Dianne Jacob on blogging to tell a food story in Dubai

The California-based author Dianne Jacob will be holding a workshop at the Food Blogger Connect conference in Dubai this week.

Dianne Jacob, a food writing coach, and her book. Courtesy Dianne Jacob
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When the author Dianne Jacob first wrote Will Write For Food in 2005, she dismissed food blogging as a passing fad. But when the California-based journalist returned to revise her guide on the art of food writing five years later, her opinion had been transformed.

“They were looked down upon by the print establishment but by 2010, most of the food writing in the world was done by food bloggers,” says Jacob, who will be holding a workshop at the Food Blogger Connect conference in Dubai.

She was won over after starting her own food blog in 2008, when she discovered how liberating it was not having to answer to publishers. “I had immediate validation from people who were reading what I wrote.”

The book’s edition contains a 26,000-word chapter giving tips on how to write and market a food blog. But she warns only the top five per cent of bloggers are likely to make money from their passion, whether it is through advertising on their sites or by securing book deals.

And she says there are common pitfalls many of those keen to start writing about food tumble headlong into. “The biggest problem food writers have is they use too many adjectives,” she says. “A lot get really caught up in thinking all they have to do is find out how food tastes, but really the main thing is to tell a story. You can tell a very good story about food without using a single adjective.”

Jacob became fascinated with the provenance and heritage of food through her parents, Iraqi Jews who were born in Shanghai, then moved to Canada in 1949 to escape the communist regime. Thanks to their ancestral roots tracing back to Iraq and India, the food on the table was incredibly diverse.

“I grew up on Indian, Jewish, Iraqi, Chinese and Japanese food,” says Jacob. “It was a way to express their identity because there was nobody like them.”

• Food Blogger Connect Dubai will be held on Friday and Saturday in The Archive, Safa Park. Visit www.foodbloggerconnect.com for more details