Freelance Journalist and Food Critic
Rachel is a freelance journalist and restaurant critic. She lives in Exeter, New Hampshire, with her 13 year old daughter. Rachel is a single mom who left her fast-paced job in the Internet world to have more flexibility and time to spend with her daughter. In this interview, Rachel shares her ideas about finding balance between work and family, how to edit things out of your life (not just your writing), and when a great Cabernet can come in handy.
Can you tell us a little bit about your job – what does it entail, how long have you been in this industry and position?
I’ve been a freelance journalist for four years. I was an executive in the internet biz (AOL) in Silicon Valley but moved to NH where my daughter’s father lives with his new family. I was sitting around in this little town where I knew no one, thinking, “What the heck am I going to with my life now?” when I heard the local paper was looking for a food writer. I had owned a restaurant and had tons of foodie experiences, so I threw my hat in the ring and started writing my column, Wine Me, Dine Me. Now I am a restaurant critic for newspapers, write a regular column for New Hampshire Magazine, host a radio show, and write for four or five other magazines. About 75% of my writing is about food- and wine-related topics and the rest is about anything that interests me—music, health, authors. I got to interview John Updike and Erica Jong!
Can you briefly describe your usual day?
Three or four times a week I go out to review a restaurant (breakfast/lunch/dinner). I write three regular columns a week, usually all due on Friday, so of course I wait until the last minute. I often go to food- and wine-related events (wine dinners, charity events) and cover them for the paper. I also write two or more other articles for newspapers and magazines, so my day is spent interviewing people for stories on the phone or in person, doing research for stories or for general background, and editing recipes. I also network a great deal. I’ll go to events where I know there are people I need to meet and make sure they know who I am! I spend about 1/3 of my day pitching article ideas and trying to get more work and get ahead, since I’m still at an early stage in this new career. Since I have to eat so much I go to the gym every day.