A love of food and cooking has always involved the reciprocal sharing of tips and recipes - but who would have predicted the explosion and popularity of food blogs? Blogger and food enthusiast Jennifer Lam has more.
Once upon a time, we only followed the opinions of a select few - food critics - whose trained palates and printed words could make or break a restaurant. Fast forward to 2011 and there are now over 600 food blogs in Australia alone; most of them offering restaurant reviews, recipes and considered opinions.
Only a small handful of these food blogs are run by professionals who work in the food industry. The majority are simply amateur foodies who have full-time jobs in various other fields. In general, many use this new media as an outlet to share their obsession with other like-minded food lovers.
I’ve been a food blogger for almost five years. I write about restaurants I’ve dined at, new cuisines I’ve discovered, recipes I’ve tested and travel stories when I’m out and about.
I started my blog with the hope of creating an efficient means of sharing my food photos, dining experiences and recommendations with close friends and family.
The focus of my blog changes slightly as I go through different phases of my life. For example, the first few years of my blog archive feature a lot more fine dining because I had the disposable income for it. I quit my full-time job in advertising over a year ago to follow my entrepreneurial spirit so then the focus became affordable indulgences. I also found it inspiring to connect with and share the stories of successful young entrepreneurs in the food industry who had made it.
More recently I moved out of home and began to focus more on both eating and cooking cuisines from my cultural background. It’s amazing to realise that there are now over 40,000 unique visitors reading my blog every month and many of those have been loyal followers from the beginning of my journey.
Back in 2006 (when I started my blog) I once had to pretend to be a tourist when asked why I was taking photos of my food, but nowadays, it has become more acceptable and dare I say, normal. There’s nothing stopping the speed of technology and the need for real opinions to be heard.
Food blogs have given readers the opportunity to connect with the blogger as a trusted friend. Some readers live vicariously through the food blog; others use it as a restaurant guide, refer to it for inspiration in the kitchen or read it to be informed about certain food-related issues.
Technically to start up a food blog, all you would need is internet access and an appetite and passion for food. Anyone can do it and that's the whole carefree fun nature of blogging.
Food bloggers spend so much time and money running their blogs, and most of them do it for nothing but for the love of food. So it’s rather commendable that the food blogging community has produced such a wealth of information over the last few years. It has definitely changed the way we eat and drink.
I, for one, always search a restaurant before I visit just to ensure I’m not in for a nasty surprise. Relying on just one blog review may not be accurate but reading a few will give you a better idea of what to expect. After all, life is too short for bad food!
Some other good resources for discovering new food blogs are:
• My list of Top 50 Australian Food Blogs
• Tomatom’s list of list of Melbourne food & drink blogs
• GrabYourFork’s list of Sydney and regional NSW food blogs
What are you favourite food blogs? Let us know below!
Jennifer Lam is the blogger behind JENIUS: The Spectacular Culinary Adventures of a Sydney Gen Y, www.jenius.com.au. She is also the founder of I Ate My Way Through guided culinary tours and Word Of The Mouth, a boutique marketing agency serving food and hospitality businesses.