Expert Advice on the Future of Cookbooks and Food Writing

If you’ve ever wanted to try your own hand at food writing, whether your own journal, recipes for your family, a blog or even a cookbook, you’ll want to hear what the esteemed panel we’ve gathered has to say.  Get expert guidance, tips of the trade and insights into the fast-changing publishing and media landscapes from our panel of food writing veterans.


Saturday, June 7
4 to 5 p.m.
$15 a person

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  • Julie Bennett – Editorial Director, Ten Speed Press
  • Martha Hopkins – Cookbook Agent & Packager, Cookbook Author
  • Dianne Jacob – Cookbook Author & Blogger: Will Write for Food
  • Russ Parsons – Food Editor, Los Angeles Times & Cookbook Author
  • Denise Vivaldo – Cookbook Author/Food Stylist/Consultant
  • Anne Willan – Cookbook Author/Cooking Teacher
  • Todd Schulkin – Moderator, Executive Director, The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts


About Our Panelists


julieJulie Bennett – Editorial Director, Ten Speed Press
Julie Bennett is the editorial director of Ten Speed Press. Based on the West Coast, Ten Speed is a nonfiction imprint of the Crown Publishing Group/Penguin Random House. Known for its award-winning cookbooks, Ten Speed’s list ranges from the authoritative and groundbreaking Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Alinea by Grant Achatz, to the intimate and inspiring Manresa by David Kinch and Tender by Nigel Slater, to modern classics like The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison and The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen.

Julie was the editor of the New York Times bestselling cookbooks Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson and My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz, as well as acclaimed titles by James Beard Award-winning chefs Daniel Humm (I Love New York by Daniel Humm and Will Guidara, and the forthcoming NoMad Cookbook), Gabriel Rucker (Le Pigeon by Gabriel Rucker and Meredith Erickson), and Christopher Kostow (the forthcoming A New Napa Cuisine by Christopher Kostow). In addition to her collaboration with some of Ten Speed’s top cookbook authors, Julie acquires and edits authoritative books in the healthy cooking and diet/nutrition categories, including The Blender Girl by Tess Masters, The Acid Reflux Solution by Dr. Jorge E. Rodriguez, Why Diets Fail (Because You’re Addicted to Sugar) by Dr. Nicole M. Avena and John R. Talbott, and Juice by Pressed Juicery founders Carly de Castro, Hedi Gores, and Hayden Slater.

Prior to joining Ten Speed, Julie worked at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency in San Diego representing literary fiction and narrative nonfiction titles, and with literacy and educational organizations including Room to Read, the KQED Distance Learning Program, and READ San Diego. Julie graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a degree in English, and currently resides in Marin County in the San Francisco Bay Area.


marthaMartha Hopkins – Cookbook Agent & Packager, Cookbook Author

Martha Hopkins is a book agent based in Austin, Texas. Martha formed Terrace Partners, a book packaging and design firm, with Randall Lockridge in 1996. For their first project, they wrote and produced InterCourses: an aphrodisiac cookbook, which has sold more than 325,000 copies in the US, as well as foreign and ancillary rights to the UK, Australia, Germany, Japan, and Spain. Martha has received media coverage from such outlets as Good Morning America, TV Food Network, Gastronomica, and NPR’s Splendid Table. Today, they continue to focus on cookbooks and work with traditionally published authors, custom-publishing clients, and national publishers such as Clarkson Potter, Andrews McMeel, and Storey Publishing. With 17 years of experience producing outstanding books, Terrace Partners lends invaluable expertise to book development. They provide a full range of publishing services for authors and publishers, including editorial, design, photo shoot coordination and art direction, print procurement, marketing, distribution consulting, and author representation. Martha’s most recent projects include Tipsy Texan and Spruce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design.



DjacobDianne Jacob – Cookbook Author & Blogger: Will Write for Food
Dianne Jacob is the author of Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More, awarded the Cordon D’Or International award for Best Literary Food Reference Book in 2005, a Gourmand World Cookbook Award in 2010.  A third edition is planned for 2015.  Dianne’s blog, Will Write for Food, covers food writing trends and technique, particularly recipe writing and blogging with posts picked up by The New York Times, Publishers’ Weekly, Chow, Eater, BlogHer, and Food52 News.  She is also co-author of the cookbook Grilled Pizzas & Piadinas, with Craig Priebe.

Previously a newspaper, magazine, and publishing company editor-in-chief, Dianne became a full-time writing coach, author, and freelance editor in 1996. She coaches writers across the US, Canada, Europe and Asia on writing and publishing books, freelance articles, and blogs. She also edits manuscripts for publishers and helps people through the publishing process. Some of the most prestigious book publishers in the US, including William Morrow; Ten Speed Press; Chronicle Books; Stewart, Tabori & Chang; Clarkson Potter; Little, Brown & Co.; and WW Norton & Co., have published books by her clients.

Dianne also judges cookbooks for the James Beard Foundation and for the International Association of Culinary Professionals annual cookbook awards. She has also been a judge for the Bert Greene Award for Food Journalism. A feature she wrote about food blogs was a finalist for a Bert Greene award in 2007. A published writer since 1975, Dianne has written for Writer’s Digest, Sunset, Clean Eating, Gastronomica, was named the Joseph Hoare Gastronomic Writer in Residence for 2013 for the Stratford Chef’s School in Canada.


russRuss Parsons – Food Editor, Los Angeles Times & Cookbook Author

Russ Parsons is the food editor and columnist of the Los Angeles Times He has been writing about food for 30 years, including almost 25 years at The Times. He is the author of the cookbooks, How to Read a French Fry and How to Pick a Peach, published by Houghton-Mifflin.

