I have been working in the photography business as a photo editor for more than 15 years . My job as an editor was the reason why I never felt inclined to take pictures myself. The fact that I was surrounded by really good photos all day long, discouraged me to try it myself as the results would most certainly be meager compared to the professional images I looked at every day.
However, by editing photos over such a long time, I got to know exactly what makes a good image with regards to lighting, composition, colors, etc. I need to mention that in all these years I never dealt with food photography. In fact, I once turned down a job in a food image library as I thought it would be incredibly boring.
I use a Nikon D90 and a 60mm lens for most of my food photo. Very often I am not happy with the results, but I love to experiment with backgrounds, compositions and light. I see a development in my pictures, when comparing my first attempts and more recent shots.
I don't feel in the position to share my food photography experiences. Just one advice: NEVER SHOOT FOOD WHEN YOU ARE HUNGRY! Most certainly it will end in disaster, with either bad images or no food to shoot.