Part 3: Building Credibilty

This is the latest installment in a continuing series that documents my personal quest to become the host of my own cooking show. Since this is a relatively new “career” there are no vocational programs or community college courses to prepare me for it. From what I have seen, the two most import elements in securing such a position are passion for food and plain old dumb luck. Born with a passion for food, I set out to make my own luck.

Building Credibilty

So, here I was the proud author of a cookbook that could only be found in one place, the web site of a T-shirt company. But that was better than most people can say. 4 Star put the cookbook in with their regular advertising, but if I wanted to get the word out about the cuisine I had created, I had to learn the publishing game with a quickness.

Armed with a sack full of For Dummies books and an inbox crammed with self-publishing newsletters, I began to sell myself, figuratively speaking. A new bi-weekly newspaper had gone into print around Mobile and they had a guy (their food editor) who did restaurant reviews, but no one who wrote cooking articles. I sent an e-mail to their senior editor inquiring about the possibility of my filling that role for them.

AmigeauxsWhy shouldn’t I? After all, I was author of Amigeauxs – Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine and a veteran of the restaurant industry. The editor asked me for an article to show my stuff. I had noticed that the style of writing preferred by this paper employed sarcasm, so that was how I wrote my article which explained how béchamel was not some fancy French food, but a part of our everyday lives. That article earned me the fat sum of $20 (US) as it was quite humorous. Upon publication it was well received. Enough so that the food editor decided that a cooking article should be part of the regular food section. Unfortunately, he assigned himself to write it. After all, twenty bucks is twenty bucks.

Regardless, I now had my first professional writing credit. I was now a freelance writer. Go figure. I soon got the attention of the web site, Global Chefs, who commissioned me to write an article about self-publishing. Just that quickly I had gone from aspiring food author to self-publishing expert. Once again, go figure. That is how this journey to become a TV chef has progressed. Lots of hard work with little to show for it, then bam! (no pun intended) a whole gaggle of good fortune.

Soon interest in my cookbook and food writing cooled off. It was becoming apparent to me that I needed to get back into a commercial kitchen to really start building credibility. Mobile’s economy was rebounding and new restaurants were starting to pop up. I soon found myself the pantry chef (this position handles salads, desserts, and appetizers) at a swanky new steak restaurant in a fast-growing, affluent suburb of Mobile. It was time to work on my chops.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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