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Larry Olmsted

Bestselling author of REAL FOOD/FAKE FOOD and FANS

You’ve seen the headlines. Parmesan cheese made from sawdust. Lobster rolls containing no lobster at all. Extra-virgin olive oil that isn’t. Counterfeit Kobe beef. Award-winning food journalist and travel writer Larry Olmsted exposes the pervasive and dangerous fraud perpetrated on unsuspecting Americans—a $50 billion industry—in his New York Times and Washington Post bestseller Real Food/Fake Food: Why You Don’t Know What You’re Eating & What You Can Do About It. Detailing a widespread epidemic that reaches from Michelin star–winning restaurants to farms to your local supermarket, Olmsted reveals the truth about some of America’s most beloved products and the deceptive practices behind them.

“We absolutely should be alarmed by the latest food scandal, but we should not be surprised,” says Olmsted. “We have incompetent FDA oversight. We have criminal, negligent, or immoral producers of wine, cheese, oil, meat, and more. But the real scandal here is that many of us have never actually tasted the real things.” Real Food/Fake Food is part cautionary tale, part culinary crusade, and Olmsted takes us to the sources of the real stuff, helping food lovers recognize what to look for, eat, and savor while making us better shoppers, better diners, and better at not wasting good money on bad and potentially dangerous food.

Larry Olmsted writes the “Great American Bites” column for USA Today. His food and travel column “The Great Life” appears on and was named one of the World’s Top 100 Travel Sites. His articles have appeared in major newspapers and magazines worldwide for more than twenty years, and his exposé on counterfeit Kobe beef for was covered by print media, websites, and radio around the globe. Features about Real Food/Fake Food have run in the Wall St. Journal, the New York Post, Outside magazine, People, Bon Appétit, Town and Country, Men’s Journal, Serious Eats, and the Huffington Post, among many others.

Olmsted has appeared on dozens of television and radio shows, including CBS This Morning, Today New York, CNBC, The Dr. Oz Show, Inside Edition, and as a guest judge on Gordon Ramsey’s MasterChef, NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, the Leonard Lopate Show, and Coast to Coast. He teaches writing at Dartmouth College and lives in Vermont.

Speaking Topics

  • What Are You Really Eating?—How to Tell Real Food from Fake and Why It Matters
  • Why Food Fraud is Rampant in America
  • Agritourism: Traveling to the Sources of Real Food
  • A Gastronomic Adventure: Cooking with Real Food
  • Consumer Empowerment: What Today’s Food-Conscious Consumers Want
  • Aquaculture, Sustainability, and the Future of Seafood
  • How Chefs and Hoteliers Can Be Change Leaders


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