With Jamie Schler & Domenica Marchetti

  • When: December 6 – 10, 2017
  • Where: Chinon, France
  • Venue: Hôtel Diderot

This exclusive 4-Day retreat with Domenica Marchetti and Jamie Schler offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in the art and profession of food writing. The weekend features culinary excursions unique to Chinon and the Loire Valley, including a tasting followed by a wine-paired lunch at a beautiful wine domain and a visit to the local market. Inspired by the beauty of a cobbled French town, lovely lodgings at a 15th Century hotel, instruction, vibrant discussion, and practical exercises and prompts, you will take your ideas and writing in new directions.17455091_10208560502434313_851285950_o

Domenica and Jamie share their experience and knowledge during intimate roundtable discussions focused on strengthening your writing skills and exploring your food writing goals. You’ll get insider information on creative food writing, how to write and pitch freelance food stories, and how to grow your platform as a professional food writer. Each participant will have a 30-minute, personal, one-on-one consultation with each instructor.

The Food Writing Workshop will be held the weekend of 6 – 10 December 2017 (Wednesday December 6 through Sunday December 10 at noon) at the Hôtel Diderot. The venue is an enchanting family-owned auberge de charme dating from the 15th and 18th centuries located in the center of the beautifully-preserved medieval French town of Chinon on the banks of the Vienne River. Schler-Diderot

The weekend will include a visit to Chinon’s market and old town, a convivial cellar tour and lunch with wine tasting at the Château du Petit Thouars domaine with Sebastien and D’Arcy du Petit Thouars, and a meal at La Part des Anges prepared by Chef Virginie Minon. You will have free time to discover Chinon’s exceptional restaurants and cuisine, which may feature local specialities such as saffron or truffles, goat cheese Sainte Maure de Touraine, artisan foie gras, fresh river fish, la poire tapée, traditional dried, pressed pears, and, of course, Chinon’s world class wines from small family producers, reds and rosés of cabernet franc and whites from the chenin blanc. 

Cost for the workshop is €1575 . This includes all workshop sessions and one-on-one private consultations with both Jamie and Domenica, accommodations for 4 nights at the Hôtel Diderot, 4 breakfasts, 3 dinners including one at a local restaurant, 2 lunches, and the wine tasting with lunch at the Château du Petit Thouars. Workshop cost will not include airfare or transportation to or from the venue or insurance.

The Instructors

Jamie Schler is an IACP award-winning writer and hotel owner in Chinon, France. After working as a culinary guide in gastronomic tourism in Paris and as interpreter at the prestigious École Ferrandi in Paris, and recipe editor and assistant editor for Master Chef magazine, she combined her passions for food and storytelling to forge a career as a writer specializing in food, culture and family. 11046840_786077694819933_1926022207059735995_n

Jamie, without a formal background in either writing or journalism, developed a successful writing career and has been published in The Art of Eating, Fine Cooking, France Magazine, Modern Farmer, Leite’s Culinaria, deliberateLIFE, Paste Magazine, the kitchn, American Food Roots, Joan Nathan’s Notebook & Recipes, French News Online, TED Weekends, among others. She has been a contributor to Huffington Post since 2010. Jamie’s first cookbook Orange Appeal (Gibbs Smith) will be released in August 2017 and she is now writing the memoir of her life as an American hotel owner in France.

Jamie’s blog Life’s a Feast won the 2017 International Association of Culinary Professional’s Digital Media award for Narrative Culinary Blog. She is the writing half of the collaborative team behind the Plated Stories with photographer Ilva Beretta which won the 2014 IACP Digital Media Award for Photo-Based Blog and was a finalist in the Saveur Magazine Best Blog Awards for Best Writing.

She has spoken at conferences and cultural events around the globe, including London, New Orleans, San Francisco, Louisville, Orlando, Muscat, Oman, and Cape Town, South Africa, on food writing, freelancing, food and culture, French cuisine and strategies for expat freelance writers. A passionate teacher, she has been organizing and instructing at food writing workshops since 2010.

domenica mercatoDomenica Marchetti is the author of seven books on Italian cooking, most recently Preserving Italy: Canning, Curing, Infusing, and Bottling Italian Flavors and Traditions, which was named one of the best cookbooks of the year by the Washington Post. Her other books include the bestselling The Glorious Pasta of Italy, The Glorious Vegetables of Italy, The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy, Ciao Biscotti, and Williams-Sonoma Rustic Italian.

