Contributor Guidelines & Style Guide

Thank you for choosing to join us in sharing Caribbean food culture – we could not do it without you!

Below is a set of guidelines we would like you to follow when making submissions  to Cooking Sense for our Web/Print and Social platforms. This will provide the necessary consistency across the brand. Please note that we cannot accept  submissions, which do not meet the following stipulations. If there is anything you are not clear about, please do not hesitate to contact us at contribute@cookingsensemag.com.

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RECIPES

At Cooking Sense, we want readers to try the recipes. Sure, some readers will be content to gawk and drool at your amazing contributions, but we would definitely like them to attempt the recipes. To that end, we want to do our part by ensuring that we create and write recipes that are easy to understand and arm cooks – novices and the experienced – with the information and directions necessary to recreate and even tweak your recipes.

 

Recipe Writing Guidelines 

 

The following are the headings to use:

  • SPECIAL EQUIPMENT (this is only if you are using a tool or equipment that may not necessarily be found in every kitchen, for example, a pressure cooker, mortar & pestle, immersion blender etc.)
  • INGREDIENTS and PREPARATION (instead of method, directions or instructions).

Writing the Ingredients (For Web/Print & Social)

  • List the ingredients in the order in which they are to be used to create the dish. If oil is to be added to a pan to be heated first before adding onions, then the oil is the first item on the list of ingredients.
  • Where necessary, indicate how the ingredient is to be prepared – “chopped”, “sliced”, “shredded”, “peeled” etc. If the ingredient is to be chopped, sliced etc., please state how it should be done. For example, “sliced thinly”, “cut into ¼-inch thickness”, “chopped finely”, “sliced lengthways” etc.
  • State how the ingredients should be measured and prepared. For example, “1 onion, chopped” is different from “I cup of chopped onions”. The first one asks you to chop an onion and the other asks you to chop onions and then fill a cup to measure the quantity. Another example, “1 tablespoon fresh thyme” versus “1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme”.
  • Specify the type of sugar to use if it is necessary to the look and overall taste of the dish.
  • State the required condition of the ingredient – “thawed”, “drained”, “cold”, “room temperature” etc. If using bread crumbs, indicate whether fresh or dry.
  • If your dish has several components such as crusts, sauces, toppings or dressings, then break up the ingredients list accordingly. In other words, create sub-headings under the list of ingredients so that it is easy to differentiate which ingredient is for which part of the dish.
  • If a garnish is necessary or optional for the dish, include it in the list of ingredients. If it is optional, list the ingredient and put the word ‘optional’ adjacent to it, in brackets.
  • Whenever the recipe calls for canned items, please indicate the size and quantity of the can. For example, “1 (14-ounce) can of chickpeas, drained” or “un-drained”.
  • Use standard US measurements of cups, glass, tablespoons etc. however, feel free to put the UK imperial measurements in brackets as well as metric; provide conversion where necessary if your primary way of measuring is by metric. If an ingredient is difficult to measure by cup etc. please indicate the weight.
  • Abbreviate measurements and use periods except for pound(s). For e.g, tablespoon(s) as “Tbsp.”, teaspoon(s) as “tsp.”, ounce(s) as “oz.”, pound(s) as “lb.” It is always “2g” and never 2 g.
  • When listing ingredients it is always “7 cups brown rice flour” and never 7 cups Brown Rice flour. Only list ingredients with nonspecific amounts or measures in initial-caps, e.g., “Freshly ground black pepper”.
  • Provide substitutes were applicable for certain ingredients, tools or equipment. For example, if someone does not have a pressure cooker, suggest, if possible, how the dish might be cooked in a Dutch oven or regular pot.
  • If using an ingredient you feel might not be widely available outside of your country, please suggest a suitable alternative or substitute you think might be available.

Writing the Preparation (For Web/Print & Social)

  • Write your preparation in full sentences.
  • Specify or give average times for foods to marinate or rest either before, during or after cooking.
  • Wherever you can, provide visual cues when writing the preparation. For example, bake for 30 minutes or until there is a brown crust, or beat eggs until frothy.
  • Write out measurements – “tablespoon”, “teaspoon”, “pound”, “ounce “and so on, in your preparation. It is always “minutes” and never mins.
  • Use terms that are easily understood and not just those associated with seasoned cooks. For example, instead of braise, use: “simmer, covered.”
  • Wherever you can, suggest how to check for doneness. For example, “insert a skewer into the middle of the cake and if it comes out clean, it is done.”
  • Where necessary, give a visual description of doneness and reasons for doing certain things. For example, “stir in yogurt at the end of cooking to avoid curdling.”
  • When indicating temperature, include an “F” for “Fahrenheit” or “C” for “Celsius” after the º sign: “Preheat oven to 350ºF” or “Preheat oven to 350ºC” without any spaces.