In 2008 he was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage, the hall of fame of American cooking. He has won many food journalism awards, including those from the International Association of Culinary Professionals the Association of Food Journalists, and the James Beard Foundation. How to Read a French Fry was a finalist for two Julia Child cookbook awards. How to Pick a Peach, which was published in 2007, was named one of the best 100 books of the year by both Publisher’s Weekly and Amazon.

Before coming to The Times, he was food editor at the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, food editor at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and food editor at the Albuquerque Tribune. Parsons has been a journalist for more than 30 years, covering everything from high school football and professional rodeo to cops and courts and country music.

Twitter: @russ_parsons1



chefartsDenise Vivaldo – Cookbook Author/Food Stylist/Consultant

With more than 29 years of food world experience, Denise Vivaldo has catered more than 10,000 parties for such guests from Prince Charles to Cher to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Trained at Ritz Escoffier and La Varenne in Paris, and a graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, in 1988, Denise founded Food Fanatics, a catering, recipe-development, and food-styling firm based in Los Angeles. Food Fanatics’ trademark was sold in 2012 and Denise launched the Denise Vivaldo Group, Inc. another catering, recipe-development and food styling firm in Los Angeles.

Denise is the author of How to Start a Home-Based Catering Business, which has sold more than 150,000 copies and is in its 6th edition, and How to Start a Home-Based Personal Chef Business. She is also the author of The Food Styling Handbook, Perfect Table Settings, Do It For Less! Parties, Do It For Less! Weddings, The Entertaining Encyclopedia, and Top 100 Step-By-Step Napkin Folds. Denise is a contributing blogger for the Huffington Post and writes her own blog, Denise Vivaldo Blogs.

A regular TV guest, Denise has appeared on ABC Morning News, The Food Network and Lifetime among many others.  As a consultant, Denise assists companies to better their products having advised brands as diverse as Hamilton Beach, QVC, Hunt-Wesson/ConAgra, the California Avocado Board and The Milk Advisory Board.  As a food stylist, Denise has worked with everyone from Trader Joe’s to the Morongo Casino and the California Avocado Board as well as The Food Network, Access Hollywood, The Ellen Degeneres Show and celebrity chefs such as Eric Ripert, Nigella Lawson, Curtis Stone, Rachael Ray and Michael Chiarello.  Denise has helped many people with cookbooks, including Skinny Bitch author Kim Barnouin; Suzanne Somers and Richard Simmons.


anneAnne Willan – Cookbook Author/Cooking Teacher
Anne Willan, founder of La Varenne Cooking School, is recognized as one of the world’s preeminent authorities on French cooking.  She was inducted into the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame for her “body of work” in 2013. Anne has more than 50 years of experience as a teacher, cookbook author, culinary historian and food columnist. She has written more than 30 books, including the influential La Varenne Pratique and the 17-volume, photo-illustrated Look and Cook series, showcased in her 26-part PBS program. Anne’s book, The Country Cooking of France (Chronicle Books, 2007), won two James Beard Cookbook Awards and The Cookbook Library: The Cooks, Writers, and Recipes That Made the Modern Cookbook (University of California Press, 2012), has received many accolades, including the Gourmand Hall of Fame Award and the Jane Grigson Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Anne’s memoir, One Soufflé at a Time: A Memoir with Recipes, was released by St. Martin’s Press in 2013.

Born in Newcastle, England, Anne received her master’s degree from Cambridge University, then studied and taught cooking in London and Paris before moving to the United States and becoming a citizen in 1973. Early in her career Anne was an associate editor of Gourmet and food editor of the Washington Star newspaper. She wrote food columns for the Los Angeles Times and Tribune Media Services International from 1994-2010. Anne was elected to the Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America in 1986 and was honored in 1995 both as Grande Dame of Les Dames d’Escoffier International and with the Silver Spoon Award from Food Arts magazine. In 1999, the International Association of Culinary Profes­sionals recognized Anne with its prestigious Lifetime Achievement award, and in Australia she was elected to the World Food Media Hall of Fame. In 2000, Bon Appétitnamed Anne, Teacher of the Year, and in 2000 the Philadelphia Book and Cook Festival honored her with their Toque Award.

Anne is currently an honorary trustee of the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ Culinary Trust and serves on the Advisory Council of The Julia Child Foundation, as well as on the Advisory Board of Zester Daily, a website reporting on the culture of food and drink around the world.  She was President of the IACP from 1990-1991 and Treasurer of the IACP Foundation from 1999-2003.


toddTodd Schulkin – Moderator, Executive Director, The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts
Todd is the Executive Director of The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts providing strategic stewardship of the Foundation’s intellectual property as well as managing the Foundation’s operations.  The Foundation, a grant-making, non-profit, honors and protects the legacy of American culinary icon, Julia Child. He also manages the career of Anne Willan, James Beard award-winning author and founder of the renowned La Varenne Cooking School, and oversees La Varenne’s programs, marketing and operations.

A seasoned marketing executive, Todd spent five years in account director and business development posts at leading international marketing communications conglomerate, WPP Group, where he worked with brands as diverse as Adobe, HP, Lexus, Mazda and Nestle.  Previously, Todd was a literary agent representing screenwriters and filmmakers at Innovative Artists Talent & Literary Agency in Los Angeles, where he helped discover writer-director Christopher Nolan and sold the movie MEMENTO (Newmarket Films) starring Guy Pearce.  He also sold the movie FRAILTY, starring Matthew McConaughey and directed by Bill Paxton, to Lionsgate.  He holds a BA from Brown University and an MBA with honors from London Business School.