Food Writing in Professional Periodicals

Stephanie Patrick

Will Write for Food
Will Write for Food by Dianne Jacob
Food has some of the most expansive types and styles of coverage in print and digital media today. From journalistic essays, articles, travelogues, memoirs, blogs, cookbooks, films, and even poetry and fiction, the possibilities of writing about food seem endless. For communicators and professional writers who want to explore this genre of writing more, they need to understand the dedication it takes for professional publications to bring the extensive world of the culinary arts to everyday people.

What You Need To Become A Food Writer

Food writing requires skills beyond basic technical communication. Writers need to have either an extensive formal or an informal self-taught education in order to effectively translate the various concepts and aspects of food to the readers of their affiliated publications. They need the ability to involve all of the physical senses (smell, taste, hear and touch) in a piece in order to provide readers with an overall aesthetic experience or risk losing the magnitude conveyed in their words. Bright, vibrant images or photographs are practically required in order for viewers to see what writers are describing and the utilization of social networking platforms like, Pinterest and Tumblr is a necessity.

So…Its Just About Food?

Food writing does focus on food, but like any other art, food writers follow trends to determine their topics and style. Writers may choose to —and do— approach food from a wide variety of topic angles, concerning economic, political, cultural, emotional, and even the nutritional aspects that go into what we eat. Writers can even explore the subgenre of food writing and hone their skills to translate technical writing into magnificent pieces on the terroirs of South Africa, rustic restaurant designs or even trends in organic farming.

How Important Is Food Writing?

Food writing can start, define or even end the food trends going on in society. How popular periodicals like, Bon Appetit and Saveur (who hire a battalion of professional writers) handle food and drink culture can drastically affect the opinions, notions or even choices of their dedicated readers when it comes to their dining experience. The food sphere is truly a “heat-of-the-moment” business that involves hundreds of thousands of jobs, as chefs, restaurant designers, restauranteurs, vintners, bartenders, servers and more that all depend on the success of food writing to thrive in such a fast-paced global culture.

Food writing may not seem like a difficult discipline, or even a separate one — many professional writers scoff at the specialization— but there are countless writers that have devoted themselves to the craft. Writers face unbelievable pressure to sculpt their work outside the box, distinguishing themselves from other branches of professional writing.

For professional writers looking to gain more knowledge about food writing, Dianne Jacob’s book, Will Write for Food, is an excellent resource to start with.

In food writing, professional writers need to remember: its not just about the food, its about the experience.



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