Within the Denver food community, specifically.
I’ve been in Denver for two years now. I’ve officially been here through the pandemic, two apartments, a LOT of grief and financial stress, and a bunch of writing jobs. Writing jobs which, of course, center almost entirely around food.
I am proud of how hard I’ve worked to immerse myself in the food and bev scene here. I’m proud of the connections I’ve made, the outlets I’ve written for, and the work I’ve done. But now that we’ve hit the two-year mark, I’m starting to notice a lot of repetition.
What I don’t want is for this post to come across as ungrateful, because that’s the opposite of how I feel. While a large part of my flourishing career is the result of my own hustle, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am without the folks who lent a hand, gave me a chance, and kept me on their email lists.
But the PR companies and representatives are so non-diverse. Many of their clients are the same. I’m getting a lot of the same-sounding emails for the same chefs of the same hoity-toity restaurants owned by the same rich, white men. And honestly, I’m not that interested anymore.
I would much rather do the footwork of discovering small, locally owned places—spots owned by people of color, members of the LGBTQ community. Or at least see more of an effort by PR reps and local publications to spotlight those businesses (instead of using them for keywords or token coverage).
It’s definitely a goal of mine to be part of that real, holistic coverage. The goal is fuzzy and still needs to be fleshed out, but it’s there. Maybe if this blog ever takes off, it can be my platform to try and elicit change.
Also, what I’m really tired of is the incestuous nature of the media community here. Talented writers, editors, journalists (and others, I’m sure) are constantly being passed up for people “who know people.” I’ve had editors who don’t know what they’re doing, are shitty writers, and who don’t know how to handle stress or issues that arise. I think the most frustrating thing about getting overlooked for a job you know you’re damn well qualified for is knowing it’s because you’re an outsider who doesn’t have her lips planted to someone’s asshole.
Sorry, not sorry. But it’s bullshit. So is being told I miss deadlines that never, in fact, existed in the first place. Or being told I “disappointed the leadership team” as a freelancer when my editor is the one who missed something crucial. Not my problem. Or having to heavily edit my own editor’s writing because it’s that bad.
I know this world will probably never change. I won’t hold my breath or waste any energy hoping that some way, somehow, things will suddenly change and this industry will become justified. I know it won’t. I just have to continue broadening my focus to bigger, better, we-actually-have-our-shit-together things. You can’t fight stupid or crazy—stepping up your game with your own intelligence and drive is the best you can do.