Food Career Day at NYU
The Nutrition and Food Studies department of my alma mater, NYU, hosted an extremely well organized "Food Career Day" today. It was a free event that lasted from 9:00am to 5:00pm and featured fifteen different panel discussions throughout the course of the day.
The turnout was huge!!!! I attended a "TV/Media" session with Mario Batali,owner of Po, and Fern Berman and Patti Greany the creators of Starchefs.com. The panel addressed various career opportunities in food on the net and pitching program ideas to the TVFood Network.
The "Critics and Commentators" session with Mimi Sheraton, Jeffrey Steingarten of Vogue, and David Rosengarten was fantastic. All three gave their advice on breaking into the food writing field and their suggestions for writing solid reviews.
I also sat in on "Food Styling" "Public Relations, Marketing, Advertising and Promotion" and "Consulting" sessions. The "Consulting" panel had Sheila Lukins and Clark Wolf as panelists and both were extremely inspiring. I even got to ride down in the elevator and walk a bit uptown with Shelia who discussed her United Airlines menu consulting position and her Parade magazine food editorship. She was very encouraging and so friendly.....
The event was extremely well planned and the turnout really surprised me. It was fascinating to learn about all of the different opportunities in the food industry and to be able to ask questions of so many respected contribuitors to the field.
Nach Waxman, the owner of Kitchen Arts and Letters, Coleman Andrews, editor of Saveur magazine, Madhur Jaffrey, Michael Lomonaco, Maury Rubin, and Mitchell Davis of Beard House were just a few of the advisory committe who were present and available for questions. The audience was filled with writers, PR people, chefs, consultants, and students.
The Nutrition and Food Studies department's phone number is 212-998-5580. If you leave your name and address they'll put you on a mailing to keep you informed of upcoming events. I've taken quite a few and they've all been fantastic, Upcoming events include "Food Writing For Publication" with Irene Sax, "Behind the Scenes at The TV Food Network" and "The Art of Food Styling"....
Check it out....
re: Frank Language
Isn't Lukins the author of that disgusting
book entitled "Great Good Food"? (great good
grammar!) The whole event (with the exception
of Waxman and a few others) impresses as a
meeting of professional mouths. Just the
element that encroaches on authentic food
cultures and creates abominations that, when
properly decorated and highly priced, receive
praise from their tasteless critic cronies. I
wish them ll a great good puking.
re: Allan Evans
Shelia Lukins is the author of:
The Silver Palate Cookbook
All Around the World Cookbook
New Basics Cookbook
I believe that "Great Good Food" was written by Julee Rosso, Shelia's co-author of the "Silver Palate."
Think what you may, I had a fantastic time as did everyone who accompanied me. I didn't feel that this was "a meeting of professional mouths" at all.
Everyone there was passionate about food and the ritual or sacrament of eating. I am not a food snob by any means and I would never question the authenticity of a persons love of food- whether it be Berber specialties or a BigMac. I llike to be around people who derive joy from eating and preparing food and by and large all the people I encountered fit this bill.
I think it was NYU's intention to provide a forum for people who are interested in food and want to be involved in some way but are clueless about all of the opportunities.
The majority of the attendees were in their thirties and forties. I sat with a Pakistani taxi driver, a corrections officer and a Senegalese banker. They were interested in learning how to open a small catering business, market a product, and become involved in food photography respectively. All found answers and made contacts. I find nothing wrong with this.
God's Love We Deliver, SOS, and City Harvest were represented as well. All of the "big mouths" encouraged pro bono work and all of the aforementioned organizations got a lot of publicity and volunteer recruits.
I left having conversed with and shown my work to Clark Wolf, Jeffrey Steingarten, Madhur Jaffrey, Nach Waxman, Michael Batterberry, and Coleman Andrews. Two of the aforementioned invited me to their offices for interviews. I never would have had this opportunity if I hadn't gone.
I feel that it is mean spirited to generalize and maintain that it's the intent of everyone there to "encroach on authentic food cultures" or create "highly priced, properly decorated abominations."
It's a free market and if people are willing to shell out their dinero and be satisfied with such food (and I agree with you whole heartedly- there's a plethora of of it...) that's their loss. You should be angry at the fools who frequent such establishments- they're the ones who create the demand. And anyway, places like Uzbekistan Tandoori aren't for everyone. Quite frankly, I'd rather have the Tuscan Square crowd corraled in to their faux-Tuscan Pino Luongo environment, than share lamb soup with their Gucci-swathed selves in Rego Park....
Anyway, no one puked.....
re: Lisa Antinore
> It's a free market and if people are willing to shell
> out their dinero and be satisfied with such food (and
> I agree with you whole heartedly- there's a plethora
> of of it...) that's their loss. You should be angry
> at the fools who frequent such establishments-
> they're the ones who create the demand.
I simply have to step in here and say I couldn't
disagree more. You have made an argument I hear again
and again from people who seem less concerned about the
disastrous proliferation of crap which is threatening
the very existence of great food, writing, music, etc.,
than about the supposed rights of would-be producers of
said crap to get rich by exploiting and increasing
You simply cannot make the case that the proliferation
and mass-marketing of all sorts of junk is harmless.
You say people ought to know better, but how can they
be expected to know better when more and more of what
surrounds them is pure junk?
We are living in a society in which the really great
stuff is becoming more and more obscure, and junk is
increasingly thrust in one's face at every turn. This
lamentable state of affairs, in which it is so hard to
succeed by producing something really superb, is
fostered by the mass marketing of garbage which you
seem to excuse. The effect of course is a downward
spiral in which the decline of taste makes it easier
for more garbage to be sold, and the sale and promotion
of more garbage pushes taste down still farther. How
can we extricate ourselves from this mess if we
continue to view the producers of junk as blameless and
the consumers as the sole villains? Why do you say
that consumers are "the ones who create the demand?"
What about marketing? What about the paucity of
You appear to disdain elitism, yet it is the epitome of
elitism to imply that ignorance, be it about food or
anything else, is just dumb people's own stupid fault.
What about the advantages of education? Don't they
play a role? Are people just supposed to ignore almost
everything they see, from McDonald's to Taco Bell
and beyond, and head straight for the best food with no
guidance whatsoever? The more the readily available,
highly visible food becomes pure junk, the more heroic
is the effort required to develop any kind of good
taste. That's just one of many reasons why it is so
important to blame the producer as much as or more than
the consumer: great food must be experienced to be
appreciated and it must be readily available in order
for most people to experience it.
Mass-marketed crap is the enemy of the great food we
love so much.
re: Ari Eisinger
Although I have some sympathy with your views, I can only reflect that the restaurant scene all over the U.S. is in far better shape now than it was 20 years ago, 30 years ago, or 40 years ago (sorry, I don't go back farther than that!).
Yes, you can attribute some of the improvement to affluence and immigration tides. But it's clearly more than that.
You assume that McDonald's and Taco Bells are replacing great restaurants. On the contrary, I think they replaced the mom-and-pop *equivalents* of McDonald's.
re: Frank Language