I attented a brunch yesterday where I was named as one of Mail&Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans you should take to lunch. Now, this article is not just to brag and blow my own vuvuzela (although let's face it, that's part of it) - it's to hopefully settle something that has been irritating me for a while now. A few weeks ago there was huge drama in the food writing/blogging world, as JP Rossouw was attacked on his site for allegedly not conducting all his own reviews. The outcry was long, tedious, malicious and strayed from what is the main point: credibilty.
Credibilty is the cornerstone of any food writer/blogger when they take it upon themselves to review a restaurant. With the internet and the more recent emergence of social media it has meant basically anyone can be a food critic. Anybody can have a voice. This is a double-edged sword though, as people with absolutely no clue are now free to write disparaging things about restaurateurs and their establishments. Now, I am the first to admit that I don't have any professional training. I set up a blog to write about food, which I love. The tone throughout the past year has deliberately been informal as I want to try and talk to normal people. Normal foodies. And I want to do it with a normal voice.
The response has been staggering, as I now find myself part of 'the media'. Invited to launches, events, functions, chef's tables etc. and being commissioned to write for other publications. Initially this seemed strange to me. Only yesterday did it sink in that food bloggers are now considered real media. The events I attend inevitably include fellow bloggers. Like Dax from Relax-with-Dax. And Chris from Whale Cottage. These people sit alongside representatives from the bigger sites like Eat Out and Food24. Indeed, Neil Pendock's mention of Clare Mack (fellow food blogger) and Harry Reginald (wine blogger) in the Sunday Times again confirmed the need to pay attention to food bloggers. The Foodie (yet another food blogger) remains one of my favourite food reads, above some more prestigious publications. Michael Olivier is soon to launch his online magazine, Crush, which shows huge faith in the online food writing industry. It really is an exciting time to be a food blogger. Let's not forget the wine guys over at Spit or Swallow, who are climbing up the highest-ranked sites.
But back to credibilty, and perhaps the more importnat question: what makes a good food/wine blog. To me you get blogs where the writer has great knowledge. There are others where the actual writing is brilliant. A good blog is a combination of both. Get that right and the credibilty will come.
And what gives me or the other bloggers out there the right to slag off establishments? Some say we are wrecking careers. I understand that. I understand the sensibilty that those people might be doing their best. But that's called freedom of speech. Food bloggers are here to stay I'm afraid. If you don't like us, don't read us.
Jamie Who is a blog about everything. Except current affairs. And politics. Also science, sport, religion, celebrities, movies, media and marketing, technology, business and design. So...basically Jamie Who is a blog about food. All things food.