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Meet The Team: Feastly’s Wordsmith Cleo Tarca

We thought you might enjoy reading a little bit about Cleo Tarca since she’s the face behind most of the recent the stories we’ve been publishing. A life-long Connecticut native, Cleo moved to California about a year and a half ago when her engineering husband landed a start-up job in Silicon Valley. After six years as an English teacher to students ranging from grades 6-12…(except for 11, don’t ask why), she made the leap into the insatiable world of food writing.

A typical day for Cleo at Feastly HQ
A day at Feastly for me consists of writing, writing, editing, and more writing. There are also some meetings, a good chunk of time on Facebook (for work, of course!), and hopefully some eating thrown in there. There’s also quite a bit of laughing, because coming up with creative copy is often a collaborative and somewhat silly endeavor.

How Cleo started pursuing her dream of writing full-time
I’ve been writing in some form for my entire literate life, and I’ve always loved language. Being an English teacher allowed me to share that in a meaningful way. Unfortunately, education has evolved into much more than just what you do in the classroom. It took me a long time to build up the courage to leave something I had always considered a huge part of my identity, even though I was often miserable! Also being in the Bay Area kind of makes you feel like you can do anything. People here are fearless, innovative, and intensely passionate about what they want. My friends and family are also amazingly supportive. Case and point: my mom re-shares almost all of the Feastly blog stories on her Facebook page 🙂

On her evolving relationship with food
Funnily enough, I was afraid of the kitchen. I used to force my sister, who is five years younger, to cook me eggs. It wasn’t until I was living on my own that I started cooking, mostly because I was sick of eating the same, simple things. When I met my husband, he introduced me to the merits of cooking shows (before Food Network sold out and became all about food competitions), which expanded my culinary repertoire. Now, most of what I read, watch, and talk about is food-related. It has made me more adventurous and brought me a lot of joy.

Cleo shares her best Spanish recipe for a climber’s lunch 
I recently went to Spain on a climbing trip and stayed in a small village called Margalef, about 2.5 hours west of Barcelona. My daily lunches consisted of sheep’s milk cheese, chorizo, and freshly baked bread–so simple but so delicious. It didn’t hurt that I got to eat it with chalk and dirt caked under my fingernails while overlooking limestone cliffs.

Sweet or savory
Savory…unless there is a banana cream pie around.

Her dream food destination
Italy

What you can always find in her fridge
Some variety of cheese. Actually…at least three varieties of cheese.

Craziest thing Cleo has ever eaten
I had a few varieties of bugs on a trip to Seoul when I was 19. Very crunchy!

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