Cooking From Every Angle

Advice for Future Food Writers

By • April 10, 2012 • 168 Comments

40 Save

If you like it, save it!

Save and organize all of the stuff you love in one place.

Got it!

If you like something…

Click the heart, it's called favoriting. Favorite the stuff you like.

Got it!

 

Past

- Amanda

Nearly every week for the past decade, someone has written to me to ask for career advice. Except for those messages that went to my spam box, I’ve answered every one. I do it because I too have been in that wandering state, unsure of what’s next. People helped me then, and now I want to keep the karma chain going.

I also help for selfish reasons. Because I like meeting young people with fresh ideas and following their progress; it’s a narrative that I get to observe and enjoy in bits and pieces. A few of the people I’ve spoken with have written books, some have started companies, we’ve hired a couple, and many have succeeded in other fields like law, fashion, and architecture.

What has struck me recently, though, is how sharply and suddenly my spiel to aspiring food writers has changed. Five years ago, I would take people through what I thought were the best steps toward getting hired at the limited number of food publications, and/or putting themselves in the best position to write books. This usually involved suggesting they go to cooking school, or, better yet, work in restaurants. Then I offered a few tips for getting a foot in the door at a newspaper food section like the L.A. Times or national magazine like Saveur or Gourmet (getting a face-to-face informational interview so an editor will remember you; getting clips not in your local paper but the smaller publications, like Edible or Gastronomica, that these editors read; structuring a pitch letter so it will catch an editor’s attention; sending editors something you’ve baked – everyone’s a sucker for a home-baked good) – I let them know it would be a difficult road but encouraged them to dive in.

About 2 years ago, I stopped giving this advice: I can no longer responsibly recommend that you drop everything to try to become a food writer. Except for a very small group of people (some of whom are clinging to jobs at magazines that pay more than the magazines' business models can actually afford), it’s nearly impossible to make a living as a food writer, and I think it’s only going to get worse.

If I weren’t working on Food52, I would not be a full-time writer because, even as an experienced journalist and best-selling author, I would not be able to pay my bills. Just 10 years ago, food writers with staff jobs were able to earn $80,000 to $150,000 a year, and freelancers were regularly paid $2 a word; today, these jobs barely exist. Advertising revenues, already on a steady decline, plummeted online. Online, $35,000 to $60,000 a year and $.25 to $.75 a word is more like it. New publications simply can’t pay very well, if at all. Just ask our writers.

And the real problem with these figures is that they're static – you don’t start at $40,000 and work your way up to $80,000. You either happily stay at $40,000, or leave and let the next young, bright writer take your spot. This $40,000 also comes with many fewer perks – no expense accounts and little travel budget. In 1998, the New York Times sent me to France for two weeks to find some stories. Today, this would be unimaginable.

Future

So what happens now if someone comes to me wanting to become a writer? I don’t totally crush their dreams. I just step on them a bit -- before trying to help the aspirant re-imagine his or her future in a whole new way.

Start a blog, pitch magazines, go after a book contract, I say, but instead of relying on writing as your bread and butter – and instead of torturing yourself with the rejection and struggle for respectable payment that this will entail -- look to other interests in the food industry. We’re in a moment of great change. There’s never been more opportunity to make a difference, to shift the way we think about buying and eating food, to create something new, to start a business. This is what you should be doing.

Don’t feel glum; this new era is actually better. Everyone who can write well is now welcome to. At the time I got started in the 1990s, I was considering becoming a bread baker, but you couldn’t get anyone to hire you as a writer if you worked “in the field.” There was widespread snobbery toward non-professional writers, and an assumption that it would be a conflict of interest – or just too much self-interest -- for a chef to write about cooking or a farmer about raising chickens.

The observers kept out the doers, a system that never really made sense. Now people want to hear from the doers. Gabrielle Hamilton, the chef at Prune, is a sought-after writer with a best-selling memoir; David Chang, founder of the Momofuku empire, has launched his own hit magazine, Lucky Peach; and Tamar Adler, a cook and csa director, has written “An Everlasting Meal.”

Blogs changed this exclusionary system, both for the better and the worse. While they gave an exciting new platform to those formerly shut out of gatekeeper publications like Food & Wine, The New York Times and Gourmet, they also created a new, more democratic but competitive arena in which, ultimately, most would fail. The best blogs would grow into their own self-sustaining brands, and the rest would be left to struggle and starve, or subsist as an unpaid hobby. The brand-achievers, the talented writers and photographers behind SmittenKitchen, The Pioneer Woman, and Simply Recipes are able to make more money than I would have dreamed of earning when I was a staff writer at the New York Times (then considered the pinnacle of food writing jobs). They are earning this money in part because they began before the huge growth spurt in blogging, but mostly because they've successfully built a committed and large audience that advertisers are willing to pay to reach -- and they should be lauded for both their prescience and business smarts.

Blogs also turned content into an inexpensive commodity, which spread ad dollars thinner and put even more downward pressure on writers’ pay.

You can aim to become one of these brands, but the journey will be unpredictable. Better to see writing as part of a more personally-crafted career that will allow you to pursue an array of interests -- and a career that you will need to treat in an entrepreneurial way, inventing and reinventing what you do along the way. Your lifestyle may still not be that lavish, but it will at least be yours to shape. You will have the chance to have a much more varied and engaging career; I wish mine had begun this way.

And so, if you want my advice, here’s what I would do if I just graduated from college and wanted to become a food writer:

1. Right away: get your hands dirty, in as many places as possible. Skip journalism and cooking school. Instead, use that money to support yourself while you do mostly low-paying food jobs. Wash dishes in a restaurant. Work on a farm. Get a job in a food factory. Assist a commercial fisherman. Intern at a start-up (I know the perfect place for you…). Volunteer at a co-op.

2. Broaden your skills so you can control your destiny. Take a photography class. Learn to edit video. Study HTML and CSS. If you’re entrepreneurial, go to business school.

3. Never eat the same meal twice. If you want to be knowledgeable about food, you need to experience it yourself.

4. Later on, try to work at a place that’s making change, where you get to become expert in some area of our food system. (See Stone Barns, Five Acre Farms, Randwiches, Real Time Farms)

5. Create a blog and write about what you do.

6. Start your own venture. An online service for pantry staples a la Diapers.com. Start a network of small slaughterhouses (there's a need). Create a solution for distributing the goods of small farmers beyond farmers markets.

7. Last but sort of least: write articles or a book on the side.

Photos by James Ransom

Jump to Comments (168)

Tags: food writing, blogs, career, pay, new era

Comments (168)

Default-small
Default-small
Default-small

2 months ago Karl

Hi

Thanks for the great article. I have a small question. I am a science and health writer and Im planing to travel to Malaysia early next year as part of a feature story I have been commisoned. For the story I will be living among an indigenous tribe trying to capture a glimpse of their life in writing. Anyway, I was wondering if there would be someone interested in an article on the food enjoyed by this tribe. Do you perhaps know some potential magazines that could be interested in receiving a pitch for such story?

Thanks

Karl
https://www.linkedin.com...

Default-small

4 months ago Valerie Vogel

Hi Amanda, I'm interested in becoming a food writer. I hold a Bachelor's of Science from the Scripts Howard School of Journalism at Ohio University, I currently work as an Executive Editor for a magazine at a recovery center for people with disabilities. I have also taught gourmet cooking to the members of the center whereupon we fed 32 people a week. I'm addicted to the cooking channel and I cook daily. I've worked for magazines and newspapers and I've worked in the food industry. I welcome your opinion on whether or not I have any kind of viable experience to break into food writing. Thank you! Valerie Vogel

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

4 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Hi Valerie, thanks for your note. It sounds like you have a good amount of relevant experience, and that you should begin pitching food stories to publications. Good luck and keep with it!

Image

5 months ago 10 Legs in the Kitchen

Amanda - I am not sure if you are still answering comments for this post but I feel compelled to ask a question nonetheless. I grew up working in my grandparents' restaurant, went on to work in many restaurants in the Pacific NW and have had (and am still having) a long career in commercial interior architecture. I am obsessed with food and I love to write, hence, last year began a food blog. You mentioned that your advice was geared toward someone just out of college; what advice might you give someone like me who would like to switch careers mid-life, from design to food?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

5 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Hi there -- I'm not sure I'd have very different advice -- although it helps that you have an established career to at least fall back on. Seems like the best thing to do would be to freelance on the side, and perhaps try to shift your architecture work toward kitchen design. But please understand I'm making a suggestion based on your short note -- I'm sure there's a lot to consider and I don't want to make any assumptions!

Img_3713

5 months ago Gregory George

I constantly (and in fact, just now) add this realistic and memorable sage piece to my twtter feed. Truely words worth remembering and sharing. Thanks Amanda..

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

5 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks, Greg!

Me

5 months ago Donna Barstow

x

Me

5 months ago Donna Barstow

I appreciate the actual numbers in this article! I've been in some of the venues you mention, yet here I am still, a little chocolate blog, with cartoons. It's not that I want to be a food writer, exactly, but I just love writing about desserts. And I'm practical, so I want to be paid. More.
Thanks for your sharing here, Amanda!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

5 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Completely understandable! Thanks for your note.

Stringio

5 months ago Angel Laura

I have been seeking information on this topic for the past few hours and found your post to be well written and has solid information. Thanks for sharing such an useful advice for food bloggers... food delivery

Carine_

8 months ago sweetashoneynz

That is a beautiful article. The biggest issue is that everyone want to make money with food writing. I love writing about food on my blog but I do it for love and passion and I am selling my baking to pay bills. That is probably the easiest way !

