Ask a food writer anything.
No, I'm not a blogger/Instagrammer. I've been published frequently.
And no, I'm not going to tell you who I am.
I, too, am a Food writer.
I am not a blogger/instagrammer either. I'm regularly published in local magazines, and billed by them as a food/restaurant critic. I have a book coming out (dining guide kinda thing) about a month from now.
Do you write on subjects related to your area/city? Where are you based?
Hey pal. I do both. I'm excited for your book for you! I know how hard it is to get things like that published.
Not too keen on saying where I'm located. If my peers found out I was fucking around on 4chan they wouldn't get it.
How interesting! Is the column a food one, or is it on a dedicated food website?
I know what you mean. I've had brushes with the food news/gossip sites, they revel in fucking your shit up for minor faux pas. Guy I know got practically excommunicated over a slightly racist "senior moment"
nearly everyone is better than bloggers
The food/news gossip sites can really destroy you especially if they don't tell the whole story. That goes for anyone, the writer (us), and the chefs and restaurants. It's such a complicated industry and we're all in a strange ecosystem. I hate dealing with PR people too.
Most people are better than bloggers, but you have to give them their credit for the hustle. A lot of them flip up to bigger and better jobs with actual street cred, if they're willing to pay their dues.
So you splurge and take your girlfriend's son out to Applebee's while her and her husband have a date-night.
What do you order from the "2 for $20" menu?
Oh yeah? The Get Jiro prequel SUCKED DICK and was really lazy and uninspired compared to the original. You should feel ashamed for making people draw and print that derivative garbage.
The original was very very good however.
The spinach and artichoke dip -- that has the most "real" food in all of the appetizers and is more interesting.
Entree -- the Riblet Basket with the generic southern BBQ sauce (those other ones are typically bad. This is Applebee's, after all, gotta stick to the specialties.
Second entree...that's a little tougher. Part of me says to go for the steak, but I feel like Applebee's has a much better handle on their burgers.
> Trying to establish credentials on 4Chan
> Not showing us any sources
Seriously you might as well be a blogger, who gives a shit. If I don't have any of your work to establish your editorial point of view with, your opinions mean nothing to me.
Ah, filler stuff. Boring to write about, but it's easy, and the kind of copy that keeps coming back to give you fast money. Even if it isn't very much.
I've had to do that too, but thankfully my name isn't attached so people don't know it's me.
There are a couple that I know who have an autistic obsession with a given subject, and they can be really useful for that specific thing. Outside of that, very misinformed and hard to deal with.
Is your city completely bowed to the PR mafia yet? Mine has a healthy balance of power, but NYC or shitholes like LA are complete shill-economies, credible (ie., costly) writers get replaced with retirees that will cover the opening of a phone booth for the price of a comped fucking ahi tuna taco out of it.
double tendies m8
Yeah, I know, I'm just saying the second was totally phoned in.
Well what the fuck do you want? Nearly any proof would show who we are with little sleuthing. What pleasure would we even get from the lie?
Fair enough -- but would you, given what we do for a living?
I've been published on blogs, yes, but not one of my own. I'm that guy they quote about hidden gems around the city. If you're being quoted, you're the one with the bigger baseball bat.
Yes! The expert guys, like burger fiends, or pizza obsessives -- they're great for what you're looking for. Ask about the best bibimbap in their city and they just look at you like deer in headlights.
My (very big) city does have a fair amount of PR avalanches every day. My inbox is full of all that sales shit. I delete and move on. My job isn't newsy, like at Eater. But we do strike a big balance, though what's really happening now is that big social media channels are being paid to subtly show more pics of one place than the others and they get paid. It's total bunk.
The last time that happened to me was when I tried freshly-made tofu at a Japanese robata grill. I took my first bite and almost started crying because now I knew what real fresh tofu tasted like and that everything else I'd seen was a lie.
Serious Eats has changed quite a bit. All their old posts weren't bringing enough repeat visitors so they're trying to make every single post they write stick better, pushing them up higher and higher in search algorithims.
This is why you're seeing so much more by way of recipes, technique, and personal stories about food.
Kenji is a friend of mine. He's as smart and as sharp-tongued as you would imagine. Plus he's awesome at karaoke.
