Monday, October 25, 2010

Food Bloggers, can they cook?

Love this picture by BTW!
I read with interest the novel idea that several Melbourne Food bloggers will cook a five course dinner with matching wines on Thursady November 6 at Miss Jackson
Those taking part are Penny (who concocted the idea) Ed, Billy, Jess and Matt
I think this sounds like great fun and for $100 it seems like great value, knowing some of the participants, I’m sure the grog will be plentiful!

What particularly caught my eye though and what I wanted to expand on was their rigid rules for the menu and the terms for the event

No vegetarians, no vegans, no Kosher or any other dietary requirements will be catered for. The full cost of the meal to be paid by direct debit into an account one week prior to the event, non refundable. All enquiries by email only.


Some restaurant and café owners would drool at the possibility of this doctrine ever eventuating in reality. Sure, special functions might be the exception and of course, this event is just that, but it’s not the way conventional hospo businesses operate.

I wonder if any chefs or owners of the restaurants that the participating bloggers post about will attend and what a delicious ferment that might be!

Another aspect I find interesting is Ed's headline

Book now: 'Food bloggers to prove they can cook'

It's intriguing.
This statement highlights the very question that many people ask, ‘Do you need to be able to cook in order to be a food blogger?’ Or better still, as many food bloggers critique the restaurants and cafes they blog about, in fact this critiquing is the essence of what their blogs are about, do they need to come at it from an informed and experienced point of view?

In my opinion, the simple answer is no. I don’t think you need to have professional cooking experience in order to opine about what you like or don’t like. I will say though that a basic understanding of the principles of cookery and perhaps more importantly, a love and passion for it are prerequisites.
The fact that many chefs at the very least, mistrust food bloggers and in some cases even despise them, conveys a sense that they feel bloggers are not credentialed and thus aren’t appropriately qualified to criticize their work.
If you were to believe some chefs, they wouldn’t let anyone blog about food unless they owned, worked in or operated a food business somewhere. The reality is, that’s not going to stop someone starting a blog and posting about their experiences at said restaurant or café.
Many chefs exercise complete authority over their brigades’, menus and in some case the very restaurant they work in or own and are used to having total control. This is why they see these food bloggers as an anathema as they have very little, if any ability to influence or shape their opinions.

Anyway I am thinking about pinching the idea, sorry I mean 'Re-imagining the concept' here in Tasmania. To make it a little more exciting though I might consider extending the event over a week and get the bloggers to cook every shift during this period.

Would this kill the joy do you think?

Seriously though, who would cook? Well Rita would have to be at the top of the list. Then Victor Khoo, Michelle Crawford, Stephen Estcourt, Nola James (we’d get her back), Colette, Hazel, Tassiegal and maybe Veronica Foale-can anyone else think of people I’ve missed? Of course professional chefs who blog or blogging suppliers, aren’t allowed to participate for obvious reasons.



Hazel said...

wow - quite a concept, definitely an exciting one. Thanks for including me on the list. It would certainly give us bloggers to be on the other side for a day! Keep me posted!

Tammois said...

Nice one, Steve. I love the idea of the bloggers cooking, but we can't pretend any of us would know how to cope with a week of all shifts! And they have certainly made it achievable for those not industry trained by ruling out exceptions from the menu, which I reckon was a smart move, if perhaps controversial for the vego & vegan crowd?

Look forward to seeing the Tassie version!

steve said...

Hi Hazel-of course you'd be included!

G'day Tammois, nice to hear from you-I was just indulging myself by being a tad snooty and pernickety and wasn't really suggesting a week-long trial in the kitchen ha ha! I imagine the fur on the back of the necks of the excluded vegans and vegetarians bristling with indignantion LOL!

Disclaimer-To all those furry- necked vegans and vegetarians out there, please dont take offence!

TripleBasket said...

What an Awesome idea. Love it. Almost considering flying over for it... (anyone want to babysit the kids for a week? - and maybe shout me an airfare...???!) Can't see it being a economically sustainable feature though - I suspect the bargain rates for the Melb Blogger's dinner stem from the bloggers wanting to prove a point (and win more readers) not make a profit. (in fact the more I think of it, that kind of money might just cover ingredients and booze and might just stretch to paying for the venue - they're most probably subsidising it with marketing money from somewhere!) But the original concept is a great gimmick nonetheless, and even better if it works. I don't really want to think about what happens if it doesn't work - perhaps blogging about food starts to take a different approach...

Rita said...

Who are we cooking for? Anyone who is prepared to abide by the book and pay ahead by email, for the bargain basement price of $100?
I'm so there Steve! Bring it on!

Another Outspoken Female said...

I'm happy to cook for friends and family and think I do a better than ok job. But I'd never charge $100 for it. Though I'd pay it for amateurs if it went to a good charity (and if they made food I could eat!).

Victor said...

What a brilliant idea, Steve! And, a great post. You've got all my attention, mate! Tell me more.

Melbournians are great coming up with new food dining concept. I remember reading a while back on "underground dinner party".

Rolls Eyes Upwards said...

Oh good grief Steve, what the world does not need right now, is yet another celebrity dinner event and I use the word with much irony. I would not pay one red cent for such a vacuous vanity project like this. Come on, they have blogs, isn't that enough?

Rita said...

Hey Rolls Eyes Upwards - they have food-related blogs for one reason only. They are passionate about food: cooking it, and eating it, and talking about it. And that would be what this dinner would be about.

Personally I couldn't give a rat's arse if it was free, or $200/head, or if no one wanted to attend such a meal, and we just cooked for each other (as we've done in the past). It's not about the money, or what you term as 'vacuous vanity'.

This would definitely not be another celebrity dinner event, given that none of those people are celebrities in any way, shape or form.

This would be a group of people cooking food with love, sheerly for demonstrating their passion for that food. Nothing more or less.

And, to quote the song, "what the world needs now, is love sweet love" - and what better way to show this than via food?

ut si said...

Bugger off!

steve said...

Hi triplebasket and welcome-I take on board your point and the more i think about it, the profit could be donated to a worthwhile cause of some such.

Hi Rita-kmew you'd be keen!

Hiya AOF-Yes the charity thingy gives it some real purpose.

Hi Victor-Its taking a bit of a life of its own actually! Will contact you if I think its do-able

Hi Rolls eyes-thanks for reading. I wont try to convince you of the merits of this idea but I will say the people whom I've mentioned as possible participants are not vacuous or vain. I guess Ritas subsequent comment says pretty much the same thing.

Hi Colette-Why all Ba Humbug?

steven said...

hey steve.
long time no ya blog, oh! steve kovacs here, we worked together at waterfront, still dining out on the punch up between you and billy and the time i sat the whole restaurant down in 5 mins, cant figure why i lost the position? go figure may also remember matt boughtwood at soulmama..anyway we are the MISS JACKSON DUO..i think youll find when trying to organise 5 untrained cooks to commercially cater for 50 guests at the same time RIGIDNESS is essential, it alleviates all the extra stress involved in pulling this event off, they have all done an amazing job so far, should be a very fun night to say the least.Hey! if you do get around to doing a similar thing would love to come along,hope things are well and you are happy..cheers mate

steve said...

Hiya Steve-Nice to hear from you & thanks for reading!
I knew you & Matt had opened Miss Jackson but wasn't sure if it was waterfront Matt or Soulmama Matt, but now you've clarified. Only ever hear great things, Stickyfingers is your biggest fan amongst others.
Oh dear, 'The Billy Incident' haunts me yet again-he was so, how does one say 'challenging!'
Fair play to you if you sat 200+ pple in 5 mins BTW.
It was a fun time to say the least!
I love your dinner idea and fully appreciate the disciplined approach to the night for the reasons you state-I'm sure it will be a memorable night and the fact that it has sold out speaks volumes-well doen you guys!
I am happy thankyou, I've finally found the rock I always wanted to land on in the pond. We'll catch up next time I'm in Melbs I hope.
Cheers Steve

ut si said...

Sorry Steve. Didn't mean to sound ba humbugish...just don't seem to like cooking for peeps so much anymore...not sure why 'cos love eating and continue to be enamoured of growing stuff to cook (even more of bread making). Forgive me.

steve said...

Hi Coleet-Thats OK, knew you weren't being cross or anything. I totally get that feeling of being over cooking for peeps though.
BUT...Could be a fun evening....

Nola said...

Haha, yes I suppose you could lure me back for a brief stink in the kitchen. Although I loathe cooking for any more than 4 people so I'd probably be better use washing up or carrying plates. Actually, I will come back for this - if I can run the floor team!

Seriously, you don't want me in the kitchen I'm too bossy and irratable. :)


steve said...

Hi Nola, I presume you meant 'stint' in the kitchen ha ha!