Maria Blackstone, Student Work Experience | BBC Good Food Mag

Maria Blackstone_cropped_L3student_March2015I was lucky enough to gain work experience for two weeks with BBC Good Food Magazine. I have always wanted to get a job with BBC Good Food Magazine, ever since my mum started receiving the subscription. My mum taught me to cook at a young age, and it has been something that my passion has grown and grown for. I attended a ten week Junior Chef Academy course at Westminster College when I was younger, and really loved it. I have since set up my food blog where I write up my own recipes and photograph them, channelling my knowledge learnt from my degree course in Contemporary Lens Media (Photography and Video) at LSFM.

The work experience involved me doing desk jobs including sorting through all the newspapers and extracting anything food related, filing, and researching products for their features. I also costed some recipes, which I found really interesting, something that will be useful for me when writing my food blog. However the part that interested me, and excited me most was working in the test kitchen and working on the photoshoots. In the test kitchen I got to test recipes and simply just cook and taste.

They gave me a lot of responsibility and trust, and I felt in my element. It was this that confirmed for me that this is the type of thing I want to be doing. I love being creative, imaginative and experimenting. I didn’t mind when things went wrong. I enjoyed trying to fix and alter things, and this was satisfying when it turned out right the next time. I tasted some amazing food, and certainly didn’t go hungry! I didn’t even have to do any washing up. Cassie and Chelsea, who I worked with most gave me some useful advice and insight. I found that I will most probably have to do some formal training in cookery, but they advised me to always write down recipes I think up and experiment with, so I can test them and then put them on to my food blog. This will also help me practice my writing skills etc, and help me create my own voice.

The shoots were long days, and took time to prepare for, however I thrived on being around the camera, although I wasn’t taking the photos, I felt relaxed and it was really nice for me to see behind the scenes at how the images I look at and love in the food magazines are created.

BBCGoodFoodMag_March2015I felt like I was a great help and this made me feel really good. I was worried that I would go into the work experience and not get to do overly much, but instead I had a lot of responsibility which meant I learnt a lot.  I found out some useful tips also for my photography work, including lighting, and the use of props etc. It was so lovely to see things I had helped work on when I received the recent March issue of the magazine.

I’d say my highlight of the work experience was the Batternberg cake I made.  After testing the recipe the first time, the sponge went wrong. I adjusted the time and temperature, and started again. I then put the cake together and decorated it how i interpreted the recipe. This disappeared in seconds, and I felt so good when they asked me to make another one for the shoot later in the week. Although I only made the sponge for this, it made me feel really confident about my skills. I hope to gain some more work experience after I graduate, and I have tailored some of my university projects to help me come across more employable.

www.mariablackstonefood.com_foodblogThis work experience for me was such a valuable one, and has cemented for me that I need to embrace my passion for food, and my love for being creative and form a career around this area. If you want to check out my food blog, Creative Appetite, it is: