Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Behind the Scenes - Dianne Curtin

I have met Dianne Curtin quite some time ago through Slow Food and I was impressed by her passion for food, producers, market and life in general. Her energy is second to none and can put people half her age in the shadow. She is an accomplished foodwriter with 'The Creators' been published to great acclaim. Dianne just re-launched her website. She also worked with me on the Grow.Bake.Cook Award which was a huge success for both of us and we are working closely again to take this award a step further. Her passion is inspiring and I am happy to call her a friend.

Dianne Curtin

Chef, Food Writer, Broadcaster

Dianne began her career in London at Fortnum & Mason. She completed her chef's apprenticeship at Le Souffle restaurant (Intercontinental Hotel Park Lane). After finishing her training, she began to work as a food stylist for some major UK publications. She moved to West Cork a few years ago and has established her reputation here ever since.

She is head of Slow Food West Cork and has a very good relationship with the food producers if West Cork and 'surroundings'.

How did you get your current position?
Through a friend who is a photographer, she was offered the position of stylist where she also had to research recipes and write about them. Her love for writing came through and the rest is - as they say - history.

What challenges did you face at the start?
Getting the nose in the door was the most difficult part as it is very hard to get a footing in the industry. It is also a very demanding industry where you have to be always one step ahead of the competition which can be fierce.

What are the highlights of your job?
Meeting with fantastic producers who all have great stories to tell. Connecting the source of the food with the plate.

The lows?
It has happened to Dianne (and to me for that matter) that you talk about an idea you are working on and suddenly you see this idea in the paper or on TV under the name of someone else. Ideas unfortunately can't be copyrighted.

What would you do if you didn't do what you do?
Writing novels. Writing is a passion of Diannes and she is bloody talented too :-)

Plans for the future?
To write a novel. Keep things happening in the food world that make a difference

How many hours do you work on average?
24-7. Publishers, producers etc have the habit of calling at all times of the day or night. If she got an idea in the middle of the night, she jumps up and start writing, emailing etc.

Is it worth it?
Absolutely. Satisfaction is not about money. It is great to create things that people can enjoy

Would you do it all over again?
Without a doubt

What do you recommend to people who would like to work in the Food/Wine industry?
To learn their trade of food before writing about it. Gather experience.

Would you mind if your children follow in your footsteps?
It would be flattering but very unlikely that they do although both have a high interest in food and cooking. Who knows?

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