Masterclass: Food writing
with Olia Hercules.

Filmed by Department Two

Olia Hercules is a Leith’s-trained chef, recipe writer and food stylist.

Having honed her cooking skills in the fiery kitchens of Ottolenghi, she was picked as Observer Rising Star of 2015.

A regular contributor to the Guardian’s Cook supplement, Olia has written four books: Mamushka: Recipes from Ukraine & Beyond, Kaukasis, Summer Kitchen and Home Food: Recipes to Comfort and Connect.

She has been a regular at our festivals and events in both Hawarden, North Wales and Glen Dye for many years.

Across four short films, this masterclass will give you the inspiration and tools to develop your own food writing. From keeping a cook’s diary to practical how-to advice on book proposals and getting started.

Filmed during our Winter is Good series of events at Glen Dye in early 2022, Olia guides us through the skills and techniques we can all employ to become a better writer, and a better cook.


Olia dives right in with useful tips to get you writing again, or for the first time.


In this section, Olia champions the power of keeping a food writer’s diary.

Not so much a “Dear Diary…” in the classic sense, but instead a scrapbook of food memories, experiences, fleeting sensory feelings and other easily-missed happenings that can bring your writing to life.


What to do when you get stuck.

Olia explains there’s no shame in trawling back through your favourite food writing and adapting the bits you love.

Absorb their writing, and how they connect with you, and you’ll soon find yourself back on track.


So, you have your recipes. But what next?

Now it’s time to find your theme and discover what you’re truly great at writing about.

These short films were filmed during our Winter is Good event at Glen Dye Cabins & Cottages. We hold a number of events, festivals, feasts, workshops and masterclasses throughout the year both at Glen Dye and in Hawarden, North Wales.

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