My Winthrop Experience

Erin Ireland '05
Vancouver, Canada
Mass communication
Food blogger/writer, To Die For Foods

Food surrounds Erin Ireland '05 every day.

"I feel incredibly lucky to have found my calling," Ireland said. "I think it's so important to focus on work that inspires us and feeds our passions."

Ireland literally and figuratively "feeds her passion" as a food blogger/recipe creator via her site ( —and Instagram account, where she shares recipes and tips on where to eat in Vancouver and places to which she travels. She owns To Die For Fine Foods, selling plant-based food products at more than 60 locations in the Vancouver area. She also fills her schedule with food photography, food styling and content creation for brands she believes in. In 2015, she gave a TEDx Talk on the bias in food media.

And as if that wasn't enough, she hopes to publish a cook book and run a cooking show in the future.

Ireland's long and fruitful journey began as a student-athlete at Winthrop University. Born and raised in Vancouver, Ireland received a scholarship to play volleyball, which she called a "major defining moment in my life." She compared her first visit to Winthrop to a vacation.

"The school itself was stunning; I felt like I had arrived to the 'Harvard of the South,'" she explained. "I'll never forget the red brick buildings with their patios and white rocking chairs. It was like no university I'd ever seen. The Coliseum was also awe-inspiring. I remember walking into the big gym feeling like it would be a dream to play on its floors."

While she ultimately chose Winthrop because of the volleyball opportunity, she soon discovered the top-notch mass communication program, which quickly became her major.

Ireland fondly remembers hearing Professor Emeritus Haney Howell tell stories of covering the Vietnam War and considers him an inspiration for her career.

"I love that we were being taught by someone with such real-life training," Ireland said. "He was unbelievably supportive, and I always felt he believed in me. The faith he seemed to have in me helped me believe in myself and it inspired me to pursue broadcasting in the 'larger market' of my hometown."

After graduating, Ireland traveled through Europe and interned at CTV, Canada's top news station, working her way up the ranks on the teleprompter and assignment desk, then the morning weather and traffic producer and back-up on-camera weather/traffic person. Unsure about her passion, Ireland once more traveled through Europe and found clarity there. She began hosting a local entertainment news magazine show, FMA Weekly. That opened the door to her true calling: food. Soon after, she started her blog, wrote a weekly restaurant review column in the metro newspaper and a monthly feature in Vancouver View Magazine, and guested on the TV show Urban Rush as a food reporter.

"In this day and age, it's totally possible to create our dream jobs without the help of anyone," she said, adding that she appreciates being able to work from home with her beautiful 1-year-old daughter. "Don't wait for an employer to help you get there. Just create your dream title and stay focused on what it is that you love. You'll get there."