Editors Unplugged: Get to Know Our Panellists for From Pastas to Proofreads: Cookbook Editing with Meredith Dees and Michelle C. Meade

Interviews conducted by Jessica de Bryun.

Our popular monthly program meetings often feature a jam-packed agenda. We like to keep our introductions short, so you can hear more from our panellists and less from us! It’s hard to do justice to the incredible wealth of experience these guests bring to the table, so we are offering you a preview with this short Q&A beforehand.

For this month’s program, we are honoured to be joined by Meredith Dees and Michelle C. Meade. Before we dive into the world of food photography and recipe testing, I wanted to get to know our guests a little better.

As an editor, what is your pet peeve?

Meredith: All my authors are perfect. I couldn’t possibly have a pet peeve 🙂

Michelle: A project can easily go off-piste for any number of reasons, so in these circumstances, transparency and communication are paramount in order to problem solve and put any required resources in place. My greatest pet peeve is when a project derails because of a lack of communication. Not only can it affect the overall project, but it can also impact other members of the team.

Where is your perfect place to enjoy a good book?

Meredith: Definitely the bath. It’s my favourite spot to unwind.

Michelle: Oh, definitely by the fireplace with a plush blanket, hot tea, and a plate of biscuits.

What is the best advice you ever got or lesson learned as an editor?

Meredith: Slow down. It’s an obvious statement, but editors are often under such tight deadlines that it can be easy to rush to push things through. Ultimately the project is better served the more time you’re able to spend with it.

Michelle: Read first for organization and structure, then for grammar.

(When the world allows) where would you most want to go on a food tour?

Meredith: Without question Japan. It’s been at the top of my list for years now. There’s so much diversity in the cuisine from ramen to sushi to yakitori—the list goes on—and so many interesting things to drink. I wish I could go right now!

Michelle: Without a doubt, Vancouver Island and the surrounding Gulf Islands, with the staggering coastline, a passionate culinary community, and a flourishing seafood-heavy food scene.

What is your favourite late-night snack?

Meredith: While I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, I do absolutely love ice cream—preferably peanut butter.

Michelle: I eat radishes and Hakurei turnips, when available, like there’s no tomorrow.

What is your go-to recipe for a special occasion?

Meredith: What I cook is very much dependent on who is coming for dinner, any dietary restrictions I have to accommodate, and what time of year it is. In the winter, I’ll cook something slowly on the stove, like an osso buco or ragú, but in the summer I try to stay as far away from the stove as I can and tend to favour dishes that require little to no cooking, such as Linguine with Tomatoes, Basil & Brie (from The Silver Palate Cookbook) that my mom used to make when I was growing up, or grilled fish or steak with chimichurri sauce.

Michelle: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem Artichoke and Potato Pithivier is everything: beautifully rustic, savoury, and comforting.

I also have a soft spot for a simple pavlova. It can be topped with whipped cream, fresh seasonal berries, and a dusting of icing sugar (my daughter’s favourite) or elevated with more unusual flavours like rosewater, figs, pistachio, and honey. Heavenly.

More about our speakers:

Photo of Meredith Dees

Meredith Dees is a senior editor at Robert Rose books, where she specializes in cookbooks. She has worked on a variety of bestselling and award-winning books, including Liv B’s Vegan on a Budget by Olivia Biermann, The Complete Indian Instant Pot Cookbook by Chandra Ram, The Edgy Veg by Candice Hutchings, Seriously Good Freezer Meals by Karrie Truman, and The 3-Ingredient Baking Book by Charmian Christie.

Photo of Michelle C. Meade with her daughter

With more than twenty years of international experience in the illustrated book publishing industry, Michelle C. Meade has been sharing stories and ideas through high-quality content on the subjects of food and culture. She has held editorial positions with independent book publishers primarily in New York and London, including SoHo Books, Pavilion Books, and Phaidon Press. She was the former editorial director for the Food and Lifestyle program at Figure 1 Publishing in Vancouver and now works as a freelance publishing consultant and editor.

Join us for From Pastas to Proofreads: Cookbook Editing with Meredith Dees and Michelle C. Meade on Monday, November 30 at 7:00 pm EST, by securing your ticket here. Editors Canada members are entitled to free admission and can contact us at [email protected]. General admission is $5.

Jessica de Bruyn is a freelance substantive editor, currently specializing in working with new authors. She is an eternal student, having studied theatre, music, and writing for film and television, and is currently completing certificates in publishing and creative writing. Jessica is also the co-host of the podcast Pub Hub, which is a behind-the-scenes look into the world of publishing.

This article was copy edited by Amanda Clarke.

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