Blogging, Food

How chefs feel about food critics and food bloggers

Today’s post is about an article I read off Facebook today (fast becoming my source of random, interesting reads, even better than Flipboard in some sense): How chefs feel about food critics and food bloggers. 

Its contents are all-too familiar:

“Because of the growth of technology and the internet, everyone can be an expert in the field of being a food critic even with little knowledge of communication or food these days.”

I am a sympathiser. Having introduced my baby sister to her first job as a kitchen helper at Tippling Club, and watching her work through the years at Canale, Antoinette and Bar Stories, before carting her off to Paris where she went through an intensive culinary course capped by a 6-month internship at Le Meurice, I know firsthand how much passion, energy, and literal mind-body strength it takes to become the chef. 

The hours as gruelling as that of a banker – just imagine standing for 12 hours straight – yet, the pay is often a third of it.

Luckily for us, chefs around the world continue to work, driven by passion, and serving up our great celebratory steak, or dessert to cap off a lovely night. We should be thankful, how many of us know how to cook? I know I am, because a great meal to me is like heaven, the best way to end the day. 

Really, the last thing we need is for “food critics” to come bashing down on their egos, and their teams’. Especially when they don’t cook themselves. Especially when they choose to write flattering reviews of some other establishment because they get paid more for that deal.

Critiques, in my view, need to be fair, well-researched and possess intimate understanding in order to be valuable. Like a theatre veteran to review a play, or a teacher to assess an assignment, relevance is key. Arm couch critiques lose their flavour, especially when every man, woman, boy and girl on the streets professes to be an expert at the topic. Who do we trust? Too many opinions muddle up the issue.

I’ve tried my hand at food reviews while interning at a magazine, when I was younger. It was terribly, terribly difficult – everything tasted well, “delicious”, and by my fifth course, I couldn’t remember the first anymore. So I copied chunks of my write-up from the press kit directly, and I wasn’t really proud of the end-result. I was just parroting some PR spiel, when honestly the food was not memorable enough to stick.

That’s why I’ve never written a food review. Picky as I am about food, I can’t say my taste buds are discerning enough, and they definitely can’t differentiate between the various ‘layers’ of flavours. So my verdict is always simple: will come back, won’t come back, and I can’t possible write a post on that 😛

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