A couple of days ago I had a ‘first’ in my food blogging experience and I did something that a blogger should probably not do. 
One of my posts apparently generated so much anger from a chef that I had to retire it. The post was in my view (of course) fairly objective, but given the fact that the event I blogged about was not particularly well organised, I was not made to feel particularly welcome and the food I tried was hit and miss I wrote less than complimentary things. On the whole experience, not just on the food because I am not a food critic, I am just a regular person who likes to eat out. And for me such an experience is made of everything: the service, the welcome, the food, the drink, the décor and the chef if he is present. And he was, on this occasion.

 

What then happened is that this chef or their PR did not contact me directly via the blog; they instead complained with someone close to me who had the only guilt of making me aware of a tasting event taking place. I do care for this person’s reputation within the business in which this person works as opposed to me, who have no professional claim to anything I write here. 
Regardless of me being a non paying guest (so was I at the Mexican Challenge, the Nduja day, the Jacob’s Creek tasting…) I thought I would write a post about the experience. It was purely my own non professional (and I want to stress this!) view on an establishment, the people running it and the things I got to taste and drink. Running an event for a group of assorted people including journalists and PRs can have its consequences. When I run events, I always ask for feedback and as much as it hurts when it is less than positive, I try to take it all on board to ensure a better event the next time. That a blogger was amongst the attendees was not made clear, but then again why? I am not even a ‘professional’ in the blogging world, and my blog is, compared to some famous and much loved colleagues, of barely any influence.
One of my favourite ‘big names’ bloggers, Chris of Cheese and Biscuits, often writes blunt posts regardless of whether the event is a freebie or not. Legendary is his first review of Dego’ restaurant which generated a bunch of hilarious comments from readers and some interesting ones from the then PR rep. The whole thing ultimately resulted in a follow up invite a year later to Chris to review the restaurant to see if he changed his view. He did, and duly wrote a new post. Credit when credit is due. 


I am amazed that my blog generated such havoc. I am but a little fish in the ocean of food bloggers. Many other bloggers have written less than enthusiastic reviews on this very same place but in my case, as it was an easy target, my connection took the force of the blow and this is the only reason I took the post down. I feel guilty about putting this person in an awkward situation, of course. Unfortunately the other company that participated in the tasting evening paid some form of consequences as well as I had written positive comments on their products and these too, have been taken down preventing even the smallest publicity for them. 
I know that there have been many instances in the past of chefs going against food bloggers (an interesting post here) so I guess it sort of had to happen to me too. Yet, my post might be now confined to the cyberspace archives but word of mouth can be just as powerful in the small world of the London amateur food scene. As our ancestors said, Scripta manent, verb volant. 
 

Ultimately, it makes me wonder what is really the reason behind this restaurant’s extremely pissed off attitude: personal offense at my non food related comments or rather, a latent lack of confidence in the food they serve?


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