Food Writing Workshop in France

That’s right ~ I am venturing outside of Italy for a change. I’m thrilled to be teaming up with Jamie Schler, author of the award-winning blog Life’s a Feast and the forthcoming cookbook Orange Appeal, for a food writing workshop in France.

Jamie and I will be hosting a four-day writer’s retreat from December 6-10 at her 15th Century hotel in the town of Chinon, in the Loire Valley. This private small-group workshop (8 to 12 students for 2 instructors) will give you a chance to immerse yourself in the art, craft, and profession of food writing in a spectacular medieval setting.

Our aim is simple, whether you are a novice or a seasoned writer: to inspire you, to help you sharpen your skills, and to give you an opportunity to explore your food writing goals through a series of exercises, round table discussions, and one-on-one coaching sessions. You’ll get insider information on creative food writing, how to write and pitch freelance food stories, and how to grow your platform as a professional food writer. Sound appealing? Scroll down for more information.

Program Details*

  • When: December 6-10, 2017
  • Where: Chinon, France
  • Venue: Hotel Diderot


Wednesday, December 6:

5:00 – 7:00 Welcome, introductions.

Time to get to know each other, share our own writing histories, and our personal writing goals, both creatively and professionally. We will lay out an overview of what we will to accomplish this weekend.

Jamie and Domenica will discuss niche and explain the Thursday morning writing assignment.

7:00 – 9:00 pm Casual buffet dinner including local specialties at Hôtel Diderot.

Thursday, December 7:

7:30 – 9:00 Breakfast. You will be given a creative exercise to stretch your ideas about writing connected to your morning exploration of Chinon.

9:00 – 12:00 Notebook and pen in hand, you will visit Chinon’s morning, open-air market and stroll through the town’s medieval center and fortress, finding your inspiration for and working on your assignment.

Return to the hotel to rest and work on your assignment.

12:00 – 2:00 Casual lunch cooked by Domenica and Jamie at the hotel. Students will read from their morning drafts and discuss the writing process.

3:00 – 6:00 Domenica will talk to students about how to adopt journalism skills and use them to inform your writing. Jamie and Domenica will talk about honing these skills in the service of “finding your story.”

The Language of Food – what makes food writing different from straight journalism? Jamie and Domenica will discuss techniques specific to food writing, with examples and exercises.

7:30 – 9:30 Warming winter dinner at Hôtel Diderot.

Friday, December 8:

7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast

9:00 – 11:30 Friday morning’s session revolves around the difference between writing and storytelling; finding the tools to read, analyze, and critique your work as a way to developing your writing.

12:00 – 3:00: We travel to nearby Château du Petit Thouars for a visit to the family’s domain and winery, followed by a wine tasting and lunch with Sebastien and D’Arcy du Petit Thouars.

3:00 – 4:00: Break at the hotel. Time to write.

4:00 – 6:00 A study of Voice and Style with exercises.

6:00 Free evening out.

Saturday, December 9:

7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast

9:00 – 12:00 Jamie and Domenica share their knowledge and experience on becoming a freelance professional, including how to network, how to promote yourself, and how to craft a pitch letter that works.

12:00 – 2:00 Lunch on local fare at the hotel. Students will read from their morning drafts, discuss the writing process, and Domenica and Jamie will offer critique and suggestions.

2:00 – 3:00. Break and one-on-one consultations with Domenica and Jamie on career strategies, writing technique, or whatever you like.

3:00 – 6:00 Share your work — either something written on site or a previous piece — with the group. Feedback will come from all of us: Domenica, Jamie, and fellow participants. A question and answer session about writing, freelancing, pitching, and blogging follows.

7:30 Dinner at local restaurant.

Sunday, December 10:

7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast. Group photo.

9:00 – 12:00 One-on-one consultations continue.

12:00 Workshop ends.

* Details of the program will be sent to participants upon confirmation of registration for the workshop. The program and the excursions may be subject to minor changes at the discretion of the instructors if necessary. Questions? Email Jamie and me at


The Instructors:

Jamie Schler

Jamie’s blog Life’s a Feast won the 2017 International Association of Culinary Professional’s Digital Media award for Narrative Culinary Blog. She is the writing half of the collaborative team behind the Plated Stories with photographer Ilva Beretta which won the 2014 IACP Digital Media Award for Photo-Based Blog and was a finalist in the Saveur Magazine Best Blog Awards for Best Writing.

She has spoken at conferences and cultural events around the globe, including London, New Orleans, San Francisco, Louisville, Orlando, Muscat, Oman, and Cape Town, South Africa, on food writing, freelancing, food and culture, French cuisine and strategies for expat freelance writers. A passionate teacher, she has been organizing and instructing at food writing workshops since 2010.

Domenica Marchetti

Domenica is the author of seven books on Italian cooking, most recently Preserving Italy: Canning, Curing, Infusing, and Bottling Italian Flavors and Traditions, which was named one of the best cookbooks of the year by the Washington Post. Her other books include the bestselling The Glorious Pasta of Italy, The Glorious Vegetables of Italy, The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy, Ciao Biscotti, and Williams-Sonoma Rustic Italian.

Domenica is a graduate of Columbia School of Journalism and a former newspaper reporter, and she brings a reporter’s instincts and skills to her work. Her articles and recipes on contemporary Italian home cooking have appeared in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Cooking Light, Fine Cooking, Food and Wine, and online at and Leite’s Culinaria. Domenica’s book The Glorious Pasta of Italy was named one of the 100 best cookbooks of the last 25 years by the editors of Cooking Light, and her book Big Night In was named one of the best cookbooks of 2008 by the editors of Food and Wine.

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4 Responses to Food Writing Workshop in France

  1. Marisa @ All Our Way April 1, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

    How exciting! I don’t know if I could sit still. It would be a wonderful experience to immerse oneself in writing. Linda is going to Italy and I wish I were going there too. Perhaps some day. I can’t wait to hear all about it. Buon weekend.

  2. ciaochowlinda April 2, 2017 at 10:20 pm #

    What a fabulous opportunity Domenica. I’ve always wanted to visit Jamie’s hotel/restaurant and I wish I could do it with you there in December, but it’s not possible this year. I hope you have a good turnout because I’m sure it’s going to be a memorable time for all.

  3. Constant Wining May 3, 2017 at 1:24 pm #

    I am so excited to be going! Just signed up over the weekend… I have aways admired your cookbooks (have 3 of them) and looking forward to meeting you and Jamie and learning so much!

    • Domenica Marchetti May 3, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

      Angela, this is wonderful. Very much looking forward to meeting you and to rolling up our sleeves and getting to work ~ while enjoying French food and wine, of course! We have a really good mix of people. It’s going to be productive and lots of fun. xo

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