Open Letter to a Certain Food Blogger

Open Letter to a Certain Food Blogger

I interrupt my usual food posts with this very important open letter. This letter is addressed to the certain rather prominent blogger in question, hereinafter referred to as, “X”

Dear X,

It has come to my attention that you had visited a certain restaurant today for their Sunday Champagne Brunch in the Joo Chiat vicinity today with 3 dining companions. The brunch would have cost S$68++ per person with free flow champagne and red/white wine. You had informed the restaurant that you were a food blogger and assumed that by telling them so, the bill for all 4 of you would be waived.

This was not to be the case, as highlighted to you by the management. Further, I understand that upon being informed by the staff that out of goodwill, the restaurant would waive the costs of the meal for your partner and yourself. However, the costs of the two other diners had still to be borne by your dining companions. Upon hearing so, I put it to you that you threw your credit card at the cashier, while you glared at the staff who handled your bill.

The management of the restaurant in question was, in my opinion, more than kind enough to sign off the bill of both yourself and your 1 dining partner as goodwill.

Let it be known that most of us food bloggers (yours truly included) simply cannot condone your acts today.

Dated 22nd August 2010

My reason for publishing this open letter

The reason is clear – I am a food blogger. As the cliché goes, One Bad Apple spoils the Bunch, I am not going to lay low whilst someone tarnishes the good name of food bloggers in general. We have spent months, some even years, building up integrity of the community as a whole and I am saddened by the fact that you may have just tarnished the good name of the community.

Integrity of a Food Blogger

It is my personal belief that running a food blog is to have an avenue to express one’s pleasant and unpleasant opinions of my meals. What happened today has served to only remind myself of what my initial intentions were of running a food blog and that is to return the favour that I had received from the numerous food blogs that existed before mine that I had visited when looking for a completely unbiased and honest reviews of a restaurant.

So what if you were a Food Blogger

A food blogger, by definition, is someone who writes about food in his or her blog. And what makes one a food blogger? A camera and a blog. To that end, a camera may even be optional.  That essentially means that any Tom, Dick and Harry has the ability to start his or her own food blog. So what privilege does that give you, as a food blogger, the very bare excuse that you can solicit for free meals? A prominent food reviewer who reviews restaurants for a prominent English Daily, hereinafter referred to as Mr. W pays for his meals and openly states so in his reviews. If Mr. W does not solicit for free meals, why should you?

P.S. Don’t take this the wrong way – I am not stating that if someone of Mr. X’s status solicits for free meals, you can too.

On a side note, in the last 2 weeks alone, I have heard of another food blogger, who had blatantly requested for a food tasting session at a rather hip restaurant group, on the pretence that he was a writer for an online portal. From what I can understand, legal action could and may be taken against him.

On the issue of Invited Reviews

In recent months, there has been an influx of invited sessions by restaurants and PR agencies alike. I am of the opinion that if a restaurant / PR agency invites me for a meal, it’s an honour, a privilege even.

I’ve had the pleasure of working in the PR industry and majoring in Marketing for my course and I completely understand the rise of online and social media as a marketing tool for a business and coming from a family running a business, I can understand how every single bit of marketing is useful. The mantra of any publicity regardless of its tone is good publicity. Thus, I completely understand the need for restaurants to engage food bloggers as a affordable but effective form of online medium. This is the only reason why I still attend these food tasting sessions and events.

That said and my conscience is nothing but crystal clear – I do not go up to a restaurant and say, “I am a food blogger and I insist on getting a meal on your dime.”

But, going around soliciting for a free meal is a definite no no for me.

Thank you for your time in reading this post and I invite you to share any comments that you may have.

21 thoughts on “Open Letter to a Certain Food Blogger

  1. Woah, the nerve of some people! Asking to eat for free while proclaiming to be a food blogger is just in bad taste.

  2. @Queen: If that happens, let it be. My conscience, at the very least, is clear.

    @rinaz: Yeah! My sentiments exactly.

  3. with all due respect dear friend, I think your reasoning on why you still attend invited sessions is weak. just because it is an “affordable” advertising medium in this era of online marketing doesn’t mean you have to be part of it at the other end 🙂

  4. @Nic: Let’s leave it to your own thoughts.

    @Harris: Yes, weak as it may be. That’s the real reason why I attend invited sessions.

  5. equally so, the other members of his group shouldnt have been so bare faced to have expected a free brunch…

  6. I am an avid fan of food bloggers’ community in SG for 2-3 years. And why would I spend so much time in reading food blogs? Because I trust the people who are behind it. I started my own food blog and even though I moved to another continent, the fulfillment it gives me everytime I write, sharing the wonders of food, which everyone can relate to as well as having friends of common interest i.e. writing and eating. I do agree that one apple spoils the bunch, so i’m sad to hear there are some who use this medium just to be able to get free food. Nevertheless, I still trust and believe in foodies of Singapore. I’m always proud to tell the people around me (Dutch and Filipinos) how great the food bloggers’ community in Singapore. So for those who are foodies by heart and not free loaders, keep it up!

  7. That person’s behaviour is just so disgusting. Even as proper food writers for a magazine previously, we do not demand for free food.

    Just so appalled I don’t know what to say. -.-“

  8. I’m a food blogger from Melbourne and although I love Singapore’s food scene and have been there many times, I’m not familiar with the food blogging community there. That said, thanks for posting this and alerting us to this person’s disgusting act. I’m glad that Singaporean food bloggers as a whole have a conscience. It’s disappointing that a few bad apples could spoil the bunch, as you said, and I hope it doesn’t happen.

  9. Now I am so tempted to click over to his website to check out this guy. Resisting the temptation because I am reluctant to play a part to assist in his “yao gwee” (literal translation: hungry ghost) plans. Imagine: “Hey! I am a high web traffic food blogger! You MUST give me free food for me and my entire entourage of 100 guests!”

  10. Also, what passes for food blogging in Singapore is often pathetic – lots of photos but weak, paltry descriptions

    But then Singaporeans seem to prefer ambience over taste, so perhaps that is appropriate

  11. So low class! Demanding for a free meal (and an expensive one at that) for not just one but 4 persons, by using his food blogger status.
    Truly despicable and reproachable behaviour.
    Never thought his HungryGoWhere reviews were credible anyway.

  12. Heyy Glenn, when i got my very first invite, I was actually quite honoured too. I also feel that it’s a good opportunity to meet like-minded bloggers out there. However, I was afraid that others might think that i’m going for free food, which is not the case. Lastly, I agree with you that this is a good form of publicity for the restaurants but as food bloggers, we have to give our honest opinions 🙂

  13. Having met the person before, I never expected he would do something so stupid as that! The whole thing is disgraceful to the spirit of food blogging!

  14. there is no reason to withhold his identity. as long as everything is written truthfully, there is no need for anonymity.

  15. Let me first clarify that I don’t know either party – I just managed to catch this on Twitter. I must say I am rather skeptical about this entire affair, it honestly seems to be a misunderstanding blown out of proportion and you are using this as an opportunity to bring down and tarnish the reputation a fellow (more successful?) food blogger. I might be wrong, I don’t know, but neither does anyone outside of the two parties involved. I just find it repulsive how other people are using this as an excuse to stir shit when they are not in the least bit involved and heard only one side of the story.

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