As an adamant traveler one of my favorite things to do is explore a new city via its food. Apparently I’m not the only one because there is a whole wide world of travel-food writing out there. In an effort to get the inside scoop on how to get started in this enviable business, I joined a dozen students at ICE’s recent Travel Writing with a Culinary Focus food media class to learn from accomplished travel-food writer and editor Sofia Perez.
Sofia provided invaluable information about the dos and don’ts of becoming a travel-food writer. Here are my favorite tasty tidbits of wisdom:
* Write what you know! Remember that something that is “local” to you is travel-food for everyone else in the world; YOU don’t need to travel to write a travel piece.
* Make the most of every trip you go on! Talk to everyone you can, note everything you eat and everything that intrigues you because it may come into play in later pieces you may write.
* Know the publications you’re submitting to! Each magazine has its own voice. Make sure your piece can be written to reflect different voices depending on who picks it up for publication.
* Do your homework: subject matter! Know as much as possible about what you’re writing about, not just how you feel about it.
* Do your homework: publications! Many publications make public their editorial calendars, so you can look at what kind of topics they’re working on and write pieces accordingly – also look at their recent archives, if they just ran a piece similar to yours try another publication.
Sofia also discussed where to go to get experience (I.E. at the very beginning, at least have a blog so editors can get an idea of your writing style and skill) and how to think of several other practical aspects of publishing, including your accompanying photos. The class also had a great advantage in that everyone had an opportunity to ask direct, specific questions, not to mention we now all have at least one contact to get us started. Time to start working on my travel-food repertoire!