Interview with 730 ABC

Now I’m not exactly a shrinking violet or a wall flower (as many of my friends will attest) but it was with a little trepidation recently, that I agreed to be interviewed for a story on food blogging to be screened ON TV. What to wear ? How do I do my hair ? How to stop from sounding like an idiot or offending someone ? It was a tricky prospect.

Of course I’ve always got plenty to say when it comes to food blogging and media, and the changing face of the industry in our fair little city of Perth, so It really didn’t take long to settle into the swing of things.

The piece was put together by Claire Nichols for the ABC’s WA edition of 730, and she did a great job. Along with myself she talked to Mei of Libertine Eats and Liz from Breakfast in Perth about their food blogging endeavours and experiences, and how they got into this crazy game. She also got some mainstream media opinion from Rob Broadfield who was actually rather friendly for once (I’m looking forward to reading his future blog).

He talked about the need for transparency in blogging and his dislike for anonymous bloggers who have nobody to hold them to account. I tend to agree with him on certain points. Good content comes from being informed and doing your research. Uninformed opinion is a slap in the face to restauranteurs and the industry and doesn’t do your reputation or your readers any good. Having said that though, the gist of his comments were towards things said on Urbanspoon, whose “reviews” at times, can be about as helpful as reading the comments on an Andrew Bolt article when it comes to informed and reasonable opinion.

I’d also take issue with his remarks that restauranteurs hate bloggers. I’ve always had rather positive experiences when I’ve chatted to restauranteurs and most of them have been very appreciative of the exposure they’ve had online. Smart owners and chefs should realise that bloggers can be very good for business when dealt with properly (which does not include banning photos or writing spiteful comments in response to unfavourable reviews). I’m also going to take a stab and say that in terms of popularity – the owners of places he’s panned in the past aren’t going to be sending him Christmas cards anytime soon.

In the end I think good content is good content. I’m just as happy to get my information from a blogger I trust, as I am a well known newspaper or magazine critic. If someone makes the effort to know their stuff, has a love of food and a way with words, that’s all I really need. That I write a blog is simply the medium I most often choose to get my words out there, and the one that suits me the best.

And what can I say, blogging has been very good to me. It’s given me the opportunity to write for professional publications, it’s led to my photography appearing in exhibitions and magazines, and it inadvertently led me to meet my wife, which are all what I’d call fairly significantly moments.

So here’s the interview, I hope you enjoy it, and keep your eye out for a quick glimpse of the wonderful Jerry Fraser who joined Marcela and I for a quick lunch at the excellent Five Bar in Mt Lawley (post on them coming soon).

Not so Tiny Bites

tinybites

The world of blogging is indeed a marvellously serendipitous place. I am constantly amazed by the number of interesting and special people I come across, and am privileged to be able to get to know. The virtual links I’ve established over the years have not only taught me a lot about the way other people live, and eat, but they’ve also made me firm friends around the globe.

One such friend is Karen of Tiny Bites. Back when I met Karen she was a food crazy, salsa dancing, photo snapping, Vancouverite. Merrily uploading her photos to Flickr, blogging about food and life and translating Spanish salsa songs into English.

Every time I’d talk to Karen the subject of food, wine, and restaurants would inevitably arise. We’d discuss the reasons why dining in Vancouver is better than dining in Perth (many) and the reasons why Australian wine (Shiraz especially) is better than BC wine (also many :) ) Seeing all of this effort though, it seemed to me that Karen would be an ideal candidate to start up her own food blog, where she could properly explore and have her own place for all her food thoughts and ideas.

So with a little prompting from myself and a few others, Tiny Bites was born, and Karen has yet to look back. It’s been a year now since she started it, and has just launched a new version of her site, where her popularity and success has led her to move into food consulting full time. She now photographs, writes, and develops web sites for Vancouver restaurants and businesses. She’s been heard on radio, written about in news papers, and surely television appearances can’t be far off :)

So this is just a little note to say, well done Karen, I always knew you had it in you, and I will never miss your birthday :)

The Serendipity of Perth

Kervella Little Creatures Perth is a funny little town. One minute you're sitting in a restaurant enjoying some excellent cheese and wine with some friends, and the next you're chatting to one of the worlds premier food bloggers. Such was my experience last Wednesday night. Our dear friends Alex and Linda had invited us to join them at Must Wine Bar, to once and for all time farewell the wonderful Kervella goats cheese (pictured above on the left), which is no longer being produced. Russell Blaikie, head chef at Must, has been an avid supporter of Gabrielle Kervella and her goats since the early days, and saw it only fit to farewell them in style with a week long expose of special dishes featuring the cheeses. Now I was aware that Clotilde was coming to Perth. I (along with a hundred or so other people) had given her a few recommendations of places to try and things to do. But I should have known that the beauty of Perth being a big country town would come to the fore once again. Sitting in the restaurant enjoying a fresh goats cheese souffle and a shallot tart tatin with Kervellas famous 'rondolet', musing as to whether or not I liked the glass of Marsanne I'd ordered, I turned around and who should be sitting at the table next to us, but the one and only Clotilde. So after some umm'ing and ahh'ing reminiscent of a pimply teenager plucking up the courage to ask a date to the school ball, I went over and introduced myself. Of course I needn't have been nervous, Clotilde was perfectly lovely and accommodating. We chatted a little about the meal and her first taste of sparkling Shiraz (which I think was well received). Then made plans to have dinner later next week. So then on Friday the first events of the Perth Writers Festival were held. Clotilde spoke of life and food in Paris and pursuing your writing dreams, along side Carmen Michael, a writer from Sydney who jumped ship and lived in Rio de Janeiro for 4 years. A great talk and very inspiring to anyone thinking of packing in their day jobs and living the romantic life of a wandering writer. After the talk I got the chance to get Clotilde to sign her book for me, and attend another session with Lucy Malouf and Stephen Downes about food writing in general, chaired by the magnanimous Verity James. Then it was lunch time. I took the liberty of offering to show Clotilde a little of the city, and she graciously accepted. So off we went down to Fremantle and the effortless cool that is Little Creatures.
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