After 12 years as an advertising copywriter, Jill Silverman Hough “took a complete left turn” and opened a small café in Sausalito that she ran for five years.
Wondering about her next step, Silverman Hough said she decided to combine her culinary and writing expertise and be a food writer.
It turned out to be the perfect career, she said.
Today, Silverman Hough works with magazines, writes cookbooks and works with food and wine companies creating recipes, doing food photography, being a spokesperson and designing social media campaigns.
Some of her clients include the National Pork Board, the California Milk Advisory Board, California Sweetpotatoes, Lindsay Olives, Annie’s Homegrown, Circulon, Anolon and Grgich Hills Estate Winery.
“I get paid to inspire people to make yummy things to eat,” she said.
“It’s a good gig.”
1. What is it about food and cooking that you like so much?
I just love to eat. I think eating and food is one of the best pleasures in life.
2. What’s one of your signature dishes?
A simple grill or pan-seared salmon with a flavored butter.
3. What’s one of your go-to cooking tools?
Having a good knife and knowing how to use it is a key to eating well and being healthy.
4. What is the biggest challenge your industry has faced?
Anyone with a computer and some social media savvy can launch a food blog and become a culinary professional.
It’s made for a lot of competition for seasoned professionals like me, but it also means there are more opportunities and arenas for all of us to share our love of food and cooking.
I recently self-published a mini e-book (called “Finger Lickin’ Chicken”) — that would definitely not have been possible 10 or 15 years ago.
5. Which three people would you most like to have dinner with?
I’d like to make dinner with (chefs) Julia Child, Jacques Pepin and Samin Nosrat.
6. What’s on your to-do list?
I’d love to have a regular cooking segment on a morning news show, or maybe even my own cooking show.
7. If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be?
There’s so much agita about food and cooking—people feel bad about what they do or don’t eat, about how much they do or don’t cook, they think cooking is hard, or they worry about it turning out right. And it absolutely breaks my heart—because food and eating can be such sources of pleasure!
8. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?
I’d like to get people to just cook a little more and be dependent on processed and fast foods a little less.
Imagine the impact if everyone did just 10 or 15 percent more cooking than they already do. Imagine the economic impact. The impact on our collective health. Imagine the difference it’d make if every family sat down to a home-cooked meal 10 percent more often and the correlated difference in our communities, our society. It’d be huge.
9. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
My dad, who was also in advertising, worked on Funny Face drink mixes in the early 1960s. I was the inspiration for one of the flavor names—Freckle Face Strawberry. (Only people of a certain age will get that—but those that do usually think it’s pretty cool.)
10. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
On a beach in the Cook Islands with my husband.