Interview with food writer and (eater extraordinaire) Julien Perry
We’re excited to be writing another entry in our ongoing interview series with local reporters to get the inside scoop on what they look for from PR people and how we can be the best resource possible to them. Today’s Inside Scoop is with Julien Perry, writer for Seattle Weekly, Citysearch.com Seattle Captain, and Seattle editor for Chefs Feed, a new mobile application featuring thousands of high-end to hole-in-the-wall restaurant recommendations from the country’s best chefs. We’ve pitched Julien on numerous occasions, including those that were not the most appropriate, so now we’re checking in to get the lowdown on what she’s looking for and a few hints on her favorite noshes.
1. What topics or stories do you want to get pitches on from PR peeps?
I love anything that is relevant to what I do. As the Captain of Seattle Citysearch, I really appreciate new restaurant openings and media invites to check out the space (always makes my job easier!). It continues to amaze me how many PR folks have no clue what I do and don’t understand why I don’t want to write about their client’s latest wine dinner. And then there are the ones who can’t even spell my name correctly. Mispronouncing it is one thing, but misspelling it? Come on!
2. Is it appropriate for us to offer you an experience or opportunity to try a new dish “on the house”?
Absolutely! If I were a food critic, that would be another story, but since bias doesn’t play a part in what I write about, it doesn’t factor into ethics. Plus, I don’t really get a dining budget for my writing. I think it’s assumed food writers get a monthly stipend, but that is not true. There have been times I haven’t tasted a dish because I couldn’t afford it.
3. What are the three angles or story ideas that you consistently get pitched on but NEVER should because you wouldn’t cover it?
Products, any sort of ‘calendar of event’ type stuff (I usually refer them to the newsletter editor for Seattle Weekly), good deeds (“Hey! Our client just scored 4 gold stars in the Dijon mustard Olympics!”). Again, I just don’t have a platform for this type of stuff. I think a lot of people assume I can write about anything I want for Voracious and Citysearch, but my columns/focus are very content specific.
4. Are you open to being pitched on Twitter or via methods than email?
Yes, but only if I know you! It gets awkward (creepy) getting DMs via Twitter and Facebook from randoms.
5. You get to try lots of different restaurants and dishes. What are some of your current favorites?
I tend to gravitate towards places where I know the people working/cooking my food. Right now, I love Marche in Pike Place Market, Tavolata, Restaurant Bea, Bottlehouse, Staple & Fancy, and Queen Margherita Pizza in Magnolia. I also love a good blue-collar bar, and living next to Georgetown, I absolutely adore Hudson and Loretta’s, which is a bit further in South Park. There is just something about a place where you can grab a beer, listen to some sweet 80s rock and not recognize a single soul. And not be pressured to order food every 10 minutes.
6. Do you personally enjoy cooking? And if so, what famous chef would you say you are most like in the kitchen?
I like to cook for other people—I LOVE hosting dinner parties—but I don’t cook. Nope. Sometimes my dinner comes out of a wine bottle.
7. Any last bits of information you’d like to share?
I would recommend to other PR folks out there to do a little research about the recipients of their press pitches before they hit the ‘send’ button. Keep up on their current employers. Also, I think it’s absolutely necessary to keep your media list current. I often see people at media events shoving free food into their faces, fully aware they no longer have a platform for writing about the very event their freeloading from. It’s one thing to invite an influential person, who may or may not be in the media, but to invite people who are there just for the free food and exposure? The legit members of the media don’t really enjoy being around these people, so oftentimes don’t bother coming to the event. It would be nice to see current players in the media at the events I get invited to. It’s been a while since I’ve networked with people I respect in the industry — new faces. I mean, you don’t invite the same 10 people to your dinner parties, do you? Mix it up! It makes it way more fun! And learn how to spell/pronounce people’s names.