About us

What is Food & Words?

Food & Words organises food events with a literary bent. The focus is the annual food writers’ festival of the same name, held in Sydney each September. Our events are gathering places for people interested in food and words and cookbooks. You can find out about the festival and other events and classes by clicking on said tabs on the menu and we’d be thrilled if you signed up for our newsletter, which we have, till now, failed to send seasonally. (It’s a little ad hoc.)

What is Talking Cookbook?

Talking Cookbook is an informal pop-up – at farmer and produce markets, or anywhere really – manned by people who enjoy cooking. It started in 2012, when Barbara (see below) started a stall at Carriageworks Farmers’ Market in Sydney. She wanted to encourage people to cook, try new ingredients and expand their cooking repertoire.

The reason being that you are better off if you know how to cook for yourself, your friends and family. The reason being that cooking can be satisfying and a pleasure. The reason being that cooking is better in so many ways than takeaway.

Talking Cookbook is proudly domestic. It’s home cooks talking to home cooks. Anyone can be a Talking Cookbook (and there are already a few). Send an email and Barbara can explain how to go about it.

Who’s responsible for these knuckle-headed ideas?

Barbara Sweeney. She’s a Sydney-based food writer with a thing for food and books. Barbara writes about food, farmers, chefs and restaurants for a living. You can read some of her work at www.barbarasweeney.com.au

She also haunts second-hand bookshops in pursuit of lovely old and tattered tomes. And she likes to cook. Of all her jobs (as a freelancer, she has a few), her favourite is as honey judge at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

The team

Funny how, when you get an idea, your friends and family gather around like months to a flame to help you realise it. Food & Words has had it’s fair share of supporters and believers. You know who you are: thank you.

Thanks to Nicola D’ Alpuget, an encouraging voice from the get-go; Sharna St Leon, a wise friend, good counsel and event organiser of prodigeous talent, incredible efficiency, style and aplomb; Brian Doherty and Jane Richens, who created website v. I and Lisa Hoerlein who created v. 2; Mary Barr, who saw the need for a social media strategy and then went a got a better job; and Roxane Lancaster, who was sent from heaven.

There have also been many other friends and industry colleagues who have supported the idea – especially of an annual food writer’s festival at a time when the available column inches available to food writers is diminishing at the rate of old-growth forest – as we have slowly found our feet.

Is there space on the team for me?

We’re not seeking to fill any jobs at Food & Words at the moment, but we do hire for big events. Those jobs will be listed as they become available, so keep an eye out.

We can offer internships in food writing, events and marketing if they make sense to all parties. Again, keep an eye out, or get in touch and tell us how you think you could help us out. Send an email to hello@foodandwords.com.au

We’re always on the lookout for exceptional presenters who have a thing for food and words. If you’ve got a good creative idea with an intelligent base, please get in touch.

Picture credits

We like to acknowledge the creators of any photographs or illustrations used on the site ‘cos they’re usually by our friends and ‘cos it’s just and right.

Thank you to Sam McAdam, the official Food & Words food writers’ festival photographer, for all the event and speaker shots. You can see Sam’s work at www.sammcadam.com Erica Vera Williams covered Food & Words in 2014 when Sam had her hands full.

Luisa Brimble‘s work also appears on the site. The Magnus Nilsson: Food Stories shots are hers.


Food & Words does not disclose any personal contact information provided by subscribers or event ticket holders for use by a third party in compliance with the National Privacy Act and relevant Anti Spam Act.

If you have received the Food & Words newsletter, it’s because you have made contact with Food & Words or Talking Cookbook at some time. If you no longer want to receive the newsletter, simply unsubscribe. (Even though we’d be very upset if you did… )

Event Ticketing Terms and conditions

We follow the code of practice for Event Ticketing in Australia. Details are provided in the Terms and Conditions section on the ticketing site when Food & Words events are listed.