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Blog On, Pal: Why Amateur Bloggers Need To Know Their Limitations…

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Blog On, Pal: Why Amateur Bloggers Need To Know Their Limitations…

Blog On, Pal: Why Amateur Bloggers Need To Know Their Limitations…
September 02
18:55 2019

Campbell Mickel

With the growth of internet, food blogging has become one of the largest and most significant niches within the blogosphere. Its popularity stems largely from the fact that anyone with a PC and the loosest grasp of the local language can be a food critic; many barely possess the background knowledge or communication skills to fulfill their obligations and yet they still go ahead and try.

Campbell Mickel laments the rapid growth of food bloggers and so-called ‘experts’ who can make or break a restaurant in a matter of words…

Food critics used to be professionals equipped with a degree in food science and extensive writing experience. Nowadays, people claim to be food bloggers and photographers but are, by definition, mere amateurs.

Nevertheless, these hobbyists wield a disproportionate degree of power. With one click of a button they can severely damage – or even close down – family restaurants and destroy the reputation of a chef. The amateur food blogger will be nice to your face and thank you for their complimentary meal but as soon as they return to their laptop, they revert to classic keyboard warrior status.

Hiding behind pen names and laptop screens they can tear a restaurant’s reputation to shreds in just a few words.

Scene of the dine: Like most other restaurants, Merienda in Edinburgh has had its fair share of unfair treatment at the hands of wannabe food ‘experts’… but the industry is fighting back

I recently offered one such ‘expert’ the opportunity to sample our restaurant experience. While she and her partner lauded the quality and taste of our food, they decried our wine prices. In truth she could have selected a far cheaper bottle of wine to accompany her free meal but she chose instead a mid-range bottle. By her reasoning, a supermarket retails an Albarino for a tenner, so how could I justify selling this far superior wine at £44.00?

Her foolish blabbering only highlighted how little she understands about the industry. Where was the consideration of VAT, staff costs, rent, rates, breakages, hygiene obligations, business insurance, glassware, energy costs and other unavoidable expenses that all have to be built in to each and every menu item? If anything, her ignorance only served to shine a spotlight on how little some bloggers understand the fundamentals of the hospitality industry.

Don’t get me wrong; some food bloggers can greatly assist in the promotion of related businesses, and there of course many talented individuals with exceptional writing, photography and cooking skills. However the question remains about whether it is still acceptable for them to damage the a chef’s reputation in exchange for a complimentary meal.

Can an ‘experienced’ food blogger compare favourably to a chef or kitchen brigade who have trained for years to hone their craft? I doubt it.

I have worked in F&B for almost 35 years and I can safely assert that the majority of professional chefs take their jobs very seriously. The problems arise when non-chefs with a mere ‘interest’ in food think they can ride roughshod over the knowledge and heard-earned credibility of talented, dedicated professionals who are trying hard to impress their customers, build their businesses and make a living for themselves and their staff. It’s time the so-called food bloggers out there understood that.

Campbell Mickel is chef-proprietor at Merienda Restaurant, Edinburgh.



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Catering Scotland

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