Hello! Nice to meet you! We're Potluck, a print and digital zine all about cooking, eating and sharing food.
We want to create a place that allows everyone to tell their own personal stories about food, and share in the joys that come along with it. We want this to be a place to document the family recipes, obsess over personal fascinations, and share the little memories you associate with your favourite meals. We want to provide a different kind of way to read about food, one that’s people focused, diverse and enjoyable.
Potluck is created and edited by Rhia Cook. The first issue was started in May of 2020 on a whim. After going into lockdown at the end of March and spending pretty much every moment since that point reading, thinking about or making food, she got up one morning and put a call out for submissions for a zine about food. She wanted it to celebrate the act of preparing food, of sitting down together and sharing it and the way it brings people together. She asked for any work that could be printed on an A5 page to be sent over on the theme of “Cooking During Covid”.
That first issue got a response we certainly didn’t expect. It went from a seed of an idea to a publication with over 20 contributors from all across the UK and Ireland. We sold the first issue to raise money for The Trussell Trust, the charity that supports the majority of the UK’s food banks and raised £546 for them in the end.
Going forward, we want to build a community. We want to champion work that talks about food in interesting ways. We want to support our contributors to produce the best work they possibly can. We want to build a community that celebrates the importance of cooking, eating and sharing food with others.
Food is fun. For those of us who enjoy any part of it’s process- cooking it, eating it, sharing it with others- it’s very easy to talk endlessly about the delicious meals we’ve had, the new techniques we learned and the great new cooking show that’s out. As Potluck, we want to be a space where like-minded people can have these conversations and celebrate what they love.
But there are more conversations that need to be had about food and food media than just these fun ones, and it would be tone deaf of us to ignore them.
Here’s what’s important to us:
DIVERSITY IN WRITING
Food writing and publishing has, for too long, allowed white people to tell the stories of BIPOC people’s food and culture as if we were the first to discover it.
The focus for Potluck is that everyone is given the time, opportunity and space to tell their own stories, no matter the race, gender, sexuality, disability and experience level. We are actively encouraging people from all walks of life to submit work to us by reaching out to their spaces to share our call for submissions.
We also want to make sure that the work we put out lets the original voice of the author shine through. This includes authors whose first language may not be English. Practically, this means that whilst the typo’s will be corrected, we won’t be changing the language used by the author into “proper” English unless asked to. The way people write reflects the voice of the writer, and we don’t believe that that should be changed by an editor. Being exposed to different voices is what makes us more accepting and, for us anyway, makes for way more interesting reading.
ADDRESSING FOOD INEQUALITY
Potluck was founded on the idea that food is something that everyone can enjoy but we’re very aware that some people don’t have the luxury of being able to explore the process of cooking and eating as much as we can. For many, having any food to eat at all is a luxury.
We want to help as many people as possible feed themselves, because it could be any one of us that needs that help in the future. Our first ever issue was sold to raise money for The Trussell Trust, the UK’s biggest food bank organisation. We're keen to continue this help, so with every future issue, we sell we’ll be donating 10% of the retail price to them.
Find out more information about why we chose The Trussell Trust and the importance of food banks on our charity page here.
BUILDING A COMMUNITY
We are committed to supporting everyone who decides to take the time to submit something to our call outs. We know how hard it is to break into the creative industries and publishing, so there aren't any previous experience conditions to submitting work to us.
We are incredibly keen to support anyone who feels they need it with the submission process too. We’re more than happy to read first drafts and weigh in on ideas for pieces and illustrations. We'll always email you our final yes or no decision so there's no ghosting you and if you are unsuccessful we're happy to give you feedback on why we made that decision. Find out more about the submissions process here.
We also don’t agree with having to do years of unpaid “exposure” work to break into the industry either which means we pay people for the work that we use. Because we’re just a small start-up business, the model we use will give people who have their work published a % of the total sales. There isn’t an exact percentage you receive as it depends on how many people have work accepted for that issue, but 40% of all sales will be reserved to pay contributors. Find out more about how we pay for the work we use here. This model means that as the business grows, the amount you receive for your work will too, bringing you with us on the journey. Find out more about the business model and where the money goes here.