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students in their endeavors. As Judge for the State Fair, her responsibility was to have
integrity in choosing winners of submitted culinary products.
Dawn Depew graduated high school in 1961. At an early age she always loved
writing. She went back to school after 30 years in 1991. Her dreams were to become an
editor at McGraw-Hill so she could edit their Hospitality Management Books. McGraw-
Hill approved of the idea and paid for her college tuition so she could earn an Associate
of Arts Degree in Hospitality Management and Food Service from Columbus State. She
graduated at the top of her class with Suma Cum Laude and Valedictorian in1996.
Her work experience as a freelance writer was impactful in her culinary career. She wrote
feature articles for several Ohio publications, wrote cookbook reviews for Ohioan Library
Association, and wrote restaurant reviews for Columbus Cooks. Her passion for cooking
began at an early age of 13 and it led her to her dreams of becoming a culinary
professional. Being able to combine her love of cooking, and writing was a life long
dream that was fulfilled.
After she retired from McGraw-Hill in 2005, she worked as a freelance editor for
McGraw-Hill on their high school nutrition and food textbooks. She wrote Unit Endings
for the textbooks by developing projects for students as summaries for each unit in the
book such as reports and slide presentations.
As an author, she was invited to speak at local women’s organizations, Columbus
Public Library, and other venues. Her talks to culinary vocational students helped them
find many opportunities in the culinary field in addition to encouraging them to pursue
their culinary dreams. She also was a cooking instructor at OSU CAPS, which began at
age 41. Eventually she found herself doing cooking demos at the Ohio State Fair, and a
variety of gourmet shops around Columbus for over 10 years. At the Ohio State Fair she
also was a culinary judge: for the Ohio State Fair and Regional and State Competitions of
Culinary Vocational Students for over 10 years.
The most challenging aspect of her position was the time-consuming grocery
shopping and preparing foods for a photo shoot for her monthly column. Because of the
crucial timing of food preparations it was hard for her to balance shopping, prepping and
cooking. There would be as many as 9 food items to prepare for one photo shoot. She
needed a time schedule as to the order in which the foods were prepared and presented to
the photographer. She had to ensure that hot foods were hot and freshly prepared and the
fresh vegetables looked crisp and fresh by spritzing with water just before the shoot.
In all of her positions, teaching people about ingredients, cooking techniques and sharing
recipes was her favorite part of being a culinary professional. The most satisfaction a
culinary professional can have is to receive compliments about their food he/she has
prepared or a recipe they created. What she disliked was the magazine executive board
and managing editor that she worked for limited her choices on subjects she could write.
This stifled her ability to share information with her readers that represented her
knowledge and continued awareness of new trends and products in the field.
The part of her education background she uses the most has been writing. She took
a lot of journalism and writing classes at Columbus State. Since her focus has been on
cooking she uses her writing skills to share information with her readers as well as write
new recipes. The part of her education she uses the least is the training she acquired
during a semester at Columbus State by working the back of the house at Rocky Fork
Country Club in Gahanna. The back of the house entailed preparing food for restaurants
and her career never lead her in to the restaurant business.
Dawn Depew has a lot to say on what would make her professional career better.
As a cooking instructor and food she would have an assistant that shopped and set up all
the ingredients so they were ready for class and cleaned up after class so she could
concentrate solely on the instruction or a photo shoot. As a food writer and columnist she
would convince the magazine executive board to give her creative freedom in deciding
the subject matter she could write which she was passionate about. Some trends in the
food industry have been combining cuisines to develop new recipes and preparing recipes
with unusual ingredients that average people don’t eat.
There were no classes specific to Culinary Writing at the time she was being
educated so she didn’t get any specialty certifications then. But having the expertise and
additional education by taking writing classes, such as “Writing a Feature Story” in
Journalism class, provided additional expertise in imparting information to the reader. As
a member of the American Culinary Federation for over 10 years she was give a
certificate for her culinary skills. In addition she received a certificate for being a member
of the International Association of Culinary Professionals for 4 years.
Dawn Depew is my Great Aunt and by cooking by her side for a day, I realized
how much effort and care she puts into her recipes. I also was able to look through the
cookbook she wrote as well as preview the cookbook she is writing now. I normally just
eat the food, but making it gives you a deeper appreciation for the hard work that a chef
puts into their meals. It truly takes a lot of passion and dedication to become a culinary