Shuna Lydon at eggbeater emailed me a couple of days ago with a mention to check out Michael Ruhlman's blog on Wednesday (24 Oct 2007). Now I understand her controlled excitement. Ruhlman has generously given up his soapbox for a day to lend amplification to a great (as well as prolific) voice in chef blogging.
Lydon's piece on the subject signals part of an evolution. There are many many food blogs out there, and well... some are good, and some are not. If you could assign specific gravity to these blogs and load them all up on a scale, they would tip over a 12 burner Viking stove with 4 convection ovens. The main point of the article (well at least on my front) is to differentiate this multitude of blogsites from the minority (though growing) element in the food blogging world. That is the chef's blog.
The chef's blog is different because it focuses within instead of without. It does not attempt to harm, but to share instead. It's an open letter to others just like us all over the globe. It is a glimpse into the world in which we live. I do say that we live there because we spend far more time at our cutting boards and stoves than we do at home, in our beds, and with our spouses and families. It's a strange life, but (mostly out of a need to vent or release brain farts) some of us have also added 'time at the keyboard' to that list of assigned spaces we occupy throughout the day. But there is another reason for this.
Although many different people from many different worlds check out our words and pictures from time to time (like mis-guided youth who actually think you can get drunk off of Torreblanca's vodka pills), our blogs are mostly for those out there who perform the same duties that we do everyday. It is for the chefs. There is a new commraderie in the world kitchen. It is where organizations like the ACF have failed, and congregations like the ICC have succeeded. The chef in this new world kitchen does not hang his medals on his double-breasted spotless ironed whites or attach an alphabet of anacronyms behind his embroidered name. He/she only wishes to learn and grow. It's finally all about the food again! That is why I began this blog almost a year and a half ago, and why it gleams a spark of symbolism as this is my 200th post ever on Chadzilla. I was hungry for information, and while the internet at the time was the next best thing after $200 plus cookbooks from Spain, the information was definitely limited. I found hope in a blog called Ideas in Food and that hope lead to inspiration. There were other bits and pieces of information out there, but they required assembly like some giant incomplete jigsaw puzzle. I began to put the pieces together. My next step was to start my own blog. I pounded out ideas, thoughts, failures, non-sense, and praises on my computer... sometimes daily, and sometimes weekly. It started out simple, but grew as I did. I only wanted to put information (sometimes recycled) out there to make it a little bit easier for the next chef to find what he was looking for.
That lead me to the greatest thing that could have ever come from the chef's blog (and one that Lydon stresses in her article). What I speak of is the new commraderie. Chef's and others from around the world began to email me, and I emailed back. I have learned much through them and even met some of them face to face. I received emails from cooks in Singapore, from a food scientist/instructor in Spain, from a techno-foodie in Europe, and from many many others just like me all across the US and beyond. The bond, although based on something so virtually unreal as the internet, is very real. I have even gained an opportunity to stage for a couple of days in Orlando with Chris Windus at Bluezoo as well as meeting up with Ed Bilicki again. The stagier system is resurrected. This is only the beginning. We plan to do so much more and learn as much as we can through the opportunities we have been blessed with... and also to reciprocate and offer that knowledge to others.
That, to me, is the biggest difference between the chef's blog and the food blog. It's mostly about intentions. Join the revolution!