As I now spend my time working from home, concentrating (or not as the case maybe) on other projects, means I can get sucked into the world of social media. Firstly, for those who don’t follow ChefHermes on Twitter, Facebook and the other sites, why not? and you really don’t know what you’re missing. If you’re unsure where to find me on a particular social network, please use click the links in the “How to follow ChefHermes” box in the right hand column.
Obviously, it has been as sad week concerning the loss of life in Paris & those who defend the right of freedom of speech. Everybody connected with ChefHermes.com sends their condolences to the families of Charlie Hebdo.
‘Ramen is dead’, apparently
What have I seen this week on the social networks that deserves to be commented on. Well, for me, one the stories which deserves a comment more than most is David Chang’s Ramen piece in his magazine ‘Lucky Peach’, in which he declares that Ramen is dead. For the uninitiated, Ramen is a Japanese comfort food, as described by wiki:
Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup dish. It consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat- or (occasionally) fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as sliced pork (チャーシュー chāshū?), dried seaweed (海苔 nori?), kamaboko, and green onions. Nearly every region in Japan has its own variation of ramen.
There are so many things wrong with this piece, but primarily the authors own jumped up regard of self importance. No one person or chef decides what is dead (or not ‘on trend’) any more. But what really rankles me is the timing of publication, the same week as the atrocity in Paris, David Chang decides to publish this conclusion:
The ramen burger is not an invention—it’s the lowest hanging fruit. I’ve heard tell of a ramen burrito—that’s the fucking end of everything.
No Dave, somebody being shot & killed for writing something offensive to a minority comes closer to ‘the fucking end of everything.’. You cook people’s dinner Dave, nothing more, nothing less, & let’s not forget that.
Fusion cuisine on Social media
On a light note, this week I also food which should be not so much be filed under Fusion cuisine, more confusion cooking.
Peter Kay once declared he’d seen the future with Cheeeeeese cake. Well, unfortunately somebody decided in their infinite wisdom that Salmon Cheesecake was a good idea, prompting this tweet:
I’m sorry, I’ve just seen on a chefs page, “Salmon Cheesecake”. WTF is wrong with ppl? That’s not the future.
Yes, much hilarity ensued.
Bloggers & PR – Freebies, again.
This really came to my attention this morning, and in some ways I do actually feel sorry for the lady concerned. The blogger, Angie @ Silverspoon London, has come in for a bit of stick about blogging a free meal she was offered from a PR company. It clearly was an uncomfortable meal for all concerned, & a learning experience for the blogger.
I tweeted her this morning with a link to the piece I wrote about the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) & staying within the rules, something I think she was painfully unaware of despite trying to be as transparent as she could.
This nicely brings me to a post on Eater’s forums about transparency by Explaining My ‘Self-Righteous’ Stance on Restaurant Comps‘, he goes on to try to tackle & explain the thorny issue of free or comped meals given to journalists & bloggers. There is no doubting it goes on, you only have to look at The World’s 50 Best Restaurant circus, & the lobbying that takes place there. So it relies heavily on a blog’s own ethics & standards; here are the rules I play by:(the Editor of Eater in Montreal, Canada). In the article ‘
If invited to dine at a particular restaurant, I pay my way. If I don’t pay for a meal I don’t write about it (there has been one exception to this, but I think that anybody would be hard pressed to find it). It is as simple as that.
It’s highly unlikely that this issue will ever be resolved, so it relies on the reader’s discretion as to whether or not it’s a genuine review.
Pizza Hut PR
Speaking of PR’s, you’ve got to hand it to the firm who do Pizza Hut UK’s. On the back of the public outrage/outcry about how the Cadbury Creme Egg has been tampered with, they posted this picture on Facebook:
Yes, you see that right, from the company that brought you various other food stuffs bastardised in to a form of pizza, now a creme egg crusted pizza. Unbelievably, quite a few people congratulated Pizza Hut on this creation, with one now declaring their life was now complete.
Sadly for that person, & others, it was just a marketing PR stunt for Pizza Hut & there are no plans in the pipeline to produce it.
New AA Rosettes
This week saw the release of the mid year revision for the new AA 3&4 rosettes. To be honest, the AA rosettes are fast approaching the end of their shelf life, primarliy due to a lack of transparency, it prompted this tweet:
Incidentally, one of the new 3rosettes has already replaced their Head chef, making the announcement outdated. Enough said really.
A bit of chef gossip
Obviously I was a bit upset that Blunos in Bath has closed, and it appears on the whim of a wealthy owner. But also there is a change in the kitchen at the Vineyard Group’s Kings Arms in Cirencester. Wayne Sullivan has stepped down, and been replaced with former Coworth Park Executive Sous chef Dave Watts.
FSA, EHOs & Michelin starred chefs
A tweet from food writer Joanna Blythman peaked my interest:
The nub of the story relates to how Andrew Fairlie’s eponymous 2Michelin starred restaurant at Gleneagles failed a hygiene inspection because the staff were washing their hands wrong. Yes, you read that right, washing their hands wrong. In Scotland they have a Pass/Fail system, rather than the 0-5 rating we have in the rest of the UK, but again the ratings are searchable online.
Unfortunately ‘Big Food’ carries weight around the corridors of Westminster, making independents easy targets for over zealous officials.
A deceased restaurant makes The Daily Meal’s eatery of 2014
The Daily Meal announced that their restaurant of 2014 was, wait for it…..
Yes, the iconic restaurant that closed in November, & where I dined in April has gathered yet another gong. With an eye watering bill for over $470, WD~50 did not offer me anything that I would recommend to anybody. As I wrote in my comment on the Daily Meal’s website:
I ate there in April, it was poor; it didn’t change the way I think about food or how I perceive it. It was expensive & overrated, for the same amount of money I spent at WD~50 I ate at The Fat Duck in Bray (3Michelin* vs WD~50 1*) 4 yrs earlier ( & was far more enjoyable).
There were flashes of occasional brilliance, but quite frankly Bouley, The Elm & Betony were all far better.
going on to say:
Just think your decision is based on nostalgia rather than actual experience.
My review of WD~50: Here
Piece on The Daily Meal: Here
Sadly, this is a reason why chefs should be taking their recent addition to their workload more seriously. The new allergy legislation came into force in mid December, but unfortunately there has been a fatality due to an allergic reaction at a burger restaurant in Manchester.
The full story here, on the BBC news website
ChefHermes.com wishes to send our condolences to the Shahid family.