What Is a Food Editor?

Cassie L. Damewood

A food editor, also customarily referred to as a food writer, is the person who pens and edits articles and columns on the subjects of cooking, baking, restaurants, recipes and culinary techniques. She customarily works for a magazine, newspaper or Web site. A food editor may be on the staff of these publications or work for them as a freelancer.

Food editors may work for magazines.
Food editors may work for magazines.

The subject of food is normally in the spotlight of the media regardless of what else is going on in the world. A creative editor can normally take any topic related to eating or preparing food and link it to a societal trend or current events. She may approach the subject with humor or solemnity, as long as her readers can relate to her point of view and feel her zeal for cooking and food consumption.

Food editors often sniff out new trends.
Food editors often sniff out new trends.

If a food editor works for a monthly magazine, she has the advantage of being able to develop topics fully, a benefit generally unavailable to those who work for daily newspapers or are required to submit daily blog material on the Internet. If she has a staff of writers, a food editor commonly assigns them articles based on their interests and industry contacts. In the event she alone comprises the food writing and editing staff, her job typically requires her to come up with fresh subject matter or new approaches to culinary subjects on a regular basis.

In addition to writing on techniques, tips and food presentation topics, an editor is often asked to evaluate a new kitchen tool or gadget, comment on a local restaurant or advise on solutions to common cooking challenges. She may respond to these requests personally or enlist the help of freelancers. There are normally product testers, restaurant critics and cookware consultants available for these jobs for either a fee or in exchange for publicity for their services and opinions.

When charities sponsor fundraising events that feature the offerings of local restaurants, a food editor is frequently invited to attend and comment on the festivities in print. She may be contacted by residents and professionals in the area to interview a cookbook author who has just been published for the first time or invited to sample and evaluate a food product made by a neighborhood entrepreneur. Wherever there is any event connected to food or cooking, a food editor’s name is traditionally at the top of the guest list.

A high school diploma or equivalent is normally required to apply for this position. A bachelor’s degree in journalism or creative writing is strongly preferred by some employers of food editors. At least two years in food writing, cooking or restaurant reviewing is often considered a plus for these job applicants as well.

Food editors often write about topics like food presentation.
Food editors often write about topics like food presentation.

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Discussion Comments


I would love to be the food editor of a gourmet magazine. To oversee what goes into an upscale publication would be fun. I love gourmet magazines--they feature such elegant recipes that you can even make at home. When a magazine features them, they are less intimidating to make at home. I think that is why I would like to be a food editor the most--to make elegant foods more accessible to others.


I have always thought being a food editor would be a fun and interesting job. I have a niece who is getting ready to graduate high school. I am going to suggest this to her as a possible career choice. She loves cooking and has a food background. She has worked as a short order cook and helps a caterer out part-time on the weekends. This field could be a real possibility for her.

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