Not all food blogers are the same

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Larissa Dubecki is, as I’m sure almost all of you are aware, the No.1 restaurant reviewer for The Age.

In a comment piece she has let fly in spectacular manner about food bloggers, rampant compromising and basically all the general all-round sleaze she can fit into her magnificent rant.

Here are just a couple of the paragraphs:

“You see them on blogs the next day with really enthusiastic write-ups about how fabulous the venue, the food, the drinks and the owners are (always, mind you, with a little disclaimer at the bottom about how the writer attended as a non-paying guest – their integrity is scrupulous).

I’d love to go (I might even get my face in the social pages!) but, alas, there simply aren’t enough nights in the week. When everyone else is off having their fun, boring old me is off trying to slip into a restaurant unnoticed under a fake name so I might appraise it from an objective point of view to give consumers the best advice about where to spend their hard-earned. How about THAT for a shit sandwich.”

You can read the whole thing here.

Wow …

Actually, I agree with many of her points.

And if the “Melbourne food blogger who is well known for approaching newly opened restaurants for a feed in return for a ‘review'” she refers to is who I suspect, then I share that disdain.

But, oh dear, she’s taken such a broad-brush approach.

It’s simple – not all food bloggers are the same.

Consider The Sauce regularly covers restaurants in the west that are extremely unlikely to ever gain coverage in The Age.

As well, while the writer may grumble about the “shit sandwich” she is so unhappily forced to eat, she works for a commercial organisation that accepts advertising moolah from all and sundry and which no doubt makes all sorts of deals along the way.

The Age and Fairfax are in the marketplace.

Such a high-handed approach would only make perfect, irrefutable sense if Epicure and The Age Good Food Guide carried no advertising whatsoever.

But they do.

And while The Age may be scrupulous about always paying for meals it reviews, is it such a stretch to mention the “media passes” its sports writers utilise to gain non-paying access to AFL games and much, much more?

The Age is also listed as a “partner” on the website of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. The nature of that partnership is not disclosed, but naturally the newspaper can and does run heaps of stories about the festival.

As well, such a sweeping put down fails to acknowledge the good work that many of Melbourne’s food bloggers do.

This fact, by the way, is periodically acknowledged by The Age and its Epicure section themselves.

Indeed, they have helped Consider The Sauce itself on a number of occasions and I remain very grateful for that assistance – including two stories on the fabulous Westies: Dishes of Distinction!

Perhaps if I am to worry, the very real prospects of becoming an unemployed journalist should occupy my mind.

Truth is, though, the idea of becoming considered a flogger is much more troubling!

Words with baggage

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Feedback and comments are oxygen for bloggers – even when they’re not exactly in “pat on the back” territory.

This assertive comment on matters sartorial in my recent “must not get stuck in a rut” story for instance:

“Good on you Kenny. I don’t mean to sound terrible but i think you need to find yourself as a man in the appearance department. Your sponge bob tshirts and the like are not really a look that women would be attracted to. You would look amazing in a casual shirt and nice pair of pants. At your age a man should look like a respectable gentleman, not like a teenager. As many would scorn what i have just said, i am being honest in my opinion. A woman wants a man who acts and dresses like a man, not a teenage hippy boy. All the best with finding a mate, im sure you will find the perfect one for you.”

Today’s post on the fab Famous Blue Raincoat burgers spurred comments from a friend about the following paragraphs:

“We spy a young mum tucking in to a parmagiana as her partner’s steak sits unmolested.

He’s walking their toddler.

He returns; they swap roles.

Been there, done that … many, many times!”

For her, the word “unmolested” is simply too emotionally charged to be used in such a way and in such a context – especially when the following paragraph mentions a toddler.

What do you think?

I am genuinely interested to know. 

My camera done died

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For the more than 600 posts on Consider The Sauce, I have uploaded more than 3800 photographs to the wordpress blogging platform.

I’ve had some help in that regard.

But overwhelmingly, the CTS photographs have been taken by the above pictured compact camera.

