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Just a Byte Podcast – Interview with HMS Host Chef, Renate DeGeorge

Posted on 23 June 2014 by Administrator

Just a Byte Podcast

The Just a Byte Podcast features dining trends, social media, interviews and foodie news. In this interview, we’ll be talking to Renate DeGeorge of HMS Host. HMS Host helps to bring restaurants into airports all of the world. They help restaurants pair down their menu offerings and find items that will work in the smaller kitchens of airports.

Renate shares with us the process of selection of restaurants, how they decide which items to include in a menu, and even how they are able to source from local vendors at different airports around the globe. It is quite a fascinating process.

Podcast 3Thinking INside the Box with Culinary Director of HMS Host, Renate DeGeorge

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Sud de France Festival – New York City

Posted on 04 June 2014 by Administrator

poster-festival-sud-de-france_large_focus_eventsHave you heard of this incredible food and wine festival happening in NYC next week? Sud De France is an organization created by the region’s government in 2006. Its aim is to support and encourage international exchange with businesses in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, and to promote the region’s history, heritage, gastronomy and culture both at home and abroad.

Since not everyone can make it to this beautiful region of France, they are bringing it to you with the Sud De France Festival, beginning on June 9. For three weeks attendees can try mouth-watering versions of staples like cassoulet, bourride sétoise, cod brandade, and more, all paired with wines from the region.

For a complete list of events and participating stores as well as information on how to purchase tickets, please visit their website: suddefrancefestival.com

Camille Becerra, executive chef of Navy, the new restaurant and raw bar in SoHo. The menu at Navy showcases Becerra’s commitment to seasonal and local ingredients and her affection for approachable yet refined New American cuisine. Here is a recipe from Navy:

Fresh Anchovies with asparagus, fried egg & almonds
Serves 4

12 fresh anchovies
4 eggs
1 bunch asparagus
1/4 cup toasted almonds, chopped coarsely
1 bunch scallion
1/4 cup fresh herbs like parsley, basil or chervil
Dressing
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
1/4 cup agave
Pinch salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Prepare your dressing. Slice scallions using the whites for the dressing and reserving the greensfor garnishing. Warm the vinegar and agave together in a pot, pour over the sliced scallion whites, cover. Once cooled whisk in olive oil, salt and pepper.

Clean anchovies, salt them and then dredge them in flour. Warm a pan with olive oil over medium heat. Cook the anchovies till a slight golden color forms. Clean out the pan and heat up over high heat. Add the asparagus into the dry and hot pan, season with salt and pepper, cook until asparagus begins to char slightly on all sides. Fry eggs according to preference. Arrange the asparagus on four individual plates, top with fried egg, the sardines and drizzle with dressing, top with almonds, sliced scallion greens and herbs.

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ambrose farms fined u-pick strawberriesTFvjeaNkZXy-PkDIdG0_kNtOOSXmrW7in1lpxv97HVsGt2qxBlGQCPQa3c9Y9pgA2sR1IYoaAvPIqY-KQo6Bb8farmer_fined_for_signageAmbrose Frams U-pick strawberries

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Farmers Fighting Absurd Bureaucracy

Posted on 28 May 2014 by Administrator

ambrose farms fined u-pick strawberries

Pete Ambrose of Ambrose Farms

File this under absurd bureaucracy: a Charleston area farmer placed signs around the city to spread the word about the availability of strawberries at this farm. Anyone can come pick them and then pay for their pickings. But the government wasted no time giving Mr. Ambrose a fine of $1092 for his seven signs, citing that the signs were a code violation and a nuisance.

It was especially upsetting to me since I was visiting the farm as the film crew was there (see story below) interviewing Mr. Ambrose shortly after the citation had been given. As I walked along the farm, seeing row after row of beautiful bright red strawberries waiting to be eaten, it infuriated me that things like these continue to happen all over our country.

