Food Blogging And Writing

These are synopses of my past postings on blogging and food writing, amateur and professional. Click on the links for the posts.

December 07, 2009TGRWT #20 - Chicken And PumpkinI couldn't resist the challenge of TGRWT #20, hosted by the man who inspired me to train at Ferrero, John Sconzo. But what with moving from Valencia to Girona and then coming back to London for a Christmas break, I was pushed for time. So this was time to exercise my skills of delegation. I briefed my staff to produce a Cambodian meal with chicken and pumpkin - and here's the result.
October 10, 2009Thanks GuysWe don't publish blogs so we can build up large numbers of readers - well, most of us don't. We publish because we love what we do and want to share a bit of that with other people around this tiny planet who share that same passion. But I'd be lying if I said that ever-increasing numbers don't give me a strong motivation to continue.
September 15, 2009TGRWT #18 Plum & Blue Cheese Round-UpI was blown away by the response to TGRWT #18 - Plum & Blue Cheese. No fewer than 30 recipes were submitted, from all corners of the planet. One or two were attempts better not made, but even these wannabe cooks seemed to enjoy the experience. And the best of the more serious attempts were quite brilliant, with amateurs seriously challenging professionals for palate, if not always for technique and presentation. Well done to everyone who took part!
August 13, 2009Feeling Good In LeatherSomething in leather is traditionally given to celebrate a third anniversary. And it's three years to the day that I published my first food post here on my blog Aidan Brooks: Trainee Chef. Back then I was a trainee in every sense of the word. I was still at catering college, looking for work experience in London. Three years on I'm running a section of one of the most up-and-coming restaurants in Spain and starting to make my own creative input to fine dining menus. It's been a truly amazing three years!
July 29, 2009Announcing They Go Really Well Together #18 - Plum And Blue CheeseOne thing I haven't been able to find the time for in recent months is to host a food boggers' event. But now I'm settled down at work and I'm living in a new apartment with a decent broadband connection, I'm able to play my part in the blogging community. Over August I'm hosting TGRWT, the event in which people develop dishes based on an unusual food pairing - one that scientific analysis of odour and flavour molecules suggests should be very tasty. I've also added a little spice with a competition of my own. So click on the link to take part.
July 25, 2009RecommunicadoThe trouble with getting used to things is that it then becomes incredibly hard to live without them. How on earth did we live before the mobile phone? Or broadband? Over the past few weeks I've been in accommodation provided by my employers, without a functioning broadband link - and life has been impossible. But with the new job contract, I've moved to a new apartment and I'm back online again. Click here to read about my communications problems... and my little car accident.
June 28, 2009It's A Small WorldI'm quite well-traveled for a Brit of my age, having visited 19 different countries. But there are plenty more to experience. And blogging helps to bring me closer to the people of those countries and make the world a much smaller place. This year my blog has been visited by people from over three quarters of all the UN Member countries.
April 02, 2009One Million Visitors And A Great April Fools' Day SpoofLast July I posted about having experienced a quarter of a million hits on my YouTube site, mostly due to one brilliant video clip that hosted there so I could link to it from a blog post. Yesterday - April 1st - that clip received just a bit under half a million hits, making it the 7th most watched April Fools' Day video on the web. Wow!
February 27, 2009What I've Been Writing AboutI have wondered from time to time whether my blog posts were wandering off-topic. But running the last 25 posts through Wordle shows that "food" is far and away my most commonly used word, with "restaurant", "chef" and "Barcelona" not far behind. But there were also some surprises amongst my most used words. Click to make your own psychological diagnosis.
February 08, 2009Chowhound - Experience Not RequiredThey used to say of bank loans that they only give them to people who don't need the money. And in the case of the foodies' noticeboard Chowhound, you only get to contribute if you don't really know very much about food. Anyone with even the remotest connection with the industry is struck down by the NKVD, or "moderators" as they are better known. In my case and many others - electronically erased from history.
January 26, 2009CongratulationsWell done to those bloggers who were shortlisted for the Food Blog Awards 2008, including four bloggers who I nominated or co-nominated with others. Unfortunately, none of my four won in their categories, but just to reach the shortlist stage is a great achievement and makes it all seem worthwhile. I know, because I still remember being shortlisted myself two years ago.
October 14, 2008A Meme For National Chocolate WeekBlogger Sarah Cabral of Eating Britain has tagged me to reveal my chocolate secrets as part of National Chocolate Week. To discover what chocolate I like and what great memories I have of the use of chocolate in haute cuisine, click on the link. You might get quite a surprise!
