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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Would the real AG please stand up

So it's true, I know. The question "Who exactly is AugustusGloop?" has never really been answered in a neat succinct "About" paragraph.

It's not that I've been intentionally secretive--well okay, maybe a little--but then, scorpios tend to be a little private like that.

But it's funny how a new hairstyle and wardrobe can instil you with renewed bravado. Besides, I've always felt a twang of guilt everytime someone innocently mistook me for a bloke!

So bearing in mind fifteen months' worth of readers' comments and emails, here are your top 10 questions answered.

1. Why is your name Augustus Gloop?

Augustus Gloop was a taunt we used at the dinner table for anyone starting on the third helping at dinner. Augustus Gloop's love of food (well, chocolate, really) seemed like the perfect alias for a foodblogger.

And for those who aren't aware, Augustus Gloop is the rotund German kid from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. His perpetual greed for chocolate sees him fall into Willy Wonka's chocolate river and get sucked up (and temporarily stuck) in a giant tube. There are two movie versions available, but trust me, the original book is unbeatably good.

2. So you're not male, then?

No, I am decidedly female. I'm also not German. And, unlike Augustus, I do know how to swim.

3. You eat out at a lot of restaurants. Is it expensive? How do you choose which ones to review? Do you eat everything you photograph?

It's a scarey fact that the reviews I do are a result of my everyday dining life. Since I've started blogging, I've definitely paid a lot more interest in exploring new restaurants, suburbs and cuisines. I will try and head somewhere if I hear good vibes about a place, and I have some great foodie friends who are always willing to be my gastronomic partners in crime.

Thankfully (for my waistline) I don't eat everything I photograph. That's where dining companions come in handy. My friends have come to understand the golden rule "Don't touch your food until it's been photographed!" Most of the time I get to dig a fork in for a sample "for review purposes". Thank you to all my patient dining buddies who have endured imminent starvation whilst I take "one more shot, just in case".

I suppose it may look like I eat out a lot. Ok, yes, I do. But most of my feeds are under $20 and cheap and cheerful. I prefer to pack my lunch during the week, and save my money for a good meal. Some people buy a CD every week. Others go out to gigs every Friday night. I go out to eat =)

4. How many of you are on the Grab Your Fork team?

I've actually had this question a couple of times, which is quite flattering really! As most foodbloggers know, blogsites are usually a one-person labour of love. Although with my current backlog of photos, I could easily justify an assistant or two!

5. Have you always loved food?


Foodblogs are great because now I'm eating for my readers. And I hate to disappoint...

6. Do you write your reviews for a magazine or newspaper? Do you blog full-time?

No. I work full-time but it's not in the food industy, media or publishing. Grab Your Fork is a labour of love untertaken after clock-off usually and usually into the wee hours of the moring. I blog because I love food and I want to share its joys with others.

Writing is something I revel in, and I'm always interested in freelance opportunities.

7. Why don’t you give scores for your restaurant reviews?

The dining experience is weighted with personal preferences. A lot of people ask me for restaurant recommendations, whereupon I will respond with a barrage of questions to determine what they're looking for. Some people prize service above everything; others like funky decor; some just want cheap food and lots of it.

In other words, I'm often too torn to make a numerical judgement on a restaurant! I like to outline my experiences of the restaurant, and let the reader decide whether it's the kind of restaurant they'd like to frequent. And for non-Sydneysiders, I think it's a great means of armchair dining. Calorie-free and without the jetlag too!

8. So what do you look for in a restaurant?

I'm an unabashed fan of the cheap and cheerful. I love formica tables, communal cutlery stands and tacky decor. Given the choice, I'd choose the mismatched chipped-plate Vietnamese noodle house over funky Asian fusion with red silk cushions any time.

Of course there is a place for fine dining, and um, tablecloths too. I like the occasional decadence of a swish restaurant with polished heavy silverware and starched white table napkins. I appreciate attentive but discreet service, but I also revel in the loud and noisy din of a family restaurant overflowing with raucous diners.

