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If you love food as much as you love to write, then consider combining your passions into one exciting career and becoming a food writer.
Food writing is a burgeoning field with a ton of consumer interest, and it’s an excellent option for any writer who enjoys creating, learning about, and (of course) eating lots of great food.
Before you start to look for food writing jobs, it’s helpful to learn what this sort of work entails. And to help you out, we’ve put together this quick guide to becoming a food writer, with helpful advice and a look at some of the different approaches to food writing that you might want to take. Let’s dig in.
Food writing refers to any type of written media dedicated to talking about food. This includes personal essays and memoirs, recipes and cookbooks, blogs, literary food writing, and food and restaurant criticism.
With so much diversity in the field, there’s ample opportunity to find your footing and see what you like to do best. You can also pursue multiple types of food writing at once to establish a well-rounded portfolio and build experience for future opportunities and food writing jobs.
Famous Examples of Food Writing
Knowing how to describe food in writing is a unique skill, and it’s one that all famous food writers have to be able to bring to the table. It’s also the defining link between the various types of food writing, since regardless of whether you’re writing the introduction to a recipe or a critique of a local restaurant, you need to be able to not just tell your readers about the food itself but about what makes it special.
You can find great works of food writing in bookstores, magazines, and on the internet. And while there’s a long list of renowned work in this field, here are some of the pieces that you might want to check out as you pursue your own food writing career:
- Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin
- Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
- The Art of Eating by MFK Fisher
- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
- The Feast Nearby by Robin Mather
- The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten
You can also find plenty of inspiration by looking at leading food magazines like Bon Appétit and Food and Wine, which in addition to recipes also feature tons of original and well-written commentary on food and its place in our lives.
What About Food Blogging?
You don’t need a book deal or a role at a glossy magazine in order to get your food writing published. In fact, some of today’s most prolific voices on food—think Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen and Ree Drummond, a.k.a. The Pioneer Women—got their start as food bloggers, a medium open to anyone with a computer and a passion for sharing their thoughts about food.
Starting a food blog is a fantastic jumping off point for an aspiring food editor or writer. Bonus points if you excel at food photography, since successfully writing about food has as much to do with images as it does the words themselves.
10 Food Blogging Examples
As with other types of food writing, looking to those who have come before is always a useful exercise. With that in mind, take a deep dive into these 10 top food blogs to learn more about what captures readers’ attention and how to describe food in writing in a way that keeps your audience on the page.
- Alexandra’s Kitchen
- David Lebovitz
- Deliciously Ella
- Half Baked Harvest
- How Sweet Eats
- Joy the Baker
- Love and Lemons
- Smitten Kitchen
- Pinch of Yum
- The Pioneer Woman
While primarily recipe-focused, these blogs take the cake when it comes to connecting with readers about food—not just how it tastes but how it helps us connect with the world around us. Bookmark a few favorites and you’ll have endless inspiration for how to write and talk about food (as well as for what you might like to cook for dinner later).
Develop Your Food Blogging Style
How to Create an Engaging Food Blog Post
If you have the skills, you can break into food writing—even with no experience. Here’s how.
Step 1: Find Your Niche
Every writer needs to find their niche. Beyond just general food writing, think about what areas interest you the most, be it recipe creation, agriculture, food history, food and culture, food and travel, or any other slightly-more-specific take on the topic.
Step 2: Start a Blog
This step isn’t a necessity, but starting your own food blog will help you establish a body of work that you can share with publishers. In the case of the bloggers mentioned above, it might even be the thing that kick starts your food writing career into something bigger than you can even imagine.
Step 3: Pitch Publications
There are many digital and print publications that talk about food, including those that aren’t entirely food-centric but that include a section dedicated to food and/or restaurant criticism.
Look at the big names, but don’t underestimate the power of smaller and local publications too, all of which can be great stepping stones to more opportunities.
Step 4: Network
Just as you would with any type of freelance writing, connect with others in the field to increase your knowledge base and forge strong relationships. You never know where your next opportunity will come from—or from whom.
Becoming a food writer or food editor almost always starts with pitching. Everybody has to get their foot in the door somehow, and pitches can help you get your writing in front of new people and publications.
So, wondering, “where can I submit food writing?” You have a ton of options, but here are some places to start:
- Food magazines: Travel + Leisure, Bon Appétit, Food and Wine, Eating Well, Saveur
- Smaller food publications: Look for local magazines and newspapers that include a food section.
- Food websites: Eater, Food52, Edible Communities, VICE Munchies, National Geographic’s The Plate
As with any writing niche, getting started in food writing will take time, effort, and a lot of practice. Keep at it and keep sending those pitches though, because this is one delicious way to make a living.
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