Monday, June 2, 2014

[Rant] How to become a Food Blogger 101

If you have read my last few posts and/or know me in person, you will know that I have been going through a phase where it has become difficult to play the role of a Food Blogger. What started out as a fun space to share ideas has now become an informative portal, and suddenly I have to be responsible for what I say (which makes me uncomfortable since this is my space after all. If you like it, read it and enjoy, else close the window). 'Food Blogging' has deteriorated to memorizing names of dishes and techniques, and 'Food Blogger' has been criticized widely, especially in India. Every single one of us has a reason why each of us make sense and the others don't. I'll get back to my take on this but since the wave is ever growing, and if you are interested at all, here is a guide to become a (maybe successful) Food Blogger.

1. Name Your Blog: Go for words related to food. Well, you could go for something that defines your personality but looks like it ain't a prerequisite anymore. Some good examples are names like Recipe in my Kitchen, Baselessly Delicious, Preheat your Oven, Caramel Wings, Pom pom Cooks, Food is my Life, Forever Hungry... You get the drill.

2. Watch lots of food shows on TV: You HAVE to know the Trimurti of the Food Blogging world- Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris. Other popular names include Nigella Lawson, Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, Curtis Stone- not only because they are hot but they are hot property in the food world. Oh, and by the way you must remember the names of every guest judge that appeared on Master Chef Australia, along with their portfolio, how many Michelin stars/Hats their restaurants have earned, along with the names of all the contestants from all the seasons. Other than that you may also indulge in watching a lot of Eat Street. No one's gonna judge you if you watch a lot of Khana Khazana, but its passé.

3. Make a Twitter account/Facebook Page: Follow all the food celebrities you know and spam their TL all the time. Act like they are your BFF from high school. Also follow other Food Bloggers and keep a tab on what they are up to. Butt into conversations among other bloggers when they plan on having pot lucks and force them to invite you by sending a lot of sad smileys.

4. Offer false praises: Leave a comment and reply to each tweet of every blogger who you think is popular. Tell them how amazing they are. Ask them to adopt you. Tell them you wish you could do all these too, and if they are nice (we are nice people) they'll guide you.

5. Make an Instagram account: Remember the mantra "tweet before you eat". An important requirement for a Food Blogger is to be able to eat food that is not at the optimum temperature. Choose your tables as per the lighting. Memorize your filters. Save your tags. Yep. I do it every day. Not even ashamed! :D

6. Make every single trip you take, a food trail: Tweet/Instagram pictures of old shops. Trips are not about enjoying yourself with the camera anymore, people! Its all about click and upload! If you are not uploading pics and will later post them as a blog, still keep tweeting about it whilst being totally ignorant towards people around you. Your followers are God.

7. Use the slang: You must know it all. From "YUMMMM" to "DROOL" to "OMNOMNOM". Remember, Caps lock makes it more believable.

8.  Make Google/Wikipedia your best friend: Even though your writing is pretty bad and you could also use Google for some grammar lessons online, keep the important terms and what they mean accessible to you. You cannot be a food blogger if you can't tell a Bernaise from a Hollandaise. (No, I did not Wiki that.)

9. Be Opinionated (even if you don't have an opinion): Try using phrases like "not up to my liking" and "I would prefer". No one cares about your writing. Its all in the pics anyway.

10. Attend all PR events and throw your weight around: Take a million pics with Vikas Khanna. Then make him take a Selfie Video with you while he endorses you. That will gain you a lot of followers, (even if he looks uncomfortable in the video) and people will love you even more.

11. Act like a Snob: One word replies are the epitome of snobbery. Use that.

12. Accept free work for Publicity: Go write everywhere. Tweet with brands. Offer them to write for their blogs. They will publicize your blog link to generate traffic. Wait for traffic to increase while you click on your own blog page 1,000 times a day.

13. Flaunt it/Check ins: Check into every place you go to. You have to become Mayor of at least 5 places, even if its the Vada Pav stall under your society. Check in standing outside nice places too, I mean who knows if you actually went in right? It is important to check in at a restaurant/eatery every day even if people think you may fall seriously ill some day.

Okay. I was kidding. Or maybe not. But mostly I was.

On a more serious note, I am of the opinion that everyone is fit to be a "foodie" or whatever it is. I personally don't dislike or like the term. I think food is subjective and everyone has a different palate. As someone who writes about restaurants I must tell all the newbies on the block that you must give your opinion with a neutral mindset, or at least the mindset of your reader. As a blogger who cooks and likes to mix up flavours, one must be very careful not to cross the line. You cannot make something like a Birizza and call yourself a great blogger. Seriously, who thought of that? The inventors of Pizza and Biryani must be so disturbed. Recipes are traditions handed down from generations to generations and they must be respected. Else the next thing we know will be a Batata Crostini (Instead of Vada pav).

A good quality, I am told, is to admit it when you are less informed about a certain cuisine, and have an open mind. To be a blogger is to be a learner.

Respect the Chefs. They spend years learning about the science/art of cooking so the least one can do is be respectful while critiquing. If you are reviewing a burger, the least you can do is comment on it after you reach half way. You cannot eat one bite from the edge of a Burger and comment saying it is too dry.

One of my readers and a close friend (not a blogger, but someone who cooks/travels a lot) says "There have been many definitions of a foodie but in my very own personal opinion a FOODIE is a person who gets aroused by food. That arousal can manifest itself in many ways. Be it eating, cooking, feeding, travelling to experience diverse cuisines, or even to say sorry by cooking for someone and to tell them how much they mean to you. For me, the kitchen is my temple, cooking is my prayer and the people I cook for are my Gods." 

 It could not have been put any better.

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