Substack has named 11 fellows to its Food Writers Intensive, an immersive three-month fellowship designed to accelerate writers who are covering food and beverages in culture, politics and history.
This Intensive will create a cohort of writers who approach food writing on Substack from a number of angles, giving fellows an opportunity to share strategies, test new publishing formats like audio and video, build communities around their work, and receive constructive feedback. Fellows will receive special benefits, including a $10,000 grant, access to image licenses, design support, editorial services, creative tools and business guidance. The cohort will also have touchpoints with mentors who are setting the bar for food writing on Substack. Fellows will share their ideas, challenges and experiments, and will conclude the Intensive by publishing a co-created guide to food writing on Substack that offers guidance to peers in the field.
Substack received hundreds of applications for the Food Intensive and, on the whole, applications were incredibly strong. Applications were reviewed by six members of the Substack team and judges Hanna Raskin, Dave Infante and Melissa McCart. The review process began by ensuring applicants were aligned with the following eligibility criteria: that the selected cohort represented a range of writers with substantial experience publishing on Substack already and who are serious about making income through their publications. The platform then ranked applications based on quality, growth potential, and desire to participate in a writing community. Substack arrived at its final lineup by considering the cohort balance in terms of subject-matter expertise and the potential to succeed with the Substack model.
The fellows include:Aaron Ayscough (left), Anne Byrn, and Ashley Rodriguez (right).
Doug Mack (left), Jason Wilson, and Kristen Hawley (right).
- Aaron Ayscough is an American writer based in Paris. Since 2010, he has maintained a blog and newsletter about natural wine called Not Drinking Poison. His first book, The World of Natural Wine, will be published by Artisan Books in September 2022. Aaron’s writing about food and wine has appeared in The Financial Times, Wine Enthusiast and Eater. He is also the English translator of two works by the French winemaker-scientist Jules Chauvet: Wine in Question and The Aesthetics of Wine.
- Anne Byrn is a New York Times best-selling author based in Nashville, Tennessee. She writes Between the Layers, a conversation about life through the lens of cooking and baking. Her 15 books, including American Cake, The Cake Mix Doctor and Skillet Love, total more than 4 million copies in print. Byrn is a contributor to Food52, Bon Appétit and The Bitter Southerner. She has been featured in People magazine, The Washington Post and The New York Times; has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, and the Food Network; and has taught cooking classes across the U.S.
- Ashley Rodriguez is a coffee and food writer based in Madison, Wisconsin. She hosts a podcast called Boss Barista and writes an accompanying newsletter about coffee, service work and building equity at work. Her work has appeared in Taste, Forbes, Serious Eats and Salon. She has won awards from the North American Guild of Beer Writers and Sprudge.
Leah Koenig (left), Lerato Umah-Shaylor, and Natalie Love Cruz (right).
- Doug Mack is a writer based in Minneapolis. His food newsletter, Snack Stack, examines the cultural history of snacks around the world, from the politics of pistachios to the mysterious origin of chicken fingers. Mack is author of two travelogues: Europe on Five Wrong Turns a Day and The Not-Quite States of America, which Smithsonian named one of the top 10 travel books of 2017. He has written for The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Time and Slate, and is co-editor of the travel and culture site The Statesider.
- Jason Wilson writes Everyday Drinking. He is the author of Godforsaken Grapes, Boozehound and The Cider Revival. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Travel + Leisure, AFAR, Preservation, National Geographic Traveler, Conde Nast Traveler and Guernica. He was the drinks columnist at The Washington Post for more than six years and a three-time award winner for “best food column” from the Association of Food Journalists. He was dining columnist for the Philadelphia Citizen, Philadelphia Daily News, and Philadelphia Magazine, beer columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, and wine and spirits critic at Vinous.
- Kristen Hawley is a freelance journalist and founder of Expedite, a newsletter about restaurant technology and the future of the industry. She launched her first newsletter, Chefs+Tech, in 2013, later selling it to a travel media company where she led restaurant coverage for two years. Her recent work has appeared in Food & Wine, Eater, Insider, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Hawley is a frequent speaker and moderator at industry conferences and events and has appeared on NBC News and NY1 as a restaurant technology expert. She lives in San Francisco.
Scott Hines (left) and Thin Lei Win (right).
- Leah Koenig writes a weekly newsletter, The Jewish Table, which shares recipes and stories from the world of Jewish food. She is the author of six cookbooks, including The Jewish Cookbook and Modern Jewish Cooking. She is currently at work on her next book, which explores Rome’s historic Jewish cuisine. Her writing and recipes can be found in The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Food & Wine, Epicurious, Food52 and Tablet. In addition to writing, Koenig leads cooking demonstrations and workshops around the world. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and two children.
- Lerato Umah-Shaylor is a food writer and broadcaster who writes Cook with Lerato. Inspired by her love of Africa, she set up immersive supper clubs and cookery classes across the U.K. and is a leading voice in African cuisine. She loves to share stories celebrating African cooking, history, and traditions. She worked as a journalist, editor, and columnist for national newspapers, television and radio — producing and presenting her own cookery show. She was featured by the BBC, Waitrose Weekend, The Evening Standard, GQ, Cherry Bombe and Essence magazine. She also works with organizations to create recipes and experiences that promote diversity.
- Natalie Love Cruz is a culinary professional and food justice advocate who writes the weekly newsletter Food For Thought, a publication about food, society, and identity. She specializes in culinary instruction and decolonized food systems. She is currently writing a cookbook on the African diaspora in Latin America. She also has a series in her newsletter called Eating A-Z in NYC, in which she samples world cuisine from A-Z in the five boroughs of New York.
- Scott Hines is a food writer, essayist and architect. Hines sees the home kitchen as a staging ground for novel experiments in food and drink, as well as a place for conversation about traditions and oddities in our shared culinary history. Since 2019, he has published The Action Cookbook Newsletter, a thrice-weekly publication where his recipe and cocktail creations sit alongside essays on parenthood, food, sports, culture and more. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, two young children and two obnoxious dogs.
- Thin Lei Win is an award-winning freelance journalist specializing in food systems and climate change issues, including through her newsletter, Thin Ink. Born and raised in Myanmar and now based in Rome, she worked as an international correspondent for Thomson Reuters Foundation, the nonprofit arm of Reuters news agency. She has lived and worked in Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand and reported from many parts of Asia, Africa and Europe. She is a sought-after speaker and moderator on Myanmar, food, agriculture and climate issues.