Getting to Know the Author of Farm to Table
Andrew Coppolino is a Kitchener-based writer and broadcaster, and a food columnist with the Kitchener Post and CBC Radio in Waterloo Region. He is also the author of new Blue Moon Publishers book Farm to Table: Celebrating Stratford Chefs School Alumni Recipes & Perth County Producers, which pairs alumnus chefs from the Stratford Chefs School with their favourite food producers and farmers for a culinary adventure through Perth-Huron County.
Join us as we chat with Andrew about his writing process and life as a writer.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
It certainly had not been in my earlier career plans. After spending several years in the academic environment teaching, I got a chance to do some cooking in a restaurant in downtown Kitchener, Peter Martin’s 20 King. I had a lot to learn about the craft, that’s for sure. It was revelatory, however. And very hard. I had planned on attending the Stratford Chefs School, but I chickened out at the last minute. That’s when I started writing: I figured if I couldn’t actually cook food, I would write about it. That’s pretty sad, isn’t it? I don’t have very many regrets at all, but that is one of them. (Along with all the BlackBerry stock I have.)
Which aspects of the writing process come most naturally to you?
Hmmm. Probably the revising, re-writing, editing part. I’m a terrible procrastinator, or a very good procrastinator depending on how you look at it, and I find starting—anything—quite difficult. (It took me 37 weeks to do this questionnaire.) Ultimately, what it means is that I then end up finding quite a few deadlines looming. Guess I’m a last-minute guy.
Which aspects of the writing process present more of a challenge? How do you overcome them?
Well, sometimes coming up with ideas is a challenge—frankly, I’ve never solved that one. But it’s good to have obstacles and weaknesses. Keeps you humble, you know? Next is just getting started. I’ve tried different things, different times of the day, different locations, just writing crazy drivel with the hopes it evolves into something solid. I always worry about being formulaic too.
Can you describe your revision and/or editorial process?
I love tweaking and revising. I haven’t really thought about whether or not the process is defined and regular. I usually start out by looking at the larger structure and making sure I’ve answered questions readers might have. Then it’s polishing and wordsmithing. I love trying to find just the right word, and I love trying to keep concise and economical.
What will you be working on next?
Hmmm, not sure. Aside from the regular pot-boiler work I do, I have been dabbling with a narrative about a sour dough starter—believe it or not. And I’m also interested in looking at the chef’s stagiaire as a culinary rite of passage. I think there could be some interesting stories to mine out of that.
Farm to Table: Celebrating Stratford Chefs School Alumni Recipes & Perth County Producers will be available to purchase as of October 19, 2018, on Amazon, through Indigo/Chapters, and at your local indie bookstore.
Are you a writer who procrastinates? How do you overcome the difficulty of getting started?