in its entirety. 

I have also written and developed recipe for the likes of Eating Well, Midwest Living, Parents Magazine, Parade, Shape Magazine, Taste of Home, Sir Kensingtons, Pompeian, Simply Organic, Wusthof, Jim Beam, Old Amsterdam, and many more.

I’ve been awarded Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker for 2021 and 2022 and had the honor of attending the 100th Birthday Celebration for Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.

About My Recipe Development Style 

I pride myself on creating recipes that are expertly-tested (tested numerous times), trustworthy, and approachable. I have taken techniques and ideas from every test kitchen I’ve worked in to create a framework and style of development to create recipes you can trust. Learn more about how we develop recipes.


How Zestful Kitchen Came to Be

Zestful Kitchen has morphed and adapted quite a bit since 2014 (!!) when this site was a wee lad making its (sad) debut. I started Zestful Kitchen as a creative outlet and only started taking it seriously in 2016, when I made a commitment to—well—commit to this passion of mine.

Four years of working on Zestful Kitchen at night and during the weekends eventually led to me leaving my full-time Assistant Editor position at Cuisine at Home Magazine and purpusing the website and my freelance food writing and recipe development full-time. Since then, the website has grown to reach hundreds of thousands of readers per month and nearly a hundred thousand followers on social media (including Pinterest, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Post.News) and email.  

Zest from Sam Fathallah Creative on Vimeo.

Outside the Kitchen

Aside from the food world, I am married to a fellow Midwesterner Greg who is an incredible residential architect and co-business owner of Unfold Architecture. We have a pup named Indiana who begrudgingly has moved all over the country with us over the past few years. Because we both can work remotely, we packed up and sold our house in Des Moines, Iowa and have been trying out different US cities for the past few years. We’ve lived in Austin, TX, Minneapolis, MN, Seattle, WA, and are currently residing in Manhattan near Central Park. 

I’m oddly obsessed with CBS This Morning, CBS Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes, my heart will always belong in Northern Minnesota, I can survive off of frozen peas and pickles, and I think whisks are the most gorgeous thing in the world.

If you wonder what I’m cooking today, why I go through so many bags of peas, or just have a general desire to contact me, send an email to lauren@zestful-kitchen(dot)com

Woman cooking in kitchen

List of Features & Published Work


Interviews & Features

America’s Test Kitchen

BuzzFeed

 Parade

Shape Magazine

The Feed Feed


Published Work

Taste of Home

Eatingwell.com

 Delicious Living Magazine

All Recipes

How to Make Sweet Treats for Kids That Use Less Sugar — August 2018

Diabetic Living Magazine

Cuisine at Home Magazine

Parents

Sir Kensington’s

Pompeian

Simply Organic

The Soy Foods Council 

Want to work together?

Check out my list of services or check out my list of published work.
Drop me a line when you are ready to chat.

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