Long-Form Journalism Winner: Lisa Abend, Fool Magazine 'The Food Circus'

Lisa Abend's 'The Food Circus' for Fool Magazine has won the Long-Form Journalism category, which recognises in-depth restaurant writing.

The Food Circus Illustration 1
The Food Circus Illustration 2

British director and video maker Julian Temple shot in 1980 The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle, swan song on film of the last days of the Sex Pistols breaking up. It took American born Madrid veteran and now Copenhagen-based journalist and food writer Lisa Abend 10 years of mingling undercover and setting up close encounters from behind the lines to document and perfect the storytelling of The Food Circus.

All the little arrangements, the niceties, the conflicts of interest, the PR havoc, the decline of desk journalists and the boom of the influencers, plus the inevitable compromises and unremitting bribes that feed today’s restaurant business – it’s The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle of gastronomy as we know it.

It’s all here: the pandemonium of the fine dining divas, the mercato of celebrities, the agitation of food congresses, the starlet chefs, jet-lagged and zombied by six months of promotional tours in a row, far from their restaurants and families, to grant media attention and climb the ladders of all possible lists.

You might stumble on such a daring, funny, rampaging and groundbreaking long read like this only once in a lifetime. Lisa has written the first chapter of The Black Book of gastronomy. Make your reader tremble! She stabs – like Ronan Farrow did with the Hollywood moguls and #metoo – where it hurts. And it’s utterly joyful.