About Me and Contact Information

Contact: behindthebites [at] gmail.com

Who I am
My first professional experience started in the journalism business in 1997. I have worked at the Associated Press, Newsday and Bloomberg News.  During my time with these great organizations I covered just about every type of story imaginable. I have worked in every major department of the news business and have created some sort of project for most of the memorable news stories of the last 20 years. I have also been part of many special interest stories such as the effects of a drug on the body or the separation of conjoined twins.
The topics are irrelevant.

Through a combined mastery of technology, writing and artistic ability, I can sculpt information into a work of art. That work of art serves as an entry point to more information. The foundation of my skills is the ability to research and report, which is the foundation of journalism and a natural place for me to pursue a career.

Great painters and illustrators create art that entertains. I create art that informs, like a written story, but it entertains like a painting. I use a number of programs designed for graphics and the internet to create visuals but I do not consider myself a graphic artists nor some type of web programmer.

I write visually.

In May of 2010 I left journalism to pursue a new career in food. This blog is what emerged. It is the story of what I cook. It can be manipulated to be viewed in a all types of media - books, magazines, newspapers, computers, phones or anything with a view screen. 

I have created everything contained in this blog except a couple of videos that are important to the overall point of the post. Working in the competitive business of journalistic storytelling, I have picked up a combination of skills that culminate in this blog. I am not the best reporter, writer, graphic artist, graphics editor, news editor, photographer, web programmer, art director, or copy editor. But I have a high degree of knowledge in all of those disciplines. As a visual journalist I had to learn all of these skills to compete and to get paid.

November 2014: 

In September, I took an opportunity that fell into my lap to return to full-time employment in journalism. Opportunities like this have appeared in the past and I have had the guts to grasp them. In return, I have been rewarded with incredible experiences.

I hope and believe this one will prove to be as rewarding as the opportunity to create this blog, live in New York City, perform stand up comedy, get a college education and to play the drums.

Although my journalistic focus will not exclusively be food, I do believe this is a necessary step needed to realize that dream in a much more lucrative way. This blog, the story of what I cook, continues. It's now up to me to find ways to tell this story from within a news organization rather than from outside one and make it part of my responsibility of employment. I have no idea whether or not that will happen, or even have a clear path of how to do it - but that is ok.

I have the opportunity. And an opportunity is all I need.

I'm happy to produce this blog as well as work with traditional news topics to pay the bills.

October 2015:

The story of what I am cooking is evolving.

Now I am trying to focus on the things I cook everyday - As a single guy. This requires trying to be efficient with my food budget and trying not to waste anything.  I am presenting these recipe as simple as possible, just the food with no tablescapes or colors to detract from the food itself. Now, the process graphics and how-to-recipe that I did with every post in the past are reserved for larger projects that involves more than just the blog.

Food shopping in the Midwest is geared toward families. To cook for one, you have to be good at storing food as well as designing multiple dishes around bulk packages of product. A family pack of chicken on sale at the market is easy to make at once and eat as a family.  Its much tougher, and therefore a fun culinary challenge, to buy that same package for myself, make a few different things with it for a varied menu and not let any of it go to waste. I can save money, be creative in the kitchen and try to eat healthy (or not) all at the same time. They will still appear hear on a regular basis.

After a year at Lee Enterprises, I have added another notch to my journalistic belt - News Designer. I had designed several news pages in the past, only the pages I created were display pages. If they didn't look better than every other page in the section I wasn't doing my job.  I still do that at Lee, but I also do all the other pages, agate, inside jump pages, calendar pages - you name it. Now I do the full spectrum and it has been a challenge just learning all the little design tricks that full-time designers know, like using a house ad  or kearning a certain paragraph to get everything to fit just right. It been fun taking on these new responsibilities and expanding my horizons.

Some favorite clips from over the years


Pete said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pete said...

Hi. Really like the site. I notice you are a Mac user. What software do you use for your designs?
How's the book going by the way?

Dee said...

Justin: I am soooo excited to have found your blog!!! You do the most amazing lay-outs for your food. I don't know if you mind, but I pinned some of your stuff. I also liked you on fb and couldn't help myself bragging about your blog to my friends. Keep up the good work, I am super excited to be following your blog on both fb and google.

Jim said...

Great set of visual layouts on the blog. Professionalism in thought and in your online portfolio. Nice job.

Anonymous said...

Justin Gilbert, I stumbled upon your site and just wanted to say that I think your cooking infographics are fantastic!

Linda Barrett said...

Justin, Just wanted to let you know I entered your contest to win the macaroons. It was also a good way to let you know that I do like your blog and look forward to your recipes in the Busco paper. Linda Barrett

Linda said...

Just entered the contest for the macaroons (which I totally love) and liked both sites, but now I have to also say I am so glad I found your blog, I now have new recipes to try out...looking forward to them...thank you

Anonymous said...

Hey Justin! Your blog is friggin sweet. Do you still rock the double bass drums?

Anonymous said...

You blog is just AMAZING!!! Even my non cooking fiance likes to read it and gets inspired! Keep it up... dont ever stop!

Anonymous said...

This is such a great site, love the graphic/inforgraph nature of your recipes. Extremely helpful and visually stimulating!

rosepetalfarm said...

I have a friend who has begged me to teach his wife to cook. Anything! While I am quite a knowledgable cook and have a food blog too, your visual depictions are fabulous and just what I think she needs to simplify things. That, and a box of plastic gloves so she doesn't have to touch raw meat! thank you!

Anonymous said...

Justin, I just found out about your blog & love it. I linked it to Danielle (our daughter). Thanks for the blog & the column. :o) Becki Mathieu