One of Canada’s favourite culinary personalities, Lucy Waverman brings her sharp wit and mouth-watering recipes to aspiring home chefs across the country as celebrated author, editor, columnist and teacher. Her columns “Weekend Chef” and “6 o’clock challenge” appear in The Globe and Mail, and she is the Food Editor of Food & Drink, a magazine published by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work as a food writer for the Globe?
It’s twofold. The Globe gives me a platform to educate people about food and cooking so they can feel more at ease in the kitchen. I try to take away the anxieties people have by doing easy recipes that always work and have a flavourful twist. It also allows me to write about different cuisines, which is an important way to understand the culture of a country. Having the Globe as a platform has also allowed me to do a lot of interesting work connecting with people who want to learn more about food. As Writer in Residence at Stratford Chef School, I hope I was able to influence students about writing recipes clearly and testing them until they work, which is my credo. I love teaching.
How do you use social media?
Apart from attracting people to the columns I do in the Globe and Food & Drink, I also use social media to connect with readers in ways I can’t always do on the page. On Twitter, it’s often a question of sharing food-related articles or restaurant reviews that people might find helpful, or just quirky articles that offer a fresh perspective. Instagram is a really great tool to show some of the processes that go on in our recipe testing and to show techniques. I often share photos of some of the food we make in the test kitchen as well as foods I try elsewhere.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Each day is different, but the days in the test kitchen usually start with briefing the recipe testers about the recipes – what I’m looking for, sometimes how to go about it – then I give them the recipes and watch what is happening throughout the process. We always taste the final product together and we all have input into where we think there should be changes, but ultimately it’s my palate that makes the final decision. On photography days, there’s an added element of food styling and propping. I have shelves and shelves of plates, cutlery and odd things we can use in the shots. It’s always fun choosing which pieces will work best for each dish.
What advice do you have for PR people?
I can’t tell you how many PR pitches I get that have no relevance to what I do. I would like PR people to look at what I do first, and then send me targeted pitches that are in line with my work. I would also like them to learn to write and communicate in decent English and to stop using awful PR catch phrases like “jump on the phone,” and “hope your weekend has been outstanding!” So trite.
What is your favourite recipe and most popular recipe?
My own favourite recipe is a classic roast chicken. You can never go wrong with roasting a chicken for a group of people. It’s simple, elegant, easy and always tasty. Recently, some of my most popular recipes in the Globe have been Scottish Shepherd’s Pie, which is adapted from my grandmother’s recipe and my Easy Pad Thai, which went over the top with readers. It shows too that what many readers are looking for are easy recipes that have some kind of familiarity.
First website you load in the morning?
Favourite meal of the day?
Dinner. It signals a time to relax and there is so much room for creativity in using up what is in the fridge.