We all have a passion.
If you’re reading this, one of them probably has to do with food & drink. Maybe your niche is in cooking, maybe it’s decorating cakes, or trying to find the best local produce at your neighborhood farmers market on a Saturday morning. Perhaps you’re in the business and are passionate about catering, marketing, or the technology that keeps us moving forward. No matter what it is, this “thing” evokes something within you. It keeps you moving forward.
In my personal opinion, as not to generalize or assume, capturing this passion is what the best kind of writers capitalize on. In a modern world, this also goes for bloggers. And food bloggers are no exception. Food, like food blogging, can be very playful, as it should be, but there’s an unspoken precision to it, as well. Timing, measurements, cooking styles, personal flair, multi-tasking, plating — these elements are proof that culinary creation is an art form. Food is also deeply rooted with history, dialects, regions, style, and culture. Whether subconscious or not, it truly does connect us.
But in a digital world, where virtually anyone can sign up (for free) to start a blog, has the status of food blogging begun to lose its value? And what is the future of food blogging, what will it evolve into? Is the food blog a dying breed?
Of course, this is subjective, but it’s a question that begs to be asked. No matter where you go or who you meet, it seems that everyone is a self-described foodie. One can only imagine how disheartening this epidemic has become to authentically unique food bloggers — those who infuse personality and knowledge into compelling content, who continually strive to be greater in their food photography, writing and cooking. Those who have built connections within the industry because they care to, and not just for the possible free meal. The once amateurs who came onto the scene not because everyone else was doing it, but because they found it within themselves to publicly display their passion — not only for an audience, but mostly for themselves.
“She was a great cook, but she cooked more for herself than for other people, not because she was hungry, but because she was comforted by the rituals of the kitchen.” — Ruth Reichl
We need more education and less entertainment, or at least a balance of the two. The blogging landscape has become inundated with listicles, memes, and Top Chef 2.0 gossip. A layer of materialistic design and shininess that tends to mask the bland taste of one-dimensional content.
In the end, you have to tell a story, even if it’s an anecdotal rehash of the worst restaurant you’ve ever been to; you have to understand the art, or at least have a burning desire to learn it; and you have to dive into the depth of your subject, as any proper journalist would.
“Food bloggers have to challenge the blogging world to be better by challenging themselves to be better.” — Paul Barron
When the Foodable team decided to create Foodie Fight, we wanted to highlight some of these authentically passionate food bloggers. It took a lot of sifting through — there were some great ones we had to let go of because of space limitation, and I know there are some we missed (there are a lot of food bloggers in America, people!).
The best part about Foodie Fight? We didn’t have to play favorites. This isn’t a popularity contest. While, yes, raking through each blog to score content and design was required for the first tier, what it really came down to in each round was what readers were (and are) saying about the blogs. Through our proprietary Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI), active social restaurant consumers are tracked across 17 social platforms, to reveal information on what people are organically talking about, unfiltered and uncensored, regarding these subjects. Through keywords (the name of the blog, for example), we are able to pick up consumer sentiment and influence.
In the end, as we near our Final Round, there are two food bloggers standing.
Amateur Gourmet, run by Adam Roberts out of L.A., has been around for years. His humorous writing style (how can you not love a man with a post devoted to Condoleezza Rice Pudding with Berries of Mass Destruction?), paired with perfect syntax and a genuine understanding and excitement for food make him a clear top runner. Roberts has gone on to author a few books, including a cookbook, and has schmoozed, dined and befriended many industry notables. To get a better grasp on how Amateur Gourmet came to be, check out this post.
Food. Curated., the brainchild of Liza de Guia, is an online short-form documentary series blog, based out of New York, that hones in on telling the stories of those in the food business. From sustainable fishermen to chefs and restaurant owners, Food. Curated. houses not just the who and what, but also the why. “When you look at my series, and you look closely, you’ll see this isn’t so much a series about food, as much as it is a series about people,” said Liza in a TEDx Brooklyn Talk. Food. Curated. has recently partnered with the New York Times, where a different food story will be told each week.
There’s no doubt these two are authentically great and uniquely compelling food bloggers.
And now, without further ado...
The numbers are in! Refreshing the data to reflect this past week’s new engagement and sentiment scores, the winner of our First Annual Foodie Fight 2014 is…
With a Final Score of 26.01, Food. Curated. takes the cake! (Final Engagement Score: 8.64; Final Sentiment Score: 8.81; Editorial Score: 8.56.) Not far behind, Amateur Gourmet comes in with a Final Score of 23.94. (Final Engagement Score: 7.63; Final Sentiment Score: 8.71; Editorial Score: 7.6.)
Thank you to all the food bloggers involved for being good sports throughout each round, and, again, if you know a great food blogger who you’d like us to consider for next year, send us a tweet to @foodable!