The 2018 AFJ Awards Competition Is Open!

It’s the top competition for food journalism, and we want you to enter.

The 2018 AFJ Awards Competition is now accepting entries. This year, there are 18 categories in print, Web and broadcast journalism. And, they include six new ones. For the first time, AFJ is accepting entries for Spanish language food story.

AFJ’s awards are open to journalists everywhere, including students, but there’s a special discount available to AFJ members in good standing. Renew before you enter, and you’ll save. Or, send in an application to join, and get the discount after you’ve been accepted.

But act quickly. The awards deadline is midnight ET, March 1. We prefer electronic entries, but you can submit by mail, too. See the details in our competition guidelines.

We’ll announce the winners at AFJ’s annual convention in Phoenix, Sept. 26-28, 2018. Just think: warm weather, southwestern cuisine and your name on an AFJ award.

Start thinking about your entries now, and get them in by March 1.

Micki Maynard, Awards Manager

Looking back on 2017 by AFJ President Kathleen Purvis

Looking back on 2017, has there ever been a year that has better shown the value of ground-breaking food journalism? Months before #metoo and attention to the career-destroying antics of Harvey Weinstein, Brett Anderson of the New Orleans Times-Picayune was already at work, chasing reports of sexual harassment by chef John Besh and disturbing patterns in his company’s treatment of female employees.

That was quickly followed by the solid reporting by Kim Severson and Julia Moskin of The New York Times on similar behavior by restaurateur Ken Friedman. Then Amanda Kludt’s staff at broke the news on accusations against super chef Mario Batali.

As food journalists, many of us can cite times when we were dismissed as “recipe churners” or treated as lesser journalists even in our own newsrooms. But the work of these fine food reporters and editors proves that food journalism is journalism. Period.

While you’re thinking about whether to join AFJ or renew your membership, think about the value of what we all do. In the same way that many members are reinventing themselves and finding new paths for their careers, AFJ is reinventing itself, too, to play a role in supporting skills, training and professional development. And, yes, many of us can still write a mean recipe, too. 

I can’t wait to see what our members will do in 2018. But right now, in 2017, I’m proud to know you all.

Kathleen Purvis, AFJ President and member since 1994


AFJ Hosts a Members Only Webinar with Amanda Kludt, Editor in Chief of Eater

Just how far have we come since 'The Gods of Food'? In November 2013, Time magazine published a special issue titled the “Gods of Food" that listed 13 “Gods,” a chef’s family tree, and a series of articles about the key “influencers” in food today. No female chefs or restaurateurs made the “Gods” list, nor were any included in the modern restaurant lineage. Outrage followed, but are we any better off when it comes to the recognition of female chefs in 2018 than we were in 2013? This examination, through 28 pie charts, hopes to answer that question.

Amanda Kludt is the Editor in Chief of Eater, a publication covering the ins and outs of dining and food in America and around the world. Through original reporting, longform journalism, maps and guides, reviews, and video, Eater informs its audience on the latest news, tells them where to eat and drink, and highlights important issues facing the world of restaurants. Before Eater, Kludt worked at Gridskipper and Metro. She has contributed to Lucky Peach, Cherry Bombe, The Guardian, and others.

This webinar is available as a special AFJ member benefit. All AFJ members who have joined or renewed for 2018 are welcome to participate. Ready to save 10% on your 2018 AFJ membership? Take advantage of our promotional pricing available until Dec. 31, 2017. Join us today.

To RSVP or to inquire about membership, email

Amanda Kludt, Editor in Chief of Eater.

Amanda Kludt, Editor in Chief of Eater.

Next AFJ Sound Bites webinar: Inclusive Storytelling with Nieman Foundation Fellow Tristan Ahtone

Next AFJ Sound Bites webinar: Inclusive Storytelling with Nieman Foundation Fellow Tristan Ahtone

Join AFJ for "Inclusive Storytelling for Food Writers with Nieman Foundation Fellow Tristan Ahtone," on Tuesday, December 12, at 1:30 p.m. 

Drawing from personal experience and his current work on how to improve coverage of Indigenous communities, Ahtone will spend twenty minutes sharing tips and resources for culinary journalists regarding inclusive storytelling best practices. 

Tristan Ahtone is a New Mexico-based journalist and a contributing editor with High Country News’ Tribal Affairs desk. He has reported for “PBS NewsHour,” “National Native News,” Wyoming Public Radio, NPR and Al Jazeera America. Ahtone’s stories have won multiple honors, including investigative awards from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Gannett Foundation.

Are YOU the next AFJ Awards Manager?

