Jamie Purviance ’93, Chef/Writer
After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, Jamie Purviance became an English teacher and realized his dream of traveling the world teaching in international schools. But five years into his career, while teaching in Indonesia, he got a call that changed his life. The message? “Come home to Philly.” Both of his grandparents were ill and needed his care. Love for them brought Jamie home, and in doing so, helped him find the career he truly loves.
Jamie used what little free time he had during that period working for a caterer. She agreed to give Jamie cooking lessons if, in exchange, he would teach her how to play tennis. The bargain worked. And once she saw his enthusiasm and love of cooking, she encouraged him to attend the CIA.
As someone so used to academic and professional success, Jamie found being in the kitchens at the CIA a humbling and fascinating experience. He’d spend hours cutting carrots only to be told he needed to do better. Some days his sense of accomplishment came down to how well he minced a plate of shallots. But he persevered and came to love the hands-on learning and camaraderie he found in the kitchen. He particularly loved his wine course with Michael Weiss. “He opened a window into a whole side of the industry that not only included wine, but encompassed consulting, writing, and judging. I took my cue from him in terms of how my own culinary career ultimately played out,” Jamie explained. After graduating from the CIA with high honors, he worked at a winery in California’s Napa Valley, heading its wine and food tasting program.
But the writer in Jamie kept demanding equal time and he took a job working for Napa Valley Appellation as food editor—covering various culinary regions around the world. After three years there, he was approached by the Weber® Grill company to edit a manuscript for a cookbook they were producing. The rest is history. Jamie has written and developed recipes for countless books, and he’s gone on promotional tour with many Weber cookbooks including the best-selling Weber’s Time to Grill: Get In. Get Out. Get Grilling, Weber’s Smoke: A Guide to Smoke Cooking for Everyone and any Grill, Weber’s Real Grillings, and Weber’s Charcoal Grilling. Media outlets of all types seek out his expertise and he has either appeared on, or written for, The History Channel, the Food Network, ABC, PBS, CNN, Bon Appétit, Sunset, Better Homes & Gardens, Town & Country, and Fine Cooking magazines to name a few.
It’s clear that every facet of Jamie’s education and work experience has come together perfectly. He can say with confidence that he indeed has the “write” job.