Jun 072010
Besha Rodell is the the award winning food writer and restaurant critic for Creative Loafing. She is regularly published in national magazines such as Maxim, Every Day With Rachael Ray, and Time Out New York. She has won numerous awards from the Association of Food Journalists (including first place for food feature writing last year), and she has been nominated for a James Beard Award. She has a lot of (encouraging) things to say about the place of of food writers in the present climate of changing media. So check out her interview below, where Besha, who will cohost a food-writing workshop with Hollis Gillespie this Saturday, answers a few questions about the delectable field of food writing:
SRL: What are a few key differences between food writing and writing in general?

Besha: Writing about taste is incredibly difficult. Think about it – how many synonyms are there for ‘crunchy’? You have to be at once very descriptive and at the same time not too flowery, which is hard.
Food writing, like music writing, is incredibly subjective. So passion is key. But like all good writing, it’s about story telling. If you have a great story, everything else will fall into place.

SRL: Give us one industry insight on how to pitch a food-related piece to a well-known publication?

Besha: Read the publication! I get so many pitches for things we don’t cover, and more importantly would never cover (like the new packaging for the latest Miller beer).

SRL: You are a food editor for one of the largest local papers in the country, what are you looking for when people pitch food pieces to you?

Besha: I’m looking for writers who understand our readers. This means being tuned in to the food nerd community in Atlanta. I’m also looking for voice and passion and a strong point of view.

SRL: Why is it that the food-writing genre has experienced a boon in recent years as the media industry experiences new-media transformation?

I think food transitions especially well to new media – food blogs just work. It’s also because food is so localized that newspapers and magazines can’t get away with outsourcing to national outlets. You can buy a movie review from the AP wire, you can’t buy a local restaurant review. But it also has to do with the food revolution in general – more people are interested in food now than ever before. People are going back to the kitchen for the first time in generations, and everyone is restaurant obsessed. Food is universal – not everyone has to read books or watch movies or drive cars or watch sports to survive — we’ve all gotta eat. And there are surprisingly few people writing about it well. I actually have a very difficult time finding food writers for the paper. I think people think it’s one of those dream jobs they’d never get so they don’t even try. But there’s a huge market for it.

You heard it, folks, there’s a huge market for it! Come to the Shocking Real Life Food Writing “Eat, Drink & Get Published” workshop this Saturday from 11-5. You can pitch to Besha as well as learn the secrets of writing and selling your food-related writing pieces, whether they come in the form of a book manuscript, blog, newspaper or magazine article. The class also includes a wine tasting and Epicurean pot luck! (Enrollees are encouraged to bring a sample of their signature dish.)

The workshop is held in the notorious Sister Louisa Art Gallery in the Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium (“Come on in, Precious!”) in the charming Virginia Highlands neighborhood of Atlanta. Click HERE for a map to the location.

In this class, you will learn:

  • How to write compelling pitch letters
  • How to approach print editors and web editors with your ideas
  • The components that make up an engaging food writing essay
  • Which magazines and websites are easiest to break into
  • Today’s most popular food writing topics
  • How to understand the market of food writing and food blogging
  • How to write and edit a recipe for print
  • How to contanct a literary agent for your boffo recipe-book idea
  • How to start a blog (or refab the one you have)
  • And how to use your blog to sell yourself
Sign up NOW and confirm your seat! Hurry, this Atlanta food blog and writing workshop enrollment is very limited and we’ve sold out every blogging class! THIS IS A ONE-TIME EVENT. BOOK EARLY. Enrollments are limited and WE WILL SELL OUT!

The Shocking Real-Life Food Writing Workshop

Eat, Drink & Get Published!

Saturday, June 12, 11-5

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Cost: $175 (Includes Epicurean Pot Luck, wine tasting and inappropriate conversation.)

Click now and you’ll get an immediate email confirming your seat. Instant confirmation only available online (to pay by check, see below).