9. Give us ten random facts about AG

1. I adore the smell of freshly ground coffee;
2. My favourite cuisines are Japanese and Vietnamese for their clean fresh tastes;
3. My background is Chinese but I'm pretty much a banana--yellow on the outside but white on the inside;
4. I've lived in Sydney, Australia for all my life except for a 2.5 year working holiday in the UK where I backpacked around much of Europe;
5. I've abseiled, gone whitewater rafting and tandem-skydived, but I don't think I will ever attempt a bungy jump;
6. I don't really like chocolate cake but I have a real weakness for creme brulee;
7. I've been known to almost hyperventilate with excitement whilst watching The Amazing Race;
8. I love to travel and some of my favourite places in the world include Seville, Barcelona, Cappadocia, Marrakech and Osaka.
9. I am left-handed although I knit right-handed (trying to reverse what Grandma was doing was far too confusing)
10. I studied piano and violin long enough to realise I wasn't committed enough for either (about three years for each instrument).

10. What do you look like?

This would be a customary pose at the appearance of dessert I suppose:

This photo was taken at Astral last year, and wouldn't you have a grin this big if you were about to dig into a white chocolate and raspberry brulee (hello!) with a white chocolate tower of vanilla and raspberry sorbet?

So that's me.


Happy noshing,
34 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (AugustusGloop) on 10/09/2005 11:59:00 pm


  • At 10/10/2005 2:38 am, Blogger Nic said…

    Great post, AG. I never bothered with an "about" paragraph myself, but perhaps with my one year anniversary approaching...
    And I'd look the same way if I had that white chocolate tower on my plate.

  • At 10/10/2005 5:08 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you . thank you . thank you ..! i've always wanted to ask these questions.. but never did.. because you know lah.. being asian and all.. we are brought up not to be rude.. and nosy.. hahhaha!!

  • At 10/10/2005 5:45 am, Blogger tytty said…

    nice lips

  • At 10/10/2005 6:34 am, Blogger deborah said…

    Well, hello! :)

    Great little write up.

  • At 10/10/2005 6:59 am, Blogger Robyn said…

    Thanks for the Q&A! Is it weird that I figured you were an Asian female despite...uh, not really knowing, now that I think about it? (I think the worst assumptions I've made were two times when I thought someone was a guy but found out she wasn't.)

    I love cheap and cheerful too. Still waiting for the day that I try a really good, upscale restaurant in NYC.

  • At 10/10/2005 8:38 am, Blogger Chick Pea said…

    Hey AG

    Great post! FINALLY you have answered the questions that have plagued me since I discovered your blog ages ago! ;)

    A fellow banana, and female at that too...woohoo!!

    I have to ask though, you take so many wonderful photos of the dishes you try...do you finish all the stuff you order, or do you ask for the requisite doggy bag? (very popular in the US due to the huge portions!)

  • At 10/10/2005 9:10 am, Blogger Kelly said…

    Hi AG, nice to learn some new facts about you :)

  • At 10/10/2005 9:47 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So there is a little blurb in last saturday's paper about food blogging that is going to be covered in Good Living, with an asian girl (face covered)... and it's not you??

  • At 10/10/2005 10:08 am, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    The truth is now out there! Yikes.

    To get into Good Living, you must build up notoriety. Drop off business cards that say you have just been forked with a link to your blog. That will get Matthew's attention.

  • At 10/10/2005 10:09 am, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    Nice photo BTW

  • At 10/10/2005 1:43 pm, Blogger cin said…

    Thanks for letting us get to know you better, AG! I have to admit being slightly puzzled about whether you were female until you signed off with your name on an email. I've got to say though that I always had a hunch that you are Asian - I wonder why??!!

  • At 10/10/2005 5:02 pm, Blogger English for Life Class said…

    In case you missed it the new website www.yourrestaurant.com.au is looking for staff. You would be perfect if you have the rest of the skills they need!


  • At 10/10/2005 9:09 pm, Blogger boo_licious said…

    Clap! Clap! Wolf whistles as AG has come out from the closet. It was very nice to get to know you better and I hope they start calling you now for a spot in the local paper.

