Jennifer Biggs, much-loved food writer, dies of cancer complications

By , Daily Memphian Updated: August 16, 2023 11:08 PM CT | Published: August 16, 2023 10:11 PM CT

Jennifer Biggs, the long-time and much-loved food and dining writer for The Daily Memphian, died Wednesday, Aug. 16, after complications from her battle with cancer.

Biggs publicly announced her stage 4 colon cancer diagnosis in June, including that the cancer had spread to her liver. Biggs’ announcement brought an outpouring of well wishes from friends, fans and ardent readers.

Geoff Calkins talks about Jennifer Biggs, James Taylor and shifting from sports

In an early July post on her Facebook page, Biggs wrote, “I can’t begin to express the love and gratitude I’ve felt from and for all of you. I’ve been home almost a week and some days are good and on some days I have low energy. I listen to my body, I call my doctor, I nap if I need it. The road is long.”

Biggs told friends that surgery and treatment were very hard, but that she was optimistic about her recovery and the prospects of chemotherapy for her liver cancer. She also continued to be her typically funny self throughout her treatment, joking often about everything she was going through. She was determined to return to work and write not just about food, but about her experiences with cancer and the challenges she knew she’d face.

As her friend and co-worker Geoff Calkins wrote in a column about Biggs not long after she announced her diagnosis, “She brings people together. Around Memphis and food. And laughter. And friendship. Maybe friendship most of all.”

Biggs’ daughter Megan Brooks Biggs announced her mother’s death on social media late on Wednesday night:

Biggs spoke often of all the messages she had received from friends and readers while recovering. Although she did not respond to all of them, she wanted to. And she did read and appreciate every one of them.

“Jennifer was a bright light in the newsroom and in life. She was always funny, always curious and always honest, and those traits made her such a gifted storyteller,” said Mary Cashiola, editorial director for The Daily Memphian and Jennifer’s editor. “I’m absolutely gutted.”

Biggs was one of the first staff members hired by The Daily Memphian prior to its launch in 2018 and was consistently one of the most productive and hardworking journalists on the staff.

“Some of the best and funniest moments I’ve had at The Daily Memphian were because of Jennifer,” said Eric Barnes, the organization’s CEO. “She was so funny and so smart. She made fun of me constantly. And I enjoyed every moment of it.”

Calkins: Jennifer Biggs brought us together for lunch again. Even though she was stuck in a hospital room.

Biggs joined the news organization following a long career as the food writer for The Commercial Appeal, where she started in 2000 and where, before taking on the food beat, she covered a range of beats, including courts and general assignment work.

Biggs is survived by her daughter, Megan Brooks Biggs, her grandchildren, Jack and Chloe, and her mother, Jane Biggs.

The Daily Memphian will have more coverage of Jennifer Biggs and her impact in the coming days.


Jennifer Biggs food Memphis restaurants cancer


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