Default-small

8 months ago Jason

I studied photography and journalism at uni, where I was struck with the cooking bug. I decided food writing seemed a good direction to head in, so got relevant work experience at magazines, with freelancers etc. When I finished my degree (summer 2012) I couldn't get any Journalism jobs, so I started photographing food, which thus far hasn't proved much easier in terms of employment. I have now been offered a year's apprenticeship as a chef, which would mean giving up the photography (for the moment at least) and a messy CV, but obviously I would gain knowledge and experience in the food world. What should I do? Thoughts appreciated!

Default-small

8 months ago Jason

PS - Thanks for this article; very informative! :)

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

8 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Hi Jason, thanks for your note. I'd focus on what you'd like to do in the food world (other than writing or photography) and work toward a good (and paying!) job in this area. Then you can later get back to writing and photography on the side. Having a specific area of expertise in the food industry will also help you build your knowledge and reputation so that when you do write, you'll likely get better traction. For instance, I've been seeing a lot of bartenders writing about cocktails in larger publications -- they established their reputations, and then began writing about their craft.
This is just one point of view, so please talk to a bunch of people and of course, listen to your gut, before you make a decision. Best wishes.

Default-small

8 months ago Jason

Hi Amanda, thanks so much for your response, that is indeed helpful. Best, Jason

Default-small

8 months ago ronaldjosephkule

How was it to play in the movie, Amanda?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

8 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

A little strange and very fun.

Default-small

8 months ago ronaldjosephkule

P.S. Your article is generous with its advice and works on several levels.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

8 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thank you -- I'm so glad to hear this. I'm sorry to tell you that I don't know where Elaine Tait is. I'll ask on Twitter and let you know if I hear anything.

Default-small

8 months ago ronaldjosephkule

Amanda, thanks for your reply. Elaine's whereabouts is a real mystery. Did you know her personally at all?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

8 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I didn't know her, but Craig LaBan, the restaurant critic for the Inquirer, wrote me back on Twitter to say: Last I talked 2 Elaine Tait (4 Chef Tell obit) she was living on Md Eastern Shore painting & eating oysters

Default-small

8 months ago ronaldjosephkule

Amanda, thanks so much for your research with Craig. At least, I can focus there and see if I find a string to pull.

Default-small

8 months ago ronaldjosephkule

Amanda, would you happen to know where Elaine Tait is these days? She was the food writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer in the 1970's and 1980's, and a fan of my (late) brother-in-law, Chef Tell Erhardt. I wrote Tell's biography and would like to get a copy to Tait -- the book is dedicated, in part, to her for her inspiration.

Default-small

11 months ago Onil Chibas

Great article and very helpful advice to develop as a genuine food professional and not just a food celebrity. Thank you.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

11 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.


Glad you found it helpful!

Stringio

about 1 year ago Patrick Hieger

It's nice to read these bits of advice and realize that you're already doing nearly 90% of this. First book due out December, and I'm seven months in on this beauty: www.comosur.com. Trained chef, writer, caterer, and so on... Promoting the food industry, not slaving in it!
Food52 is great. Keep up the good work.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thank you, and congrats.

Default-small

over 1 year ago Deepak

Hello Miss Amanada,
it was nice to read your article and inspiring too.I am working in Dubai as a chef at the moment. The love for food and the passion to innovate has helped me develop the skills needed to prepare quality dishes with the right taste, texture, appearance and combination of the finest ingredients.However the urge to write about food,the magic behind each ingredient and healthy recipes and tips is what I am wishing to do.I would like to no as to go about this..Any help from you will be appreciated.

Stringio

almost 2 years ago Lauren Hardy

Last week, a pitch of mine was accepted by the first time by the national magazine Honest Cooking. I love food writing and I blog about my kitchen adventures at "Making Life Sweet" at laurenhardy.com. Thank you so much for this article. It is very inspiring!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Congratulations!

Stringio

almost 2 years ago Lauren Hardy

Thanks, Amanda!
Happy cooking + baking!

-Lauren

Default-small

almost 2 years ago gypsygrub

I am a young and aspiring food writer and this article helped me so much thank you!
Please check out my food and travel blog at http://gypsygrub.com/ thank you so much!

Kimmi_headshot_bw

almost 2 years ago Grubarazzi

This is such a fresh perspective on the industry, and I appreciate it. I recently discovered how much I love food writing although it feels like an impossible career change. This has helped me see it in the right light. Thanks so much!

Default-small

almost 2 years ago Fresser

Oh my God, PLEASE don't use The Pioneer Woman as an example to be followed. I've just discovered that she appropriated a recipe (for Lemon Parmesan Spaghetti) that I posted on AllRecipes.com in 2002 and posted it as her own on her blog in 2009 (calling it Baked Lemon Spaghetti). "Repurposing" recipes is one thing; lifting them exactly from other sources (oh yeah - she added a garlic clove) and passing them off as original without crediting their source is another entirely.

And yeah, I'm a "doer" (former pastry chef) who wrote a bit for food publications in the '90s (they sought me out) and I know that everyone learns from everyone else, but wholesale appropriation is not a good lesson for aspiring writers. It's the wrong message. Please direct your acolytes to more deserving, and more honest, food writers and bloggers.

Zester_003

almost 2 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

I would like to strongly second Fresser's point for a couple of reasons 1) I used to work in the publishing industry and 2)It has happened to me too.
The full provenance of a recipe that's more than 100 years old can be pretty vague---the French wrote everything down the Italians and Spanish were less careful about that. Over time these things develop incrementally, but for contemporary dishes attribution is important. I'm not going to copy a David Chang recipe and slap my name on it. David Ruggerio exemplifies the worst of this;he copied a recipe from Guliano Bugialli ingredient for ingredient and then slapped his own head notes on, said he learned it from his grandmother. Exactly 24 basil leaves? Really? Eventually his editor had to cop to it. But far worse Ruggerio was caught stealing from his customers' credit cards. "Hey, how ya doin?"

Food history is an important thing to me. I study it constantly. But taking the shortcut of claiming somebody else's work as your own is reprehensible.

Default-small

about 2 years ago Bael Juice

I ran into this article by accident, but somehow it's so good to read how's the life for food writer in America. I am a food writer in Thailand for 5 years now. I must say it's not easy at all even though food industry in Thailand seems to growing fast. Just like your article, I started by working at fast food restaurant, and it was a long way to where I am today, so I would like to send all my best wishes and encourage whoever want to be food writer. If I can do it then you can do it too. Keep fighting!

Default-small

over 2 years ago Hugh Amano

Thank you for the great article. I'm in the "I've had a sorta-kinda-somewhat-semi-successful blog for a few years and have cheffed for a decade and now I really don't know where else I can go" doldrums, and it is helpful to hear your history and how the industry has changed. There is just so much about food out there these days! I love the fact that I can write pretty much anything I want in any style I want and "self-publish" for free, but at the end of the day, it would be great to eek out a living as a writer, and save my body and mind (and hair) from the rigors of cheffing. At any rate, thank you for the inspiration!

Avatar_2_

over 2 years ago junROD

I wrote several food articles in my blog http://www.triond.com/users... and found out that I need to improve a lot in my writing styles AFTER READING YOUR PIECES. Thanks. I have singed-up to your website and is now your fan forever.

Default-small

over 2 years ago Sophie Ratz

I loved your blog, I constantly send my family and friends over to your site to educated themselves on their own time. I’ve even converted a few! Thank you for taking the time to lay out the in and outs of real food eating!!!

Default-small

over 2 years ago Pixie Caramel

Hi There

Love your blog and fabulous advice for anyone wanting a career in the food industry, work hard, play hard and love what you do and step up to every challenge because its a roller coaster ride all the way, thats why its soooo addictive.


.

Default-small

over 2 years ago Tomatom

Amanda, i'm glad you wrote this. I was feeling Curmudgeonly while painting a similar picture speaking at a recent freelancers conference in Australia, where incident.ynrates would have been anout half what is paid in the US even 10 years ago.

The_cook

over 2 years ago Gourmet Metrics

Well written, right on, and the reason I have joined the Food52 community.

Ozoz_profile

over 2 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Just because you love it doesn't mean it won't be hard. And just because it is difficult, doesn't mean it is bad. Amanda, I'll keep reading this - thank you. The comments are fascinating and comforting. Overall, I'm not looking for solid reasons to love my day job, which makes a LOT of other things possible = like growing my passion for food. Thank you everyone

Smokin_tokyo

over 2 years ago BoulderGalinTokyo

My, My, Amanda, wonderful advice! I'm just in love with food52. Until now I had no one to share these thoughts, experiences, regrets, dreams with. What a forum this has become! Thank you so much.

