There’s this group of people who are so passionate about food that they spend a fortune and invest hundreds of hours of time engaging with the culture surrounding it. Not only are they eating out, buying ingredients, gadgets, renovating kitchens and travelling to food destinations, buying tickets to food festivals and producer dinners but also buying up cookbooks, food magazines and devouring the weekly food sections in newspapers. They are the hard core supporters of the restaurant business, fancy cooking stores, food magazines and newspapers. And they blog. They Tweet, Instagram, Pin, Vine their exploits. Free of charge mostly. Even if they aren’t spending much money on something, there’s a good chance they are giving it free publicity. As a marketing person I’d want to reward these people as my best loyal customers and promoters. Instead it’s become fashionable for nearly a decade now to give these people a good kicking. Food writers, journalists, food festivals and chefs have joined to put the boot in whenever they can. A few weeks ago John Lethlean in The Weekend Australian hit on the undisclosed conflicts of interest of an award winning food blog. Within 24 hours Larissa Dubecki had joined the attack while the debate raged on personal Facebook feeds and Twitter. It neatly tied in with a clarification by the ACCC on false reviews that blogger-lawyer Claire Davie posted on her blog Melbourne Gastronome. So what’s happening? There’s been a symbiotic relationship between PR, marketing and journalism since the year dot. The marketers with their advertising support the media. PRs facilitate stories, manage messages and throw fantastic parties and dinners. They also occasionally pay for business class flights, $2,500 a night hotel rooms, free meals and send us bottles of vintage Krug or on a slow day Dom Perignon at least. And let’s not forget the conflicts of interest among travel writers subsisting on travel famils (free trips) – and the many conflicts of interest among Australia’s most influential wine and food writers. As a former journalist I have received all of the above. As a social media influencer too (apart from the Krug though I prefer smaller name grower champagnes nowadays). Social media is a great leveller. It’s fragmented traditional media and made it easier for the small publisher to find a significant voice. It’s brought people into publishing and broadcasting who weren’t trained by professionals who showed them the… Read more »
Posts By: Ed
I hope that grabbed your attention. The Lara Food and Wine Festival is holding an amateur competition for home made Jamon, prosciutto and other smallgoods on 23 March. If you are not familiar with the history of smallgoods in Melbourne, Lara looms large over all those making small goods today. The town’s Angel Cardoso was famous for his smallgoods but sadly was shut down by the food police – the same ones that prevent having more unpasteurized cheese. Angel died in March 2013 at the age of 78 having arrived in Australia in 1962. George Biron says Angel gained a reputation as the maker of Australia’s finest Spanish-style smallgoods, including jamon serrano hams, salamis and chorizo sausages. The Lara Food and Wine Festival’s aim is to hold an annual competition to judge the best home made and naturally cured smallgoods to honour, remember Angelo. Judges include food writer Richard Cornish, MoVida’s Frank Camorra, Rosa Mitchell, cheese mastro Richard Thomas and others including myself. Prizes are $500 $300 $200 and a perpetual trophy for overall winner. You can read more about it here.