July 11, 2008A Quarter Of A Million VisitorsI've just celebrated the 250,000th visitor to my YouTube account, on which I host video clips almost exclusively for use in this blog. Click on the link to find out which clips have been most popular and which one of my clips had nearly 100,000 viewers this Spring.
July 03, 2008It Was Tough - But Someone Had To Do ItNot sure where to file this one, so this is as good a place as any. I've spent the past three days in the Basque Country, partly relaxing on holiday but partly so I could enjoy a couple of new fine dining experiences in Spain's most prestigious gastronomic region. Just a note to say that I'll be writing up my dining experiences in posts shortly.
June 20, 2008Eat My NameIn this meme, Niamh at Eat Like A Girl tagged me to "list one fact, word or tidbit of information that is somehow related to your life for each letter of your first or middle name". I seem to have come up with an Israeli avocado and noodle diet. Or maybe not. You'd better click on the link to see my thoughts on these and other name-related topics.
April 17, 2008Trusted FacesNot me doing the food blogging this time, but TrustedPlaces - a global social networking site devoted to eating and drinking out. I'd been on a couple of visits with Walid of TP before and had no hesitation in agreeing to pop into their offices to be interviewed on working in Spain, my favourite chefs, restaurants and food and my plans for the future.
March 15, 2008Britney Spears Cooked My HamsterNo - I haven't been driven to insanity by rising readership figures. Quite the opposite. I've found myself trying to write about food with integrity, but pressured to conform to the drive for extreme populism. In my latest post on The Guardian Word of Mouth, I did my best to be snappy and appeal to a broader audience. The result taught me that this is simply not what I want to do. No disrespect to those journalists for whom entertainment is king. Just that I don't want to write about jaffa cakes topped with salad cream.
March 7, 2008You Make It All WorthwhileI knew it would be hard to blog after moving to Barcelona, especially with the very long working hours. But I've managed to publish a couple of posts each week and, amazingly, my reader stats have continue to grow 20% each month. So I want to thank everyone who has read what I've had to say - whether they agreed or disagreed. You guys make it all worthwhile.
February 25, 2008Beaten Round The Head With A StickA memory stick, that is. It's strange sometimes how technology options develop. When I moved to Barcelona we tried all sorts of tricks to make it possible for me to access TV programmes and other videos easily from London, including remote management, email and shared server space. But because portable memory has recently become so inexpensive and the postal services across Europe so much better, dad and I ended up exchanging large files by snail mail. And the title? Last week I found two former employers of mine as guest chefs on Saturday Kitchen. Watching these two didn't exactly help me relax.
January 22, 20087 Things About MeI've been tagged by Nilmandra at Soy & Pepper to reveal 7 random and/or weird things about myself. Although this isn't naturally my sort of thing, I've found that memes like this really help to introduce you to other bloggers and to be more honest and open about yourself. So, click on the link to find out what I do with my food ideas, what foods I can't stand, my connection with Michael Jackson, my views on ale and marmite and what "Chefs' OCD" means.
December 16, 2007A Date With AlíciaThis week the food blog world pays its attention to Menu for Hope - the global fundraising raffle organised by Pim of Chez Pim in aid of The World Food Programme. This year the money goes to support programmes in Lesotho. I was amazed to see that Pim has organised a visit to Alícia as one of the prizes. Alícia is The Food & Science Foundation just outside Barcelona of which Ferran Adrià is the President. Not only have I arranged a visit myself in January, but I know quite a lot about the place. In this post I explain what an important organisation Alícia is and why a visit will be an excellent prize in Menu for Hope.
November 29, 2007Word Of MouthI've had to change the title of this archives section. When I created it a year or so ago, it was for posts about my blogging efforts and blogging friends. But today, my first-ever professional food article was published by Word of Mouth, the food blog of The Guardian and Observer newspaper group. I was thrilled to be invited to contribute alongside well-know British food writers including Susan Smillie, Jay Rayner and Graham Holliday of Noodlepie.
September 01, 2007BlogDay 2007 (A Few Hours Late)Late again! This time it was for the annual celebration of blogging, BlogDay, 3108 Day (geddit!). Yeah, it's hard to make the word "blog" from 0109. "Olog Day" would be a possibility, but not quite as good. I've been honoured to receive mentions in dispatches from three different bloggers myself. And here are my five selections of very different food bloggers all of whom turn me on and deserve every reader they can get.
August 17, 2007Retro Food That's Past Sell-By Date, But Still Wobbles And WigglesThis was my late entry for a bloggers' meme about retro food that wobbles and wiggles. Most entrants chose jelly or something similar, but my choice was spaghetti. In this masterpiece of film footage, the late great master of British broadcasting, Richard Dimbleby, discoursed on the spaghetti harvest in the Swiss canton of Ticino. The date of the broadcast may be relevant here. It was the first day of April, 1957.