Writing Additional Information

You may add a section, titled “NOTES” (if necessary), at the end of your recipe to indicate tips, advice or simple instructions.

 

Recipe Submission Checklist 

 

For Web/Print

  • Your recipe must be submitted with an introduction. The introduction can be things like, a childhood memory, your new found love for an ingredient or dish, the scarcity of an item and so on. Feel free to share whatever your heart desires.
  • Images (a minimum of 2 photos) (*see photo requirements below)
  • Recipe text (including notes, if any. If the recipe is one that is featured on your blog, please provide us with the accompanying link)
  • Name of your blog or food business with accompanying link
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SOCIAL FEATURES

  • What’s Cooking (home cooks series) is a Cooking Sense Facebook exclusive. Each week, participating home cooks submit a dish to be featured on a day of their choosing. The featured dish should be one that highlights a Caribbean ingredient in a unique way. In other words, a dish that the featured cooks put their own spin on.
  • The What’s Cooking (Chef Series) – another Cooking Sense Facebook exclusive- features weekly recipe creations by up-and-coming Caribbean chefs.
  • Fish Fry-Days – we invite you to join every Friday for yet another Cooking Sense Facebook exclusive – Fish Fry-days. This series features dishes starring fried seafood.
  • Sweet Tooth Sundays – this weekly series, and Cooking Sense Facebook exclusive features all things sweet, rich and creamy.

 

Social Features Submission Checklist 

 

Required

  • An introduction to the recipe
  • A minimum of two photos (*see photo requirements below)
  • Recipe text (including notes, if any)
  • Your headshot

Please note that submissions for the above series are due every Friday by 6p.m., for the upcoming week.

If you would like to participate in any of the above  series, please email us at social@cookingsensemag.com.

Every Friday, we encourage our readers to post a photo of what they’re eating to our Facebook page with the tag #whatscookingCS. At the end of the month, the fan whose post receives the most engagement will win a prize!

Photos MUST be well lit, and no lower than 72dpi!

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PHOTOGRAPHY

There are some of you among us who are professional photographers, and then there are the rest of us who are still learning. The following tips are some general things to consider as we continue to work on the style and feel of the Cooking Sense brand. We do not want you to feel intimidated or pressured in any way. Creativity is subjective. We are attracted to your work because of what you already do; be patient with us as we re-state a few things to keep in mind when creating and submitting images for use in Cooking Sense. If you have questions, please email us at contribute@cookingsensemag.com.

Web Photography Requirements 

Specs

Story Features

WIDTH: NO LESS THAN 850 px wide
HEIGHT: NO LESS THAN 650 px tall
RESOLUTION: 72dpi

Header Images

WIDTH: NO LESS THAN 1920 px wide
HEIGHT: NO LESS THAN 650 px tall
RESOLUTION: 72dpi

Feature Images ( featured in the website homepage slider)

WIDTH: NO LESS THAN 1160 px wide
HEIGHT: NO LESS THAN 800 px tall
RESOLUTION: 72dpi

  • DSLR camera images work best for website photos.
  • If shooting with a phone camera please ensure that photos are landscape and not portrait. Also ensure the size and resolution are set in your Phone Camera’s settings.
  • We accept high quality .JPEG or .PNG files with minimal compression.
  • If photos do not meet quality standards they will not be accepted. (e.g Artifacts, Spots, Out of Focus etc.)

Social Features Requirements 

 

Specs

WIDTH: NO LESS THAN 700 px wide
HEIGHT: NO LESS THAN 500 px tall
RESOLUTION: 72dpi

  • DSLR camera images are preferable.

 

 CS Food Photography Tips 

 

  • We prefer natural lighting and are open to other types of mood lighting that are reflective of the type of story your recipe will be featured in.
  • Think about the audience we are trying to reach – novices and the experienced cooks as well as foodies in general. This can help determine the angle, the styling (plating, setting) and lighting you choose to take the photograph.
  • Keep in mind the rule of thirds, you do not always have to position your food and drink in the dead center of the image, unless it is necessary to communicate what you want, or for editorial purposes such as placing text on the image itself.
  • We rely on your expertise in selecting and submitting the images, therefore, it is not necessary to send us more than the number of images needed for the contribution, unless we request others in the event that the ones you submitted cannot work for one reason or another. Choose the best images you believe that have the quality we are looking for in terms of resolution, composition, plating, styling and setting. These are the images that best tell the story of the dish, you and your passion.
  • Images are to be sent to: contribute@cookingsensemag.com. You have two options of sending: attach the files in an email and send to us OR upload the images to your Google Drive and make the files available for viewing, downloading and editing by sharing the files with us. 

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Contributor Interest List