My 2021 notebooks.
I don't know at this point if there's anything beyond trend-centred food media in Canada. I hear complaints about the sorry state of the business on the regular.
What interests me is who's talking. I wonder when the last time they shared a story beyond a favourable review or feature on their establishment or one of their friends. How much do they read? Can they name six current food writers?
I went on a FAM trip three years ago—whirlwind urban familiarization trips for media. Everything is free—travel, the welcome goodies, hotel rooms, and dinners in fine restaurants.
They're complicated. Some media outlets won't take stories from sponsored trips for obvious reasons. It's hard to be objective. Several people on the trip were contributors to a national restaurant list/guide. Let that sink in.
I had one story published out of the trip, but it was pre-arranged and not part of the tourism board's focus.
I wrote two pitches and tried to sell them. Several editors told me one story was solid, but they had to pass. I came close to selling the other one to an art magazine (it has a fabulous art-food connection).
The stories I want to write are harder to sell. It's not in me to produce or place a "top five" trend piece.
I'm sure the tourism board wrote my participation off as a loss. I kept the last email I received from a male organizer and filed it under "lessons in food writing."
Who plays a part in gutting food culture? Public relation's teams working for restaurants and chefs, tourism board sponsored trips, corporate media sponsorship, and influencers. Also, those who take favours—including me. Anyone steering the narrative and failing to acknowledge a beneficial exchange.
Those events helped me draw critical professional boundaries.
The next time I face a complaint, I will ask about the person's food media diet, including their subscription list. What are they paying for of substance?
Seu Jorge. What is not to like?