A view from the bottom
A view from Linzi Brechin

A view from the bottom

As I sit here, surrounded by baubles, Christmas trees and Santa hats for the Christmas issue I am working on, I reflect on how lucky I am not to have a desk-based job for five days a week.

I may be at a cookbook launch on Monday but, on Tuesday, I’ll be in my own kitchen, testing recipes for a feature. Then, on Thursday, I’ll be in the studio preparing a variety of meals for an Asda Magazine shoot. And Friday might just see the team raise a glass to a busy week in our local.

During those rainy days at university in Dundee, I never imagined that a couple of years later I would be embarking on a new career in London.

A three-month placement with Publicis Blueprint in my third year resulted in a position with the Asda Magazine team in July 2012 as a food and editorial assistant.

Since being here, I’ve learnt the mechanics of the monthly magazine. This means working with the team to make sure the shoots are booked in, processing rights forms, calling couriers and looking after the budget. I’ve seen how much a page, a feature and an issue costs to produce – which was a shock as some cost more than my salary (not that I’m angling for a rise here!).

A year on, I’m now solely on the food side. My time is spent testing recipes, coming up with new ideas for recipe features and – the most exciting bit – assisting on the shoots as a trainee food stylist. I’ve already learnt so much on the job; they don’t teach you the importance of a perfectly placed pastry topping at uni!

This week has been one of the busiest yet as we are working on the most important issue of the year: Christmas. Our office is filled with festive stock and the thing that most concerns me: turkeys. We have all the recipes approved, so now it’s a case of writing them up and sending them off to the shoots. This week, we have taken care of salmon, canapés, gammon and meringues.

Everyone is working at top speed, despite the fact we are celebrating Christmas in September. This is my first real taste of working on a seasonal issue and, although there is hard work and effort put into all of them, the December edition is definitely one of a kind.

Looking forward, I want to progress and learn as much as I can, aiming to be a professional food stylist or even the editor of a food-focused magazine. I love the team I work with, and the fact that behind every good magazine there is a great balance of complementary skills – things that I am lucky to see and learn from every day.

I have also discovered that to work in media you must know two things.

The first is to keep your contacts: it doesn’t matter who they are or what they do, you never know when you will need them again.

The second is to be aware from the start that you will spend an inordinate portion of your life in the local pub with your colleagues.

Linzi Brechin is a food and editorial assistant at Publicis Blueprint