WFXG FOX54 Augusta – Your News One Hour Earlier

Quote from Ambrose Farms Facebook Page:
“You can try to teach a child about food in a classroom or a grocery store, but it will never compare to the hands-on education a kid will get from standing in the middle of a field, pulling a ripe berry off of a living plant and tasting how sweet it is right out of the dirt.”

farmer fined for improper signage kids visiting farms

I got a chance to speak with Mr. Ambrose directly. He has a passion for having folks come out to his farm and really get a feel for what they do and see the fresh produce. It was especially fun to watch the young ones having a ball picking their own strawberries. Such a shame that the government (even in such small communities) has to ruin such a well-meaning effort.

TFvjeaNkZXy-PkDIdG0_kNtOOSXmrW7in1lpxv97HVs fresh strawberries csa

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how to host a blogger dinnerecco charcuterie

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The Guaranteed Blog Post: A Sticky Situation

Posted on 21 May 2014 by Administrator

I recently saw a dialogue that appeared on a Facebook Group page for an organized outing. The organization was approached by a restaurant to have its member bloggers sample food, with a guaranteed blog post on each blog after said free meal. What’s wrong with this picture? What if you don’t’ like the food? What do you then?

how to host food bloggers

image source: FoodNetwork.com

When some group members questioned the expectation, they were told they could shy away from a positive view in exchange for an informational post. That seems drab and a bit calculated (more mentions on blogs and social media are good for the restaurant).

I feel for the restaurants, I really do. One of the most missed experiences I have is the seasonal menu tastings that Seasons 52 used to do for bloggers. They hosted us + a guest in their private dining room and we were privy to a special screening with Master Sommelier George Miliotes to discuss the well thought out wine and cocktails paired with the multi-course meal we were about to sample. The service and food was impeccable (and each dish is under 475 calories I might add), yet most bloggers failed to ever write anything. Although Seasons 52 never admitted it, I can’t help but feel this is why they stopped doing these exceptional events for bloggers.

Here’s the restaurant / publicity company perspective:
You mean we just send one email out to a person who handles inviting all the other bloggers? And each and every blogger we invite will absolutely write a blog post? Yippee! This is win-win for us!

As a blogger, I only attend events I have the full intention of writing about. Did you read that word “intention”? While it is unfair to take a free meal at a restaurant knowing you will not write a word, it is also unfair to your readers to write something that isn’t your true sentiment. I also organize monthly blogger dinners and adhere to a “no pressure to post” motto. The restaurants trust that I’m inviting bloggers that I’ve personally vetted to be ethical and use their best judgement when it comes to reviewing.

To get another opinion, I contacted Dianne Jacob, author of Will Write For Food, speaker and educator on food writing and blogging. Here’s what she had to say:

AoFB:  What is your opinion on bloggers who attend a complimentary tasting or meal with the understanding that they must write a blog post about the meal?

DJ: I can see how the restaurant would want that, but I would not agree to attend with that stipulation.

AoFB:  What do you think of restaurants or PR companies that stipulate this as a requirement for hosting a blogger for a meal?

DJ: They are trying to do what they think is best. It’s up to bloggers to do what they think is best too. It’s their blog, and they should not feel obligated to write a post, especially a complimentary one, in exchange for a meal.

AoFB:  What effect does this requirement of a post per meal have on the food writing industry?

DJ: Bloggers have a reputation for being pushovers. It makes readers take their opinions with a grain of salt. Many are not confident about their skill level in evaluating dishes, so it is easier to write a positive piece about attending an event than to make critical decisions about the food and restaurant.

how to host a blogger dinner

One member of that group commented on the facebook conversation, saying that restaurants often expect a glowing blog post if they are hosting bloggers even the experience is less than satisfactory.  This brings up a good point. Restaurants sometimes view bloggers as low hanging fruit. Sorry, but it is true. They believe that since we are not paid journalists, then we should gladly write a positive review in exchange for a free meal. One publicist even went so far as to send a blogger friend of mine a nasty email stating “Why would you attend the dinner if you didn’t intend on writing a blog post?” when she chose not to write anything after a disappointing meal. Hey buddy, take a hint, we were being kind by NOT writing.

And restaurants, here’s why these are the bloggers you don’t want at your restaurants:
The blogosphere is vast and diverse. Not all bloggers are created equal. Sheer numbers of social media followers don’t tell the full story. The trustworthy bloggers have carefully nurtured a relationship with their readers and won’t take chances to screw that up. That means not taking a free meal with a promise of a shallow review. The ones that do write an honest review are the ones whose readers will take action and show up at your restaurant.

Of course a complimentary meal and a good review are not mutually exclusive for ethical bloggers. After all, how many bloggers can afford $100+ dinner 4-5 times per month? But that doesn’t mean you should gush on and on about the restaurant. If you like the food – super – share that with your readers. If you didn’t like it and don’t plan on writing you at least owe the restaurant or publicist that invited you an explanation of why.

There seems to be a tipping point right now in food blogging. Are food bloggers going to continue to stay relevant? How do we rise above the noise while growing and nuturing readers? While our association provides guidelines of ethics to follow, at some point, you, the blogger, have to take responsibility for your blog, brand and writing and decide what your personal ethics are.

 

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Atlanta Food and Wine Festival is May 29 – June 1

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Atlanta Food and Wine Festival is May 29 – June 1

Posted on 14 May 2014 by Administrator

atlanta food wine festival pig out

The Atlanta Food and Festival returns to Midtown Atlanta May 29th to June 1. More than simply a food festival with small tastes, the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival features instructional classes and even a food “lab” which focuses on niche techniques. What’s more, it focuses on the entire Southeast region, rather than just the city of Atlanta.

Richland Rum

Unlike many other food festivals, the Atlanta Food and Wine festival is designed to get the most bang for your buck. Classes start in the morning and are done by early afternoon, just in time for the tasting tents to open.

atlanta food and wine vendors atlanta food and wine vendors

What’s nice is because of the notably higher ticket prices to the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, the crowds are lower, which means no waiting in long lines for food. A misnomer may be the “wine” part of the festival as it is really more all-inclusive of booze in general. Not necessarily a bad thing as cocktails have become much more complex of late.

atlanta food wine festival booze atlatna food and wine food

Choose your price point and culinary adventure. Prices start at $100 for a day pass to the tasting tents alone. Your best bet is to get the $185 day pass to the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival which gives you access to not only the tasting tents, but three classes. If money is no object, go for the Connoisseur package which includes the 3 day pass, a private lounge, VIP classes and 3 off-site dinners / events. This package runs about $2,000.

Sample Classes:

  • Oysters and Beer
  • Frontiers of Frying
  • Butcher Renaissance

Here’s an overview of some the Atlanta Food and Wine classes I attended last year:

oyster class atlanta food and wine festival

Oysters and Beer – Quick facts:
Oysters taste different because of saltiness of water and nutrients
Oysters start out as male and become female.
Oyster farming is not a bad thing because no medications are used.

Chew oysters to get more flavor out of them.

Serve oysters with a citrus beer or shandy.

Butcher Renaissance

butcher class atlanta food and wine festival butcher class atlanta food and wine festival
Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you, they brought in an entire animal to show us the different cuts of meat. Along with a lesson in butchering, we were educated on buying meat.

Tips from the Butcher:
Cook with pork lard not oil for great flavor.
Braised Pork Cheek is super cheap and makes a great appetizer and use in a salad.

 

Pros

  • Not overly crowded
  • No lines for food
  • Variety of classes

Cons

    • Pricey
    • Tasting tents were a far walk from the hotel
    • Parking was scarce

atlanta food and wine festival gus fried chicken atlanta food wine festival meat

When choosing which day to attend the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, pick this based on the classes you want to attend, as the food is largely the same day after day.There was an exceptional amount of chicken and barbecue, each with their own designated area (hey it’s the south). However,  the “catch all” or Main Tent was average. This had more of the spirits, sweets, appetizers, but was low on seafood.

Now in  it’s fourth year, the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival gets better each year. They get creative with the classes and offerings year after year. You can find out more information about the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival and buy tickets here.

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A Progressive Dinner at the Atlanta Airport

Posted on 06 May 2014 by Administrator

blogger dinner atlanta airport
The Association of Food Bloggers partnered with HMS Host for the first ever, progressive dinner at the Atlanta Airport. Just how does one plan a progressive dinner at an airport?  By going through lots of red tape. But it was so worth it, as we all had an incredible time dining airport style.

As you may be aware, if you’ve traveled through the Atlanta airport, it is huge! There are multiple concourses connected by trains and as if that wasn’t enough, they’ve just added a new international terminal. Our group of 10 met at the Atlanta Chophouse, an upscale pre-security restaurant. The two-story restaurant features dark woods and a casual, welcoming ambiance.

restaurants atlanta airport dining

A delicious sampling of Ahi Tuna and Buffalo Shrimp started the evening off. The Buffalo sauce was on point, an opinion supported by each blogger, including one of our members who hails from Buffalo. Not only were the appetizers tasty, but we found that the greens the accompanied the dishes were locally sourced, something HMS Host strives to do in each city’s airport they are in.

Before we got too comfortable we were whisked away to our second destination. But not before we made our way through security. At the risk of sounding incredibly snooty, it was pretty neat to have our own security escorts.

Besides working with existing restaurants to source from local vendors, HMS Host helps to bring local restaurants into the airport. That’s right – you can still eat like a local even if you never leave the airport. Case in point is Ecco restaurant, a favorite of Midtown Atlanta diners.

upscale dining atlanta airport upscale dining ecco atlanta airport
Ecco, a modern European / Mediterranean restaurant features cured meats and cheeses, pizzas, pastas and other European influenced dishes. Executive Chef of HMS Host, Renate DeGeorge, works with restaurants to help them pair down a regular menu to a manageable amount of airport offerings and pick dishes that will work best in smaller kitchens.

eat at atlanta airport restaurants atlanta airport

You wouldn’t guess this was airport dining at all with a selection of meats and cheeses, honeyed fried goat cheese and stuffed piquillo peppers (locally sourced from Brasstown Beef, of course).  Enjoy all of these foods while sipping on a well-crafted cocktail too. We sampled the Gigi Says, a vodka ginger cocktail.

atlanta airport international terminal dining
This being a progressive dinner, we headed out to our last stop – the food court, even taking a cocktail to go, which anyone can do, while in the dining area of the international terminal. This new area in the airport is much more upscale – even by food court standards than other terminals at the Atlanta airport.

What’s a visit to the city’s airport without a taste of the south? The Pecan (whether you pronounce it “pee-can” or “pe-caan”), is another local favorite in Atlanta. Staying true to their roots, diners can try a southern classic like Shrimp n Grits. Or embrace the new-ish Chicken and Waffles craze complete with options of honey mustard and sweet syrup to drizzle atop. Do save room for their namesake – Pecan Pie.

where to dine atlanta airport where to eat atlanta airport

While The Pecan provided us with dessert at the Atlanta airport progressive dinner, it wouldn’t truly be a complete visit without stopping by The Varsity, one of the longest running, most iconic restaurants in Atlanta. Make sure you get a paper hat and take a selfie before flying off to your next destination.

atlanta airport dining options

In the Atlanta airport, we’ve long suffered from a small selection of boring chain dining selections. Not only is it a welcome addition to have some of the local, beloved restaurants at our airport, but also knowing that they are supporting local vendors by sourcing from them.

Huge thanks to HMS Host for helping us make the first progressive dinner at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta a huge success!

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Just a Byte Podcasts

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Just a Byte Podcasts

Posted on 29 April 2014 by Administrator

Just a Byte Podcast

The Just a Byte Podcast features dining trends, social media, interviews and foodie news.

Podcast 16 Things Every Blog Should Have

Podcast 2Interview with Author, World Traveler and Blogger, Beth Robinette

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Shooting in Manual: The Ins and Outs of Food Photography

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Shooting in Manual: The Ins and Outs of Food Photography

Posted on 10 April 2014 by Administrator

Making the switch to manual photography is a bit like taking a leap of faith. All the fancy buttons and menu options on a DSLR camera can be intimidating and there is a lot of new terminology and concepts, such as apertureshutter speed and ISO, to master. I learned how to shoot in manual by taking an introductory photography class when I was living in NYC about six years ago. My teacher was a big proponent of manual, so that’s what I learned and I’m forever grateful for it.

Why Shoot in Manual?

Cameras are pretty amazing these days and you can get some really nice pictures just by pointing and shooting with your camera on automatic. It’s easy, the pictures are generally decently exposed and you can move from situation to situation quickly without having to make decisions about and adjustments to your shutter speed, aperture and ISO.

The down side is that your camera makes all those decisions for you. Right now you may be thinking, “Hey, that’s great. I don’t want to mess with all of that!” I hear you. A few years ago I was in the same boat, but I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of having control over how my image turns out.

 

automatic camera settings demo picturesFig. 1 – For demonstrative purposes, I took these pictures using the automatic settings on my camera.

Let’s take a look at the pictures in Fig. 1 above.

I used the basic automatic setting for the first picture on the left. Sadly, the camera decided that it should use the flash. The built in flash on cameras tend to be, well, not great. You can see how the lighting is kind of uneven and the image looks flat. So, not a great image.

For the next two images, I used the automatic with no flash setting. I think the images are much better; a little underexposed, but they have a lot more depth. If you have editing software you can fix the exposure issue, so, while not ideal, it’s fixable. The issues with these photographs lie in the other decisions the camera made.

Focal Point

You may have noticed a pretty blatant different between the second two pictures. (Hint: it’s the focal point.) The middle picture is focused on the basket of strawberries in the background while the picture on the right is focused on the shortcake in the foreground. You’d think that, with a difference like that, I must have done something differently. Nope. The only thing I did between the two photos was press the button.

So the camera made a pretty significant and apparently arbitrary decision about what was the focus of the picture. You may have your own ideas about what is important in a picture; I know I certainly do. Shooting in manual gives you the control to choose where the camera focuses, rather than having to rely on the camera’s software to make that choice for you.

(A lot of point and shoot cameras these days can recognize and automatically focus on faces.  Alas, by the time you’re photographing your food, it probably doesn’t have a face.*)

Aperture and Depth of Field

Shooting in manual allows you to select the aperture at which you shoot, which gives you control over the depth of field if in the image. Don’t worry if you don’t understand what I just said. I’m about to explain.

Aperture InfographicFig. 2

Aperture refers to the hole in your camera that lets in light. Much like the pupils of your eyes, the larger or wider the aperture, the more light it lets in. The smaller the aperture, the less light that gets into your camera. This works in conjunction with the shutter speed to determine the exposure of your image.

Aperture is sometimes referred to as “f-stop” because aperture is written as f/[number]. The larger the denominator, the wider the aperture. In other words, f/5.6 means that there is a larger opening than f/16. It’s a little counter-intuitive at first, but if you think of it in terms of fractions it makes sense. (1/5th of a pie is a larger piece than 1/16th).

Okay, so what does this matter? It matters because the aperture affects the depth of field in a photograph. Whereas the focal point is where in the photograph you focus, the depth of field determines how much of the photograph is in focus.

aperture and depth of field example imagesFig. 3 – These images were shot using a tripod. Note the long exposure times.

The focal point for all four of these images is right in the middle of the strawberry with the whipped cream on it. The basket of strawberries in the background is very blurry in the top left image where the aperture was f/5. This image has a shallow depth of field. You can see how the basket gets sharper as the aperture gets smaller, creating a deeper depth of field. The basket is sharpest in the bottom right corner where the aperture is f/32. The focus of the foreground changes as well, but the change is subtle in these pictures.

In Fig. 1 above, where I shot in automatic, the camera chose an aperture of f/5. That means it chose to have a shallow depth of field like the top left image here in Fig. 3. But what if you kind of like that adorable little ceramic basket you got on sale at Anthropologie? You might want it to be a little more in focus. If you’re shooting in auto, you don’t get to make that decision.

aperture failFood Photography Fail. I defaulted to auto one day when photographing in a restaurant. Wrong decision.

This image is an excellent example of what can happen when you let the camera make the decisions. I was in a restaurant and a little shy about whipping out my enormous camera during dinner. So instead of taking the time to get my settings right, I just used auto. Of course, it was dark in there and my camera used a wide aperture to let in more light, which ended up creating a very shallow depth of field. Only a sliver of the dish is actually in focus, which is less than ideal, to put it mildly. I learned my lesson.

Whoa Morgan, you just said something about it being dark and using a wide aperture to get light and what’s going on?

Don’t panic! This just brings us to…

Exposure: Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO

So, aside from making decisions about aperture and depth of field, we have get the right balance of apertureshutter speed and ISO to have a properly exposed image. That basically just means that the photograph is baby bear. It’s not too dark and it’s not too light; it’s just right. Now, contrary to what Foodgawker and Tastespotting might be telling you, exposure is somewhat subjective. Yes, there’s absolutely overexposed (too bright) or underexposed (too dark) images, but there’s a lot of gray area in between. (pun intended)

Exposure-Triangle

Shutter Speed

We’ve been over aperture, so lets talk about shutter speed for a moment. Shutters speed refers to how long the shutters remain open when you take a picture. The longer the shutters remain open, the more light that reaches the camera’s sensor and the brighter the exposure.

If you look up at Fig. 3, you can see that the shutter speed changes in each image. When the aperture was f/5, a lot of light was getting in through that wide aperture, so the shutters didn’t need to be open as long. However, as the aperture got smaller, the shutter needed to be open longer and longer to let the same amount of light reach the sensor.

Think of it as a faucet. If you want to fill up a glass of water, it will take longer to fill the glass with the water at a drip versus when you turn the faucet on all the way and the water rushes out. (aperture = drip/stream, shutter speed = the time you hold the glass under the faucet)

A word of warning regarding shutter speed: the longer the shutter is open, the more likely you are to shake the camera, leading to sad, blurry images. If you shoot regularly in low light situations like, I don’t know, your kitchen, you may want to invest in a tripod. Similarly, if you’re photographing something that moves, the longer the shutter speed, the more likely that thing is to be blurry.

ISO

What is ISO? Remember back in the days of film cameras when you’d go to the drug store and there’d be all those different kinds of film? 100, 200, 400…basically, the ISO is how sensitive the film was to light. The higher the number, the more sensitive the film and the grainier the images tended to get. With digital photography, the ISO controls how sensitive the camera’s sensor is to light. Again, the higher the ISO, the more sensitive the sensor is to light and the higher the risk of a grainy image.

So why would we ever use a high ISO? Like most things, there’s a trade off. Shooting at a higher ISO is the equivalent of using a longer shutter speed or a wider aperture: it increases the exposure.

So let’s say you have the perfect aperture, but your image is a little dark and you can’t reduce the shutter speed anymore because the camera will shake or the subject is moving, you can try bumping up the ISO to get the exposure where you want it.

So in the end, exposure is a balancing game between aperture, shutter speed and ISO. It may be a little complicated at first, but I have confidence in you. So what does all this complicated gobbledygook get you? Control. Manual photography lets you tell your camera how to get the image that you want, rather than settling for what the camera tells you you’re going to get. And that’s the beauty of shooting in manual.

 

face*This would be one of the exceptions to the no faces rule. And that just can’t be unseen.

 

By Morgan Perkins
Morgan is the author of Peaches, Please! a delicious blog that talks about recipes, food photography and more! She is a recovering attorney, that hails from a family of foodies. And yes, she LOVES peaches!

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MostExpensiveSandwich

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How My Free Lunch Turned Into the Most Expensive Sandwich Ever

Posted on 19 February 2014 by Administrator

The most expensive sandwich I have had cost me $191. You must be wondering just what was in this sandwich – gold? Nope. It was a Kimchee chicken schnitzel sandwich. Nothing to it really, albeit maybe a little too heavy on the Kimchee. Why the high price tag? Because it was given to me under the guise of a sales meeting. When I factor in my time, consulting and travel, for this meeting, it runs the cost of nearly two Benjamins. This takes the saying, “There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch” to a whole new level.

After countless meetings, I’ve honed my ability to spot those who just want to suck the knowledge out of my head. But every once in a while I get duped. And this was one such occasion. I knew the owner as we’d worked together on an event before and when he emailed me suggesting we meet because he’d like to talk to me “about your PR and Marketing services” I was pretty excited.

MostExpensiveSandwich

It takes me about an hour to get ready (I’m a girl, what can I say), an hour to drive to this location – city traffic, (31 miles one way), an hour for the meeting and an hour back home. That’s a huge chunk out of my day, but as a sole proprietor, I wear many hats, sales person being one of them.

As soon as I entered the store, he sat down with me asking probing question after probing question:

  • I’m thinking of opening up a second location, where should it be?
  • How do I fit in the market place?
  • How do I get a mention on Eater.com and local television stations?

Of course, there’s a bit of freebies in the form of expertise you have to give away so that potential clients know you know your stuff. But these were some pretty in-depth, complicated questions. I asked what help he needed with social media and pr. He just smiled and said “Oh I can handle all of that myself. I just wanted your feedback on some of this other publicity.” I left, feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. Did he really think the fact that he gave me a $7.49 sandwich justified what he did?

I didn’t write all of this just to vent, though it has been a bit cathartic. As we food bloggers keep up our craft, no doubt we will be pulled in different directions. Writing, photography, recipe development and maybe even social media expert. I write this to tell you this is a talent and your services aren’t free. So, don’t let these leeches get away with taking advantage of you.

You have worked tirelessly to get to be where you are and acquire the skills to do what you do. If you are being sough after, it is because you bring value to an organization or business. Don’t sell yourself short. Stick to your guns. I promise good things will come your way.

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sochi olympic failssochi olympics failure, putin

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4 Blogger Lessons from Sochi Olympics

Posted on 13 February 2014 by Administrator

sochi olympic fails

We’ve all seen the pictures from the Sochi Olympics – unfinished hotels, rooms with toilets installed incorrectly, homeless doggies wandering around and many more abysmal failures. It is a sad reflection on them. But we as bloggers can learn things from their issues.

Plan Accordingly
Had the Sochi people planned correctly, they would have had a timeline in place to get their rooms finished before people got there for the Olympics. Start using an editorial calendar so you don’t forget important holidays. Keep drafts of posts to jot down important ideas that you can come back and flesh out later.

Be Thorough in Your Work
In Sochi, a ton of money was spent to make the hotels beautiful. And they were…from the outside, but they got the smaller details wrong – ie putting toilets seats on wrong. Remember, that while a beautiful website or blog is important, if you have glaring grammatical errors or if you haven’t done your fact checking, people will grow impatient with your blog.

sochi toilets

photo credit: Twitter user Wylsacom

Budget Properly
Sochi spent about $50 billion, yes BILLION, on making their city Olympic ready, but all they will ever be remembered for is the pictures that people shared on social media of horrible hotel rooms and terrorist threats. When it comes to blogging, allocate your money and resources in a way that will benefit you the most, and that usually comes in the form of engaging content. Don’t spend a couple thousand on a fancy camera and be left eating ramen noodles for months with nothing to actually blog about.

Don’t be a Vladimir
While so many hotels remained largely unfinished, they all strangely enough were equipped with pictures of Vladimir Putin. While it is your blog, you can’t make everything about you. It is true, that you need to insert your personality into your blog writing, but don’t make every picture a selfie. People want to hear about your food experiences, so talk about chefs or family recipes and traditions. Sure, it is still about you, but not in a look-at-me-I’m-so-cool kind of way.

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