Default-small

over 2 years ago ronagindin

Amanda's advice here is great, and it touches briefly on an issue that I've found to be huge in the Orlando market, where I write about food and restaurants. Bloggers have practically taken over. They're well-meaning and some do OK jobs, but their main strength is that they know how to market their sites. That means their main strengths are neither writing well nor being educated about food and service. I see respectable reviews in "real" publications ignored while bloggers' unimpressive write-ups get buzz. Right now we're putting together Orlando's Zagat guide, our first whole book in many years; "best of" surveys by no-big-deal weeklies are getting more exposure in the local food world. My business is diversified so I'm doing well, and I choose to consider my local restaurant work as a means to an end--national restaurant-writing work about the Orlando market. But my gosh, doesn't anyone notice the lack of quality? Doesn't anyone care? Here's a blog I wrote this issue. This got a conversation going around town. http://bit.ly/I2TTSS

Zester_003

over 2 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

This comment reminds me of a mini-scandal exposed by the New York Times some months back. People are getting paid (admittedly a pittance) to write "reviews", in some cases to establishments they've never even visited. Often they are identifiable by the writing style. "Awesome service" is almost a dead on giveaway. From the get go I've remained a skeptic of those five star ratings by the vox populi. I do write a food and travel blog myself because I travel and I dine while I'm traveling. But I also try to maintain an informed intellectual standard. Still it is opinion.

Photo_squirrel

over 2 years ago LE BEC FIN

amanda, i found this piece to be extremely prescient and articulate. Terrific job.

I have a (related?) question. For the last year or so, I have noticed that every time I see a laptop in an american movie, it is an Apple. So I have figured out that there must be a clause in every movie director's contract that requires all laptops in a movie- to be Apples.Is there a similar clause or reason for you showing your laptop as an Apple? Does Apple typically support start- up blogs/website ventures by donating Apples or other, and requesting an only-Apple clause in return?
just curious!,
mindy

Claire

over 2 years ago midnitechef

A great article with contemporary advice. At least at the moment my blog is a hobby, it's getting more readers now that I've been doing it for almost 2 years. The key is passion. Both about writing and about food, whether it's cooking, growing, shopping, donating, or otherwise. I wanted to capture my thoughts and experiments in the kitchen to share with friends and family, also to try to recreate grandmother's recipes (with a few modern twists). It's my food story and I'm sticking to it.

Ozoz_profile

over 2 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Hugging you.....on every word you've written! Thoughts echoed. Perfectly.

Missginsu_bike

over 2 years ago MissGinsu

Really well said. I'd add that there's plenty of room in the area of food + technology. Distribution is still a big issue. Hack the food data that's publicly available, build apps, help producers get the word out about the food they're making and create new ways to help people to find the food they want.

Img_1995

over 2 years ago SandyLaFleur

I am a person closely associated with publishing, books, magazines, and spent almost ten Years of my life teaching business research skills to young business students, in some cases, young aspiring entrepreneurs.

First I want to say, Look at what Amanda and Merrill Hath Wrought. I was moved when I read this post, and think the the rumours of the death of the Food Writer are premature.

Let me start by being meaningful to artists of all kinds, not just writers. Artists study art, they study life, they seek verisimilitude or some contrast to such. When I was a student studying theater, a faculty member said to us in Theater Management class (which was run like we were studying for an MBA,) that Theater is a Business, not just an art. He gave the example: No one is going to pay you to perform Hedda Gabbler night after night, it is just a fantasy. You can make an example from your art, if it is The Symphony or visual arts, people with a certain amount of cash, want to spend a certain amount of it for something they are at least persuaded that they might like.

If Mickey and Judy have a barn, they still are not theater professionals. Anyone can log onto Wordpress, get a free account and spill their beans to the world, food writing-wise, and for those that feel this sort of expression, sharing, community, is worthwhile, Kudos.

Amanda and Merrill are hiring. Look at their page. If people come, and shut down your server, email questions to the webmaster at all hours of the night, and have a professional expectation of your webpage, at some point you have to start generating cash flow to pay the beekeepers . You need a business model. These ladies are not unfamiliar, maybe they just didn't know that THEY were going to be the entrepreneurs. That is all of us folks, so many of us, who thought that art was a romantic way to live a life...and yet we don't want to go as far as to die of consumption in a garret somewhere, we actually want to live life. And in this case, eat.

A lot of romantics don't know what has happened to the economy, and i feel that I have to break it to you gently, our economy was rocked to its foundation, first, in a financial contraction that happened in response to 911, and again, with whatever you want to define as the world reaction to a run on the markets and banks in fall of 2008.

I see a lot of people almost saying it here, they don't know what it is but there is a "new normal" out there. I am trying to avoid political topics here, but let one sneak in, just last week it sounded as thought the Attorney General of the United states seemed to indicate, while pointing a finger at big online technology entities, that everyone is Entitled to a free/cheap book on the internet.

I want to return to what I said when I started. This website, is what Amanda and Merrill Hath Wrought. It is their intellectual property. That used to mean a whole let. Your cookbook is your intellectual property, even though it is not possible to copyright a certain recipe, there still is a thing such as plagiarism, and people have a right to their own work. The e books are kind of a symptom of some of the problems that are affecting, writers, food writers, and just about everyone else. Which is why so many people woke up and read Amanda's post and thought, she was talking the them.

The food writer with the nice salary travel and expense account, was a person who worked for a glossy magazine, that was full of ads for wonderful lifestyle things, that attracted readers who were interested...from a copy of Gourmet magazine in my pantry from the 1990's... luxury cars, commercial stoves, high end products of all kinds, what in the business world was called "Affluent Market." This is textbook freshman business courses, or first year MBA if you were on an upscale track.

The companies gave people like Conde Nast a lot of money to advertise their goodies in between the food articles. And they were exceptional. Literate, funny, snobby, I re read some of these columns and it is not a sound bite world.

In those days, all you had to do was be erudite and Conde Nast took care of everything else.

You hear that the newspaper is a dying medium. They could not make the leap to taking their advertising income, and getting the message in front of the potential customers. But Facebook can. Amazon could and did. My local online newspaper is starting to use advertising to run it's products. If you are squeaking about materialism and consumerism by now, let me tell you that you can enjoy the internet as a joyful open source community, but you still have to figure out how to feed your kids.

Amanda says to invest in certain equipments to hone your skills, yes, but posting for free, or even as others suggest, getting $25 per hour to teach something you used to get $300 per hour for won't pay for the technology YOU need to compete online. You can do it for awhile. You definitely cannot afford to do it in the most expensive city in the world. You cannot afford it over the long term, it has to be just a period of risk a hopping off point.

Ask Amanda, ask Merrill, the internet is not free. No one can afford to work "open source" and still feed their family. You need a business model.

I have more thoughts, and will post a few at a time. I "share here" for a few reasons. I like to post my recipes so my kids can read them in other states. I like to see what other people say about food and try new things. I, am a potential customer. That is the only way to Sustain a real web presence.

Default-small

over 2 years ago cessyfr

Excellent article!

Default-small

over 2 years ago latebadger

I'm a journalism graduate from Melbourne, Australia. I supported myself through Uni working as a barista making coffee. I've been pouring lattes for 3 years and counting. Believe it or not, I got offered my first professional job this morning. It's only a junior position as a PA, but it's my foot in the door at a major news network. It's a stepping stone. I'm in.

What Amanda says in this blog-post is 100% correct. At the begging of this year I bought a DSLR on credit, found software for free and started making my own videos. I built a simple blog to posts my videos, stories, articles, projects. I was broke, had no idea how to edit video, had no idea where to start - but the important step was just starting. It doesn't matter where.

I'm still broke, but it was that initiative to start the blog, start making videos and build my own projects - I'm certain that that's what got me the job this morning. Any creative job is going to be hard to get. It's going to be competitive. Especially in a industry in transition like journalism, but if you really want it, harden up. Stop talking, and go and bloody do it.

If you feel I made this up, check out my blog - http://nickterry.net.au/ Or Twitter - @latebadger

And for those that want to know how good the Melbourne coffee scene is; I made this soy cappuccino a few days ago - http://twitpic.com/9aeide

Default-small

over 2 years ago Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

This is sage business advice! Thanks, Amanda, for taking the time to write and share it with us.

Open-uri20130501-26516-14lqy2k

over 2 years ago Pmudpies

Amanda, I love your site and articles. The recipes are terrific. As a ceramic sculptor, I admire the artistry of your photos. When I prepare ANY meal, I want it to look as lovely as it tastes exquisite. Food may not be love, but it should reflect it. Thanks for all your thoughts.

Open-uri20130501-26516-14lqy2k

over 2 years ago Pmudpies

Amanda, I love your site and articles. The recipes are terrific. As a ceramic sculptor, I admire the artistry of your photos. When I prepare ANY meal, I want it to look as lovely as it tastes exquisite. Food may not be love, but it should reflect it. Thanks for all your thoughts.

Default-small

over 2 years ago tsp

I think the distinction between successful branding and writing/ recipe making should be addressed more-- there is a difference. Many of the most popular blogs and brands in this business have really lazy writing and very little editing. And I am not even talking about grammar and spelling. The poor writing is tolerable when the recipes are good. But it is harder to trust sources that cant communicate the significance or context for the food they are making, or what is compelling about it, or how it works. Mostly we get a diary entry. If the point is the food-- skip the self-involved diary entry and write about food! If the point it the writing-- make the writing worth reading and not a nuisance. If there is no point, dont blog about something just to get clicks. The world can wait. Reflection should happen before you publish.

Photo_squirrel

over 2 years ago LE BEC FIN

ooh boy, don't so many of us wish the world of bloggers would take your comments to heart- and put them into practice!

Rose_hi-res_photo

over 2 years ago Rose Levy Beranbaum

Amanda, brilliant, thoughtful, generous, and oh so timely.

I am a long-time fan!