I was in tech for 10 years, wanting to work toward sales engineering or marketing, but I moved to food since that's what I'd been freelancing in on the side.
The idea of "regional sales engineer" vs. "food writer" in terms of job titles put me in a weird spot. I'm a creative. Those tech jobs are not.
You make a choice hacking it at a place where your life is set on a road ahead of you (tech), or you run into the screaming darkness of chaos into something you love so much (food).
It wasn't an easy choice.
So they stretched the curds in hot saltwater next to the table until it was ready to eat? I bet that was fantastic!
But I bet some of that hairy Italian man's arms got some arm pubes onto your cheese. You win some, you lose some.
A guy wrote a book specifically for cooking with semen.
If that link doesn't work the book is called Natural Harvest. Apparently it's not totally a troll book.
In tech services, you have one of few goals -- develop the technology and make it better. In sales, you pummel your customer base into buying more services. In customer service, your only goal is to give them good service,
So really, all you have is one goal in tech. That's it.
If you want to be in creative, you have to show you're capable of creating things that'll stand the test of time. It's more fun. You're not stuck running Excel reports all day anymore.
Sometimes tastings are arranged beforehand if your sole purpose is to preview a menu, where chefs want your input. So everyone knows who you are when you get in.
There are pictures by stations of people like us, so unbeknownst to us, we're getting targeted with the best food and best service. I really do not like that. I want to look like a regular person eating his dinner.
Right now my pay wavers from $200 - $300 per piece but the price always, always, changes depending on who you're writing for. If they pay is cheap, then you decide if that outlet is something you want to add to your resume.
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I always go in once before they know me just to test things out.
Anywhere from $100-500, maybe more for a big feature.
But I am told that I get shit for pay comparatively
I got started by asking a place if they'd take a newbie, I churned out a TON of tightly written content, and worked my way up from there. You'd be surprised at who you can get to agree to work with you. A good editor will gently show you the way.
Yeah, we get jack. All the higher paying jobs (which pay modestly still) are all with the old guard who need to die out first before we get a crack at it.
Everyone is hustling their asses off, talking shit about each other behind their back, politics, you name it -- it's not at all different from being in a regular office.
They come and go in these waves. If you see what people are talking about in influential ways through certain outlets, you can get a fair guess.
My gut feeling right now is that it hasn't quite solidified yet for this year. Kale's mostly out, but it won't go away, fancy cupcakes are dead, fancy burgers dead, maybe a woodfired pizza wave? This is all speculation.
But beverages are all the rage now, between craft beers and distilleries, new coffee chains, kombucha, etc. I predict that those things are going to go up quite a bit then burst pretty badly. I think Craft beer is already at its apex and will pop soon.
Now THIS is where blogging has its power. Do your own blogging, specialize in something, and hone your writing. Use great descriptions when it comes to the actual food, avoid simple descriptions like "sweet" or "sticky" and create a voice that is easy to recognize immediately.
Does that make sense?
Also, condense everything. If you think it's long, cut it in half. Have a friend look it over and poke holes into it.
Practice, practice, practice.
I don't know but I'm getting really sick of cauliflower. People are fucking serving a half of one as an entree, this is getting ridiculous. It's exactly what happened to Brussels sprouts.
Also - one last thing, I'm fading a little. You'd be surprised at the garbage most food writers eat when they aren't working.
I have a few guilty pleasures -- Taco Bell, cheap supermarket sandwiches, doritos. I sound like a fatass, but I'm not. Though if I eat like that forever I'm fuuucked.
100% agreed. If a place advertises "cauliflower steak" just run. If you want to do that it's easy at home, roast a whole cauliflower, make some brown butter, get some capers and a lemon, and you have a $20 meal at $5.
Spam is my vice. I love spam so fucking much.
I can justify it by saying I'm having a pork terrine... and omitting that it's fried in a sandwich with a runny egg.
And for a guy that used to have a craft beer review column, I sure do drink a lot of PBR
>Though if I eat like that forever I'm fuuucked.
I was starting to get food critic body. Supplementing my diet with steady intake of cocaine, amphetamines, distilled spirits, coffee, and cigarettes sorted me right out. And the occasional LSD or opiates never hurts either.
DUDE. Spam, I could eat that every day if I didn't get salted and fatted out within a week.
