MEDIA Profile: Putting a soft focus on food - Neale Whitaker, editor, Food Illustrated

Many journalists move from editorial to public relations but for Food Illustrated editor Neale Whitaker, the opposite is true.

Many journalists move from editorial to public relations but for

Food Illustrated editor Neale Whitaker, the opposite is true.



Whitaker’s first job on graduating was as a junior account manager at

Lynne Franks PR He then spent six years in the PR industry, eventually

returning to Lynne Franks as an account director before crossing to the

other side.



’Lynne Franks was an incredibly inspiring person,’ he says. ’I know the

image Absolutely Fabulous has given her is likely to stick, but I

learned so much from working with her. I think my unusual background

helped enormously in making me what I am today and ensuring this

magazine will be different.’



The magazine in question is Food Illustrated, the latest title from the

John Brown Publishing stable which also prints Gardens Illustrated. The

monthly title will cover food producers, growers, sellers, chefs and

food itself. Although the magazine will include a huge number of

recipes, they will all be in a section at the back. The focus of the

magazine will be food in all its forms.



’We plan to be quite international,’ says Whitaker. ’We’ll cover

Australia, the US, Europe and South Africa but we will be sticking

mainly to Great Britain. I think the time is right for a magazine to do

that. I know there have been other titles in this field that have

launched and failed, but I think it is only now that the wider British

public is really becoming food conscious. You find decent restaurants

opening all over the country and shops outside London are finally

stocking a wide range of interesting items.’



Whitaker agrees that some of the recent interest in food has resulted in

less than positive publicity. The magazine will cover food issues such

as CJD, he says, but will prefer to focus on the joys of food. ’We will

be trying to persuade people to eat organic food,’ he says, ’and I’d

prefer to encourage people to eat season produce.’



The move over to food editorial came quite late in the day for Whitaker,

who had always planned to go into fashion journalism when he left PR and

most of the work he did at while at Lynne Franks and Browns was in

fashion too. However these fashion sensibilities are bound to come into

their own on Food Illustrated when it comes to the incredibly difficult

area - the portrayal of food.



’There are two schools of thought on photographing food,’ Whitaker

explains.



’There’s the time consuming and expensive traditional way which can

involve hours in the studio for just two pictures or there’s the newer

school which is inspired by US and Australian photographers who prefer

to use natural light.



’We plan to use both techniques and also revive the art of food

illustration by artists. The magazine is called Food Illustrated, after

all.’



HIGHLIGHTS

1989

Account director, Lynne Franks PR

1990

Deputy editor, Marks and Spencer Magazine

1993

Editor, Marks and Spencer Magazine

1996

Launch editor, Debenhams and Ikea Magazines

1997

Editor, Food Illustrated



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