Domenica is a graduate of Columbia School of Journalism and a former newspaper reporter, and she brings a reporter’s instincts and skills to her work. Her articles and recipes on contemporary Italian home cooking have appeared in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Cooking Light, Fine Cooking, Food and Wine, and online at and Leite’s Culinaria. Domenica’s book The Glorious Pasta of Italy was named one of the 100 best cookbooks of the last 25 years by the editors of Cooking Light, and her book Big Night In was named one of the best cookbooks of 2008 by the editors of Food and Wine.

Domenica is also an accomplished instructor. She has been cooking since she could see over the kitchen counter, helping her mother to shape gnocchi, ravioli and other homemade pasta. She has taught cooking classes at schools across the U.S., including Williams-Sonoma; Southern Season, in Chapel Hill, N.C. and Charleston, S.C.; Stonewall Kitchen, in York, ME; and Central Market, in Texas. She is also a cooking instructor at the online learning website In her spare time, Domenica feeds her family, maintains a home cooking blog at, and plays tennis.



The Program *

Wednesday, December 6:

5:00 – 7:00 Welcome, introductions.

Time to get to know each other, share our own writing histories, and our personal writing goals, both creatively and professionally. We will lay out an overview of what we will to accomplish this weekend.

Jamie and Domenica will discuss niche and explain the Thursday morning writing assignment.

7:00 – 9:00 pm Casual buffet dinner including local specialties at Hôtel Diderot.

Thursday, December 7:

7:30 – 9:00 Breakfast. You will be given a creative exercise to stretch your ideas about writing connected to your morning exploration of Chinon.

9:00 – 12:00 Notebook and pen in hand, you will visit Chinon’s morning, open-air market and stroll through the town’s medieval center and fortress, finding your inspiration for and working on your assignment.

Return to the hotel to rest and work on your assignment.

12:00 – 2:00 Casual lunch cooked by Domenica and Jamie at the hotel. Students will read from their morning drafts and discuss the writing process.

3:00 – 6:00 Domenica will talk to students about how to adopt journalism skills and use them to inform your writing. Jamie and Domenica will talk about honing these skills in the service of “finding your story.”

The Language of Food – what makes food writing different from straight journalism? Jamie and Domenica will discuss techniques specific to food writing, with examples and exercises.

7:30 – 9:30 Warming winter dinner at Hôtel Diderot.

Friday, December 8:

7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast

9:00 – 11:30 Friday morning’s session revolves around the difference between writing and storytelling; finding the tools to read, analyze, and critique your work as a way to developing your writing.

12:00 – 3:00: We travel to nearby Château du Petit Thouars for a visit to the family’s domain and winery, followed by a wine tasting and lunch with Sebastien and D’Arcy du Petit Thouars.

3:00 – 4:00: Break at the hotel. Time to write.

4:00 – 6:00 A study of Voice and Style with exercises.

6:00 Free evening out.

Saturday, December 9:

7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast

9:00 – 12:00 Jamie and Domenica share their knowledge and experience on becoming a freelance professional, including how to network, how to promote yourself, pitch publications, etc. How to craft a pitch letter that works.

12:00 – 2:00 Lunch on local fare at the hotel. Students will read from their morning drafts, discuss the writing process, and Domenica and Jamie will offer critique and suggestions.

2:00 – 3:00. Break and one-on-one consultations with Domenica and Jamie on career strategies, writing technique, or whatever you like.

3:00 – 6:00 Share your work — either something written on site or a previous piece — with the group. Feedback will come from all of us: Domenica, Jamie, and fellow participants. A question and answer session about writing, freelancing, pitching, and blogging follows.

7:30 Dinner at local restaurant.

Sunday, December 10:

7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast. Group photo.

9:00 – 12:00 One-on-one consultations continue.

12:00 Workshop ends.

  • Details of the program will be sent to participants upon confirmation of registration for the workshop. The program and the excursions may be subject to minor changes at the discretion of the instructors if necessary.


Chinon homes



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All registrants will receive an email with payment instructions and more details about the workshop. If you have an questions, email us at

— Jamie & Domenica

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