I’ve been lying awake since 4am, mulling over how to write this post. It’s not often things irritate me enough that my sleep is interrupted, but this has. Whether the industry likes it or not, ‘The Caterer‘ is the go to source of reference about the Hospitality sector etc. It has pedigree, reporting for over 125 years about chefs, restaurants, contract catering, hotels and so on, it’s broad church.
I remember getting all of my jobs from the first six years of my career from the back of The Caterer, in an age where one person would buy it, usually the General Manager, and ten would read it. I first heard about some restaurant in the arse of Spain, serving bonkers food, in The Caterer (El Bulli if you’re wondering). I’ll never forget the feeling, seeing some of my handy work feature in a three page spread about a hotel I worked at, (& yes, I still have that copy).
But recently I’ve become dismayed at how the magazine & website have been treated. In an age where social media is prevalent, chefs in particular, seem to think it’s ok to berate, belittle & generally be obnoxious to The Caterer’s staff. Chefs, I’m telling you, it’s not OK to ask on social media ‘which of the Caterer ladies you need to f*ck to get in magazine’ or talk about various aspects of their anatomies. The staff at The Caterer are a good bunch, not elitist or distant if you don’t have a Michelin star. They’re approachable people; jeez if you want to speak to any of them, just ring them up, their numbers are all in the magazine.
Yes, the magazine isn’t what it once was, it has evolved and in sometime in the future will probably stop altogether. But just think for a milli-second why is the magazine thinner etc. We live in a 24-7 news cycle; physical magazine readership is probably down which makes selling advertising harder, jobs are advertised online for speed. Conversely website growth will have mushroomed, as we demand to be ‘in the know’ about the latest trend, chef or piece of food porn.
But here is the key to this; Mark, Amanda, Neil, Janet, James & co aren’t chefs, waiters or receptionists. They’re journalists, their trade is Publishing not Hospitality, and whilst you as a chef may think it’s ok to talk about dry humping somebodies leg to get something done, in the big wide world it’s not acceptable.
There is no doubt that being on The Caterer’s pages has helped me & countless others, and how did we arrive there? Because these journalists stuck their neck out & spotted that there were people doing something different, which would be of interest to others. It is this championing of causes, whether you agree with them or not, helps raise awareness; the mental health campaign, Cut tourism VAT and Hospitality Action, are benefiting from support & greater exposure because of The Caterer.
So next time you bemoan a member of the team at The Caterer, saying the magazine is shit, elitist or whatever. Just think, could I do it better, or do I really deserve to grace its pages?