From Picky Eater to Total Foodie: ‘At Home’ with Pamela Killeen

What do you think when you first hear the phrase, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” There’s a high chance that there were a million possibilities running through your head. You probably have an ultimate goal, and it’s about all the experiences, and paths down the road that gets you to where you hope to be. Pamela Killeen shares her story of how her love and passion for food and writing and how that got her to where she is today.

“I was a bit of a picky eater as a kid” is not typically the line that you would expect to hear from someone working for a food magazine. However, that was the case with Pamela Killeen, the Associate Editor of Cuisine at Home Magazine. After powering through her selective taste buds, Killeen has widened her variety of love for food.

Growing up around food her entire life, it just seemed to make sense to go along a career path that she knew and loved. “I’ve always had an interest in food, both my parents were foodies.” Killeen explains she still has memories of watching Julia Child with her mother at a young age and always going out to different restaurants with her family had expanded her love of food. “It [cooking] was always something that was just in my blood.”

She graduated from Indiana University with a business degree and putting her love of food to the side . . . for now. She explains that life always takes you down different paths and takes you to different places that you didn’t always plan on.

Killeen always had the passion to work in New York. She started off in advertising and really loved it. “I loved living in New York, loved working in New York, I loved Madison Avenue,” Killeen said. She always had a passion for the city “I was always around photography, and writing and food.” She explains around that time, being right after 9/11, she stepped back and reevaluated where she was in life and decided to take a step from there and decided to go back to “an original love of mine” as she calls it — her passion for food and restaurants.

From there she decided to follow her calling, enrolling in culinary school shortly after landing an ideal internship with celebrity-chef Lidia Bastianich at both her restaurant and her TV show. From there she took on a freelance position with Bastianich’s online magazine, which led her into her writing career and ultimately where she wanted to be in life.

Today, she is living in Des Moines, Iowa and working as the Associate Editor for Cuisine at Home Magazine. She describes her job as bringing two of the things she loves together, writing and food. “It’s really marrying two things that I enjoy.”

As Killeen describes, magazines are constantly changing. “I love that no day is the same.” She also explains that, just like in fashion, in food there are styles that come and go with seasons. Therefore, she has to keep up with the changing trends in food and work that into her stories and recipes for the magazine as well.

Working for a magazine, like any job, comes with its ups and downs. No matter the job, there are always going to be mistakes and challenges one wishes they could have approached differently. When asked about approaching things differently she wittily replied, “coulda, shoulda, woulda.”

Killeen expresses that leaving New York to move out West was hard to do with such a love for the city and her life out on the East Coast. “I don’t regret moving here, I don’t regret the job.”

Unfortunately, in today’s society we live in a world where men are still mainly the predominant sex. Curious to know how this affects the media and publication industry, Killeen starts off saying, “it’s funny that you mention that . . .” She describes that working for a magazine she feels like women are more in charge. She describes that while the food media is mainly female oriented, she does express that, “ I feel like I actually have a bit of a strike against me because I’m from the east coast.”

Despite the fact there are many challenges along the way to your ultimate goal, Killeen has done a lot of hiring at her publication, and she explains that “uniqueness is key.” You want to make yourself seem confident that you are the best fit for the job you are applying for, and ultimately it’s important in any industry she says to “take advantage of any networking opportunities.”