So I’ve been getting asked a lot of questions lately. To save your breath and my time, here are answers to some of those I hear most frequently (if you have any other questions, feel free to mail me).
1. Why did you start this blog?
Three reasons: Above all else, it combines three pet passions: food, technology, and writing.
Second, I was beginning to chafe against the idea of only being to write about restaurants that could afford the steep advertising rates that most print magazines charge – I believe that you can find great food even in an unphotogenic hole-in-the-wall.
And third, the print cycle is so lengthy that food lovers never get the information they need when they need it – by the time that special Indonesian Food Festival gets its three lines in print, it’s over.
2. Do you get paid to review restaurants for your blog?
3. How do you earn (or intend to earn) revenue from the blog?
I don’t. I keep writing in the hope that maybe, someday, someone will say, “Hey – we like your style! Do you want to do a food show? We’ll fly you around the world for free!” Heck, I’ll even settle for, “We’re a nationally circulated newspaper/magazine and we’d like you to write a biweekly column on food.”
4. Do restaurants know in advance that you are going to be doing a review?
No. Staff in most restaurants do not know who I am or what I look like, and think I’m batty when I obsessively photograph my food before eating it.
I believe that a review is never balanced when the restaurant knows you are doing one. A review needs to be anonymous, and needs to reflect the experience of the average diner. That balance is skewed the moment the restaurant is rolling out the red carpet and putting its best foot forward for a reviewer.
5. Do you think it’s fair to base your review on a single visit to a restaurant?
Of course not. Everyone can have a bad day, including a restaurant. That’s why I visit at least two or three times, and usually more, before I write a review. Plus, one visit is neither gives me a chance to do justice to the menu, nor a chance to judge whether it can deliver a consistent experience – which, to my mind, separates a great restaurant from a mediocre one.
6. Are you still contributing to Food Lovers Bangalore?
As of January ’09 – sorry guys, but no. I stopped editing back in April ’08, and as of this year, I no longer contribute. We decided to part ways, amicably, because our points of view on some very basic issues have diverged.