What's It Really Like to Be a Food Editor?
The Martha Stewart Living test kitchen team gives us a glimpse into their day-to-day duties.
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As a food editor for Martha Stewart Living, there's a lot more to the job than meets the eye. "On any given day, we might do a blind potato chip tasting, try three different fruit cobblers that another editor has developed, and watch someone artfully decorate sugar cookies, while independently working on roasting a turkey and making pigs in a blanket," says senior food editor Lauryn Tyrell.
"Some people think that all we do is test the recipes," adds editorial director of food Sarah Carey. "Actually we develop, shoot, and test all the recipes for the magazine in our kitchen." Deputy food editor Greg Lofts notes that one misconception is that a food editor is the same as a restaurant critic, but he clarifies that the food editors do not write restaurant reviews.
Greg likes how multi-dimensional the job is. "We're not sitting at a desk every day. There's a whole process of approval, testing, and shooting. One recipe is made a minimum of three times before it goes to print so we really stand by all of our copy," he explains. In order to honestly represent the recipe, every single image shot for the magazine is made from scratch: "Everything for the photo shoots has been cooked and is edible. Part of our job is to make sure the reader can look at the photo and have it match what they've created."
Both Lauryn and Sarah consider the collaborative effort in the kitchen to be their favorite part of the job. "Probably the most satisfying part of my job is having an idea and then watching it evolve because of what all the other talented people around me have to offer," says Lauryn. Sarah also appreciates working in the test kitchen with such a stellar team." She adds that she "loves using [her] creativity to bring people joy (and also help them solve the eternal question "what should I make for dinner tonight?"), and learning something every day."
Would one of those talented people be Martha herself? "People often ask if Martha ever comes to the office. The answer is yes! She loves the kitchen and comes through to taste and chat with us frequently," says Sarah. Greg jokes that though he has worked in the test kitchen for seven years, people still ask him if he's ever met Martha. "We see her all the time—if she's not traveling or doing a TV appearance or spending time with family, she's got her sleeves rolled up in the office."
The food editors love how varied and demanding life in the test kitchen is. As Lauryn says: "For someone who daydreams about food more often than not, it's the perfect place to work."