Writing about food is a holy grail for some freelancers.
Joining the cult of barbecue, enlisting as a soldier in the taco wars. The power to declare the end of Brussels sprouts and pork belly. And all that free food, right?
But free food comes at a price, and how we handle the temptations will determine whether we’re independent journalists or freelance marketing reps holding a sign that says, “Will Work for Food.” As the Austin food writer behind Fed Man Walking, Mike Sutter has walked that line — and waited in line — at hundreds of trailers, taco stands, bistros, burger joints and barbecue places in Austin. Before launching fedmanwalking.com in 2011, Mike was the restaurant critic for the Austin American-Statesman.
While food writing is its own discipline, Mike’s experiences are universal to freelancers: building pitches, setting prices, cultivating a specialty, shooting photos and crusading for copyrights. He’s waited nine months to get paid for one job, eaten 1,600 tacos in one year just to make a point and fought off more opportunities for exposure than Leo DiCaprio in “The Revenant.”
ABOUT THE SPEAKER:
Mike’s a University of Texas grad and 35-year Austin “native.” He lives in the wilds of unincorporated Travis County with his wife, two daughters and a dog (which he does not take to restaurants). His work has appeared in Austin guides for the Guardian UK, British Airways, Fiji Water and Localeur.com. Fed Man Walking was named among the 30 best blogs in the world by Expedia UK in 2015. The site has also been nominated by USA Today's "10Best" and twice by Saveur magazine as the nation's best food travel site. Find his work at www.fedmanwalking.com.