chef’s blogs – article in la times

In this morning’s Los Angeles Times, there’s an article talking about the surge of chefs suddenly taking to the blogosphere. Big time chefs, too, like Mario Batali, Traci des Jardins and our own Michael Symon, who scores some more national ink for Cleveland with this blurb:

“Then there is Michael Symon of Lola and Lolita in Cleveland, who is sharing his 15 minutes of fame as a winner of “The Next Iron Chef” by blogging exuberantly (and saltily) at Symon Says, where the comments section will almost restore your faith in the food world. (What do readers want? Substance.)”

Not mentioned in the article, but definitely worth checking out, is chef Jonathon Sawyer’s blog (he doesn’t offer as many personal posts, but still informative). There are several food blogs I read regularly (plus a stack of marketing and non-work related ones) – these are two of them.

While I’m excited to see so many chefs participating in the blogosphere, whether it’s because they recognize a blog’s reach, or realize it’s a smart and cost-effective way to put a face to your brand, or simply because they just want to be part of the conversation and connect with their customers – and learn, I hope they maintain a high level of transparency (it’s pretty clear Symon and Sawyer do – and just as obvious which ones don’t). Obviously I’m a big fan of blogs. And as someone who works in the marketing communications world, I’m a big advocate for blogging among my peers and clients – but only when it’s a good fit. In order to be a good blogger, you have to be passionate about your topic, have a point of view (and express it in a way people will want to seek out) and most importantly, be transparent. Otherwise, regardless of the topic, you could end up greatly hurting yourself/reputation/brand/company in the end. And it happens all the time – hello WalMart! In my real job, it’s one thing for us to help a client with a blog (think about topics, council on best practices, etc.) but it’s a whole other ballgame for us to actually write it under the guise that it’s said client – and this is a practice we just don’t do.

But what do I know. This article does touch on the need for transparency, but makes an interesting point when it comes to chefs:

“The question of authorship and authenticity is always a big one in the blogosphere, but in the chef realm maybe not so much. For the last two decades chefs have been cranking out endless cookbooks with collaborators if not ghostwriters; is there anyone who still believes Bobby Flay is personally rhapsodizing about green tomatoes? Presumably the cyber-stars are at least approving what is blogged in their names.

And in some cases, you have to think their genius might be in their personnel management, just as it is in their staffing of kitchens in far-flung restaurants. A blogger for hire who can hurl verbal bombs like Gordon Ramsay could be just as much in demand as one who can cross a high-schooler’s text message with Harold McGee and make it sound believable. (A parodist does a pretty good job at News Groper with the former with Gordon Ramsay’s Blog.)”

On a side note, if you haven’t checked out News Groper try to – it’s pretty funny stuff.