We are pleased to announce that we are hiring for the next AFJ Annual Awards Competition Manager. Personal referrals can be the best route for finding excellent candidates, so we are enlisting our highly skilled network (ahem, YOU!) to fill this position. This temporary, independent contractor gig is ideal for freelancers who have time in their spring calendar. We would like to fill this role before the new year, so applications are due no later than Friday, December 8th. Keep reading for the full description.

About us

The Association of Food Journalists is a professional organization dedicated to preserving and perpetuating responsible food journalism across media platforms. Annual programming includes the AFJ awards competition, which takes place every late winter/spring.

AFJ is hiring a part-time manager for its annual awards competition, which was started in 1986 and is the oldest still-functioning contest for food journalists.


The awards competition manager will work on a wide range of projects within the scope of the AFJ Awards Competition under the direction of the AFJ awards committee and the AFJ executive director.

Specific tasks include but are not limited to:

  • Communicating regularly with the committee (two to three times a month, or more as needed) to provide updates on competition status
  • Lining up judges, filling in with new ones as needed
  • Mailing category packets to judges when necessary
  • Receiving electronic entries as they come in and sharing them with the appropriate judges
  • Tallying judging results

Additional responsibilities include but are not limited to:  

  • Identifying a more streamlined online competition management platform to receive entries from entrants and share submissions with judges
  • Reviewing existing competition guidelines and making suggestions for improvement
  • Identifying skilled judges and working with the awards committee to formalize the rankings and evaluation criteria
  • Some social media support using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other emerging platforms


You should:  

  • Be a recognized self-starter by colleagues.
  • Be able to work efficiently and independently.
  • Be detail-oriented and highly organized.
  • Be knowledgeable and savvy with Microsoft Office and major social media platforms.
  • Demonstrate a high level of confidentiality.

Time Commitment

This seasonal role will begin in January and run through the end of May. The amount of time spent in this role will vary from approximately five hours a week to up to twenty hours a week during the submission processing period. Based on a successful evaluation at the end of the role, there may be an opportunity to extend the position.  The individual who fills this position will not be eligible to enter the awards competition, as he/she will be handling entries and communicating directly with judges.


This is an independent contractor position and does not include benefits. AFJ is offering a flat rate of $2,500.00 that will be paid in three monthly installments beginning in February 2018. Based on a successful evaluation at the end of the role, there is an opportunity to receive a $500 travel stipend to attend the awards ceremony in Phoenix, Arizona in September 2018.

To Apply

Send a PDF of your cover letter, résumé and examples of your work (including at least two writing samples) as well as three recent references to AFJ executive director Amanda C. Miller no later than Friday, Dec. 8,

Q&A: AFJ member Kimberly Jackson interviews Joy R. Butler

I've always had an affinity for literature and linguine so joining AFJ was a perfect fit. Although being a member is great, I wanted to immerse myself a bit more in the AFJ community and thought writing for its blog would be a great opportunity to do so. In anticipation of this Wednesday's Sound Bites webinar Food Writers in the Legal Jungle, AFJ Executive Director, Amanda C. Miller, and I worked together to interview our special guest Joy R. Butler.

1)      How did you get started in the legal field? I’ve been practicing law since 1992. I’ve always had an interest in creative endeavors and performing arts. One way to merge my interest in law and my interest in the creative was to do work in copyright, trademark and related issues. A lot of my clients are involved in the media and creative industries so most of my work is transactional; I do a lot of contracts and advisory work. I might help them in all aspects of putting together a project; getting and protecting the idea; hiring people to bring that idea to fruition; entering into contracts for the financing, distribution and production of the idea; and protecting any creative work they may generate.

2)     How often are you approached by food writers seeking legal counsel or advice? I’m very often approached by companies and writers in publishing to protect their rights. With respect to the food writers, there have been a handful of cookbook writers and food bloggers who ask for my counsel.

3)     Do you think you haven’t been approached by more because they don’t recognize they need the counsel yet? A lot of people who are very creative in nature may not realize the business issues or want to be bothered by them until they absolutely have to be.  Counsel on certain legal issues may not be readily available to them which is the reason behind some of the books I write. They provide background on certain legal issues to help others identify whether they need to seek additional legal help.

4)     Why is it important to focus not only on the creative side of food writing but the legal side as well? It is important to ensure that anything they do on the creative edge isn’t violating anyone else’s work, copyright or trademark.

5)     What are the most common legal roadblocks/ pitfalls for food writers? Ensuring no one infringes on your copyright nor you in regards to someone else. Making sure all your original writing and illustrations are protected. When writers collaborate with photographers or illustrators on a cookbook, for example, they should always know how to sort through who owns what. Many bloggers encounter “scraping” of their site and need counsel on how to handle the duplication of their content.

