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Food Writing Projects: brainstorming?

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

Cheftalk,

 

I've been perusing past nominees and finalists for the James Beard Foundation's food writing, journalism and photography categories and I was wondering if you would help me brainstorm or refine some topics that you feel are either underserved or would be interesting, fun and helpful? 

 

I've absolutely fallen in love with Bill Buford's "Heat" and now hourly dream and scheme how to reach similar success and contribute to the culture and business that surround food.  

 

https://www.jamesbeard.org/blog/complete-2015-jbf-award-nominees
https://www.jamesbeard.org/blog/2016-james-beard-award-winners

 

To get the juices flowing, here's a couple ideas:

 

  1. Study the world of tourist trap restaurants, exploring their business, their seasonality and the socio-economic environs they must operate in.  Alot of sexy places get all the limelight and I'm wondering what sort of stories might lurk within this somewhat shady, maybe awful world 
  2. A series of interviews focusing on a specific role or expertise in the kitchen brigade (saucier came to mind first).  Explore the techniques, the athleticism, the finesse required.  Everyone knows kitchens as hot, sharp, noisy places.  I'm interested in approaching chefs as athletes, and understanding the biomechanics and mental processes (philosophies, pharmacology etc) that help people create uncanny chemistry.  
  3. High level analysis for food reviewers, exploring influences beyond taste and smell that affect how people rate food.  Essentially, a tar and feather piece on yelp, tripadvisor etc.  Maybe this is old hat.
  4. Unglamorous kitchens: documenting how food is prepared on an institutional level - might not be alot of meat to this one.  Was thinking looking at school kitchens could be interesting.  Theyre pretty opaque spaces in US society.  
  5. Familial or cultural cooking traditions that havent been explored? Are there any that haven't been? I have a couple ideas that sorta fit into the "first responders cookbook" genre but arent yet-another-firehouse-cookbook sort of thing. 

 

What do you think? What stories need to be told? What is the public absolutely wrong or backwards about? 


Thank you for your time and consideration!

post #2 of 2

Not sure how to help but just want to say I'd love to read articles about any of those topics!  I'm especially interested in the topic of tourist traps and fast food.  What is it about these things that make people flock when I try to run as quickly away as possible?  

 

Also <-- dedicated yelper here.  When I'm writing my reviews I feel like I'm really contributing valuable information to other consumers but the review gets buried among reviewers who are not good writers who write about petty things like "they didn't have the type of beer I liked".  I wonder if there is a better review system that doesn't rely so heavily on the reviewer's ability to write.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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