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The Many Flavors of Food Writing

About This Course

For newsroom staffers, freelance writers and aspiring online publishers, now more than ever is a boom time for people interested in the subject of food.

But when we talk about “food writing,” what do we mean? Is it getting the early word out about a new restaurant, or is it spending time with immigrant farmers and learning about their native foodways?

This webinar explores the different formats that publications today look for and readers enjoy, and the different writing muscles required — everything from reported features about food sources to the all-important service journalism that helps people know where to spend their money when they dine out. We will also focus on two formats that often attract ambitious writers: critical restaurant reviews and personal essays.



What Will I Learn

  • The rules (as established by the Association of Food Journalists) for writing fair reviews as well as the technique for establishing critical voice
  • Roundups, holidays, openings and closings: the bread and butter of dining service journalism
  • The personal essay: Everyone has a food story to tell. What’s yours?
  • Recipe packages: how to tell a quick story with recipes
  • The tricky ethics of having free food and drink everywhere
  • Using social media to establish voice and authority

Who Should Take this Course:

Staff journalists hoping to upgrade their publication's food channel, freelance feature writers looking for tips on breaking into food writing, seasoned pros looking to switch beats or anyone interested in getting serious about the craft of food writing.

Course Instructor

John Kessler

John Kessler

John Kessler recently ended an 18-year career at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he wrote about food and served as the newspaper’s dining critic. A graduate of Williams College, he attended L’Academie de Cuisine culinary school near Washington, D.C., and worked for several years as a restaurant cook and chef in Washington and Denver. His writing has received many awards, including the National Headliner Award and four citations from the James Beard Foundation.

He currently serves as chairman of the James Beard Foundation’s journalism awards committee. His essays, columns and food features have been anthologized 10 times in “Best Food Writing.” He is working on a book with The Giving Kitchen — the beyond-expectation resource for restaurant workers employed in the Atlanta restaurant community facing unanticipated crisis. He currently lives and writes in Chicago.