Rose

Cookingprofile

over 2 years ago SusanRose

Thanks for posting this. I just want to say, these changes you've seen aren't in just the food writing industry--it's writing in general. I've been a business writer/editor for 20 years. Up until three years ago, my clients happily paid me $85 to $100/hour. Now they balk at at $25. I agree with your advice to do something else in the industry you love--I blog about food, but don't have any notion that I'll make a living from it. I'm becoming a health coach. I'll always keep writing and blogging, but my focus will be on helping people achieve their goals. Food, but not totally food. So thanks again for laying it out there so honestly.

Cookingprofile

over 2 years ago SusanRose

Thanks for posting this. I just want to say, these changes you've seen aren't in just the food writing industry--it's writing in general. I've been a business writer/editor for 20 years. Up until three years ago, my clients happily paid me $85 to $100/hour. Now they balk at at $25. I agree with your advice to do something else in the industry you love--I blog about food, but don't have any notion that I'll make a living from it. I'm becoming a health coach. I'll always keep writing and blogging, but my focus will be on helping people achieve their goals. Food, but not totally food. So thanks again for laying it out there so honestly.

Default-small

over 2 years ago Foodelf

This comes at a time when I've been reflecting about food blogs in general. I've been something of a blog-junky for years, but recently clicked on every one of my bookmarked blogs and eliminated more than half. I have my own blog which is private and not slice of life or journalistic - it's just recipes and food for my friends and me.

However, what interests me in food blogs is very different now than it was, say - 3 or 4 years ago. Quality vs. quantity ... content.

My food reading habits have drastically changed and I no longer subscribe to any food magazines at all. I used to have a criteria; I committed to making at least 2 recipes from a food publication to justify its existence in my house and the cost. I've downsized to a far smaller house and have to be judicious about whatever book or publication takes up residence. I neither need nor want those glossy magazines any longer for all the obvious on-line and storage reasons. I love it if someone passes one along and enjoy browsing, but I'm almost always glad I didn't buy it myself.

I have a too-large collection of cookbooks which I'll never part with. But - I now research a potential purchase to determine as much as possible if it's something I will actually cook from.

I gifted a cookbook I bought 2 years ago as a hostess gift when I went to dinner last night. I'd neither cooked from it nor referenced it once during that time.

I look forward to the constantly fresh content of Food 52 which also embraces writing, food trends, what works - what doesn't and fun. I'm confident I'll never tire of checking in regularly.

Thanks, Amanda - for your thought-provoking post.

Open-uri20140814-20957-1mvppuh

over 2 years ago bigwords

I would freaking LOVE to make $35-60,000 as a food writer. Heck, as any kind of writer. But as a travel writer with a measly five books (all with "real" publishers) I barely make $25K. It's hard to imagine anyone, anyone at all, complaining about $60K. Sheesh.

Zester_003

over 2 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Amanda, this is outstanding advice which I agree with 100%. I've worked in the publishing business for a long time and I've seen these same changes myself. One of my good friends was the food editor for a well known monthly magazine and then it suddenly folded as did another similar magazine. This is the era of tablet and the app, although I still love hold something paper in my hand. I liked your comment about Chang and Lucky Peach. David Chang has possibly surpassed Keller as the most important chef in America. But when does he find the time to do this stuff? I mean it's not like Rachael Ray actually writes (or even reads) her own magazine. Lucky Peach is a great example of doing something with vision. And issue #1, if you can find it, sells for about $350 but it is way cool. So yes, young writers shouldn't expect to get rich because that's not the reason you start. You do it because you want to be an auteur.

Mg_0064

over 2 years ago Jenifer Mangione Vogt

I'm glad that you tackled this topic with candor. I think there's a misconception that professional food writing (for the Times, Saveur, etc) is an easy thing to pursue, and even more of a misconception that blogging is a way to make money. The real reward has come from the experiences that developing this expertise has afforded me. So, I agree completely with what you say about using this as a means to shape a lifestyle. It's the lifestyle around food and wine culture that is exhilarating - and that includes belonging to this community. I love being a part of what you've created here. I learn so much from this site and from you and all the wonderful people here. I think its the community around food and wine that makes it such a fun and rewarding pursuit.

Default-small

over 2 years ago agardencook

As a "brand-new" food blogger I can't thank you enough for your honesty. I have begun blogging because I have to and whatever comes of it will be wonderful. Maybe that will be tons of followers or maybe just something for my grandchildren to read. Your reality check helps me to keep perspective. Much Gratitude.

Default-small

over 2 years ago agardencook

As a "brand-new" food blogger I can't thank you enough for your honesty. I have begun blogging because I have to and whatever comes of it will be wonderful. Maybe that will be tons of followers or maybe just something for my grandchildren to read. Your reality check helps me to keep perspective. Much Gratitude.

Mom

over 2 years ago melissa.bedinger

Hello everyone! Jonell at theramblingepicure.com and I are putting together a small and humble Twitter chat on the subject of the future of food writing (and with luck Amanda and a few other writers will be able to take a few minutes out of their busy schedules to join in as well).

The chat will use the hashtag #futurefoodwriting and take place Friday the 20th, at 2 PM (EST). We'll get the ball rolling but after that hope that you will all join in to comment and pose your own questions! Hope to see you there! :)

Default-small

over 2 years ago John Curtas

There is no money in poetry, but there's no poetry in money either. - Robert Hughes

Food is life itself, everything else is parsley. - Alan Richman

Thanks for a great read.

John Curtas
www.eatinglv.com

Smokin_tokyo

over 2 years ago BoulderGalinTokyo

Thank You!

Default-small

over 2 years ago John Curtas

There is no money in poetry, but there's no poetry in money either. - Robert Hughes

Food is life itself, everything else is parsley. - Alan Richman

Thanks for a great read.

John Curtas
www.eatinglv.com

Levybiofinal

over 2 years ago LaurasRecipes

Wonderful post! Advice like this is truly valuable for those of us trying to find our way in an ever changing landscape. I appreciate the gift of your time and insight. My food blog began as a way for me to organize recipes and pull up ingredients on my iPhone. Never in my wildest dreams did I think anyone would actually read it! Three years later I'm quite busy freelancing for other food websites, posting on my own blog and I have started a new marketing company that focuses on the food and wine world. I'm paying the bills but it takes several avenues to make it happen. The beauty of blogging is we don't have to try to reach the levels attained by Pioneer Woman or Smitten Kitchen... but we will probably find our own voice. I had a successful 22 year career in another industry that was demolished by the economic disasters of the last few years. I don't consider myself a "writer" as I lack the credentials and journalistic "chops" the pros enjoy. I'm a just a grateful blogger who morphed a creative outlet to a new career path. And the best part is I'm having a great time while doing it. ;-) -Laura Levy

Default-small

over 2 years ago CookbookRick

I have made a living as a food writer for the last twenty years or so, supplemented by income as a cooking teacher and recipe developer. I have always worked as a ghost writer/editor/recipe tester (or whatever you want to call the job), helping other food professionals and the occasional celebrity put their food lives down on paper. If I don't make enough money to pay my mortgage, I am unhappy. "Follow your bliss" is easy to say if you have a spouse to pay the bills. I love my clients, but they have their own set of problems, and I have not gotten a substantial raise for my services in many years. Many of my recipe development clients now "crowd source" (get recipes for free from people who enter contests and the like) instead of paying me to create recipes. Almost all of my cooking school venues have closed or no longer take traveling teachers. My local school now pays $20 an hour when they used to pay $300 a class. E-books sale are cutting deeply into my royalties. One of my best clients, a publisher who supplied about 25% of my income last year, announced that they are putting their cookbook division up for sale. I have found new clients and last year was still one of the best I ever had...but I had to work on seven publishing projects to make the money that I used to make for three. There are hardly any TV shows that take guest chefs any more, so the magic "TODAY" show spot that could help sell books no longer exists, and I no longer travel around the country doing media tours for food clients like I did in the past. Note that I was not personally responsible for any of these changes--it is not as if I got a phone call saying "your work sucks and we aren't hiring you anymore." They are all trends in the food professional biz. Thanks, Amanda, for telling the truth. If you want to write...write. If you want to make a living, get that MBA. (Yeah, I know...nothing is a given anymore.)

Default-small

over 2 years ago Jess Dang

Thanks for this article. Your 7 tips really spoke to me. I recently left my corporate job to teach people how to cook, and I blog about what I teach my clients. It pays nowhere near what I used to make but teaching and then writing about it have provided me with some of the best lessons of my life. - blog.cooksmarts.com

Default-small

over 2 years ago Casagirl

Amanda, your advice is pricelesss. As a food writer and cookbook author for many years, I was lucky to develop a niche or two early in my career: The cuisine of my native Morocco, and the bounty of California farms. My path was totally unplanned (and I was lucky to have a husband to help me pay the bills), but it has been a delicious voyage of learning and discovery. I would say as well, if you love food and writing about it, are prepared to sweat bullets, don't mind accumulating rejections, then go for it! I am always amazed at how people in the food business can recycle their talents in so many different ways. Follow your bliss!

www.kittymorse.com

Default-small

over 2 years ago MargePerry

I'm old school. I have made my living as a food writer for many years, some of which were more flush than others. But when I say "food writer", please understand it has always been a loose term. I teach (including, by the way, food writing at NYU and ICE as well as cooking), write, speak, cook, blog, photograph, travel, schlepp and a whole lot more. Everything I do begins and ends with recipes and/or stories; therefor, I am a writer.
Fifteen years ago, the mix of what I did when I was not at my desk writing stories and recipes was different from what it is now. I didn't blog or photograph then, just as I don't do as much public speaking now as I used to. Our job as food writers has evolved, I believe, more than it has diminished. Maybe that is just a pretty spin, but I don;t feel any less like a writer today than I did whenI began.
I agree with your advice to new writers and writer-wanna-be's. To write about food, you must experience it in as many ways as possible. And, as writers have done for so many years, you must have a viable means of support as you develop your craft, grow your reputation and build your writing business.
Thanks for this great article, which I will share with my students.


