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Aspiring Food Writers


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Amanda,

What do you tell aspiring food writers who want to do what you do?

I fell into writing about food. I liked to eat, knew how to cook, and could hammer out complete sentences and meet deadlines (most of the time). I knew an editor who needed copy.

I always feel at a loss when I get asked how to become a food writer. I usually tell the questioner to read, eat, and cook. But it sounds kind of lame.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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yes, but how lame can reading, eating and cooking be? i mean, it's much more fun training than, say, being an intern after medical school. it's also good advice because by doing all these things, a person is likely to find an area that he might want to specialize in.

i often suggest the same thing, except that i also encourage people to travel. and if they want to write for a newspaper, i recommend they spend some time (at least a year or two) working in restaurant kitchens.

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Hi Ms. Hesser,

And hi Mr. Dixon,

I am a young food lover and an aspiring food writer. I have been writing, reading, and eating, and I plan to do some traveling after I graduate from college. I love to cook but have a disability (missing right arm) that makes it very difficult for me to get a job in restaurant kitchens or even as a waiter. One restaurant owner took one look at me and said that he only hired women even though the dining room was brimming with male busboys and waiters. Is there any way to get similar experience without working in a professional kitchen? Thanks.

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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Eric Beaumard, manager of "Le Cinq" in the Four Seasons Hotel George V has a lame arm, which he is completely unable to use, and has still become the Vice Champion Sommelier in the world. He originally wanted to be a chef, but a motorcycle accident put an end to his dreams. Then again, maybe it was fate...

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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i'm sorry you've had trouble getting hired. i wonder if you could ask to shadow someone in the kitchen. that's what i did at my first job. eventually, they allowed me to take on tasks. and perhaps they would do the same for you.

many chefs also have office assistants, who work close to the kitchen. that may be a way for you to get in the door, and if you do well and the chef likes your work, maybe he or she would help you transfer to the kitchen. also, if you get hired with a good chef, this can be a very interesting job, because it involves everything from menu planning to hiring to new restaurant projects. it's a great way to understand how the entire restaurant operates.

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