Twelve months ago, Nashville’s media and culinary communities welcomed the first issue of Edible Nashville, a magazine that strives to connect Music City with local farmers, chefs, restaurants and food artisans through rich content. Editor Jill Melton made the decision to launch the magazine at a time when Nashville was solidifying itself as a culinary destination. With an impressive amount of experience in the kitchen, public health and publishing, she is now mastering the task of keeping the city up-to-date on all-things-food. In addition to producing outstanding articles in every issue of Edible, Jill can be found entertaining and cooking, stretching her legs around town or spending time with her son. Welcome Jill Melton, today’s FACE of Nashville.
Where are you originally from, and how did you land in Nashville?
I am from Cincinnati and came to Nashville via Birmingham, via Chattanooga, via Cleveland, Ohio.
You are editor and founder of Edible Nashville. Can you tell us a bit about this publication and what led you to start it?
Well, in a way I’ve really come full circle. I’m a cook, who became a registered dietitian via a master’s in public health. After five years in public health, I landed a job at Cooking Light magazine, as I was one of the few dietitians who knew her way around a professional kitchen. After 15 years at Cooking Light, I moved to Nashville to launch Relish, a national food magazine distributed through newspapers. After eight years at Relish, I decided I wanted to do something more meaningful. So I launched Edible Nashville, a magazine designed to help folks get back in the kitchen, eat better, more sustainably and make the world a better place.
As Edible Nashville approaches its one-year anniversary and you reflect back on the past 12 months, is there one story you have published that is a personal favorite?
I’ve loved them all, as they feature the best people ever — farmers, cooks, artisans, entrepreneurs. I loved the story “We are Family,” which covers Chef Sal Avila and his staff at Prima — and the homey family breakfast that cook Apolonia, makes them.
What is the best part of your job? What is the most challenging?
The best part is everything — the fact that every day is different, the people I meet, the things I’ve learned and knowing that I can help make the city a better place. The most challenging is paying my rent or the financial piece. Getting folks to actually support the magazine has been really difficult. It’s not about advertising, it’s about community. We’re all helping each other. Edible is connecting the farmers to the consumers to the chefs to the markets. If we all support each other, we all thrive.
In addition to being an experienced editor and writer, you also know your way around a kitchen. What are some of your go-to dishes for entertaining?
I’ve made pizza for parties for years. You can be so creative and adventurous, and everyone loves it. I also love to make soup. Everyone loves comfort food, and a bowl of soup is it. Plus, you can have your way with it.
Give us a peek at your agenda. What’s a typical day or week like for you?
Well, now that I’m my own boss, I work 24-7. I take my son to school at 7 a.m., usually a coffee meeting or two after that. I spend a lot of time talking to potential advertisers and folks in general about the magazine and the future goals of Edible. I try to cook something every day, as that centers me, as does running, but neither happens every day these days. Oh yes, and I Instagram. I’m all about the visuals. I was an art major in college. I also have the biggest iPhone now, which takes super photos. I lost my other phone in my house — really.
Where can we find you hanging out around town?
Walking or running in Green Hills/West End, on the Greenway or McCabe Golf Course with my son.
What is your next restaurant destination?
I have been wanting to go to this Somalian restaurant on Nolensville. I like neighborhood ethnic places where I don’t have to be hip or cool, which I don’t do very well.
Which restaurant do you find yourself always returning to?
What is the best news in food you’ve heard recently?
That the CSAs in town are selling out.
What do you think distinguishes Nashville — and its culinary scene — from other Southern cities?
It’s creative and real and interesting. In general, we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
What is the best piece of advice you have received, and from whom?
It is a worthy cause to fail. (author unknown)
What’s your bucket list travel destination?
I’ve traveled to a lot of cool places with other journalists. At this point, it would be anywhere with my sisters or kids.
What are three things you can’t live without excluding faith, family and friends?
Cooking, nature and laughing
And special thanks to Ashley Hylbert for today’s fabulous photographs.
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