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Friday, February 20, 2009

For the Love of Food: 50 of the World's Best Food Blogs

Food blogs are finally in fashion.

After several years of having to explain a) what is a blog and b) why I photograph my meals, it seems that finally, finally, people get it. At least in the UK, anyway.

On Wednesday of this week, the UK Times Online headlined their Food & Drink section with the article The Art of Food Blogging. Far from a quirky personality piece about eccentric foodies, Lynne Robinson delves a little deeper into the sociology of food blogs and why they appeal to readers. It probably helps that Robinson runs her own blog (design blog Tea for Joy) but it's a welcome change to see the importance and relevance of food bogs finally being recognised and appreciated.

It's often been felt that traditional print media and restaurants themselves, have been dismissive of food blogs, reluctant to take them seriously as valid forms of media or capable of social influence. In today's digital age, where Google is any researcher's first port-of-call, businesses that ignore blogs, online forums and social networking tools like facebook and twitter, do so at their own peril.

Robinson reports a latest figure of 33,000 food blogs around the world according to Technorati, the online search engine for blog tracking. That's a lot of people potentially writing about your business--in praise or condemnation--whether you like it or not.

The immediate conversation between writer and reader is intrinsic to the appeal of food blogs, explains Robinson. Personality is also a key factor. The little bits and pieces of bloggers' lives that filter into each post, the insight into their psyche, and the culmination of regular ongoing posts creates a relationship with readers that gradually earns trust and a perception of integrity, priceless attributes when it comes to product endorsement.

Not that food bloggers can be necessarily bought.

Most food bloggers hunch over keyboards, toiling over photo edits, battling with html, responding to comments and dutifully uploading posts for the sheer love of food. There's not much money and few freebies. Often the most one can hope for is a comment from a reader, and perhaps a strange sense of validation if mentioned by mass media outlets.

Yes food bloggers can be a little bit obsessive. Yes they may stab you with a fork if you don't wait for the obligatory food photo. And yes, they do love their food. Wholehearted and unashamedly so.

And because the Times Online seems to have an obsession with lists lately, Robinson has included her list of 50 of the World's Best Food Blogs. It's a commendably comprehensive collection that includes many long-serving food blogs that I've come to know over the years. Even better, it features two Sydney food blogs: Souvlaki for the Soul lands at a very applaudable number 23; Grab Your Fork happily scrapes in at number 48.

Long live food blogs. We're here to stay.

NB. Follow grabyourfork on Twitter here

Related GrabYourFork posts:
What restauranteurs thought about foodblogs and the internet at Restaurant 07

28 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 2/20/2009 12:43:00 am


  • At 2/20/2009 1:04 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    Congratulations! It must be one of the most rewarding moments for you :) Thanks for bringing us all the good food and stories!! I will stay up late to be the first reader of your posts for a long time to come

  • At 2/20/2009 1:17 am, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    Firstly, congratulations Helen for making the Times list as well! Well deserved! And what a great article...

  • At 2/20/2009 1:25 am, Blogger Karen | Citrus and Candy said…

    Food blogs are here to stay - I wholeheartedly agree! What a wonderful post Helen and many congratulations on making the list!

    LOL I don't think us foodbloggers would go as far as to stab people! A slap on the forehead maybe?

  • At 2/20/2009 2:10 am, Blogger Howard said…

    I like this line "immediate conversation between writer and reader". But yes, hooray for the sheer love of food and nothing more!

    Congrats on making the list and flying the flag for Aussies! There would have been some injustice if you didn't get a mention.

  • At 2/20/2009 2:42 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    And I'm glad to see the Times acknowledge that food blogging can be an art. Plus, there is a sense of community and trust. We're more likely to trust a recipe or restaurant recommendation from someone we can talk to, even online.

  • At 2/20/2009 2:47 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    And I'm glad to see the Times acknowledge that food blogging can be an art. Plus, one of the best parts about it is the sense of community. You're much more likely to try a recipe or restaurant suggestion if you can talk to the person, even if is online.

