How blogs have taken over the food-writing world….
The web is awash with foodie folk chattering about everything from their latest kitchen triumphs to their favourite new lunchtime haunts, and a large blogging community is well and truly thriving, with meet-ups at events like Food Blogger Connect in London – now in its 5th year – taking place all over the world. Many lucky web writers have even managed to turn their hobby into a career through book deals, TV appearances and even a feature film. But which gourmand was the first to put fingers to keyboard?
One of the contenders is Chowhound, which was among the earliest places online, where lovers of all things food and drink could share their gastronomic likes and gripes. To quote from their website, it was created in 1997 to provide a ‘grass-roots alternative to traditional media, where food-obsessed individuals can exchange tips’ – a pioneering ethos which sums up today’s food-blogging industry in a nutshell.
Yet it wasn’t until the early noughties that things really started to get cooking in the food blogosphere. In 2002, office worker Julie Powell decided to cook and blog her way through all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, naming her venture the Julie/Julia Project. It was such an unprecedented hit that it inspired the 2009 film, Julie & Julia, and was also made into a book.
Scores of Julie’s successors have since snared book deals of their own. For example, Eat Like a Girl’s Comfort & Spice features fun recipes and practical, down-to-earth advice; MsMarmiteLover’s Supper Club offers an insight into the world of supperclubs and pop-up restaurants; Food in Jars’ book of the same name is a handy guide to making your own canned fruits, fresh jams, and savoury pickles; and The Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef’s is both a cookbook and a chef-meets-gluten-free-girl love story.
The professionals are getting in on the action too, which is great news for those in need of culinary hints, tips and tricks from an industry expert. Paris-based TV chef Rachel Khoo’s site features jealousy-inducing anecdotes from Paris and beyond, while Britain’s favourite kitchen siren Nigella Lawson’s site boasts a fabulous array of her trademark decadent recipes to try, as well as an online diary for those who want to follow her rather glam lifestyle. The Great British Chefs, meanwhile, is one of the most extensive online foodie resources around, celebrating the work of British chefs and their recipes – definitely one not to miss.
Yet although chef blogs are becoming increasingly de rigueur, it seems your average blogger on the street is also here to stay. Perhaps their appeal lies in their flaws; they have kitchen disasters just like the rest of us, but keep on cooking regardless. This unrelenting passion for food is empowering for the skilled and novice chef alike, making us all feel like we can have a go at tricky recipes and get involved in the online foodie community. So get your apron on – after all, even if it all goes horribly wrong, it’ll be an amusing read for your followers.