Food Job: TV Star

Today, one hundred million households can tune into the Food Network. There are stations in New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, and Knoxville. There are viewers in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Monaco, Polynesia, and Great Britain. More people watch the Food Network than CNN. It no longer aims to teach cooking techniques or kitchen skills. Instead, it has lurched into the production of cooking shows featuring the assembly of store-bought components, and of cooking-competition shows that choose winners and losers. It also has an unfathomable addiction to cup cakes.

What is turning this huge audience on to all of it’s culinary idols, as featured on the Food Network though my impression is that Guy Fieri takes up 23 of the 24 hours a day. (Maybe many people like him?) Vast swaths of people appear to have the time to watch others cook and eat, and exclaim how good it all smells—but to have no time to cook for themselves.

Everything smells fabulous on the television screen. This phenomenon is frequently noted by Ina Garten, the “Barefoot Contessa,” who cooks for her well-heeled pals and punctuates every divine, “how easy is that?” moment with mirthless laughter. “Smells great” and the words “quick” and “easy” are well-known to the perpetually smiling and cleavage-revealing Giada and the lovely folk who come and go promising dinners that cost mere pennies and are quick and easy…and Oh Yes! Smells Great!!!

 

Breaking into the Food Media

The Emmy-nominated food-show producer and director Irene Wong offers some sound advice:

“If you want to be in front of the camera, my advice is to watch a lot of food programs. Get an idea of why each show works. Why is Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives among the most popular shows on the Food Network? Why is Rachael Ray so appealing? They’re giving the audience something they want. Figure out how you are going to deliver what you want to say about food, but also what the audience wants to hear. Find out what your food identity is, what your food voice is. Your brand. Make it stand out from everyone else. If you’re the only person who can deliver your brand, that will make you more attractive to television executives, because you will be irreplaceable.”

It also helps a lot to take a media training course.  Performing in front of a camera is a lot harder than it looks.

 

Food Job: Lobbyist

A lobbyist is someone who advocates for someone or an organization and gets paid for influencing legislation.  Every year, $9 billion is spent on lobbying.  It is the 3rd largest budget after government agencies and the food and tourist industries.

The Restaurant Association is just one among literally hundreds of special-interest advocates operating in Washington, D.C. These include lobbyists for agricultural and fishery industries, food processors, and every other corner of the big business of food. The American League of Lobbyists says: “We want people, young people, to enter government affairs and to be part of the great American political process.”

To be a great lobbyist you must be (or convincingly appear to be) passionate and knowledgeable about the cause you are advocating. Your rolodex and personal network are your most valuable possessions, second only to grease. Greased wheels lead to access to power. 43% of former congressmen have worked or are working as lobbyist.

To get a job as a lobbyist, try volunteering for a cause…you never know where it may lead.


Food Jobs 2 is #1 on Amazon Today!

Food Jobs 2 received #1 ranking in all categories today: Job Hunting, Cookbooks, Food & Wine, Essays, Career Development. All for less than the cost of sandwich!

Great Food Jobs 2

Reviews

“Witty, inspiring and full of new ideas, this companion book to Food Jobs will give you exciting ways to think about jobs. Chalmers gives new meaning to “thinking out of the box,” and fills the book with clever stories and lessons. Buy it if you already own the previous Food Jobs, as there’s all new information here — Dianne Jacob, author, Will Write for Food

Irena Chalmers knows more about the subject of working in the food world than any of the dozens of other experts we know. Continue reading

Radio Host Food Job

Being the host of a food-focused radio show must surely be among the most desirable of careers for anyone knowledgeable about food. If you would love to have your own radio program, this is how to get started.
Address a proposal to the radio-station manager in which you describe your idea in one short paragraph. For inspiration consider Food and Drink Magazine, a lively weekly radio program that celebrates the joys of food and drink. Late-breaking culinary news is heard there first, along with interviews and fascinating reports on the American food chain—the voyage of food from farm, to store, to skillet, to the plate.
Bullet points are always good to use in proposals. Using Food and Drink Magazine again as an example, if you were pitching that show, you might characterize it in the following manner:
• Food and Drink Magazine is modeled on the ideal buffet reception. It is a fast-paced buffet party where the talk is fascinating, the food is fabulous, and the punch carries a terrific wallop.
• The best-known and least-known small-scale food artisans, wine and beer makers, and connoisseurs are invited to present their opinions through tightly focused interviews and personal commentary.
• Listeners will meet cookbook authors, food-business entrepreneurs, chefs, restaurateurs, food-truck owners, farmers, physicians, nutritionists, food-safety regulators, beekeepers, bread bakers, and critics.
• On the menu, too, are those responsible for feeding school children, hospital patients, the military, astronauts, and those working in the kitchens of federal prisons, museums, zoos, and as the caterers of grand parties.
• When our guests can’t come to talk to us, we will go to them, even if the journey takes us to the galley of the Queen Mary 2 or to the White House.
• The subject matter of Food and Drink Magazine is the stuff of life. Food fads will be explored; food trends will be tracked. There will be reports on the latest supermarket innovations, on new apps and restaurant openings.
• The show will serve an audience hungry for information about food and the food market: what is in season—what is available at which supermarket, specialty food-store, or mail-order catalog?
• Listeners will learn about the latest scientific findings concerning nutrition and agriculture.

Suggested show format, with additional time to be allotted for commercial messages:
1. Message from the host/teasers/food news 4:00
2. Interview/produced story (major topic of the week) 3:30
3. Quiz question 0:20
4. Interview/commentary/produced story 2:00
5. New product review 2:00
6. Cookbook review 2:30
7. Person-of-the-week profile 2:00
8. Wine/beer segment 2:30
9. Supermarket news 2:00
10. The fresh report 2:30
11. Interview with person of the week 4:00
12. Listener mail with responses from an expert 2:00
13. Nutrition news 2:00
14. Closing commentary 1:30

You will be taken seriously if you provide this kind of detailed proposal. Remember as well, that some universities have their own radio stations. This may offer an opening for you too.

Vegetarian Chef Food Jobs

There is a pesky problem with teetotaling and dessert- and coffee-refusing vegans and vegetarians. There are, though, “modified” vegetarians who refuse red meat but willingly accept fish and chicken. The more dedicated among them tend to challenge the server to reveal the previous living conditions of the chicken. (There are some folk who understand that having a free-range chicken is as dangerous as having a free-range boyfriend, because you never know where he has been!) Furthermore, they may insist that the food contain no salt, no butter and, obviously, no ingredient to which they are allergic.

 

            Preparing several vegetables and arranging them beautifully on the plate takes far more time on the part of the kitchen staff than tossing a steak on the grill and retrieving a baked potato from the oven. And despite a considerable amount of fetching and carrying, at the end of what may be a relatively small meal, the server can expect a tip, albeit calculated with excruciating accuracy.

 

Finding Your “Bliss”

blissA goal is a dream with a deadline. There are so many choices and this too often results in paralysis.

My website designer, Randy Caruso, asked me to describe myself in just three words. I decided I am a writer, teacher and mentor. These are the three things I most enjoy.

If I may, I’d like to give you an example for my own life. For two years, I taught a course in Gastronomy but I was passed over when I applied for a full-time position on the faculty. The evaluations from the students were spectacular and I loved teaching the class.

There was just one problem. Continue reading