  • At 2/20/2009 4:09 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    congrats Helen. I saw this online today in London. I love reading your blog. All the best, Li-Ann

  • At 2/20/2009 4:46 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Your love for food is truly admirable and the hard work is totally deserved to be applauded!

  • At 2/20/2009 7:21 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I find this really interesting. It seems that the average internet user (in the UK, at least) is learning how to really use the internet (and their brains!) and find a whole bunch of different sources of information, which is leading to a richer experience for them, and a more interesting, creative and personal internet landscape.

    I think that food blogs are very personal, because many posts are about liking (or disliking) the taste of something. Opinions vary on such sensual things, so this form of new media is so often overlooked and dismissed in favour of more the mainstream. So food blogs gaining more credibility is beneficial for the whole of the internet, as well as our entire community.

    Thanks for posting this, and congratulations!

  • At 2/20/2009 10:13 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well done Helen!

  • At 2/20/2009 10:33 am, Blogger Jackie Middleton said…

    Congrats Helen.

    I was excited to see an Aussie blogger on that list. The local trad media needs to keep up with what their international counterparts are predicting... we are catching up!

  • At 2/20/2009 10:46 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Congratz again ^^! and "Yes they may stab you with a fork if you don't wait for the obligatory food photo"
    Love it so truuuee hahaha
    long live food blogs rar!

  • At 2/20/2009 1:26 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    congrats Helen!! you definitely deserve all the accolades and recognition

  • At 2/20/2009 1:52 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Congratulations Helen! It's an interesting article, I love some of the quotes they've given. I like the idea of the comments page as the office water cooler.

  • At 2/20/2009 4:48 pm, Blogger SydneyGal said…

    Congrats - in the top 50!

    I've often wondered why food bloggers do it, is it just a sideline to a professional career in the food industry, do you make any money (you deserve to) etc. The occasional brush with the disapproving food establishment is disheartening but I think generally people are coming around.

    I use food blogs (mainly this one and NotQuiteNigella) extensively for both recipes and restaurant recommendations. I have been to many places I found on here and on NQN - and have always found that if the blog reviews are good, the place itself is good. I don't find the same consistency with reviews from, for example, Good Living. Perhaps my palate is not quite as refined as Simon Johnson's, or perhaps my wallet is not quite as thick.

    One thing I do (as way of paying it back) with the places I visit from blogs, is that when I pay the bill, I ALWAYS tell them that I found the site through this blog or NQN (or sometimes, in the case of some places, both!). I think it's important that they know they're getting reviews on blogs, and that people read them and pay attention. I have found that usually they don't even know what a food blog is ... but I'm sure they go look it up afterwards!

    Congrats again Helen and keep it up!

  • At 2/20/2009 9:01 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Congratulations Helen - I read your blog from London so you are followed over here by others besides the Times online.

  • At 2/20/2009 9:06 pm, Blogger mimbles said…

    Congratulations Helen, it's well deserved recognition!

    For me, that "immediate conversation between writer and reader" is a big part of what blogging of any kind is about. Thanks for talking to us :)

  • At 2/20/2009 10:15 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Voilently defending a food shot? Sounds like material worthy of a spin-off blog. You could call it Stab Your Fork.

    Great work with making the top 50 :)

  • At 2/21/2009 12:37 pm, Blogger Pete said…

    Congratulations on the Top 50 placement! Fantastic achievement and well deserved.

    That article pretty much wiped out my entire Friday at work. At least if I get fired I'll have plenty to read...

  • At 2/21/2009 5:34 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Joyce T - Thank you and wow, you do stay up late. Here was I thinking I was one of the last 9-5 workers to go to bed. And thank you for always being such a lovely host and wonderful friend!

    Hi Peter G - Congrats to you. So good that Aussie foodblogs are figuring in the UK public conscience. I am prone to ranting when it comes to food blogs - it's something I feel so passionate about, with obvious reason of course!

    Hi Karen - Thank you and hurrah for foodblogers. Actually half the time I'm more worried about being with a fork by a hungry individual whilst I insist on photographs, but haha, it's yet to happen either way!

