Food Writing: More Than Just Restaurant Reviews

When most of us think of food writing, we usually conjure images of snide, perfectionist restaurant critics, droning on about things like the texture of salmon roe and the effervescent mouthfeel of pineapple slices sprinkled with cayenne. There’s little room in most of our heads for anything other than what we’ve seen on television.

But food writing is much more than restaurant reviews. And the best food writers should be able to do more than simply find the right words to describe a meal; they’ve got to be able to prepare one as well.

A short list of the disciplines included under the heading “food writing” would feature recipe development, food consulting, food journalism, marketing and promotion, and editorial work and proofreading.

Recipe Development is just that – the creation of new recipes. Developing recipes requires the ability to invent and test new dishes; a knack for technical writing also helps.

Food Consulting involves research on new food trends and fads, and the ability to develop and write clear, coherent syntheses of such trends. Advertising and public relations firms often hire food consultants to write fact sheets and prepare press releases.

Food Styling or is a combination of food writing with other media, like food photography. A good food stylist, or culinary stylist, can expertly produce advertising elements, design packaging, and act as a spokesperson for a food or recipe development company.

Quality food writers have a very specific command not only of cooking and baking, but of the food and restaurant industries, the steps involved in cookbook and recipe publishing, and journalistic techniques. Food writing requires a specialized vocabulary and knowledge of processes that are, at the same time, both artistic and technical.

Dan Macey, an award-winning journalist specializing in the food industry, has mastered all of these disciplines. Dan works with cookbook authors, corporate clients and other food writers to create thoroughly-researched articles and promotion pieces. Dan has also served as a spokesman at trade shows and on television.

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