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Patrick O'Neill - Member of the Month, July 2009

Patrick O'Neill
   "Ever since I became interested in cooking I've thought about writing about food in some fashion."

   —Patrick O'Neill

How did you hear about Culintro?

I saw a posting on craigslist looking for people with an interest in food writing, but I noticed similar postings looking for people with other types of connections to the food industry – a very clever marketing ploy, I think, on the part of Alina and Stephanie to get out the word about Culintro.

You've attended several of Culintro's Programs, what are your thoughts on the events?

Well, everyone at these events is intensely interested in food and has a professional connection in one way or another, which is a great common denominator. They're a lot of fun and terrific opportunities for networking.

What made you interested in pitching a story to the Food Writer Challenge?

It looked like anexcellent opportunity to get more deeply involved in the food-writing process. I thought that even if I didn't win, someone else might see my proposal and give me a chance to develop it.

Do you have previous professional writing experience?

I've had a lot of experience writing for radio, where it is very important to be as concise as possible and to get to the point in a hurry because time is limited and you have to grab the attention of the audience right off the bat. (In radio, I've been everything from a newscaster to disc jockey to commercial copywriter and voiceover person).

Is Food Journalism something you've always been interested in?

Ever since I became interested in cooking, which started several years ago, I've thought about writing about food in some fashion or, for that matter, doing something about food on the radio.

Any tips for future Food Writer Challenge participants?

Keep in mind that Food&Beverage magazine is geared toward people in the restaurant and hospitality industries. So it's important to come up with ideas that will interest and benefit them. If you think of a good consumer-related topic, think about ways you can approach it with a business view.

Now that you will be published in Food & Beverage Magazine, will you continue to pitch food stories to other publications?

I would like to and, as I say, also explore food writing and presentation possibilities in other media as well, such as radio and the internet.

What¹s your favorite:

Food:

Boy, that's a tough one. But I have a special fondness for pesto and love to experiment making it in various combinations. Cilantro pesto, for example, is fabulous.

Kitchen Utensil:

Fish spatula

Recipe:

I'm still stuck on the pesto answer.

Wine, beer, or cocktail:

A nice, smokey Scotch in the winter, a gin & tonic in the summer.

Feature on Culintro:

I have quite a few but I especially like the links to news articles I would probably not find otherwise.

New York Restaurant

Union Square Café. But all the Danny Meyer restaurants are amazing. He and Michael Romano are food and hospitality geniuses.

Media Publication

than Food&Beverage? I read Saveur, Gourmet, Bon Appetit and La Cucina Italiana mainly among the food publications.