I like mine pan-crisped with a sous vide egg over instant ramen noodles (don't judge me, I have a cheap device that RULES)! With a slice of cheese on top too -- it's the Korean style.
I have a soft spot for spam but this shit is my true vice. Roughly chopped pork pâté with bacon and pepper. Throw it on some rye bread and top with pickled beetroot and you are golden.
Most Danes will agree.
Cool! Like you three, I am also a food writer. I am neither blogger nor instagrammer.
In fact the super secret hermetic order of gastronomic journalism has recently appointed me grand poobah of our order. Phase 7b was a success, so I will look forward to the three of you continuing to support me as I bring our plans to fruition.
Have you ever, or have publishers/editors ever pressured you to lie about how long something takes so that the total time in a recipe is shorter.
Seems to happen a lot with caramelizing onions and roasting things. I'm curious where the pressure to do this comes from.
Thanks for this thread, OP.
Would you please go into more detail about how you climbed to where you are? What was the moment when you realized you had a knack for food writing, enough that it could pay the bills?
Does publishing platform matter? For instance is it essential to have a blog, and instagram and twitter and Facebook etc? I've kept a log of food I've eaten and made while travelling and it seems like I'm at least not retarded, but I'm not sure if I can make money.
What are people willing to pay a food writer for that isn't "sell you soul" shill type stuff?
Do you think Serious eats has ruined their site with ads?
having a facebook or twitter or something is pretty important. You'll have people that want to follow you to keep on on food news and see sexy ass pictures of food.
>What are people willing to pay a food writer
not fucking much
Is it true that if you hold a girl's nose and slap her box at the same time that she'll fart?
does food writer mean making a facebook post about how you had to send a burger back at applebees twice because the waitress is doesnt know what the definition of "medium rare" is? because im a food writer too.
hey man. I am looking to become a "food writer" (assume you mean critic) myself, so I have lots of questions:
1) how did you first start? did you write reviews for yourself? did you start out as a cook? any career in gastronomy at all? what was your "practice routine"
2) how did you get your name out? did you start with a web presence?
3) how do you find publishers for this rather niche "genre"? are you a freelance writer or working for a paycheck?
4) any stories from michelin star restaurants? always hyped for those
5) any tips for an aspiring writer/critic? how can I improve my writing? how do I best build up a reputation? how do I get into the "scene"? (those quuestions are not neccessarily limited to writing about food)
thanks in advance, would appreciate if the answers arent just 1 sentence each
>I got started by asking "a place"
"a place"? can you specify? I'm not asking for your place, but hat the fuck you mean. a magazine? did you have anything on your resume or were you just a complete newby? how to find magazines like hose?
hey man. complete unrelated to writing but have you ever done peiote? its my personal drug dream. only done shrooms a couple a times but never had sick visuals, only profound memories.
did you ever get your hands on hoffmann blotters? if yes, how were they?
1) Submitted articles to small places, then covered events for them, then submitted to more reputable places, got good scoops and timely reviews. Just step higher and higher.
2) Met assloads of people, anyone who wrote anything I'd get to know
3)Most every weekly paper has a food section, there are regional food blogs that get tons of hits, and of course there's always Eater...
4) There are a few in my city. I feel it's alot like the officer promotion criteria in the Army, it's more about not screwing up than it is about being outstanding. For instance, Michelin will disqualify people for having a section on steaks on the menu, for not having a big enough wine selection, for having a lunch service...
I have not done Peyote, but I would like to. I heard you can get the same experience from San Pedro cactus and making an extract or powder from it.
I have not had that blotter specifically, but I do know that Hoffman blotters are just easily recognizable "true" LSD and not DOx or NBOME or something you'd get on the deepweb. I generally only do true LSD, from the Brotherhood of Eternal Love (crazy hippy LSD cult) because they make it the oldschool way, with the nitrogen chambers and everything. It comes on plain white cardstock paper and doesn't taste like anything, about 150mcg/square, it's great.
A guy I know, but god knows where he gets it from.
Go to a String Cheese Incident concert and find the guy with long grey hair, that ought to work. Just don't call it "lucy" or some other narc language. Just strike up a conversation and say, "MAN I wish I knew where to get some acid."