6)     Other than recipes, what is considered intellectual property for a food writer? The big thing for a writer is text and visual artwork that you use in your book. Any original, creative work can be protected by copyright including text, illustrations, images, any original creation you write down or record such as transcribed interviews or cookbooks in draft or final form. If you wrote it down and it is original, it is eligible for copyright protection.

7)     Do you consider yourself a foodie? I’m not sure what the definition of foodie is but if it is someone who enjoys eating, likes to cook, likes to try new food experiences, both as a culinary preparer and as a person who frequents restaurants, then yes, I’d consider myself a foodie!

8)     The food scene is pretty hot right now in DC. What’s your favorite restaurant? With respect to restaurants, I thought that I probably do need to go out more because I can’t really name a favorite! I go to a lot of events that are frequently held in restaurants and that tends to be when I encounter new restaurants; I don’t usually choose them on my own. I also like to be very aware of what I’m eating. I’m definitely the person who stands in the grocery aisle for 10 minutes reading labels to make sure I get the yogurt with the least amount of fat. I like to know how my food is prepared and you don’t always know that when you walk into a restaurant. So unless I’m going to an event or some sort of networking get-together, you’re probably going to see me, when I’m not in my own kitchen cooking, at the salad bar in Whole Foods.

9)   Alex Guarnaschelli, one of my favorite chefs and judges on Chopped, says that food is heavily tied to memory; what’s your fondest food memory? When it comes to equating distinct foods with distinct memories, feelings and moods, I don’t have anything original to say. I remember going out as a kid with my dad to lunch and I’d always have a grilled cheese sandwich. I don’t eat them as much these days but they always give me that nostalgic feeling.

10)   If you could only eat one thing every day, for the rest of your life, what would it be? Well it depends whether or not having to eat one thing every day for the rest of my life comes with a guarantee that I’m not going to expire from an early death from coronary failure or blocked artery. If I had that guarantee than it would probably be pecan pie or sweet potato pie :)

Joy R. Butler hosts the next AFJ webinar, "Food Writers in the Legal Jungle," on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 1:30 p.m. EDT. Email to RSVP today. 

Kimberly Jackson joined AFJ in 2017. Follow her culinary adventures at eatandbemerrydc and on Instagram @eatandbemerrydc



AFJ is pleased to welcome author Joy R. Butler as the host of our next Sound Bites webinar. Butler is a Washington, DC-based media, technology, and licensing attorney who excels at explaining complicated legal issues in understandable terms and proposing practical solutions to business problems. Ms. Butler’s book publications include The Permission Seeker's Guide Through the Legal Jungle: Clearing Copyrights, Trademarks and Other Rights for Entertainment and Media Productions, recently updated and expanded for 2017. She also regularly blogs on media and intellectual property law issues at

This webinar will address legal issues of interest to food journalists including:

  • how food journalists can protect their original material (with an emphasis on available protection for recipes);
  • when and how food journalists can permissibly incorporate quotes, images, and real people into their writing; and
  • how to determine when bad reviews and online snarking cross the line into actionable defamation. 

This webinar will take place on Wednesday, October 25 at 1:30pm EST. RSVP to today.

Joy Butler will host the next AFJ webinar, Food Writers in the Legal Jungle, Wednesday, October 25th at 1:30 p.m. EST. Email to join this presentation. 

Joy Butler will host the next AFJ webinar, Food Writers in the Legal Jungle, Wednesday, October 25th at 1:30 p.m. EST. Email to join this presentation. 

Annual conference registration closes Weds., Aug. 16

This time next month we'll be walking through Reading Terminal Market to meet with Anuj Gupta, general manager of the Market and Rick Nichols, former food columnist and editorial writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer who championed the preservation of the market when its future was uncertain. Later that day we'll tackle how freelance journalists earn a living with many fewer opportunities for traditional journalism, followed by a tour of La Colombe coffee and distillery. A secret local expert will then wrap up our afternoon in the Fishtown neighborhood with a behind the scenes tour of three local distilleries, New Liberty, Rowhouse Spirits and Philadelphia Distilling. That evening we'll toast local and regional specialties at our signature event, Taste, at the Museum of the American Revolution

Registration closes this Wednesday, August 16. Don't wait. Register today!



La Colombe Coffee and Distillery in Fishtown. 

La Colombe Coffee and Distillery in Fishtown. 

Dozens of food vendors share regional delicacies at Reading Terminal Market. 

Dozens of food vendors share regional delicacies at Reading Terminal Market. 

