Cookbook author Jennie Schacht dishes on her delish dream job
All about me
In high school, I was a…bit shy and awkward.
My first job was…making and selling gingerbread houses. And scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins.
And back then, I thought I wanted to…have my own TV cooking show, like Julia Child, when I grew up
In college, I… majored in psychology and lived in a vegetarian co-op, where I was the bread baker. I made lots of friends by baking cinnamon rolls at midnight with the excess bread dough!
And right now, I am a cookbook author and I can hardly believe it’s work!
What I do
In a nutshell, my job is to…come up with great ideas, develop recipes and write my own cookbooks. I also help chefs and others to write their books.
When I tell people what I do, they think it’s pretty awesome
The best part of my day is when…I’m done cooking and taking photos and it’s time to share what I’ve made with my family and friends.
The worst part of my job is…it’s still work and I have to get it done even when I’d rather be outside walking with my dog. Oh, and cleaning up.
When I first got my job, I was surprised that…they let someone who didn’t go to culinary school publish a cookbook.
I got my job by…working hard, learning everything I could about cookbooks and the food industry, honing my writing craft, getting to know lots of people in the industry and never giving up my dream.
My biggest career achievement so far is…having seven cookbooks out there with my name on them!
My next career goal is to…come up with another book idea that’s as fun to write as my latest one, i scream SANDWICH! And to become a better blogger.
And how you can do it, too
This job might be right for you if…you love to cook, enjoy writing, have creative ideas, pay attention to details, and can motivate yourself to work hard even when you don’t feel like it.
You might want to try something else if…you have dreams of making big bucks. That almost never happens writing cookbooks.
The one thing you need to do right now is…take school seriously—the skills you learn there will help you in the future, whatever you decide to do. Pay attention to what makes you feel happy and proud. And be persistent.
At some point in high school, try to…get involved in extra-curricular activities, be open to and interested in all kinds of people and experiences and worry more about what matters to you and less about how popular that makes you.
When you’re thinking about college, consider… getting a well-rounded education before you decide to specialize. I worked in public health (I still do) and that’s where I learned I was a good writer. Once I figured that out, I circled back to my early passion for food and decided to apply my writing skills to creating cookbooks.
My best advice for getting a job—any job!—is to…always treat people with respect, be curious about EVERYTHING, pay attention to the details, work hard, and learn how to sell yourself without being boastful.
And be sure to check out these resources…the International Association of Culinary Professionals. They have a student rate! Dianne Jacob’s book, Will Write for Food, and her blog. In fact, visit lots of blogs and see what resonates with you—including mine!
Check out a trio of drool-worthy recipes from Jennie’s latest book in GL’s June/July ’13 issue, on newsstands now, and pick up your own copy here.
Ice scream sandwich photo by Sara Remington