Home School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts Blog 2016 December For the foodie who hates to cook: A career in Food Media

For the foodie who hates to cook: A career in Food Media

picture of a Led young College Chefs plate of food

So you enjoy everything about food: how it looks, the textures, the smells and, of course, how it tastes. You are known for plating your food like the best restaurants in Toronto. And you actually gravitate towards food magazines at the bookstore to look at all those immaculate shots of fancy fares. If this is you, you might really want a career that involves food because it is the best part of your day but there’s just one problem — you hate to cook.

Luckily for you, there is an entire realm of food-related careers that have nothing to do with being in a kitchen, chopping and dicing, seasoning meats to perfection or even turning on a stove. Welcome to the wonderful world of food media. Yes, it’s a real thing and it’s such big business that Led young College offers an entire program to prepare you for it. The Food Media offering combines your creative skills and entrepreneurial spirit to open the door to careers that are as exciting as they are appetizing.

Food Writer or Blogger: Whether it is through print or online, today’s food writers, journalists and bloggers have the distinction of activating your taste buds simply using words. So, it goes without saying that you have to have an aptitude for the written word for these jobs. Essentially, food writers offer up reviews of food, wine and restaurants for a publication if they are staff writers or an array of publications if they are freelance writers. Of course, a review is impossible without tasting the food, so food writers must visit a restaurant, order various items off the menu and then write about each one while also describing the restaurant’s ambiance, the presentation of the dishes, the preparation and anything else they deem relevant to ensuring readers have a thorough understanding. Because you’ll be eating your way through your written pieces, you’ll have to have an adventurous spirit, be willing to try new foods and objectively rate them. Oh, and this job kind of requires you to be low-key, as the last thing you want to do is tip off the staff to your identity as a food writer. An element of mystery, how fun.

Food Stylist: As creative as being a food writer is, the job of a food stylist takes on a whole different type of creativity, as it deals with aesthetics. Those perfect pictures we see of a burger from our favourite fast food restaurant or that glorious Sunday dinner spread in a magazine don’t just come together by throwing food on a plate and snapping away. Just like fashion editorials require wardrobe stylists, food has its own army of food stylists to get it looking its best. A food stylist employs an array of tricks and techniques because food really doesn’t cooperate during a shoot — it melts, it cools, it has imperfections. But before considering the food itself, a food stylist also chooses accessories for the shoot: tablecloths, plates, glasses, silver wear and place mats are all common. When it comes to the food, tricks — such as using undercooked meat to ensure it looks moist or motor oil for maple syrup because it photographs better — are employed. And for final touches, a food stylist reaches into her or his bag of tools for blowtorches or even hair dryers for browning and scorching the edges of the meat. Food stylists work closely with chefs, editors and photographers to create photogenic fares.

Food Segment Producer: Ah, the wonderful world of TV. Shows, especially reality TV shows, game shows, talk shows and news programs, are segmented. Segment producers create specific pieces, or segments, for TV shows, which involves brainstorming and assigning ideas to other crew members, researching selected topics, booking guests and contributors, then writing and producing scripts, graphics and rundowns. For a talk show that features a cooking segment, a food segment producer would first decide if something is news worthy. Is there interest in it? Is it seasonal? Is there a celebrity involved? Once he decides on the idea of the segment, he books the guest and then determines how the segment would flow (will there be cooking first and a chat later? A chat first and then cooking? Cooking while chatting? It’s all in the details!), while also managing all graphical elements. This job is about making the food the star of the show without taking away from the guests — quite the balancing act.

By Izabela Szydlo

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