Award-winning food writer David Leite spills the beans: “Keep it short and sweet.” Aspiring food writers may dream of launching their careers with juicy 2,000 word profiles of celebrity chefs and all-expense paid trips to far-flung locations. But according to Food Writing instructor David Leite, in real life your first clip should (and probably will) be an engaging short piece that establishes your credibility with an editor.
David encourages new food writers to “become culinary adventurers, constantly ferreting out new and noteworthy stories.” Editors will jump at your front-of-the-book pieces — even if you don’t have a track record with them — as long as the ideas are sharp, fresh, and informative. What’s the perfect FOB? “One that’s so intriguing, it ends up taped to your refrigerator door.”
Learning to write short is an art: “When you’ve got only 75 to 100 words, you have to get your point across quickly and show you’ve got an ear for the magazine’s style and tone.” These skills will serve you well on longer assignments.
In his classes, David has students start with front-of-the-book pieces, and he meticulously line-edits their prose until it sparkles. His students have been published in The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Gourmet, Epicurious.com, and his own James Beard award-winning site Leite’s Culinaria.
Veteran journalist, food columnist, and cookbook author Ramin Ganeshram teaches the next session of Food Writing: Intermediate, beginning February 8.