    Hi Howard - Thanks. I agree that there certainly is a sense of relationship and emotional investment between blogger and blog reader, that tends to be missing from traditional print media. And we definitely need more Aussie foodblogs on the list - we have so much homegrown talent.

    Hi Brittany - I've been really impressed with the UK Times coverage, although isn't the UK 3-5 years ahead when it comes to food innovation anyway? I agree, I do trust bloggers opinions, particularly if I've read their blog for some time.

    Hi Li-Ann - Hallo, and wow, it's a strange world where we bump into each other online. So glad you're enjoying the blog :)

    Hi Yas - Aww thanks. I love that in the blogosphere, my love for food is admired and not merely endured :)

    Hi Lili - Taste is very subjective, but I think more important, a perception of "quality of experience" also varies widely. I do think the foodblogs are a complement to traditional print media, and whilst many of us don't have classic training in professional cooking, neither do much of the dining public.

    Hi Tummyrumblet.net - Thanks Reemski :)

    Hi Jack - Two Aussie bloggers in fact, and yes I'd love for local media and the hospitality industry to really embrace food bloggers and what they're capable of.

    Hi FFichiban - I've yet to stab with a fork, but I do a good evil eye :)

    Hi Linda - Thank you. I think all food bloggers deserve recognition for their tireless efforts. It's an honour to be included on a UK listing though.

    Hi Arwen - I've always thought of the food blogosphere as being like standing around an office water cooler, or coffee machine. It's just a relief and joy to gasbag about food among people who not only listen, but care :)

    Hi SydneyGal - I think you will find that few foodbloggers work in the food industry. Whether they're frustrated writers or cooks, all do it for the pure love of food and the joy that comes with sharing their thoughts and experiences with a global audience.

    I didn't realise you mentioned NQN and GrabYourFork when you dined out. That's such a great idea. Thank you :)

    And whilst Simon Johnson has a refined palate I'm sure, the resident critic for SMH is actually Simon Thomsen. I've only just realised their names are reasonably similar :) It's interesting that you point out the food blog reviews are more consistent with your experience - many food bloggers don't have professional culinary training, but then again, neither do much of the dining public. I think that restaurants and print media tend to forget about this!

    Hi Gourmet Chick - Ahh it must be torturous to read a Sydney blog without access to the food :) So glad you've been enjoying the blog for so long :)

    Hi Mim - Thanks for listening :) Readers play a huge part in the experience too - without their comments and feedback it would just be one big boring monologue!

    Hi Simon - Ooh that sounds like a great idea! And thank you.

    Hi Pete - lol. It's always amazing to see how many quality food blogs out there, and all with so many great photographs and recipes too! I'm sure you won't get fired. Just call it "research".

  • At 2/22/2009 12:23 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Congratulations! Your spot is well deserved :) Hopefully Australian media will start to pay attention to blogs -hopefully!

  • At 2/22/2009 9:18 pm, Blogger Suzie said…

    Congratulations on the well-deserved recognition.

  • At 2/22/2009 10:09 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Lorraine - Thank you, and I agree, it'd be great for blogs to be incorporated as part of valid Australian media channels.

    Hi Suzie - Thanks :)

  • At 2/23/2009 10:26 am, Blogger Miss Honey said…

    Congratulations Helen! I'm glad they've recognised your contribution to our foodblogosphere, I spend many moments trickling through your sight, emjoying food adventures - ou definitely deserve that spot on the list:)

  • At 2/24/2009 12:08 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Miss Honey -Thank you :) It's so great to see so many more Australia food blogs around, especially Sydney-based ones. Hopefully next time there'll be even more Aussie blogs on that list!

  • At 8/15/2009 8:37 pm, Anonymous Reality Raver said…

    That is just sensational. Way to go must make all the effort worthwhile.

  • At 8/15/2009 9:08 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Reality Raver - Thanks. It's always a surprise to discover who is reading your blog, and being recognised by a UK newspaper was really quite staggering :)

  • At 8/06/2012 1:38 pm, Anonymous Noel said…

    It's OK Helen, its not just the Times... We get it too! Congratulations and keep up the excellent work...


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