The University of Adelaide offers the only accredited Food Writing qualification in Australia, the Graduate Certificate in Food Writing, coordinated by Professor Barbara Santich.
Food Writing students come from a variety of backgrounds. You may have a degree in journalism or dietetics, or be working in the food and restaurant industry or in food and wine marketing. You might want to write a family cookbook or produce a restaurant guide for people with allergies. Whatever your particular focus, you will have a keen interest in all aspects of food, not only eating and drinking and cooking but also the history, culture and politics of food and drink. The food writing courses will give you the opportunity to practise different forms of food writing and refine your writing skills to publishable standard.
Teaching staff include Professor Barbara Santich together with academics from the University's Creative Writing program and experienced professional writers and journalists such as Dr Kerryn Goldsworthy, Tania Cammarano and David Sly.
The two Food Writing courses, Food Writing A: Intensive and Food Writing B: Essentials are each equivalent to 6 units of coursework. They are designed to introduce students to the varieties, contexts and issues of food writing and to develop food writing skills in a range of styles and approaches. On successful completion of both courses, students graduate with the Graduate Certificate in Food Writing.
Content and Methods
The courses are taught through lectures, seminars, workshops and writing exercises, both on-campus and online:
▪ Food Writing A: Intensive includes an intensive one-week course on campus at the University of Adelaide, with workshops and presentations by both University staff and specialist lecturers; completion of this course is a prerequisite for Food Writing B: Essentials.
▪ Food Writing B: Essentials is delivered online in term 2.
Food Writing A is generally scheduled in Summer School with the intensive week scheduled for early February (9-13 February in 2015). For interstate and international students, we offer suggestions on accommodation options in Adelaide. Students complete the rest of the course online and submit a range of writing assignments.
Food Writing B is entirely online, starting in the week beginning 27 April 2014 and continuing to early June. Students are required to read and discuss a variety of texts and to submit written material approximately every two weeks. Online classes in both Food Writing A and Food Writing B use the Online Classroom for discussions among students and instructor. While individual preferences are taken into account in choosing a convenient time for a majority of students, you may have to come online in the early morning or late evening. Alternatively, you can download the recording of the Online Classrooom at your convenience.
Each week you might spend around three hours on reading, another two hours on participation (the Online Classroom) and as much time as you can spare on your assignments. You will typically have 5-6 assignments of varying lengths to be completed in both Food Writing A and Food Writing B.
Opportunities for Employment
Opportunities for employment include journalism—not only newspapers but magazines of all kinds, and also electronic media; marketing and PR is another possibility. Food writing graduates include:
- Lisa Dempster (2009), who is current Director of the Emerging Writers' Festival. Lisa's book, Neon Pilgrim, was published in October 2009 by Aduki Independent Press.
- Carli Ratcliff (2008), who contributes regularly to the Sydney Morning Herald's 'Good Living' and has a blog on SBS food called Hunter Gatherer. Carli won the Judi Hirst Memorial Award for Best New Writer in the 2010 Australian Association of Food Professionals Food Media Awards.
- Karen Reyment, who regularly writes for a variety of Australian newspapers and magazines and in 2010 was appointed Brisbane correspondent for Gourmet Traveller magazine.
- James Dunsmore (2014), who has been engaged by Kay Brothers to write a history commemorating the vineyards' 125th anniversary.
Penny's Hill Food Writing Prize
The Penny's Hill Food Writing Prize is awarded annually to the best student who receives $100, a case of Penny's Hill wine and the opportunity to have an article published in The Adelaide Review. Previous winners include Vikki Moore ('The Last Lunch', 2007), Hilary Duns and Marianne Robins (joint winners 2008), Cassie Harrex (2009), Marianne Duluk (2011) and Julia Jenkins (2012).
Cassie Harrex's evocative article about the Spanish resort town of San Sebastian and its tradition of pintxos ('the Basque version of tapas, each just a mouthful, ... piled high between the beer taps and wine bottles on almost every bar countertop throughout the city') 'Pintxos Nights', was published in the August 2009 edition of The Adelaide Review. Marianne’s article on the 2011 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival was published in the December 2011 issue of The Adelaide Review.
Eligibility, Application, International Students
Applicants should have a bachelor's degree or equivalent, or relevant professional experience (e.g., journalism).
In addition, all students wishing to study Food Writing, even if only as a Food Studies elective, are required to provide evidence of writing skills by submitting a portfolio of creative or journalistic writing.
The portfolio of writing should be supplied in electronic form (preferably PDF, alternatively docx or doc) and should contain:
- a representative selection of work, 6-10 pages, published or unpublished;
- if unpublished the work should be double-spaced, 2.5 cm margins, A4, name and page number on each, cover sheet (of your own devising) with contact details and contents of portfolio.
If you need to work on a portfolio now, here are some suggestions. Commence by reading a range of current articles in magazines and newspapers, as well as books such as Marion Halligan's Eat My Words, Gay Bilson's Plenty: Digressions on Food, Barbara Santich's Looking for Flavour, or an anthology such as Voracious: The Best New Australian Food Writing (Prahran, Vic: Hardie Grant, 2011). Then try writing about similar themes, or choose some of the following:
- restaurant reviews
- wine reviews
- recipes your mother cooks
- the worst meal in your life
- your 10 desert island foods
- travel and food
- the history of food
- your favourite cooking implements
- food in your family
- food in literature, or film or visual art
Send the portfolio not to SATAC but to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Graduate Certificate in Food Writing: go to the SATAC (university section) website and find the course. For further information go to:
You will not normally need an international student visa for the brief period of on-campus study. All applicants will need to fill out the application form*, and send it, together with their portfolio, to email@example.com
* Application form will be available 10/10/2014