"The primary requisite for writing well about food is a good appetite. Without this, it is impossible to accumulate, within the allotted span, enough experience of eating to have anything worth setting down." AJ Liebling, Between Meals
Spread over two days, this course aims to provide a brief history of food writing, as well as practical advice on everything from attracting the eye of the commissioning editor, to restaurant criticism, blogs and self-publishing.
Led by Matthew Fort, some of the finest and most experienced writers in the food world will come together to offer inspiration, insight and bons mots, including Thomasina Miers, Tim Hayward and the Guardian's own Bob Granleese.
But this is not a course in how to write – where subject goes in relation to object, proper apostrophe use or the horrors of splitting the infinitive. These things should have been learned years back, and fall under the heading of grammar. But I hope this course offers a pragmatic, practical and enjoyable few hours in this most delectable of arts.
There will be a number of practical sessions over the course of the weekend, as well as a special lunch on the first day in one of London's finest restaurants, that we want you to review, then discuss the next day with the chefs, critics and restaurateurs.
9.30am Registration in the Guardian reception
10.00-10.15am Welcome and introduction
10.15-10.45am History of food writing from Trimalchio to Twitter
Each student should choose his or her favourite food writer and bring in their favourite work.
10.45-11.15am Scribble, Scribble, Scribble
Who are you writing for and why? From books to blogs by way of newspapers, magazines and other publications.
11.15-11.45am Elements of Food Writing
Voice, style, structure, vocabulary, discipline.
11.45-12.00pm How to write about food
Tips and techniques
12.00-12.30pm How not to write about food
Pitfalls and pratfalls: We'll look at some really awful food writers, anonymously, of course, and discuss the clichés, words and phrases to avoid at all times. Granleese is a man who has hewn beauty out of a thousand great chefs' rather lumpen copy, and he'll be there to offer proper practical advice.
The best part of the food writer's life, and a special menu will be served at The Gilbert Scott. We'd also like you to write a 500-word review, to be discussed the following day.
3.30pm – An afternoon with Thomasina Miers
10.00-10.30am 10 books to trust and love with your life
A shortlist of 10 books we feel you cannot live without, from the obvious to the rather more obscure. We'd also like you to list your top books and talk about why you love them so. This session will also take in pitching ideas to publishers.
10.30-11.30am Principles, Prostitution and Price
How much money can you expect to make from writing about food; approaching editors; how to pitch ideas; PR's and how to deal with them.
11.30am-1pm Blogging, Self-publishing and the Future
They say it's the future, but how does one stand out from the crowd, and rise above the general illiterate dross. There will be practical advice on contacting PRs, as well as Tim's advice on how to set up your own magazine, something he has done with huge success with Fire and Knives. What are the pitfalls? How much cash do you need? And are you mad for even contemplating the idea?
1pm - Lunch
2.30pm - School Report: Reviews handed back
Reviews handed back by Matthew Fort.
4.30pm - Digestion
Biography of Matthew Fort
Matthew Fort has written about food for the Guardian since 1989. He has also written for Esquire, The Observer, Country Living, Decanter and Waitrose Food Illustrated. In 1992 he won the title of Glenfiddich Food Writer of the Year and, in 1993, Glenfiddich Restaurant Writer of the Year, as well as The Restaurateurs' Association Food Writer of the Year. He was Glenfiddich Cookery Writer of the Year in 2005. His books include Rhubarb and Black Pudding (1998), about the traditional foods of Lancashire and Eating up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa (2004), along with its sequel Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons (2008). He has also contributed to other writers' work, including Nigel Slater’s book and television
When & Where
Welcome to Guardian masterclasses – a unique programme of learning embedded within one of the world's most forward-thinking media organisations.
Masterclasses offer a broad range of short and long courses across a variety of disciplines from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation.
Harnessing the expertise and specialisms within the organisation, our courses are led by first class and award winning guardian professionals whilst also drawing on the skills and expertise of other leading figures at the forefront of the creative and digital industries.
The programme is aimed at anyone interested in personal or professional development whether that be refining your skills, focusing your ambition or simply broadening your mind and gaining inspiration.