Our guest blogger today is Justin Gilbert: A journalist, a designer and a cook.
Naturally, he’s found a way to string all three of these skills together in what I’ve called a visual food column — essentially, an “alternative story form” featuring recipes.
We’ll show you a few samples of this in a moment.
A 1997 graduate of Ball State University, Justin spent nearly four years as a graphics reporter for the Associated Press and then six years as the same for Newsday in Melville, N.Y. He moved to Bloomberg in 2006 and left in 2010 to move back to Indiana and begin his food column.
I’m giving Justin some space in the blog today to a) Tell you about his work, and, yes, b) To make a sales pitch…
A little over three years ago I voluntarily left my job in the news business after 14 successful years as a graphics editor and news designer. I wanted to pursue a career in food because I had become a gourmet cook in my spare time and was ready for a new adventure.
I started catering and doing private chef work. Not willing to let go of journalism completely, I created a weekly food column for the small paper in my hometown of Churubusco, Indiana (15 miles north of Fort Wayne).
The column features an original recipe of my own, presented in a photo-driven information graphic with a brief introduction.
For years before as I had learned to cook, I read numerous cook books and magazines and thought that my skills as a graphics editor/artist and news designer could take food presentation to a new level of detail.
It took about 10 weeks to hit my stride with the column and ever since my passion for creating easy to follow information graphics of my original recipes has been as strong as my passion for cooking great food. I started a food blog www.behindthebites.com in Jan. 2011 and later began working with a reception hall to learn more about catering and cooking for large groups. Also during this time, I learned much about light and lenses as well as how to style food for photographs.
I publish an average of 12 original visual recipes a month online, a weekly visual food column and do private chef work whenever possible (last weekend I catered a Mexican-themed party for 125).
What I would like to find now are a few editors, art directors or people in publishing world out there who think their readers might find my work useful.
For newspapers, I can provide a weekly visual food column that I call Recipes Made Simple: A guaranteed-delicious, original recipe of my own, presented in a way that can be used as a centerpiece on any feature news page. It’s designed to be dropped into a layout with only minor adjustments for a publication’s style.
The feature is roughly 50 picas wide by 7.5 inches, but that is flexible. The pricing varies according to paper size.
Please review my work at behindthebites.com, and the samples I have provided for this post. If my column doesn’t suit your purposes. please forward this link to any friends in the business that might like Recipes Made Simple.
In addition to these sample columns, Justin also sends along what he calls “a sample eBook” – six-page booklet showing how to pull together an entire meal of prime rib.
The prime rib is the featured weekly graphic and the rest is bonus content.
So imagine, if you will, running the prime rib column in print and then giving your readers a link where they can download that same piece, plus instructions for the mashed ‘taters, horseradish sauce and the rest of the trimmings, including the dessert.
This sample eBook is in PDF format. Click here to download it.
Right about now, you probably have two questions. The second question probably is: Why has Chuck turned his blog over to a friend for a sales pitch?
The answer is simple: I’m a huge fan of Justin’s work. When I first wrote about him, nearly two years ago, I wondered why the newspaper world wasn’t beating a path to his door. Justin really ought to be nationally syndicated or something. This is terrific work.
If he can’t be nationally syndicated, then the next-best thing would be self-syndicated. Hence this little helping hand.
The first question your asking though — hopefully — is: Wow! I love these samples! How do I contact Justin to buy his column?
Glad you asked! Email him at:
behindthebites [at] gmail.com
And again: Find Justin’s Behind the Bites web site here.
Find his Twitter feed here.