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Writing for Gastronomic SLC

Want to write for Gastronomic Salt Lake City? Of course you do, that’s why you’ve ended up on this page. GSLC is Utah’s longest-running, biggest, and boldest online food magazine. We write about anything food and drink-related in Utah, and we’re always looking for talented contributors to add to the conversation. We’re not going to pay your mortgage, but we’re also not going to stiff you with that nonsense about exposure. We’ll pay you. Yes with real money. So, where to begin, ah yes…

Things to consider when pitching a story

Types of story we accept

Ideas for articles include recipes, local products, local makers or chefs, previews, first looks, profiles, features, roundups, histories, and more. When pitching a story ask yourself, “Am I telling a story that hasn’t yet been told in Utah?” To get your mind whirring, here are some examples of stories published by our contributors:

What’s the Utah angle?

No matter how tenuous – there needs to be a Utah angle. You might want to write a rant about the nature of tipping, the incredulous use of brioche buns for burgers, or talk about your five favorite spoons. But. You’re going to want to link that back to the Beehive in some way. Where exactly do I buy those spoons in Utah?

What’s your point?

Have something to say, leave the reader in no doubt as to the point of your article. What’s the takeaway for the reader – purchase a product, visit a business, understand a topic in more detail?

Trad restaurant reviews are dead

Dead as a dodo. Many people contact me asking how they can get started as a restaurant critic. The quick answer – don’t bother. Old-school reviews are anachronistic, a weird afterimage from a pre-Internet world. These days you can quickly crowd-source a feel for a restaurant via a combination of searches across websites, social media, etc. Do you need to know about the experience of one single diner’s experience across one or two meals at best?

That’s not to say we won’t publish stand-alone features on a restaurant (new or old). Maybe the story is framed as a first look, at what to expect, or similar. Perhaps there’s a unique angle for the city it’s located in, the cuisine served, the chef, whatever. An out-and-out critique of a restaurant top to bottom, ala Gold or Wells. Nah. If you’re pitching a story about a new restaurant, ask yourself, is the business notable or unique? Is this a business you would send friends and family to without question?

We’re not a bully pulpit

We have some considerable reach these days. In a given year we see 1-1.5 million page views, and across social media we’re followed by 30,000+ folks. Our stories appear in places like Google News, Newsbreak, and more; quite often they attract the attention of other local press. If you write something for GSLC, it will get distributed and it will get read by a great many eyeballs.

We aren’t here to beat up businesses, crush a mom-and-pop’s dreams, or shoot fish in the fast food barrel. If there’s something negative that has to be said, by all means, but do it intelligently, critically, and thoughtfully. And it shouldn’t be the core of your piece.

Forget the press releases

We receive all the press releases. All. Of. Them. If your story is built primarily off the back of a press release you received, we’ll probably turn it down. If there’s a timely story of serious import, we’ve probably already churned it out in minutes; case in point – Bobby’s Burgers planned Utah beachhead went from release arrival to post in less than 30 minutes. By all means, reference, and quote from PR info, but it shouldn’t be the core of your article.

The majority of press releases we receive are responded to with an offer for the business to participate in our sponsored content program.

Freebie dinners

Similarly, if a restaurant is doing the rounds on free meals, it’s almost certainly going to be a no. It’s an immediate and definite pass if their offer comes with a, “you get a free taco if you promise to post a story” caveat.

Other items to skip

Anything of a timely nature, we are more than likely already covering. Items such as breaking news or upcoming dining events are probably already on our radar. We have a well-implemented structure when it comes to the bread and butter of the site – but by all means, ask away.

We’re also increasingly skeptical of listicles. GSLC has a strong structure of best-of lists – constantly updated; it’s more than likely we already have this content online in some capacity. For a listicle to get greenlit it needs to have a substantially unique angle.

Payments and schedule

GSLC has one slot per week for a contributor article. We pay $100 per published article. We can send the check out right away, or after they’ve accumulated to a set level. We don’t pay for your costs, time, food, drinks. One time, one hundred US dollars cash money per article.

Technical bits and bobs

We will set you up with a login to our WordPress interface and you can write your story directly online. Don’t worry, you won’t get publishing rights, you can’t break anything. If you prefer you can also submit your story via email too.

Ideally we ask for supporting photographs that you’ve taken yourself. We’ll take care of editing the story and final layout, links, and headline item. Bonus points: as a logged-in user on our site, all those ads and popups will magically vanish.

The formal bits

If you do write for us, you agree that all the following item are cool:

  • For written content you submit – you grant us a perpetual license to use as long as we like royalty-free
  • Stories you submit may subsequently end up in full or part on one of our other websites or elsewhere as part of a content-sharing agreement
  • For images you submit – taken by you directly – you grant us a perpetual license to use the images as long as we like royalty-free
  • For images you submit – sourced otherwise – you confirm there are no copyright issues (eg provided directly by a business, PR company, etc)
  • AI-generated content should be kept to an absolute minimum, certainly under 10% of any article
  • If you use AI-generated content please confirm this with your pitch
  • We don’t require any exclusivity, feel free to write for us and whomever else you like
  • After submission to GSLC, you may write a similar story for a different publication, provided it’s not an obvious near word-for-word duplication
  • We might edit portions of your article, images, headline or otherwise as we think makes sense
  • Minimum word count is 650, please check with Stuart if that’s not possible

Getting started as a new writer

If you’d like to contribute to Utah’s longest-running and largest online food magazine, drop me (Stuart) an email at stuart@gastronomicslc.com. First and foremost I’ll need to see examples of your writing. This needn’t be food writing per se, but it’s preferable for obvious reasons. Mainly I want to see that you’re able to string three words together, hold a cogent thought, and understand that pretty, nice, and delicious aren’t adjectives that go a long way around here.

Once approved we’ll need a completed Form W9 so we can issue any 1099s at the end of the tax year.

Our sponsors and this page

This page may contain information about one of our sponsors. We only work with the very best businesses in the state, and routinely turn down offers to work with businesses we don't enjoy. If we can't hand on heart recommend them - they can't be a sponsor.

At this time we have the following sponosrs: BTG, Caffe Molise, Carson Kitchen, The Dough Miner, Downtown Alliance, Feldman’s Deli, Felt Bar & Eatery, Flanker Kitchen + Sporting Club, Garage On Beck, Hearth And Hill, Hill’s Kitchen, Kin Sen Asian Noodle Bar, Kyoto, Log Haven, Oasis Cafe, Pirate O's Gourmet Market, SLC Eatery, Squatter’s Downtown Salt Lake City, Stoneground Italian Kitchen, Urban Hill, Wasatch Brew Pub Sugar House, Whiskey Street, White Horse.

I encourage you to Google any of our sponsors and see the stellar reviews on multiple sites that they enjoy. For a list of all our current and past relationships see our partnership history page.