575029_10150788544213760_663058759_11809243_1658059488_n_1_

over 2 years ago Patricia GastroVoyage

Thanks for the great advice - so grateful that I have come across this article just as I am starting out to write about food. I am not aspiring to become a food writer. Purely motivated by the desire to share my love of food with anyone who would care to read and connect with fellow food lovers in Hong Kong and beyond, and eventually start my own business in food/beverage. Of course, if any opportunities to write about food comes up would jump at it too.

Blogs, Twitter, Facebook pages are all great ways to help get the word out and from my limited personal experience it seems that they are much more effective (both time and cost wise) to start than traditional printed publications. So not a bad place to start even it's just 'subsisting'

http://gastronomicvoyage...

Me_in_munich_with_fish

over 2 years ago petitbleu

Great advice. I would also add, read, read, read. Not that staying on top of food trends is the be-all-end-all of pragmatic advice, but it helps; AND you end up reading a lot of really wonderful writers who can inspire you. You get a feel for what the food writing climate is like.

Page_1

over 2 years ago Lauren's Plate

Amanda, so true. In addition to all above insightful comments, I recently attended an open house (out of curiosity) for a Masters of Fine Arts in writing at a prestigious NYC IVY. I was surprised at their non-reality-check as to what it's like out there in the real world for aspiring graduates, and how writers should plan for the future. The panel holding the open house just avoided the topic. Yes, dreams should be pursued however, colleges need to prepare students for the real world as well.

Default-small

over 2 years ago Susie Middleton

Amanda, this is so great. Now I'm feeling really guilty, as I got one of these letters this week from someone who wanted advice, and being rushed and under deadline, I did not take nearly the care in advising her as you did in this wonderful piece. I did say what I say to everyone who tells me they want to become a writer--learn a skill first. Immerse yourself in something so that you can write about it with true knowledge and passion. So I truly love your encouragement for people to get out and participate in the food system today, as this really is a crucial and exciting time to do that. I'd also add to that that's it's never too late to get involved. I sort of went backwards--starting out writing and editing, then cooking, and now farming (and as a result of all that, book writing). I've gone from one low-paying career to the next! (well, I did work for one magazine long enough to get a 401K rolling!!), but I've always pursued work that feeds me creatively. Fun is key!

Default-small

over 2 years ago Tracy A.

While I do not aspire to write about food - I found your advice and to be timely not just about this topic, but about new approaches and reinvention in general. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

Mcs

over 2 years ago mcs3000

Marvelous piece. I'd also suggest: "Give back" - like you continue to do in mentoring others and in your generosity and graciousness. Thank you, Amanda!

Giggle_bio_pic

over 2 years ago Giggles

I think that I may be the oxymoron. I don't have an overtly successful blog, in fact my readership is probably quite small. However, I am lucky (i think) to be a published food writer. By that, I mean I have a regular gig with a local magazine. I've been featured in our local newspaper, I'm teaching cooking classes and have a "name" in my small community. None of it is enough to pay the bills. But I love what I do so I'm okay with it. Interestingly enough, and to your point, I didn't really get recognized fully for my writing until I started writing about the 'town clown' i.e. me and my adventures going out to natural/organic farms and working with the farmers. There is probably nothing more entertaining than a greenhorn learning to brand cattle and chase sheep. Since I started writing about my ignorance with farm life and sustainability I have gathered more readers of my published work than my recipe blogging. All of these endeavors has led me to (and as your advice states) to go further. This June I'm headed off to photography school, because I've learned in all of my writing (I write as I speak) that I'm not a very good journalist but I definitely have shown the potential to be a much better photographer. Lesson is: whatever it is, be true to yourself and follow your heart because every path in life leads to a road of possibilities. I'm hoping that all those letters of introduction that I sent to editors who couldn't even bother to give me a negative response that as I follow the other path in photography my work will appear in another fashion.

Default-small

over 2 years ago AnnaMowry

Another piece of advice for people who are still determined to write for a living: read, read, read. Pay close attention to what you're reading and how you respond it. Do you like it? Why? Why not? These observations are clues about what kind of writer you could be, and can help you clarify your own voice and niche.

Wg_logo_rgb_lowres

over 2 years ago WeeklyGreens

Amanda, thank you for your honesty. And thank you for returning my email (with lightning fast speed, I might add!) when I was THAT person emailing you a year ago asking if there might be some way we could collaborate. You are right - the landscape has really changed. I especially love your point about using a blog as a springboard for a personally-crafted career. After leaving my stable and lucrative full-time job (having nothing to do with food and little to do with writing in quite this way) a year ago, I used the following 6 months to talk to people, share ideas, listen, learn, watch and think through the next step. I'm still writing my blog - on my own terms, when I want, about things I want to write about - but I've just started an exciting new part-time gig working at a public affairs firm with a strong practice around food policy, nutrition and wellness. This is a perfect fit for me and a real example of what you're illustrating here. I don't know that this would have happened for me without the blog. I'm not sure where Weekly Greens is going. For now, it's my creative outlet and my own personal journey in the kitchen that I'm sharing with anyone who wants to know. And I'm still enjoying working with you and your fabulous folks on the Whole Foods Market column, Alicia's Seasonal Kitchen. So THANK YOU for that opportunity and for providing another outlet for my voice. You are a tremendous asset to the community and I always look forward to what you have to say next. I marvel at your ability to deliver fresh, interesting and relevant material so consistently.

Burnt_offering

over 2 years ago Burnt Offerings

Congrats Alicia! I think you're a perfect model for what Amanda talked about in her article. Well said, and well done!

Default-small

over 2 years ago ATG117

Wonderful post.

Default-small

over 2 years ago johngriffin0928

If you want to make a living from food writing, then don't do it. If you have to do it, then don't let anything stop you. The same should be said of the people who want to be chefs because they see themselves as the star of a Food Network show instead of someone who gets up at 4 a.m. to start making the stocks or the sauces.
John Griffin
SavorSA.com

186003_1004761561_1198459_n

over 2 years ago dymnyno

So true! Two friends of mine ; a photographer and her husband(last year's IACP cooking school teacher of the year, who have produced 15 cookbooks have told me that the field is completely different from when they started. They are actually searching for a publisher of their latest cookbook. And, unlike in the past, the publishing houses want everything emailed.

Img_7201

over 2 years ago Pinch&Swirl



I created a food blog to record memorable recipes for myself and to share. But it's the food blogging community that motivates and inspires me. What you've written here is a perfect example. You've distilled sobering reality, hope for the future, and practical advice into one thoughtful post. Amanda, thank you.

Default-small

over 2 years ago eilenez

Your advice is specific to food writers, for sure, but with a few tweaks it could be advice for all writers, especially freelancers. I've been a journalist for more than 20 years--15 of it freelancing--and I am paid less now than I was a decade ago. The industry is changing--whether it's food, politics, business, etc. And although I do think cream rises to the top, especially with bloggers, with such a huge proliferation of people calling themselves writers, it makes it difficult for alot of readers to recognize the cream. There's so much out there vying for our attention, it becomes harder and harder not only for readers to discriminate between the good stuff and the not-so-good stuff, but it becomes harder for writers to rise above the noise. I was a fan of your writing at the Times, Amanda, and still am.

Stringio

over 2 years ago Ilene Ross

Sage advice, and exactly what I tell young people all of the time. As the editor of a blog/online food magazine, as well as a contributing writer for another local magazine, I know that sadly, there is no "big" money to be made anymore in this arena. Luckily, I'm also a chef with a catering business, and use my writing as a creative outlet. If you're born with the talent to write, do it, but learn skills along the way to support yourself.

Default-small

over 2 years ago rachel325

I'll always be grateful that my email was one you answered back in 2003 when I was about to graduate from college. You helped me explore New York City in a way that never would have been possible otherwise - both with friends and on little writing assignments (for peanuts, but man it was cool to get in "behind the scenes" in some of the restaurants that were opening up then) for a few publications. I decided to turn my professional focus to something completely unrelated, but I'll never forget the exploring, writing, and eating I did in NYC, in large part thanks to you and to the other talented people you introduced me to (and motivated/inspired me to introduce myself to, as well). This advice is great and I really admire you for taking the time to talk to people like me! As I've grown older I take the same approach - I try never to turn down anyone who wants to talk to me about career advice. I think it is great karma and just plain nice to do. -Rachel V.

