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How to Get Hired as a Food Writer

Free Guide Sample
by Tag and Catherine Goulet


How to Get Hired as a Food Writer
Published with permission from FabJob.

Break into the food lover's dream job!

Your Employment Packet

The first step to getting hired involves devising a self-marketing strategy. At the minimum, you will need an employment packet consisting of a well-thought-out resume, clever cover letter and writing samples.

The resume and cover letter are covered in the complete guide.

Your Writing Samples

The samples you show to your prospective employer will ideally match the medium and content of what is required in the job you are seeking. For a radio spot, experience writing radio news would be a good example. National magazines will expect to see published clips from regional or small circulation magazines.

Go over everything you've had published so far. If nothing relates to food, don't despair. Offer your potential employer three solid writing samples, whether they are humor, investigative reporting or an editorial for the college newspaper. Do you have professional writing experience? Previously published writing clips will show your abilities; food-writing samples can push you to the front of the crowd.

If you don't have any writing samples yet, keep reading. This guide covers a number of ways to amass a collection of clips such as posting your work online, starting your own newspaper or newsletter, offering to review restaurants for free, self-syndicating, freelancing food-related articles as well as tons of advice about how to come up with ideas for a story. All this and more is still to come in this guide. ...

Major Markets


Each major city has a daily paper; most communities have weeklies. Really big cities have competing dailies, alternative papers and papers in the suburbs. The variety and sheer number of papers make them a good place to start a job hunt or begin a career in food writing.

For example, I live near a mid-sized city. There are two daily papers, one large chain of community weeklies, a number of independent weeklies, a paper devoted to food and restaurants, a weekly paper on music and arts in the area, senior citizen newspapers, community newsletters and free shopper newspapers in every grocery store and gas station, as well as a business journal. While not all publishers are interested in my story ideas on food and dining, there is still a lot of fertile ground to sell my writing.

Freelance First

Look around your region. Do the dailies have an established restaurant reviewer? See this as a challenge, not an obstacle. Your best bet for breaking in is to establish a relationship with the paper first, so contact the feature editor and pitch a food-related story. This doesn't get you a food writing job immediately, but you'll make a contact in the newspaper business that may lead to other contacts, and if he likes the story, you will end up with at least one published food article to add to your writing clips discussed earlier.

Begin with a list of publications that might be interested in your story idea. If the papers don't overlap in readership, you might even be able to sell the story idea to more than one publication. You should try to contact the editor to pitch your idea-sending unsolicited ideas is not as successful because the editor does not have the time to read them all.

How do you make the initial contact? My experience has shown that e-mailing an editor has about a 50-50 chance of success: half will read it and answer; half will never read it because they don't really use their e-mail or they're too busy with other things. The quickest way to determine if you stand a chance selling a story to a newspaper is to pick up the phone and speak to the editor in person.

This can be a simple question, "Do you use freelance writers?" or "I would like to write an article for you on the buffalo farm in Carlisle County. May I send you an outline of my story idea?" The decision might be made right over the phone if the editor is interested. Be ready to run with it if you hear, "I like the idea; I need it by next Wednesday."

TIP: Some publications rarely use freelance writers; many more have regulars they use. Calling will save you time trying to figure out if it was your story idea or your writing experience that the editor didn't like, when in reality it was the simple fact that they don't use freelancers.

How do you hook an editor with your story idea? Just like you hook a fish using its preferred bait, hook an editor using something he or she can use. Study the publication you are planning to contact. Have they published a similar story in the recent past? Who are this particular magazine or newspaper's readers and why should they read your article? Answer these questions first for each publication you approach and you'll spend less time sending out unanswered article queries.

Here is a sample story idea:

It's summer in the city. do you believe in magic? Zal Yanovsky, former guitarist of the Lovin' Spoonful, certainly must. His restaurant, Chez Piggy and bakery, Pan Chancho are the hit of the Kingston, Ontario downtown scene. It might be his flamboyant style that keeps residents coming back and tourists seeking out his businesses. Whatever it is, he is a success as a restaurateur and I want to tell your readers how he made the transition from wild-living musician playing with the likes of Cass Elliott, Denny Doherty and John Sebastian to admired, respected businessman. who just happens to be a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The article will be based on a one-on-one interview with Mr. Yanovsky, as well as a day spent in his restaurant and bakery. I will include a mini-review of dinner at Chez Piggy as a side story.

I will have the completed manuscript in your hands within three weeks.

If you intend to use your creative writing as a food writer, it's none too soon to begin thinking creatively. Brainstorm for stories you can suggest to the editor:

  • Do you have the inside track on a food industry issue, a new food trend or celebrity chef?
  • Search out organic farms in the area or introduce yourself to the exotic mushroom farmer in the next county.
  • Suggest you cover a local food event.
  • Write an informational article on a winemaker's dinner that a local restaurant is hosting.
  • Is there a winery in your expanded area? Write about your day at the winery-touring, dining and tasting.
  • Report on the farmer's market at the beginning of the season, or on the judges at the state fair's canning contests.
  • List your favorite bread baking books and include three excellent recipes.
  • Write on a particular cuisine-e.g. macrobiotics as medicine-and offer links to websites and mail-order resources, as well as the nearest restaurants that offer this type of food.

Another idea is to choose a food topic that stands alone - bread, for example. Jeffrey Steingarten in his book The Man Who Ate Everything devotes an entire chapter to finding the right water, the right temperature and the right flour to create a sponge that will cause a yeast-free bread to rise. He travels around the country seeking advice and watching the experts - as food writer for Vogue magazine, this is all part of his job.

Once you hook an editor with your story idea and deliver an exceptionally well-written article, you've made inroads into the job of your dreams. Even if no other opportunity comes from that article you've got a wonderful clip to use on your way up. Alternative weeklies pay around $50, while an article at a daily newspaper should bring in $75 to $150.

Visit Here to find the career of your dreams.

The above is only a small sample of the valuable information in the FabJob Guide to Become a Food Writer by Pamela White. You can have all the information in this guide for an incredible special price. Just one meal at a top restaurant might cost you $50 or more. This guide will show you how to get paid to enjoy free meals from many fine restaurants. Visit for more information.

Author Pamela White is a newspaper food critic. In this guide she shares her own experiences as well as insider tips and expert advice from other successful food writers, editors, and critics on how you can break into a career in professional food writing.

by Tag and Catherine Goulet:
Sisters Tag and Catherine Goulet are the Dream Career Experts. In 1999 they founded, the leading publisher of guides on how to break into a dream career, which has been visited by 50 million people. They have been featured in media from ABC to and Woman's Day to the Wall Street Journal online, and their career advice appears on the career pages at AOL, CNN, and MSN. They are authors of Dream Careers and other career books. Visit to discover how to break into your dream career. is featured in Woman's World Magazine ("Land Your Dream Job" article, April 2007).

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