About four years after she graduated from Virginia Tech, Krista Gallagher realized that she had many fond memories of college that included food — small wonder, as Tech now ranks as one of the top three schools in the nation for its culinary offerings.
“I had been reflecting a lot on how much I missed the food at Virginia Tech,” Gallagher said. “Not just the food, but it was the memories of how each dish connected with me.”
She associated the broccoli and cheese soup at West End Market on campus with rainy days and hangovers; the spicy wings at Sharkey’s with failing a cholesterol test for a class assignment; and the grilled cheese at Top of the Stairs with the place she met her future husband.
When she didn’t find any cookbooks dedicated to the food in Blacksburg, Gallagher decided to put her love of cooking into a book. Five years later, the working wife and mother found her project stuck on pause, and that’s when her college sorority sister, Kris Schoels, came back into her life.
“There was a day when she did a blog post about following your dreams and how sometimes it can be very scary risking failure,” Gallagher said. “I was just finding it very difficult to finish [the book] given the time constraints I had. I looked at my husband and I said, ‘I feel like I know what I am supposed to do. I need to invite Kris to help me with this.’ She wrote me back in just a matter of minutes, being thrilled that I had asked it of her.”
Schoels, who does lifestyle segments for television, is also an amateur photographer and runs the blog Young Married Chic from her New York residence. She was a perfect fit.
“Right as Krista contacted me, I was telling my husband ‘I really owe it to myself to pursue a cookbook.’ I think it took me about five seconds” to decide, Schoels said.
Their partnership has resulted in the recently released “A Taste of Virginia Tech,” a beautiful, hardback cookbook filled with recipes from the university’s various dining halls and Blacksburg restaurants.
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Photos courtesy of Laura’s Focus Photography