Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Blog North's Food Glorious Food in Leeds

You know, food and drink bloggers aren't just greedy people. A certain enjoyment of the scran is required, but they're performing a service. Most of them do what they do out of passion for good food, are self-taught, do it in their spare time and don't expect any compensation. There are more of them every minute. Consider the stuffed-to-bursting food and drink section of that Manchester blogroll to your right: it's easily the fastest growing section of the Mancunian blogosphere. And what food bloggers say and think and eat and drink has never been more important.

Consider the lot of the restaurant owner/chef/producer/PR bod, working hard to get their restaurant or product some coverage. With the "national" food press fixated on London, and the regional food press shrinking, food bloggers and tweeters are becoming increasingly important. So what we have now is a culture of blogger tasting evenings and invited review meals where bloggers can meet chefs. Meanwhile, samples of artisan pies and bottles of beer and jars of jam are winging their way to bloggers around the country. And home cooks are letting dust gather on their cookbooks as they source interesting recipes from a blogs, often via Pinterest or Twitter.

The current culture of DIY food writing has sprouted practically overnight. And while professional restaurant critics or food writers may have their own codes of conduct, food bloggers don't (though this may not be a bad thing; asking bloggers to sign up to a code of anything is like herding cats, as this old Word of Mouth post and its comments ably demonstrate). So we all have to learn as we go: How do you build credibility with restaurants and readers? Is it okay to accept a sample of food and then not write about the product? How do you deal with producers/brands/restaurants who are unhappy with what you've written? Is it important that readers know you ate for free and the restaurant knew you were coming? If you're chummy with the chef and know she follows you on Twitter, are you really going to be comfortable writing an honest review of you less-than-awesome meal at her place? If you're posting your own recipes on your blog, how can you make sure no-one steals them? If a national newspaper asks to feature your recipe or writing, should you insist on a fee?

Fortunately Blog North Network's upcoming event, Food Glorious Food, will provide the time and space to get to grips with these issues. April 13 in Leeds is a full day of workshops, talks and schmoozing just for us. It's a chance to brush up on your food writing and photography with talented professionals, refresh your social media and marketing skills and hear inspiring stories of homegrown and independent foodie success. You'll meet lots of other people as greedy as you are food bloggers to swap stories, recipes and tips with. And there will be food and drink on offer. Of course there will be food and drink on offer. Booking and all the details are here. I'll see you there (I'm one of the organisers.) And if you see a surprisingly-shaped jelly, don't eat it. It might be art.

Image courtesy of the lovely Clandestine Cake Club, who will be taking part in the event.

No comments: