Lydia Itoi

Lydia Itoi went AWOL from her Ph.D. dissertation on modern Japanese women's literature to write a humorous weekly column on eating and cooking in Silicon Valley for SV, the Sunday magazine of the San Jose Mercury News. 
 
After a year of culinary high-jinks at the peak of the high-tech bubble, SV was canceled the same week that the food column was nominated for the 2000 James Beard Foundation award. Lydia now writes two monthly columns for the San Jose Mercury News: "Cooking By the Book," consisting of in-depth cookbook reviews, and "The Hungry Traveler." She also writes freelance features for magazines and newspapers.
 
Born in Yokohama to extremely religious parents, she survived early education at Bob Jones University and growing up as the only illegal Japanese immigrant in the South. She entered the graduate program at Stanford after finishing her BA at Princeton, earning her master's in Asian Languages with a minor in comparative literature in 1995. She is the oldest of six kids but has none of her own.
 
In addition to Japanese, she also speaks Spanish and enough pidgin French to order too much food in three-star Michelin restaurants. She eats and travels extensively in Europe, South America, and Japan.
When not trotting the globe in search of the best meals the world has to offer, Lydia enjoys cooking with her Venezuelan husband in their home in San Carlos, California.