The rise of social media and digital platforms gives everyone a chance to have their say about food. So what differentiates your say from the rest? Quite simply, how well you write about it.

Michaela McGuire, the new director of the Emerging Writers’ Festival, introduced a new event to this year’s program: Writers’ Night School: Food Writing.

“[Food writing] was one of the things I focused on going into this job. As far as I know, there hasn’t been a food-writing event, or one over food, at a past festival,” says McGuire.

The event brings together two writers at the forefront of Melbourne’s food journalism: Emily Naismith and Roslyn Grundy. Naismith is co-host of food-podcast Ingredipedia, creator of Emoji Food Review, and commercial editor at Broadsheet. Grundy is a writer and producer for Good Food and editor of The Age Good Food Guide.

“I think Roslyn and Emily will have a really great complementary relationship to offer up on the night,” says McGuire.

Over a specially designed five-course tasting menu at Andrew McConnell’s Supernormal, Naismith and Grundy will share insights on how to analyse, describe and write about food in new and engaging ways.

Two long tables in the downstairs function room will allow for a casual, speed date–like format, with Naismith and Grundy swapping seats between courses. The tables will have the chance to interact with each writer twice throughout the night.

“My hope for this event is that it’ll feel like you’re having dinner with a couple of your friends, who happen to know a lot about food, and how to write about it,” says McGuire.

“[Participants] will be invited to write a few lines about each dish and offer that up for feedback from Emily and Roslyn, too.”

We asked Naismith for some tips on writing about food:

Broadsheet: Most interesting thing you’ve ever eaten? Can you describe it?
Emily Naismith: I made “scary fairy bread” with ants instead of hundreds and thousands for a Halloween-themed Emoji Food Review. I bought the dehydrated ants off the internet and sprinkled them on buttered white bread. It tasted a little bit like fish and chips, because ants taste of salt and lemon. It was a little bit like chewing a pincushion, though. I could feel the ants scraping my oesophagus as I swallowed.

BS: What’s the best thing you’ve ever eaten? Why was it so good?
EN: Probably white anchovies on the beach in Praiano on the Amalfi Coast in Italy, while lying on a sunlounge drinking beer. It was so good because I’d just walked down 400 steps to get to the beach, and I was watching a man hack a watermelon to pieces with a huge knife while dancing to AC/DC. Sometimes the stars align. I also just love anchovies and eat them for breakfast on toast with onion relish. This year I’m going to a town in Spain called Santoña that is famous for its anchovy production. I can’t wait.

BS: Over your food-writing career, what piece did you most enjoy writing?
EN: I loved writing my chip-pizza recipe on Emoji Food Review because I couldn’t believe I successfully built a pizza base out of chips. I had to use a lot of my Year 12 physics skills for that one.

BS: Who’s the most interesting person you’ve interviewed?
EN: I loved interviewing Anthony Femia from Maker & Monger on my food podcast Ingredipedia. He was a guest on our episode on blue cheese and is so incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about cheese. He even wore a blue-cheese T-shirt to the studio, which I appreciated because 50 per cent of my wardrobe is food related.

BS: The best thing about being a food writer is …
EN: I can legitimately spend two weeks carrying around a bag containing every flavour of Arnott’s Shapes in order to properly rank them because it’s “work”.

BS: What’s a good piece of food writing you’ve read recently? Why was it good?
EN: I love Lucky Peach. In its “Obsession” issue there was an article about the history of the Monopoly game at McDonald’s by Jen Choi which really resonated with me, because I was obsessed with collecting those game squares for a good portion of my life. I also won a PlayStation out of it.

I also recently listened to an old [2004] audio story on This American Life by David Rakoff about his experience with fasting. Although it was about not eating food, I think it classifies as food writing. He made eating broth for a week so entertaining.

BS: Your favourite adjective is …
EN: Sick! Probably not a great one to use in food writing, but it’s my favourite adjective in life.

BS: Your least favourite is …
EN: Delicious. It takes me so much effort to push past using it in my writing, but it’s worth it. Every second word that comes into my head is “delicious”.

Writers’ Night School: Food Writing will be held on Monday June 20, starting at 6.30pm. Space is limited to 38 participants. Tickets can be purchased here.

Broadsheet is a proud partner of Writers’ Night School: Food Writing.