5 Things You Didn't Know About Eating in Philadelphia

As a Philly native and a food writer, I can tell you one thing for sure: A lot of people have the food scene here dead wrong. For example, I wouldn’t suggest wasting a meal on a cheesesteak. Soft pretzels do not justify the stomach space they take up and our famous Tastykakes are really not all they have been made out to be.

At this point, you’ve probably got our heaviest hitting restaurants on your list of places to dine, and the likes of ZahavFork, and Bibou are more than worth a visit—if you have the budget and can get a reservation. But just under the surface of Philadelphia’s food image lies a treasure trove of unsung pleasures. Here are five things you probably didn’t know about us that you should keep in mind as you plot your Philly food itinerary.

It’s not all about the restaurants. You probably have heard about our restaurant scene and the celebrity chefs that have helped Philadelphia rise to national prominence. But you might not have heard about a lesser known part of our culinary landscape: Food artisans, specialty grocers, and other makers. In Reading Terminal Market alone, you can taste world-class charcuterie at La Divisa Meats, try local farmstead cheeses and small batch pickles at Fair Food Farmstand, or take some freshly churned butter from Condiment back to your hotel room along with your High Street bread.

We’ve got surprisingly healthy options. We’re not all bread, meat, and cheese in Philly. If you are interested in lighter, healthier eats, this is a great place to visit. For starters, we have what is likely the very best vegan restaurant in the US in Vedge. Yes, it books up far in advance. If you miss the chance to nab a table, check out Vedge’s sister restaurant V Street—it’s more casual and just as terrific. Other amazing vegan spots include Charlie Was a Sinner,P.S. & Co. and Miss Rachel’s Pantry.

International eats abound. Philadelphia is home to one of the largest Cambodian populations in America. Several wonderful restaurants have opened to serve them the spicy, vegetable-forward food of their homeland. These friendly restaurants are very welcoming. Take a short bus or cab ride to South Philly to eat at Khmer Kitchen. The Inquirer’s Craig LaBan will tell you exactly what to order. We’ve also got Mexican food galore, West African, Malaysian, and Vietnamese… to name a few of the global cuisines you’ll find here.

Zero-proof drinks. It’s true that Philadelphia is a great place to indulge in craft beer, natural wine, and high-end cocktails. But if you’re not in the mood for booze, we’ve still got you covered for festive drinks. At ITV, Top Chef winner Nick Elmi’s outstanding bar on East Passyunk Avenue, genius bartenders mix cocktails made with Seedlip—the world’s first distilled nonalcoholic spirit. Vernick, this year’s James Beard award-winning restaurant for the Mid-Atlantic region, pours house-made sodas that refresh a thirsty traveler and complement its outstanding food. In Fishtown, both Front Street Café and La Colombe offer locally made kombucha on draft.

Our oldies are still goodies. New restaurants tend to get all the love, but in this town, when a restaurant stays in business for 10-plus years, you know the food is good. One such place to seek out? Chlöe BYOB in Old City. This charming spot will tell you everything you want to know about neighborhood restaurants here. You’ll be tempted to order the whole menu, but the ribs are a must. And they are enough to share. Regulars throw fits in the dining room if this dish runs outs. Bistro 7Paradiso, and Amada are all classics that rarely get attention anymore but are going strong after all these years.

Joy Manning is editor of Edible Philly and the cohost of the Local Mouthful podcast. She will moderate the panel Food Journalism in the Gig Economy at the AFJ annual conference. Follow her food adventures on Instagram @joymanning. Don't wait. Review the agenda and register for the conference today. 


Jessica Stugelmayer joined AFJ as a member in June 2016. She won a 2017 James Beard Foundation Media "Best Television Segment" Award for her work on "Harvesting Alaska", which includes stories on yak farming and more. We asked Jessica to share the top three reasons she is investing her time and money to attend the 2017 AFJ annual conference in Philadelphia.  

When I am deciding whether or not to attend a conference, I have to justify the hefty price tag of traveling from Alaska. Here’s why I’m going to the AFJ conference in Philadelphia.

Priceless connections - The people you meet at this conference will be the ones you reach out to when visiting a new city or writing about a type of regional cuisine. During a recent trip to San Francisco, a journalist I sat next to at an awards dinner met me for a drink in a great little dive bar and we discussed ways to find funding as independent producers.

Inspiration - Get out of the daily grind and dream up new projects while surrounded by some of the brightest minds in our industry. Anne Lamott wrote that writers spend their days listening, observing, and storing things away. Then we take it home and turn it into gold. (Or at least we try.)

Future collaborations - After you’ve met these amazing people and come up with innovative ideas, you’ll go your separate ways. But weeks, months, maybe even years after the conference, those connections could lead to something more – maybe you start the next big thing like Canal House or invent the successor of the Tasty-style videos.