This is a topic that has been doing the rounds for quite a while now, with both sides claiming superiority, given that the Social Media has no referee.
Restaurants denote, cooks, chefs, restauranteurs & the ilk; Foodies denotes Bloggers, Reviewers – amateur & professionals
A couple of weeks ago it was somebody commenting about the language & grammar which led to a flurry of indignation, so amusing, in fact both sides accused me of fanning the fire. In my defence, there was no fire to begin with.
Today, Sunday and normally ET aka Economic Times that is unread, had an article by an Author who curates food – Read the article . Some well meaning friends sent this by Whatsapp, iMessage but at a time when my priority was Siesta!
Getting up, reading it over a cuppa, had me chortling away. And then saw that there were others who were referring to it with passion and debates were flying on my TL.
To me it was another ‘sensationalization’ of non relevant topic; this time with Chefs/Restauranteurs and serious ‘food bloggers’ going hammer and tongs at the amateurs.
This to me is reaching the proportions of Client vs Agency; Client vs Consultant; Citizens vs Authorities; Movie Reviewers vs Film Industry.
Food Reviewer as a profession is yet in a nascent stage – maybe a Vir or Rashmi – but it does not pay well & most media/news papers send their trainee or junior with a byline “ABC conducts reviews anonymously and pays for it etc.’ As if that absolves them of everything.
Food Blogging has been around for a while; though has gained traction in the past couple of years. “Influencer Foodies” is definitely a current phenomenon what with Social Media & PR companies finding it a cheaper solution for a client who wants instant results.
And, this is where the troubles have begun –
A group of people – young, old does not matter are looked out for by the Agency (PR or SM) with the offer of free drinks, food in return of which they tweet, photograph, Instagram and maybe one odd blog about it also. Absolutely nothing wrong with it. Mostly, everyone loves Free.
Looking at that the ‘Paying’ crowd walks in. Does not find it worth their while and the same Social Media which made them a darling, crucifies them AND they have no clue about how to handle it.
In the meantime, the Agency with the connexions of by now ‘Influencer Foodies’ is grabbing the fast opening hospitality business and repeating the success as it may be called.
To add to the Mix, you have half dozen Master Chefs on TV, Home Cooks churning out unpronounceable dishes, that are either Fusion or Molecular or Gastronomical and always have to be Sublime….
By now except the Chef, everybody is an expert and Business has to boom, so the Chef travels with the flow.
A DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN
A serious Faux Pas and the finger pointing begins, with of course media waiting on the sidelines to write an unbiased article. What both sides forget –
1) They need each other.
2) Thrashing a place by just visiting it once and eating free is unethical according to me.
3) There are many parameters besides food that goes in the experience.
4) Chefs need to understand that the people who pay have every right to demand an answer.
5) The Service approach & attitude is sorely lacking which pisses off the paying customers
6) Getting a bunch of perceived ‘Influencer Foodies’ on one day to try out a fixed menu & go Ooh, Aah, is not
going to help long term.
And in the end, it is You scratch my back, I scratch yours. Both need each other. So accept, move on kyun ki aakhir “Ganda hai, magar Dhanda hai”
Disclaimer: I have friends & acquaintances on all sides and whilst care has been taken to be objective, the topic is so funny bordering on ridiculous that I may have come about strongly about some point. I am willing to meet & debate on the same at a restaurant of your choice where you shall pay the bill.