  • At 10/10/2005 9:42 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Nic - I never really thought about having an "About" paragraph when I started my blog either. And yes, the dessert was v. good!

    Hi Big BoK - Never venture, never gained. But now you know!

    Hi Tian - And collagen-free too!

    Hi Saffron - Why hello! =) Thanks.

    Hi Robyn - I'm sure I've dropped plenty of hints, but yes, I agree. You can often tell a lot by reading between the lines.

    Hi Chick Pea, - Hehe. I didn't realise you were Asian!

    I amended my post after your comment. I've been asked that before. I take photos of what my fellow diners are eating. Usually I'll say what I ordered/ate.

    Hi Kelly - Glad you enjoyed it. Funny how the longer you leave things, the bigger the deal they become! =)

    Hi Anonymous - What a good detective you are, but alas, t'is not me. It's a syndicated article from the Observer Food Monthly on the delightful Pim, which she's already talked about here.

    Hi Veruca Salt - lol. Notoriety? Ha.

    Actually I'd just be happy being a secret Good Food Guide reviewer.

    ps. I'm always photogenic around dessert =)

    Hi Cin - I always thought I wrote rather girly but it's funny what the mind will see.

    I think you'll find a lot of foodbloggers are Asian females. Besides I'm constantly going on about cheap eats and yum cha! =)

    Hi Paula - Thanks for the link but I couldn't find any info on them looking for staff.

    Hi boo_licious - Eek. I knew I should have done this earlier! Glad you enjoyed the show! =)

  • At 10/10/2005 10:24 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, for some reason I totally thought you were a guy, hook, line, and sinker. I have no idea why. Maybe it was the alias!

    Anyway, it always seems like you visit the same places as me right before I do (and usually in my neighborhood), so I'll be keeping an eye open for you in the future!

    (My question: Do you ask the restaurant's permission before photographing the food? We did Tetsuya's this past weekend but I was too scared to ask. Luckily the menu we had was almost exactly the same as yours, so I was just able to link to your review!)

  • At 10/10/2005 11:40 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow... i have been reading your blog for ages and I always assumed you were were a guy! im sure sure why????
    anyway its great to get to know a little more about you. I think your blogs a great.... inspiring actually =)


  • At 10/11/2005 5:16 am, Blogger Joycelyn said…

    hi ag, ahh...finally...all the answers to the questions i've been dying to ask but been too shy to! terrific "about me"...

  • At 10/11/2005 5:52 am, Blogger Cat said…

    so you arent the slightly rotund gentleman wearing glasses i pictured you to be! good to get to know you and you look very thrilled to be eating that dessert, was it just as delicious as it looks? :)

  • At 10/11/2005 2:31 pm, Blogger Reid said…

    Hi AG,

    I'm glad you did this. Maybe I'll have the courage to do it soon as well. I've been holding off because I don't want to reveal too much about myself. Hawaii is a really small place.

    I love the little insightful bits and it really makes me want to fly off to Australia to meet you in person. Maybe it'll happen someday...who knows! Thank you for sharing who you are with all of us. =)

  • At 10/11/2005 5:36 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hey AG its great to get a lil background story on ya! i realli wouldnt have picked that you have been skydiving!

  • At 10/12/2005 12:38 am, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Kris - It wasn't my intention to trick people into thinking I was a guy! I suppose you'll be re-reading my entries again with a different eye now huh? =)

    As for your question, no I don't tend to ask permission to photograph my food. I think most places are cool with it since you have purchased it. I have, on occasion, been asked to not take photos of the interior. I always follow the vendor's/restauranteur's requests.

    I know lots of people who have photographed at Tetsuya's! The waitstaff didn't say anything to me at all. If in doubt, you can of course ask. All they can do is say no!

    Hi Jamie - Whoops. I didn't realise so many people thought I was a guy. But I'm glad that you're all coming out of the woodwork and commenting though! =) Keep those comments up!

