‘My cheeks ache from smiling’ — why Laura Rowe loves what she does

It’s no wonder Laura Rowe is grinning from ear to ear — this fervent food lover is not only working her dream job as editor of olive magazine, but is also the author of the tremendously successful book Taste: the Infographic Book of Food. We asked this chipper foodie what it’s like to be living the dream, and here’s what she told us:

You’ve written for some amazing high-profile publications. Which job or project has been the highlight of your career?

I only joined olive as editor in September but it’s genuinely my dream job and my cheeks ache from smiling. I’ve an exceptionally talented team and I’m now living in one of the most exciting cities in the world [London] for food and drink. But, genuinely, I’ve loved all of my jobs in food writing. It’s such a great community to be a part of. I feel so privileged to have had so many opportunities to meet such passionate and gifted people in the food world, and taste such incredible things. Everyday I wake up and think ‘yeah, today’s going to be a good day’.

The Taste

As a writer/editor, what have you found most challenging and exciting about the huge (and very swift) move from the print to predominantly web-based content?

The shift has meant that we’ve just had to rewire our brains a little. I no longer think of olive, for example, as just a magazine. I think of it as brand – we have our print edition, digital edition, website, social media, and more. It’s a really exciting time. The way we consume information is changing all the time and that’s a good thing. It keeps us all on our toes and makes us even more creative and reactive.

Tell us about a ‘day in the life of’ Laura?

I’m definitely not a morning person, so when I eventually heave myself out of bed, having checked my emails and various social media channels, I’ll have a quick shower, whip on an outfit and do my make-up hurriedly before running for the tube. I live between Clapham and Brixton, and I’ll sandwich myself between commuters reading Apple News and Twitter, subbing, or writing reviews on the iPad, en route to olive HQ in Hammersmith. I’ll aim to be in the office by 9.30am and my day is split between editing pages for the next three issues of olive, writing, meetings, email checking and checking every recipe that our cookery writer’s made in our test kitchen. We test everything three times to make sure it’s just right. I tend to eat out about four to five times a week, so I’ll leave the office around 6.30-7pm and eat at the latest openings in London. I like all kinds of cuisine, so it might be a ramen bar one night, or an Indian small plates joint the next. If not, you’ll find me at a cocktail bar. The rare nights I am in, I’ll cook for my flatmate and I – stopping by one of the many Middle Eastern grocer’s on the way home. I’m currently obsessed with Sabrina Ghayour’s recipe for baked feta. I try to be in bed by about midnight but will probably be fiddling around on my phone til around 1am.

Are you working on any other projects right now?

My schedule is pretty hectic so I haven’t had a chance to think about anything other than olive at the moment; we’ve exciting times ahead! I keep getting asked about book number two though, and my brain is certainly starting to tick over some ideas…

What do you love most about your job?

Yes I love eating; yes I love drinking; yes I love writing. But they’re all secondary, really. It’s the people I love. People in the food and drink industry are such a creative and passionate bunch – and that drive, ambition and obsession they all share is addictive and infectious.

The Taste - Laura Rowe

And what’s your biggest achievement to date?

Well that’s got to be my book, Taste: The Infographic Book of Food. I love writing for magazines and online but the old saying is still true: today’s headline is tomorrow’s chip paper. A book has such a sense of permanence in today’s culture where we consume information at the rate of knots. It’s there forever, and (hopefully) will be returned to again and again. It completely consumed my life (researching and writing the book on top of my very demanding day job as an editor) but I learnt so much and am so chuffed with the final result, especially thanks to the beautiful illustrations by Vicki Turner. Walking past it in bookshop windows still gives me a thrill.

What inspires you about food/the food industry?

They’re not afraid to look forward as well as back. There is constant innovation to get excited by, but also some of the most special products or dishes I see are rediscovering forgotten techniques or lost recipes. Going back to basics can be the most rewarding. What matters, though, is the end result, however you got there. And I think we can all learn from that.

The Taste Infographic Book

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Sonya Gellert

Sonya Gellert is a contributing writer and associate editor for Khoollect. She lives in Sydney....

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You can follow both Laura and Olive Magazine on Twitter, and see more of this beautiful publication on Pinterest and Instagram too.

If you love infographics, read our interview with Vicki Turner here.

Images from

Taste: The Infographic Book of Food by Laura Rowe, illustrations by Vicki Turner.