Chef worship

October 2009

What did I mean by my little dig at this modern tendency? Let me illustrate with a story. A student of mine (I teach courses in writing about food at the NSW Writers’ Centre) was asking someone at UTS about the journalism course there. “And what type of journalism do you want to do?” “Food,” she replied. “No!” said the UTS person. “That’s so boring!”

And there’s the problem. Sadly, most food writing today is restaurant and chef gossip. But there’s so much more to food. Read Michael Pollan, Paul Richardson and the abovementioned Fuschia Dunlop for starters. As I tell my students, when the next thing you put in your mouth could kill, maim, sicken or delight you, the engaged food writer can never ever say “I don’t know what to write about.”

I love going out to restaurants, I respect and admire really good chefs — but I also respect and admire really good farmers, providores and retailers. End of rant.

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