    Thanks for your kind words about my blog. And I'm glad you got something out of my little About piece. Perhaps you should start a blog of your own?!? =)

    Hi J - lol. Glad you enjoyed it. I thought it was time I fed a little bit more about me to my readers =)

    Hi Catesa - No I don't look much like AugustusGloop, we're just similar in appetite!

    The dessert was fantastic. You can click on the link to read my review.

    Hi Reid - Go on! I dare ya! =) I know that I appreciate reading other people's profiles, and even though I do reveal bits and pieces of myself through my comments, it is nice to have a cohesive passage.

    I thought you were going to visit Oz this November? It would definitely be great to travel 'round the world meeting fellow foodbloggers. Think of the food tour you'd get!

    Glad you liked it, and yep, I'm sure we can convince you to head Down Under one of these days.

    Hi Suze - Skydiving was great although it's really really cold up there! And the spiral descent got a little dizzying. I got a video (set to INXS' The Devil Inside!) so I can relive the cheek-distorting moments!

  • At 11/03/2005 12:05 pm, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    Well, I was fooled.
    What a great revelation. (And how cool is it that one of your readers is Veruca Salt?)
    ~Violet Beauregarde

  • At 11/03/2005 10:32 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Cookie Crumb - Heh. Glad you enjoyed the post. Veruca is actually a good friend of mine. A perfect foodie partner-in-crime.

  • At 11/08/2005 11:10 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    wow... to think that in my minds eye was a heavy set, short haired, trouser wearin, mid thirties, lady-lovin, surry hillsin' sort of woman....
    i am still not convinced you aren't and the photo is deliberately misleading.....??
    who ever you are - i love what you do, thanks!

  • At 11/10/2005 12:07 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am a freelance journalist. impressed with your site. however, no one became a professional feature writer through being anonymous. AG, you need to reveal your identity! that's unless you're in an occupation that prevents you from revealing your identity!

  • At 11/10/2005 11:58 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Anonymous - Who are you calling heavy-set? lol. No the photo is real. And I'm glad you are enjoying the ride.

    Hi Anonymous - I know, I know. This site has far surpassed my initial expectations! I am working on it... =)

  • At 11/15/2005 7:56 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree with the last two too!

    I can't believe I stay up all night reading all the stuff here.. i've been doing it for the last week or so, and theres just SO MUCH ... but I just can't stop myself.. its like im at a buffet!!!

    But yes...!! You should tell us more about you!

  • At 11/15/2005 1:06 pm, Blogger SlaveToShopping said…

    Fantastic postings...lets me live the restaurant life in Sydney vicariously! How do you find out about so many festivals, tastings and new restaurants?

  • At 11/15/2005 6:50 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Jimmy - So glad you're enjoying the feast. And yes, I'm working on a new 'About' para. In the meantime, bon appetit!

    Hi slavetoshopping - Sydney is a great city. As for keeping in-the-know, I just keep my ear to the ground and my eyes on the local papers. No secrets!

    Thanks for commenting and enjoy your little bite of Sydney =)

  • At 11/18/2005 9:20 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    its always a good idea to keep a good thing yourself...

    but i just had to tell my friend about you, and now other people started doing exactly what i do too! -

    Staying up ALL night just to read on what we've missed on the past year of your blogging -_-

    But you're still in such mystery!!!

    What nationality are you?
    What school(s) did you go to
    What are you doing now?!?

    ahhhhh!! i feel like a stalker!

  • At 11/19/2005 4:08 pm, Blogger Ben said…

    Aha! Unmasked at last : (well, sort of)

  • At 11/20/2005 11:35 am, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Jimmy - lol. I did notice someone had looked at GYF 600 times over two hours! Wow.

    I did mention my nationality. I'm an Australian-born-Chinese.

    And yes, you are scaring me! =)

    Hi Ben - I think I've created a monster!

  • At 11/20/2005 10:19 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    whaaa me too!

    but seriously.. waiting so anxiously for a new 'about'

  • At 12/10/2005 11:30 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    fantastic stuff AG!


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