Default-small

over 2 years ago Alessandra Zecchini

Interesting read, very wise advice, but would you please allow me a little moan about 'famous" food blogs? I love blogging, I am a blogger as well as a food writer (and write other things to pay the bills, as you say), but most to the time when I come across a 'famous' blog my mouth drop. Many of these blogs are useful to go there and be seen if you want to increase your readership, or to attract ads and sponsorship, but if they are pretentious they should also be very careful, and correct. What I miss in proper food writing is that editors and proof readers checked the lot, asked questions to the writer before publishing something, and if they messed it up they apologized or corrected themselves when letters to the editor where published. I popped by smitten kitchen once, she had made something similar to mascarpone and called it ricotta, I told her that it wasn't ricotta (things should be called by their names, especially when you put them in your mouth) and of course she told me that I was wrong and that some market stall in NY made it that way (and that must be the centre of her universe) so she was right. I am sure that you too know that ricotta is made with whey, after making cheese, not with milk, double cream and lemon. After my intervention (two or three, I don't remember) the author did make an amendment calling (lovingly) her product "blasphemous", but she should have changed the name instead. Or invent a new name. A number of followers kept saying "Oh finally I learned what ricotta is!" (no you didn't) "So easy, I can make ricotta now" (no you cannot!) and like a bad virus the false ricotta moved from blog to blog, and I found the same recipe in many other places... I commented to a few, then I gave up: unless I know the blogger I am tired of putting effort into people who don't want to hear anything else than compliments.

When I write for a magazine or a book I work with a team and I put a lot of effort into it. I go to my blog to relax, I am the only author, I mostly have (iPhone) pics of my family dinners still in the pot, talk with other bloggers, have a virtual life! But no ads, no sponsors, those I can accept to see in mags (even net mags, don't need t be printed, just proper mags), where they should be compensated by quality writing.
So yeah, thumbs up for blogging, free and open to all, and thumbs down for bad blogging, spreading bad infos like viruses.

Thank you for letting me have my say :-)

Ciao
Alessandra
http://alessandrazecchini...

186003_1004761561_1198459_n

over 2 years ago dymnyno

I agree with the "ricotta" debate...I have tried to tell a few "experts" that their recipe was not ricotta.(to deaf ignorant ears)

Img_7201

over 2 years ago Pinch&Swirl

Semantics aside, blogs like Smitten Kitchen compel cooks - novice and experienced - to their own kitchens. From my perspective, that's important work.

Mom

over 2 years ago melissa.bedinger

This is a really interesting point - has the editors' game changed more than the writers'? Have the supporting 'team' been made obsolete online? Jonell at theramblingepicure.com and I are hosting an informal Twitter chat this Friday (the 20th) at 12 noon EDT and I'd love it if you can find a few minutes to join in (and invite anyone else you think is interested).

Levybiofinal

over 2 years ago LaurasRecipes

Great idea Melissa... I'll be sure to check it out on Friday. My Twitter handle is @laurasrecipes ;-) And I'm just amazed at bloggers who don't appreciate gaining new knowledge or being corrected. I'd much rather be corrected by someone who takes the time to inform me... than to be embarrassed by sharing incorrect information with the world.

Mom

over 2 years ago melissa.bedinger

I'm obviously a Twitter novice, forgot the blasted hashtag! You can find it at #futurefoodwriting ! Totally agree, Laura. What's that statistic about people rating customer service in a restaurant higher when there is a problem which has been appropriately dealt with, rather than having experienced no problem at all?

Mom

over 2 years ago melissa.bedinger

In order to include more people on the west coast, the amended time for the chat is 2 PM EST (still on Friday the 20th). Thanks & hope to see you there!

Default-small

over 2 years ago Alessandra Zecchini

@ Dymnyno: reassuring to learn that someone else cares about semantics

@ Pinch&Swirl, to me that is so sad. Of course it is important work, this is why it should be taken seriously. Happy to talk more about it though :-)

@ Melissa... I am in New Zealand, not quite sure what 2 PM Est is... but my twitter is AleZec
Anyway, yes, the discussion about editors, designers, photographers, subs etc is very valid.

@ Laura, cheers, I like a bit of discussion in my blog, and when it happens I am all happy and chatty and it makes sense :-). I am blogging to share and to learn.

Default-small

over 2 years ago Alessandra Zecchini

@ Dymnyno: reassuring to learn that someone else cares about semantics

@ Pinch&Swirl, to me that is so sad. Of course it is important work, this is why it should be taken seriously. Happy to talk more about it though :-)

@ Melissa... I am in New Zealand, not quite sure what 2 PM Est is... but my twitter is AleZec
Anyway, yes, the discussion about editors, designers, photographers, subs etc is very valid.

@ Laura, cheers, I like a bit of discussion in my blog, and when it happens I am all happy and chatty and it makes sense :-). I am blogging to share and to learn.

Default-small

over 2 years ago Alessandra Zecchini

@ Dymnyno: reassuring to learn that someone else cares about semantics

@ Pinch&Swirl, to me that is so sad. Of course it is important work, this is why it should be taken seriously. Happy to talk more about it though :-)

@ Melissa... I am in New Zealand, not quite sure what 2 PM Est is... but my twitter is AleZec
Anyway, yes, the discussion about editors, designers, photographers, subs etc is very valid.

@ Laura, cheers, I like a bit of discussion in my blog, and when it happens I am all happy and chatty and it makes sense :-). I am blogging to share and to learn.

Mom

over 2 years ago melissa.bedinger

Hi Alessandra :) I think it's 6 AM New Zealand time (cringe!) but hopefully some kind of transcript or summary will be available on theramblingepicure.com shortly thereafter.

Default-small

over 2 years ago FunWithCarbs

This hit home harder than I would have liked, but it's refreshingly honest and direct. Thank you for writing it. I entered the food-writing world well after the halcyon days of six-figure salaries, expense accounts and lucrative magazine assignments, so it's no surprise to me. It's just a tough reminder that my beloved work will never be financially satisfying, but I am grateful for the chance to do something I absolutely love.

Open-uri.14685

over 2 years ago Martha Cheng

I suppose my life path could be a testament to how good your advice is, in addition to a whole lot of luck. I recently became one of the "very small group of people" with a food writing job at a magazine. Through my parents, I've tasted and loved a wide variety of food, but never planned on being a food writer. Rather, I became a techie at Google, a Peace Corps Volunteer, a line cook, a pop-up restaurant and food truck owner, and now, a food editor. I guess it will remain to be seen whether magazines can figure out a business model, but I don't doubt the salary stagnation. When I tire of that, I look forward, then, to starting a network of slaughterhouses. Indeed, this is an exciting era!

Hiking

over 2 years ago KTC

In the mid-90s I was interested in working as a cookbook editor. I talked to editors in New York and was told "forget it, publishing is not worth it, the industry is changing and changing for the worse" etc and was advised to pursue another career. At that time, I had no way of knowing that other avenues would open up via the internet, etc. I basically gave up on food writing and took a different path. If I could do it all over again, I would have trusted my gut and followed my passion to see where it might lead. I guess what I'm saying is, if it interests you, pursue it and see where it goes.

Default-small

over 2 years ago aixpat

Thanks for taking the time to write this, Amanda. It's a confusing time to be pondering a career in media and your advice is both practical and reassuring.

Img_0899

over 2 years ago SweetArlene

Did you hear that? It was the sound of my dreams being crushed. Seriously, great article and very timely for me. Here I am, a copy editor with lots of experience in marketing and publishing, in the middle of a self-imposed sabbatical and wondering and dreaming about becoming a food editor in the second act of my life. So much for "following my bliss" and all that jazz, but hey, maybe I can redirect my ambitions to something more attainable instead of wasting these years (that seem to be in fast-forward mode) on an impossible dream. Thank you for a shot of reality, however bitter it may taste, and here's to being inventive and resourceful so we can come up with the next big thing. And...back to the drawing board.

Anna_photo

over 2 years ago Anna Be

Reading your advice made me realize that I am already part way there. I've worked on farms and in restaurants, I have a tiny blog and a tiny business. I'm doing it because I enjoy it and I hope to make a little money and reach a few people eventually. It is affirming to know that what feels like a meandering and cobbled together creative life might actually be the way to go.

Insolent-gourmet-black-red-stacked-twitter

over 2 years ago Insolent Gourmet

Great tips Amanda. Definitely a good idea to keep expectations realistic within a field that has been pummeled by shrinking advertising spend. Keep up the good work.

How_to_make_a_custard_part_1

over 2 years ago Shuna Lydon

Shuna is a pastry chef in New York City and author of the acclaimed blog Eggbeater.

As an on-the-job learned chef and the child of two writers and one freelance pianist composer I have to thank you. Write for a living? It never has and never will look/feel glamorous. Like professional cooking, few people realize how so much work can garner such low pay.

Mom

over 2 years ago melissa.bedinger

Thank you for this honest article. As someone who loves food but is struggling to find an appropriate outlet for the hunger for knowledge and experience in that arena of her life, I found this really intriguing. Watching food blogs erupt over the last few years with the rest of online media has often made me wonder how writers who enjoy writing without a hook or specialty will survive in years to come.

021

over 2 years ago krusher

Amanda this is simply brilliant. Nothing more to say except thank you. There is so much cooking talent (witness Food52 daily) coming through. Fast food companies beware - the tide is turning. You're days are numbered. Hopefully this is the new revolution.

Table_setting_diagram

over 2 years ago gigabiting

Amanda, you nailed this one.
I'm on the other end of a career but have kids in their 20's (one who dabbles in food writing, one who is sensible) so I see it from both sides. I would second your advice to seek out a variety of experiences while developing some skills and expertise along the way. But with a cautionary note, paraphrasing the wisdom of Gabrielle Hamilton, that you need to be careful about what you get good at, because you might end up doing it for a very long time.

Stringio

over 2 years ago martha1108

Great quote from Gabrielle Hamilton. Thanks for sharing it.

