Confession: While I have been parading around Bengaluru for the past year and more visiting restaurants and binging on some great food, I have never once called myself a food critic.
- My knowledge of food could be surmised in a leaflet.
- I love to eat, I’m not on a hunting ground trying to find things to attack.
- Food is personal. The experience differs from palate to palate.
The more I watch shows, the more I go to restaurants, read reviews, try to write reviews and observe how people approach food, the more I understand that there is no black and white to descriptions for what’s on the table. Especially in Indian.
Our palates are far more enhanced and versatile that we can enjoy absolutely anything and everything regardless of its authenticity (this is a discussion for another time). Indians love big flavors, textures, surprises and generous servings. I’m talking about regular diners who visit restaurants for something other than Ghar ka khana.
When it comes to food lovers or foodies as we are called sometimes, we get confused between being an enthusiast and assuming the role of a critic.
Food lovers go in search of good food, like an adventure that leads you to the most exciting places and taste the most mind blowing dishes in the world – just for the love of it. Example? Rocky & Mayur.
Critics on the other hand are more important to the restaurants as they pay attention to every detail, and have the ability to keep a restaurant open, buzzing with business or hit rock bottom in a day. In India, critics are moderately relevant to the scene as their reviews persuade or dissuade diners from going to a restaurant. However, the advent of giants like Zomato seems to have diluted the purpose and assigned the status of a critic to every reviewer online.
If you ask me whether Zomato was a bad idea, I’d say no. It is a brilliant idea. Instead of listening to the words of some man I do not know praising Ratatouille at a restaurant, people would rather trust the experience of those in their friend circle. However, my friends may not have my tastes, they may not have the right knowledge about food, they may have given a restaurant 5/5 because of its wonderful music n ambiance while all they had was nuts & beer. Furthermore, the people I follow may even be paid to write a great review, or obliged to as they were invited, and may not be doing readers justice.
How many times have you seen a friend buy a DSLR and immediately claim to be a photographer? That’s the problem with the blogging arena. Any foodie with a fancy camera is a food photographer. And if they move around the plate to get a shot on Auto mode, that makes them a Food Stylist. It’s disheartening to see the fakers and wannabes sharing the stage with the real winners often even overshadowing them. I have spoken to several restaurants and representatives who have seemed to encounter a new threat that goes like, “I have an account on Zomato. If you don’t give me what I want, I’ll write a negative review.” Assumingly a reviewer doesn’t have the power to change the ways of the world, but putting a dent on brand reputation just because you didn’t get a free meal by posing as a critic might be going overboard.
Evaluating the food scene from what it was a few years ago, we can safely say a lot of these self-proclaimed food critics are now in for the freebies and perks rather than for the sanctity of the role.
[su_quote]Showing love for food and describing how it was for you – that’s an experience.
The fluff and flair with little technical details – that’s a pose.
Complete facts to the point on the various aspects of dining including solutions for problems – that’s a review.
I’m just a Food Lover. This blog will show a whole lot of my food experiences. What about you?[/su_quote]