August 13, 2007It's My First BlogversaryExactly one year ago today I published my first ever food blog post. It told how I made a sardine salad, followed by fruit salad, for my dad, my brother and his girlfriend. A mere 212 postings, 30,000 readers and 900 comments later, I'm still at it. When I move to Spain it will become more difficult, but I'm sure I'll find some way to carry on writing about my passion - food, glorious food!
August 11, 2007The Fantastic Three (And Some Bits)I've been tagged by Scott at Real Epicurean for "The Fantastic Four", a bloggers' meme requiring honest answers to some set questions. The photo shows my favourite holiday destination, Montserrat. Click to learn about my past employment, my living arrangements, my favourite foods and which actress's bed I'd like to be in right now.
August 09, 2007I've Been Del Grosso'dI've just experienced the five minutes of fame that Andy Warhol told us we could all expect. Bob del Grosso - food writer, ex-chef and former teacher of food science and gastronomy at The Culinary Institute of America - posted an embarrassingly nice profile of me on one of his blogs. No only was this very flattering, it also brought me a flood of traffic referrals originating from from the websites of Tony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman, to which Bob is a regular contributor. Wow!
August 07, 2007Guess Who's Coming To DinnerI've made the arrangements for my farewell UK bloggers dinner at The Providores. I'm just popping out to mainland Europe for a while and I may not be back for some time. For those who book to join me it should be a great time, with an excellent selection of food and New Zealand wines. And I've arranged for "the father of fusion" and chef proprietor of The Providores, Peter Gordon, to join us at our table for a while. Book now or be disappointed!
July 31, 2007You're BeautifulThe other day I was cleaning up my hard drive and sorting food photos when I came across some pictures I liked but had never published. They are all strange in different ways, but then all food is beautiful to me. Enjoy some photographs of some of my kitchen friends.
June 28, 2007The Last SupperI so much enjoyed my last meal out with fellow food bloggers that I have decided to host a leaving meal in London before I leave to start my professional career in Catalunya. If enough people sign up, I will book an evening at Providores and try to arrange a chef's table with Peter Gordon. Over my three years of professional training, my two weeks working with Peter at this restaurant had more impact on me than anything else I experienced.
March 28, 2007A Weekend With Food BloggersLast weekend was the first time I ever encountered other food bloggers and I met no fewer than eight of them. On Saturday it was shopping and beer with Ros & Goon from "Living To Eat" and on Sunday it was lunch with Howard & Ben from "Food & Drink in London", Krista from "Londonelicious" and Jessica from "Ripe London". Wow! What an amazing weekend.
March 15, 2007The 50 Best Food WebsitesA recent feature in The Independent on Sunday brought to my attention that there are a growing number of different classes of food website out there. Not just bloggers, celebrity chefs and on-line magazines, but also farmers, retailers and virtual supermarkets.
January 22, 2007Six Weird Food Facts About MeSarina of TriniGourmet tagged me on this topic, describing me as an "intriguing and über-serious young man". Here are six weird things about food and me. Discover what I like and dislike... and in which food establishment I once held a birthday party.
January 04, 2007Worth Every Minute Of ItLast night I looked at the Food Blog Awards 2006 and was gobsmacked to find myself shortlisted in two categories. I can't wait to browse other shortlisted blogs I've not yet discovered. I'm sure I'm going to find some treasures amongst them.
December 07, 2006Bandit And The SmokiesSomeone I'd not heard from before who commented on my blog recently is Dan Woodford, an ecologically minded individual who is about to leave the safe urban world of IT to pursue his passion for food by becoming a "smokie".
January 07, 2007Seeing, Hearing And SmellingIn the coming months I plan to run a series on multi-cultural dining in Hackney - not in local restaurants but in the homes of ordinary local people. I expect to learn a huge amount about original cuisines, as well as about how people adapt their native dishes to the products available here in Britain.
October 18, 2006Food, Glorious Food PhotographyUsing our new Nikon digital SLR, my dad took this photo of a gluten-free snack viewed from an intimate distance and published it on his own blog. It shows the power of a macro lens to take really good food photographs.
October 10, 2006Pimp My BlogsiteToday I'm migrating my blog to a new and more reader-friendly template. Nothing quite as artistic or narcissistic as the template of "The Misanthropic Humanist". Just wider, mainly, with some different colouring.
September 25, 2006I've Been Discovered!A month or so after I started, one of my college lecturers has discovered my blog while searching for "The Restaurant Show 2006". I hope everyone in my college will appreciate what I'm doing and enjoy reading my blog.