Emily, Rachel and Christine- My name is Rachel Johnson and I am a recipe developer, food photographer and stylist and I am an excellent candidate for Buzzfeed Food. Buzzfeed is the most powerful nontraditional media source available via the internet today, so I took it upon myself to format my cover letter accordingly. Yes- prepare yourself for a listicle.
For my resume, please click here
1. I’ve Spent the Past Year at Cooking Light Magazine
I have been working as a Food Stylist Assistant at Cooking Light Magazine for the past year, assisting the likes of Kellie Gerber Kelley, Simon Andrews, Chelsea Zimmer, Erin Merhar and Marian Cooper Cairns. I am responsible for kitchen organization, photoshoot preparation, and day-of assistance for many spreads in the magazine. I have come to understand the extreme importance of being resourceful in the kitchen, staying on budget, and (more importantly) how to get a great sear on a steak.
In addition to my duties in the kitchen, I have taken up responsibilities in designing front and back pages for the magazine. I have become very familiar with the publication production process and have an understanding of the editorial, advertising and art angles of putting together an entire magazine. This design experience strengthens my candidacy for the Buzzfeed Food position, as I will be able to conceptualize every part of each article I write, including article graphics and social media banners.
The above spread was taken from the March 2015 issue; I illustrated graphics (not design) to accompany the ‘Let’s Move’ article featuring Michelle Obama. For more portfolio work from my time at Cooking Light, please click here.
2. I Interned at Bon Appetit Magazine
I interned with Bon Appetit Magazine during the Fall 2013 semester. Everyday, we were expected to come to the 9AM meeting with web pitches according to daily news and trending topics– and to this day my news feed is currently Food52, Food Republic, Eater, Grub Street, The Kitchn, (of course Buzzfeed Food), HuffPost Food and NYT Cooking, among others.
I had lunch with Ivan Ramen, ate at Per Se, rubbed shoulders with Claudia Wu and Kerry Diamond at their first Cherrybombe Madewell event (I am a subscriber!), ate at the original Mission Chinese, had my first Rolf and Daughters experience, ate Momofuku Ramen 3 times, Amanda Frietag cooked for a dinner I was at, stood in an elevator with Blake Lively and only managed to walk past Anna Wintour once (it was terrifying). Have I dropped enough names yet?
3. I Have 2.5K Instagram Followers
I am a skilled food photographer, especially on Instagram. If I want the likes (and who doesn’t?), I go for a simple, basic composition (And if all else fails, people love some avocado toast). I posted a Pretzel Waffle today and I completely understand why it’s successful: 1. It’s a fun, trendy idea. ‘Will it Waffle’ is very in, and who doesn’t love a good mashup? 2. The photo was clean in composition, simple in arrangement and taken overhead.
4. I Can Photograph, Write, and Edit (Photos, Video and Myself)
I graduated from Florida State University (a year behind Arielle Calderon!) with a Honors Studio Art BA and minor in Communications. For my senior honors thesis, I wrote, designed, photographed, developed recipes for my first cookbook: ‘Stupid Good: A Shut Up and Cook Book‘. I developed over 30 recipes for the book, designed to appeal towards millennials looking for simple motivation to cook. Very much inspired by the Buzzfeed ‘crowd’, I included sections such as ‘Bitchy Bites and Sassy Snacks’ and ‘Dinners That Will Get You Laid’. Click on the cover to the left to view the book- did I mention it’s free?
Today, I continue to supplement my ‘Stupid Good’ brand with my summer series ‘Stupid Good Summer School’ including videos and recipes, my Instagram account and my personal blog.
5. I’m a Strategy-Minded Creative Who Gets the Bigger Picture
During my time at FSU, I participated in the National Advertising Competition- a team of students compiling a national advertising campaign for major clients such as Glidden Paint and Nissan. I have seen the bigger picture when it comes to creative advertising and I value the importance of truly understanding brands. In order to make incredible work, I know that I have to put clients ahead of my personal creative feelings so that when I do come across a project I feel very passionate about, I feel justified in my assertion.
6. I Make Seriously Good Cookies
Full disclosure: Bread and I are not really friends (Making, not eating. Eating-wise, bread and I are best friends). Cookies, however, are my jam. I can make a damn good cookie. On cookie making skills alone, you should hire me. Just sayin’…
On my cooking ‘style’- I’m definitely not a chef and I am not in bed with a specific cuisine, but I do love to play ‘Chopped’ in my own kitchen every night. Whatever is in my fridge is transformed into something for dinner each night, and I hardly use a recipe. I would love to make food for Buzzfeed that follows the ‘stupid good’ theory- that when food is so simple and delicious, it’s just stupid. It doesn’t take a bunch of fancy equipment or every dish you have in your kitchen- it’s just simple, brilliant ideas that are ideal for a millennial lifestyle.