And those uploaded would, I’m guessing, be less than half of those taken.

I’ve been well pleased with the results and the camera’s ease of use and durability.

But now that durability has reached its limit and my camera has died.

The problem is purely mechanical, which means it’s not worth fixing … as far as I am aware.

That’s OK – I have been thinking of an upgrade anyway.

Anyone got any tips for a classy compact camera under $500?

ACCC guidelines

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Some regular readers and followers of CTS may be interested in the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s newly released Online reviews: a guide for business and review platforms.

These address knotty issues of all sorts raised by dodgy behavior by reviewers of various stripes on blogs and at sites such as Urbanspoon, as well as equally dodgy behaviour by business owners in their attempts to manipulate this newish and mostly unregulated media landscape.

You can read an overview here and download the document in pdf form here.

Melbourne Gastronome has done a splendid analysis full of commentary here.

I have yet to read these guidelines line by line.

And smugness is unattractive.

But still, after a cursory reading, I feel CTS has a clean bill of health – or sufficiently so for me anyway!

Get ready for the Westies!

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It’s Westies time!

Well, almost …

The inaugural winners of the western suburbs’ first food awards have been selected.

All three have been informed – and sworn to secrecy until the big “reveal” at the combined Footscray Food Blog/Consider The Sauce Spring Picnic at Yarraville Gardens on Saturday, November 30 (details below).

The truly lovely award trophies are in the process of being produced.

A big “thank you” to Footscray Life for covering our costs in that regard and to Lauren’s sister, Liz, for the beautiful artwork.

We know of at least one food truck that will be in attendance and we’re working on the coffee angle.

Fingers crossed for a fine day.

Apologies in advance to anyone I’ve met since starting CTS and whose names I may be unable to recall!

See you there, we hope!

Footscray Food Blog/Consider The Sauce Spring Picnic,

Yarraville Gardens, Somerville Road.

Saturday, November 30, from 11am.

The Westies: Dishes of Distinction winners announced at noon.

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Announcing … The Westies!

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After more than three years and more than 600 posts, Consider The Sauce is just as excited as ever about the food of Melbourne’s western suburbs.

If anything, in fact, we’re even more amazed by our food riches and inspired by the people who produce them.

All that is true, too, for Lauren at Footscray Food Blog.

We’d like to think we’ve both played a role in helping to enhance the reputation of western suburbs food and the sense of community surrounding it.

But now we reckon it’s time to step things up a notch or two.

So in partnership with Footscray Food Blog, Consider The Sauce is excited to announce The Westies – the first food awards dedicated to Melbourne’s western suburbs.

The winners of the 2013 “Westies – Dishes of Distinction” will be announced at the annual Footscray Food Blog/Consider The Sauce Spring Picnic.

See you there!

We hope The Westies become a regular, yearly celebration of western suburbs food.

To further that aim, the awards will celebrate three dishes a year chosen by us as excellent representatives of westie food rather than the awards going to the eateries themselves.

The selection process will take into account taste, consistency, pricing, and a sense of uniqueness or tradition.  This year’s winners will be decided after countless emails, Facebook messages, dining-out sojourns and an epic knock-down bar-room brawl.

Eateries responsible for producing Westies winners will be ineligible for similar honours for the following three years.

Footscray Food Blog/Consider The Sauce Spring Picnic,

Yarraville Gardens, Somerville Road.

Saturday, November 30, from 11am.

The Westies - Dishes of Distinction winners announced at noon.

On a photo shoot

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Today I happily hooned around select sites in and around Footscray central.

It was for a photo shoot – the subjects of which were Lauren of Footscray Food Blog and myself.

The camera was manned by a dapper snapper called Mike – who also happens to be Lauren’s dad.

You can check out his work here.

The photos are to be used in the campaign to launch – with much hoopla and fanfare, we hope – a joint and fabulous initiative of Footscray Food Blog and Consider The Sauce.

Details of this initiative will be unveiled and disseminated far and wide next Wednesday, October 16.

We’re VERY excited – and we hope you all will be, too!