Stringio

over 2 years ago martha1108

Great quote from Gabrielle Hamilton. Thanks for sharing it.

Me.cheese.artmuseum_steps

over 2 years ago Madame Fromage

Thanks much. This is timely, sage advice. I plan to share it with my grad students in class tonight. Most of them are aspiring food writers.

Photo_on_2014-07-11_at_6.17_pm

over 2 years ago Shalini

Okay. I just got chills reading this. Thank you Amanda. Phewf.

Junechamp

over 2 years ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Brava, Amanda! Spot on and honest assessment of the "situation" for food writers... (and pretty much the situation for all entrepreneurs starting out. Things have changed all over the world.

I love seeing you be so totally forthright. Rose colored glasses are only okay when we remember to take them off now and then.

Buddhacat

over 2 years ago SKK

And things will be changing faster - no slowing down! Love your rose colored glass comment, ChefJune. When we wear them we can't see the new opportunities that change is presenting us.

Buddhacat

over 2 years ago SKK

And things will be changing faster - no slowing down! Love your rose colored glass comment, ChefJune. When we wear them we can't see the new opportunities that change is presenting us.

Default-small

over 2 years ago Thomas Pellechia

Amanda,

Great to see someone putting forth a reality check for aspiring writers.

As a wine writer for about 20 years, with three books and hundreds of articles and columns, I concur with your advice. I've discovered that my experience and knowledge frightens or confuses new editors; not sure which it is, but with the pay that is offered, not sure it matters, either.

Me

over 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Really thought provoking. And excellent advice. One of the things that struck me in it, and the comments below, is that life continues to evolve whether we will it or not. When I graduated from college many years ago, everyone was bemoaning the dearth of job opportunities that had been options that previous generations of graduates had relied on. With women moving into the work force in great numbers and for the first time forming a critical mass to compete with men for positions traditionally held by men, the sense was that there now weren't enough jobs to go around, and the ones that were there would now pay less. That whole supply and demand curve thing. I had a rough few years post graduation finding my footing, but ultimately built a career more interesting that anything I could have imagined, with compensation far higher than I could have hoped for. What I did for a living is less important than the fact the the industry and position didn't even exist when I graduated, and that my early experiences, while not a roaring success, coalesced in way for my future work I couldn't have predicted. As some positions fade away, new opportunities inevitable take seed, and it's important to be fluid. Don't have a set frame for how to express career satisfaction and success. The other thing that strikes me out there in blog land is there's a lot of junk out there, that can't possibly have a long life span. Good writing, I have to believe, will rise to the top like cream. This article is a perfect example of that.

Mom

over 2 years ago melissa.bedinger

Definitely thought-provoking. I have to agree - don't try to force the rest of your life into the framework of what you think success should be! Jonell at theramblingepicure.com and I are hosting a Twitter chat on the subject (#futurefoodwriting) next Friday at 12 noon EDT if you'd like to join in!

Mom

over 2 years ago melissa.bedinger

Just to let you know - the time has been amended to 2 PM (EST) in order to include more people from the west coast!

4009951565_16d666fbc7

over 2 years ago Savour

Thiis is a great article. I've given up on making a living in food, and I'm OK with that. I have a "day job" for which I'm well-compensated and which I'm very good at, and my blog remains a creative outlet -- something that stays fun and meaningful without having to make it pay the bills or chase assignments. I do run it as a business, and get some opportunities coming my way that allow the blog to pay for itself and give me some "fun money", but I also have the freedom to turn down gigs that don't interest me, don't pay well, or don't bring me something material. I always say that's OK, too. You can be involved in food without having to make it your profession.

Default-small

over 2 years ago jennifersavors

Completely agree with you. Have the day job and be able to live your life how you want. Keep the food stuff on the side. And keep it fun!

Default-small

over 2 years ago Rachel Juhl

This article could not have come at a perfect time. I started a blog as part of a New Year's resolution for 2012 and to get my portfolio for food writing going. I grew up in a gourmet food store and restaurants since I was 14 and currently have a job that "pays the bills" but is not in my field. While ideologically I would love to be paid to write about food and travel, I know that's unrealistic to expect to happen immediately. So instead I am looking into a position in the cheese industry thanks to close contacts I have created and nurtured over the last few years. It is comforting to know that someone as respected in this field is giving advice that matches the course I am choosing to take. I was beginning to feel a bit concerned if it was the right choice but your words have comforted me more than you know, especially as I consider leavin my "pay the bills" job for something that will get me on the road to where I really want to be. I am incredibly grateful for the indirect mentoring I have gotten from Food52 these last three months.

Default-small

over 2 years ago Pastryology

Great advice. I've been freelance writing for a living for 25 years, and the business has all but collapsed. In the '90s my colleagues and I chased $5K assignments, with expenses, from magazines and made a modest living; after 911 the market collapsed and we chased $500 assignments from a reduced core of mags. Book advances today are a third or less of what they were just four years ago. Blogs pay nothing. Professional writing by writers will come back one day, but perhaps not in my lifetime. Bottom line is same as yours: Diversify, love the craft of writing, get lucky. (Now go buy my new book, TRADING MANNY!)

Sunshine-small

over 2 years ago Peter

While Peter no longer works for Food52 he still thinks up ways to make the website better.

Amanda, thanks for telling the truth. I suspect this article will be read far and wide for months to come. One piece of food for thought (pun intended) -- you say you would "not be able to pay [your] bills." Might this be, in part, because you live in the most expensive city in America?

As an writer, one has the ability to live most anywhere and still ply your trade. I wonder if food writers like T. Susan Chang have an advantage by living in a rural (and therefore far more afforable) setting?

Img_7311web

over 2 years ago ElizabethQ

Thank you for this wise advice. I love how you put things in perspective and reminded us that we have to find other ways to pay our bills, while continuing our love for food writing. What a great piece. I shall bookmark and keep this one to re-read every time I need to remind myself why I'm doing what I'm doing....cooking and writing about it.

Img_7311web

over 2 years ago ElizabethQ

Thank you for this wise advice. I love how you put things in perspective and reminded us that we have to find other ways to pay our bills, while continuing our love for food writing. What a great piece. I shall bookmark and keep this one to re-read every time I need to remind myself why I'm doing what I'm doing....cooking and writing about it.

Infiniti_scarf_tan_1_

over 2 years ago MadisonMayberry

What a great post, Amanda. I thank my lucky stars that I do get to write about food for a living. I started out interning for a major magazine in the food department, but found full-time employment after graduation as a food editor in the marketing side of the business. There are so many different avenues to take, though it seems that the traditional magazine jobs are few and far between.

Default-small

over 2 years ago fischtail

Thank you for this article. I will bookmark it and share it with every student who comes into my office asking me for advice on how to start their careers in food writing. As the Director of Publishing at The Culinary Institute of America they think I'm going to have and share the big secret ... the ONE thing that will make them successful. Most of the time I just muddle through and try to be realistic without crushing their dreams.

Default-small

over 2 years ago iambaker

I really like this. Its real, its honest, and yet inspiring. (if you don't mind the simple summarization) it basically says get out there and live! Share YOUR experience and expand upon your life experiences. I think that's what its all about!

As I embark on this book writing process I am plagued with self doubt. I see others put out books with beautiful content, with fabulous recipes, with photos that take my breath away... I immediately go to this dark and deprecating place. "I cant do that. No one wants to know what I have to say about cake. What am I doing? Fooling no one, that's what I am doing."

But this has renewed some hope in me. Maybe, just maybe, if I am true to my vision, it will be a work I am proud of. Not New York Times Best selling, but maybe a step in the direction of my dreams. (man that got windy)

Thanks for this!

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Perhaps it doesn't say much for my voice ;), but I don't think I can really add anything to the great comments already here. Thank you so much for sharing this honest and insightful perspective Amanda.

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh, one thing to add, I love the books in the top photograph! Coming from a family of antiquarians, I just adore beautiful bindings, and those are lovely.

Default-small

over 2 years ago amytraverso

This advice is so right and also, in many ways, so sad. I'm one of those editors (gratefully and hopefully) clinging to a staff job at a regional magazine. I wrote a cookbook and as satisfying as that has been, I've learned first-hand how hard it is to make a living in book publishing (and my goodness, if Amanda can't live off her earnings, what hope is there for any of us?). It is a confusing and, in many ways, discouraging time. I think half the problem is that we don't know where we're headed. The unknowability of it all ramps up the tension. Will the market shift, or are we living in an era where writing alone is no longer a very marketable skill?

I just attended the IACP conference, where the message at most every workshop I attended boiled down to what Amanda said: we're not quite sure where things are headed, it's tough out there, pick up as many skills as you can, build an audience, and work constantly.

The saddest thing for me is that writers are, with rare exceptions, unable to devote themselves to that one craft anymore (or, in the case of food writing, to the joint crafts of cooking and writing). They have to be mad multi-taskers, marketers, and entrepreneurs, and those skill sets aren't always concurrent in one person. Also, it's much easier to thrive in the current market if you aren't also trying to nurture a family life or have outside hobbies. And if you are trying to do all those things, you'll either need independent wealth, an inexpensive lifestyle or a partner who earns more money.

If that sounds terribly grim and whiny, let me leaven it with some awareness that it is indeed a privilege to be able to make a partial living as a food writer. I've worked as a temp, a sales clerk, a tobacco packer, and a research assistant and this is so much more fun. I guess I just haven't quite let go of the way things used to be. And it's jarring to absorb the message that the market values your work less and less. But many other industries have faced the same reality over the decades. We shift and adapt.

I do hope that good journalism, good writing and good recipes---or good, ack, "content"---will continue to have some value in the future, however they're delivered. I see the upside in dissolving the old barriers for would-be writers. And setting aside the question of, y'know, getting paid, it *is* a very exciting time in food. Very exciting. There's so much happening out there in every part of the country. I just hope we all succeed in finding our place in the new landscape.

10418200_10152408596764870_7144640970824171221_n

over 2 years ago Gabriella Paiella

Gabriella is a PR & Audience Development Director at Food52.

For someone who just graduated college last year (and had the wonderful opportunity to briefly intern at a little food writing start-up), this is an incredibly refreshing read. It's the perfect middle ground on the spectrum of advice that ranges from "just follow your dreams" to "have you ever considered law school?" Thanks for this, Amanda!

Default-small

over 2 years ago amytraverso

Gabriella, from what I hear, law school isn't such a sure path either these days! Oh
to find your bliss in computer programming...

Default-small

over 2 years ago Petesus

Thanks! I love to cook, prepare, shop for and present food. And feed my family and friends. It's a joy to just To just be able to be in the kitchen and create.

Love to all of you! Xoxox

Jwl_001

over 2 years ago jwlucas

Smell that smell? It's the wet smoke of my burning dreams.

Default-small

over 2 years ago FloatingIsland

Wonderful advice for all writers. I am forwarding this to my daughter in college who is majoring in English and Dance and just called to wonder if she should be committing herself to something with more job possibility/security. We told her to follow her dreams. With this advice to diversify and build a foundation of varied abilities, she can be smart about trying to do both,

Default-small

over 2 years ago Carly Fisher

Finally! I'm so happy to see an article that explains the real life of being a food writer. In journalism school, they never had advice for food writers. I was snubbed from publications and offered multiple unpaid internships (and am still offered "a byline" as payment eight years later) before obtaining my dream job. And then once I had that, I burned out about two years later after working infinite hours as a full-time independent contractor with no budget and responsible for my own taxes.

It's certainly do-able if you are passionate about it and don't mind living on low funds/being a workhorse with no upwards mobility. But I think there's a misconception about food writing that appears much more glamorous than it is. Unless you have a wealthy partner, eventually reality sets in when you realize that conviction and great storytelling don't pay bills or facilitate longterm goals.

One thing I would say for those who are trying to make it as food writers: you should all be mobilizing for higher rates. Every time you take a shitty rate, you lower the standard for all writers. And if you're willing to work for free, you might as well own your own work and make a meaningful blog. Get your own following and own your own work. "Great bylines" with substandard pay just lead to other great bylines with substandard pay.

Dsc00364

over 2 years ago Carol Blymire

Carol is a gluten-free chef and food blogger currently cooking her way through the Alinea Cookbook.

"One thing I would say for those who are trying to make it as food writers: you should all be mobilizing for higher rates. Every time you take a shitty rate, you lower the standard for all writers. And if you're willing to work for free, you might as well own your own work and make a meaningful blog. Get your own following and own your own work. "Great bylines" with substandard pay just lead to other great bylines with substandard pay. "

THIS.

Default-small

over 2 years ago witloof

Hi Amanda,

Off topic -- but I was in the audience last night at the 92nd St. Y and was not very happy about the other person on stage, who is not especially articulate or interesting, being allowed to drone on and on and on, cutting you off every time you spoke. Next time don't let it happen!!!

2008-10-25_picture_-_017

over 2 years ago Stefanie Samara Hamblen

I am currently in the process of phasing out other income in favor of food income, but I am incredibly diversified. Hogtown HomeGrown, the newsletter I started without a business plan back in 2006 is successful, but the advertising revenue isn't snough to live on. The Illegal Jam Company, my cottage food business, generates a little money too, but not much. The freelance writing for a local magazine (formerly owned by the NY Times Company) (btw between 25 and 40 cents per word!) will never be enough to keep body and soul together. So I supplement it all with cooking classes and demos paid for by organizations that have food education grants. Luckily, my husband has a job with benefits and the kids are all out of the house.

Bri

over 2 years ago ichibanbrianne

Thank you Amanda, this came at brilliant time for me. As you pointed out, with myriad online sources for food writing these days, it is kind of a schizophrenic minefield, but it's true that this is one of the more exciting moments in American food, and the hands-on opportunities are key to informing the kind of writing that so many of us crave.

Photo-1

over 2 years ago Meatballs&Milkshakes

Really wonderful article that totally resonated with me. I started a blog last year for the fun of it and would love if I eventually turned it into part of my professional life, but I'm under no illusions because there are a multitude of wonderful blogs out there and it will also take a certain amount of luck to make that happen. For the moment, just focusing on making what I do better.

Pig_roast

over 2 years ago ravenouswoman

Yes, yes!!! Thank you so much, Amanda, and also to you, Meatballs&Milkshakes, for making this comment. While it's been noted that there are some less than stellar blogs out there, it's wonderful to be reminded that writing is a process. We all have to do our darnedest to keep working on our practice. Before I started my blog, I worried about being a bad food blogger and wanted every word to be perfect like a "proper food writer." Now I wake up every day, good post or bad, and am grateful that I showed up to write and shared it. People are scrutinizing by nature, but it's better to put that energy into focusing on our own work.

The real love of writing is when you know you will keep doing it whether it pays or not. Thanks for the reminder to keep up the practice regardless of results.

Default-small

over 2 years ago PhotoGirl

Excellent article. I give very similar advice to newcomers who ask me for my thoughts about starting a photography business. Things are no longer what they were "back in the day." But that doesn't mean you give up on your dreams.

Default-small

over 2 years ago theindolentcook

Thank you for this piece. I would love to write for a living, but I did squander quite a few years on my way to this realization, and I think I came onto the blogging scene a little late. Via my blog, though, I've been finding myself, and my voice. I hope it leads to something, eventually. I'll be keeping your advice in mind.

Buddhacat

over 2 years ago SKK

Wonderful article. Appreciate not only the honesty, but the well-thought out 7 action steps. And the history of food writing "The observers kept out the doers."

Amanda, you are an Entrepreneur in the best sense of the word.

I also very much appreciate your commitment to young writers! Am sending this on to my daughter.

Default-small

over 2 years ago clairec

Thank you Amanda!

Default-small

over 2 years ago BocaCindi

Great article. Sometimes the truth hurts. I'm not starting a career now, but if I was I would hope that I would read this piece and heed the hands-on advice. It's not all about grammar and I like to eat. Blogs are so great, but I can certainly see how they take the steam out of being a highly sought after skilled food writer. I don't have to wait until Wednesday or Thursday anymore to read food articles and new innovations in the food world from my local newspaper; I can go to the Internet. Thanks for the honesty in a world of 'work hard and you can do it'. That's not necessarily the case anymore. It's not that it's bad; it's just different.

Default-small

over 2 years ago Gloria Nicol

I can only comment from a UK perspective, but from my experience, the handful in a position to commission paid work, don't actually read blogs because they don't need to. Also as they are generally in paid work, they don't get why anyone might work for love, apart from possibly for the kudos of contributing for free to their publication / website. There is a huge chasm between those paid to do what they do and the open source community.
Blogging is a fantastic way of finding your own voice though.

Img_0788_hsm

over 2 years ago Sasha (Global Table Adventure)

Fascinating article... I once read that it takes years to build credibility in the blogging world, if only because it is so saturated with content (as you mentioned)... I was actually telling my niece (who is in college for art/graphics) to start a blog in her field ASAP... it can be her calling card, her resume, and her portfolio. If starting one early concerns you because your voice might change over time (mine definitely has and will continue to do so since I'm still learning), you can always add another blog and possibly delete the first (I've done that before - little half projects from my college days that I later lost interest in)...

Dsc01242

over 2 years ago Lynne Faubert

Great article and viewpoint. I would also add that writing about food goes beyond publishing. For the past 20 years, I have worked for food manufacturers writing recipe booklets, retail advertising, corporate websites, etc. In time, my expertise opened doors in publishing, magazines, TV shows and cookbook ghost writing. Yes, I started way back when but the need for writers who understand food and have a knack for advertising has never been bigger. It's a good place to start. And, with advertising budgets, a profitable one too, if I do say so :)

Default-small

over 2 years ago jeanmarieok

Great article - especially the advice to never eat the same meal twice!!!

Food52_photo

over 2 years ago ENunn

Amanda, I think this is the first really informative, honest piece I've read on this topic. I will pass it on!

Stringio

over 2 years ago EllenMalloy

I hope everyone in food reads this, not just food writers. Because even cooks should consider ideas outside of just cooking in a restaurant. This is, indeed, an exciting time and embracing, rather than being afraid of, innovation is vital to actually making our food community stronger and more vibrant.

Img_3507

over 2 years ago mehrunnisa

Amanda, thank you for this bare bones and honest advice! It's really helpful.

Cutting_up_lobster

over 2 years ago NotesOnDinner

What a fantastic letter to all of us struggling writers! Thank you so much for your generous, thoughtful and realistic advice!

Default-small

over 2 years ago Pavlov

I'm pretty sure you left something out. Do it because you love to do it above all else. It can't ever be for the money. If that happens to come your way it's just gravy...delicious, delicious, fat and rich gravy.