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Discussion in 'Open Forum With Denise Landis' started by chrose, Feb 11, 2006.

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  1. chrose

    chrose

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    Denise,
    Hello and welcome to Cheftalk. You have had quite the eclectic upbringing and career.
    I can see where your childhood would give you a deep seated foundation of food.
    We see it often where people are successful in careers that are far different than what they were originally trained for. The answer is probably obvious, but do you miss Archeology at all?
    Also based on your experience with recipe testing and writing for newspapers and magazines is there any suggestions you would have for career changers. Do you think that if one is not in a large city there are still the options available? What kind of things would you suggest a person work on to put them in a position to have a shot at writing and or testing. (I hope I was clear enough, my train of thought was derailed by an interruption :look: )
     
  2. denise landis

    denise landis

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    I'm still interested in history and archeology, but I don't miss my former career. I loved the traveling that came from being an itinerant archeologist, but I still travel quite a bit. I loved digging in the earth and the sense that any day could bring new surprises and discoveries. My current job as a recipe tester is satisfying in that it too brings surprises every day. Every time the phone rings or I get an email there is a strong possibility that it will mean a new recipe -- or batch of recipes, or even a whole cookbook -- to test. And I never know what kind of recipe it might be. As far as digging in the earth...Well, I began to garden once I left the city, so I get to play in the dirt and smell the earth, put things into the ground and take them out.

    It certainly isn't necessary to live in the city to change careers, especially with the internet. I go to New York City only a few times a year, mainly to socialize and go to restaurants. My advice for very young people (students) is to study culinary arts if they want to go into any aspect of the food business, and if they are uncertain about what they want to do, I suggest they consider a double major (offered at such schools as Johnson & Wales University) in culinary arts and business. However, if you already have a career and are perhaps not very young nor old enough to retire, your best move might be to experiment a little. Try to do some work for a local publication. That is, if you have any experience at all involving food, you can ask to meet with an editor to discuss writing occasional articles. Make sure you go to the meeting with a folder of ideas and a writing sample. You can also write an article "on spec" (make sure it isn't time-sensitive) and submit it to an editor of your local newspaper or a local magazine. Editors do want good articles and are always looking for new talent. Don't expect to make much money, so do not give up your day job unless you are independently wealthy, have a supportive mate, or are retired. Once you start selling articles, no matter how small or infrequently, you can approach other, larger, publications. The main thing is to get started and to persist.

    Last, I am sure you realize that you need to have some skill in order to succeed. If you want to write, ask someone who is knowledgeable to critique your work (every newspaper or magazine writer or cookbook author has an editor, and sometimes several). Be confident that you know what you are talking about (don't write about a Japanese restaurant if you've had Japanese food only a few times) and make sure your grammar and spelling are correct. To break into recipe testing, it's best if you can first get some experience in food writing or editing, or if you are lucky, in a professional test kitchen.
     
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