Hello and welcome! I’m Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time.

I founded UG in 2008 — the early days of food blogging — right after transitioning out of corporate law. Over the years it has grown from passion project to full-time business. I couldn’t be more grateful for the role that this website has played in my life, or for the millions of visitors around the world who make it all possible.

Carolyn Gratzer Cope in Havana Doorway
Havana, Cuba, 2018. Photo by the luminous Amanda Bjorn.

I attended culinary school at the French Culinary Institute in NYC (now part of ICE) and also hold a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition. But most of what I know about cooking comes from having grown up in a food-loving Italian-American home, and a lifetime of curiosity and self-directed learning. Though not directly food-related, my undergraduate degree from Princeton University and JD from Columbia Law School also inform the perspectives you’ll encounter here.

I currently live in the small coastal town of Fair Haven, NJ with my husband, two surprisingly grown-up children, one large dog, and one small cat. When not working on UG, I love to travel, sing (professional and volunteer gigs as a mezzo-soprano), spend meaningful time with friends, volunteer (currently as the Marketing Chair for Monmouth Civic Chorus), read, and stay in shape.

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Welcome video

What is umami?

Umami is a savoriness that makes a recipe greater than the sum of its parts. It’s the fifth taste (bitter salty, sour, sweet, and umami). It has a Japanese name because its existence as a separate element of taste was discovered in Japan. I also think of “umami” metaphorically, like gestalt. The site’s first tagline was Gestalt and Pepper — it still makes me smile, but as the site grew, it started to feel too esoteric.

Back in 2008, I named this site Umami Girl because when I learned about umami, I suddenly understood what all the foods I’d always loved most had in common. As a recipe developer, I naturally tend to incorporate lots of umami-rich ingredients into the dishes I create. All of the recipes on this site are full of bold, balanced flavors. You can find my most umami-forward recipes here.

Foods with high umami levels include:

  • Aged cheeses
  • Mushrooms
  • Seaweed
  • Shellfish
  • Sourdough
  • Soy sauce and miso
  • Steak
  • Tomatoes

You can learn more about the science of umami on the Umami Info website (which is not affiliated with UG).

the Umami Girl kitchen
This is my kitchen, and I love cooking here — but just as often you’ll find me cooking on a convection burner in my home office/studio!

Get in touch

The best way to stay in touch is to subscribe to my popular free newsletter, which comes out most Fridays. You are always welcome to hit reply — I read all my messages and respond to as many as I can. Or reach out at [email protected].

Umami Girl partners with brands very selectively, only when we find a beautiful fit, and never for free. I take my readers’ trust very seriously. If you think your company may fit the bill, I’d be happy to hear what you have in mind or to brainstorm great ideas for content together. Feel free to request a media kit at the email address above.

Please note: UG does NOT accept unsolicited guest posts under any circumstances.