Christiane Hitchcock, Winner of Write It 2018, 15-18 Category
Sometimes, the biggest and best things come from such small beginnings.
Over the past few months, I have learnt and experienced so much in the food industry: and it all started with something tiny. Ten months ago, my mum handed me a page, torn out of delicious. magazine: “GFW Write It! Competition 2018., and suggested I enter it. Nine months ago, I had forgotten all about it, until seven months ago, when I found it again and suddenly got inspiration to write. Six months ago, I got the call to tell me that I’d been shortlisted – and then, that I’d won! Five months ago, I attended the Guild of Food Writers Awards where I met Karen Barnes, the editor of delicious. magazine, and representatives from Pink Lady® and so many other companies too. Last month, I visited delicious. magazine’s offices in London, where I met Karen again and discovered some of the behind the scenes of one of the UK’s leading food magazines. This month, ten months from where it all started, I am writing for Pink Lady®.
I think that the analogy of little things turning into larger and greater ones is particularly apt for the food industry: after all, fruit and vegetables come from tiny seeds, barely visible under mounds of dark earth or leafy tree branches until they emerge, with their resplendent colours and shiny skins like trophies. That little piece of paper did just that for me: it went from being a page in a glossy magazine, to taking me to visit that magazine itself, a full circle. When I went to the delicious. offices, I had been told to expect that they are tiny – while I wasn’t initially surprised, as my day went on and I saw just how much happens there with less than twenty people on their team, I was impressed to say the least! The office was an almost silent hive of activity, with quiet tapping on keyboards and the odd conversation overpowered only by the sound of the extractor fan in the test kitchen. Throughout my day I spoke to the food, art, features and general editors about how they got their jobs at the magazine, their favourite parts of their work and some insider secrets… did you know that they have at least ten different kinds of loaf tin stashed away in their test kitchen cupboards? After sampling a recipe that was being tested that day (you’ll have to wait until January to find out what it was…), I sat down with Karen, who showed me how the magazine comes together, starting with mood boards for the edition four months ahead, to the advert placement a week or so before the magazine goes to press. There may even have been some sneak peeks of the February issue’s drafts too…
Before I visited delicious., I knew I loved writing. From a young age I remember reading beautifully written recipes and clawing at the pages, wanting to taste the words: now, I want to write those words myself. The Write It! competition and its prize of visiting delicious. magazine has helped me to realise that, and to give me the opportunity to do just that too. It is definitely proof that one small piece of paper will lead to much bigger, and better, things.
by Christiane Hitchcock