I don’t know how to put this in an entertaining format, so I’m just going to speak. Last week I felt defeated after an unsuccessful phone interview with a NYC food publication because I was told that I did not have enough recipe testing experience for an editorial position.
My immediate thought: WHAT? I know I look like I’m 14 in my photographs, but I’m 27 and onto my third career. Did she review my resume? After dedicating an entire year to culinary school, staging for multiple Chefs in NYC through the James Beard Foundation, and the time I spent learning how to cook in Italy… I don’t have enough experience in recipe testing? What else can I do? Is recipe testing the standard for every NYC food publication in order to write about food?
My passion in life is to eat and write about food, and I felt as if my entire world came crumbling down.
So I arrived at the Brooklyn Brewery at 7:00pm, interviewed a friend for a lululemon.com article as I stood on line, and entered the facility promptly at 7:45pm.
As I sat on the wooden bench in the second row from the front, I contemplated whether or not I should stay. I almost convinced myself to leave based on the fact that I didn’t pack a snack and that my stomach would growl so loud that it would interrupt the panel. But I didn’t. I popped a piece of gum in my mouth and stayed.
THE A-HA MOMENT: Gabrielle asked each of the panelists to start off by giving their 90 second version of how they got into the food writing business… and that’s when I realized “these are my people”. They all started off with careers they didn’t like and by age 30, they just wanted to write about food. They do not have culinary degrees, they do not recipe test; they just decided to write, and now they’re the senior editors of the best food publications in NY. Thank god.
REALITY CHECK: Based on my own experiences as well as advice from multiple book authors, I am well aware that food writers do not make any money. The only thing I am concerned about is having a career that I love for the rest of my life. I want to write, I want to travel, I want to eat, I want to speak with chefs, restaurateurs and other foodcentric people in the industry, so I was relieved when they confirmed journalism still exists.
Journalism is not dead, it’s just changing. There may not be jobs available like there were in the past, and it would be rare to find a full time job that pays over 40,000 + benefits, but journalism still exists. There’s no shame in taking jobs that pay the bills, or contributing posts on a volunteer basis to build your clips. Read, write and pitch stories.
Thank you ladies. It took me 3 degrees, 1 chefs certification, and an entire trip around the world to appreciate your words of advice.
Expect my email and I hope to meet for a cup of coffee in the future.