When you’re eating out, I bet you my last Rolo, that you see at least two people getting snap happy with their plates. Of course they may just be foodie enthusiasts… but they could also be cool food bloggers, who go away to digest and review the food they’ve eaten. In my quest to find out more about people in the food industry, I caught up with fellow food bloggers, to get the lowdown on what makes them tick. In the first of the series ‘Get to know your local food blogger’ is a lovely lady called Monet. Here is her blog, do hop on over to find out more about her and read her fab reviews. You’re welcome.
Hi Monet! Please can you tell us a little about yourself?
Well, my name is Monet. A lot of people ask me how that’s pronounced (it’s said like monnay) or whether I’m French, but I’m not! I’m actually from Ripley in Derbyshire where I’ve lived all of my life. During the day, I work 9-5 as a receptionist at an engineering company. I’ve been doing that for just under a year now after struggling to settle in previous jobs.
How did you get into food blogging?
Having a chef boyfriend, food is something that we have in common. We both love going out to eat and trying different restaurants. Due to the number of restaurants we had been to, we were getting asked more and more for recommendations from friends and family. That’s when I decided to start writing it all down and publishing my experiences as a blog. That way, I could just direct them to the website and they could see for themselves. I never thought that it would grow into something which lots of other people would read too!
What is your favourite dish?
Oh that’s a tough one! It depends what mood I’m in really. I’m a big fan of anything with goats cheese but sometimes you can’t beat a good burger. I couldn’t choose just one dish as my favourite!
Do you cook? Do you enjoy it?
No I don’t! I sometimes bake which I find fun but when it comes to cooking, that’s not really for me. I’m always either eating out or having what mum has made as I still live at home. I’m sure that will change though once I have my own house.
What’s the last thing you ate / drank?
A banana! I was getting a little peckish before lunch.
How much time do you spend blogging per week and per post? (That’s from scratch, including researching, writing, sourcing / editing pictures.)
It varies as some weeks are busier than others due to arranging meals around my working hours.
I spend around 20-30 minutes reading through their website along with any online articles that have been written previously to avoid writing something similar to someone else. Then I’d say writing the whole blog post takes me around 1-2 hours. Sometimes I get ‘writers block’ and leave it until the next day to finish. This way I have a clear mind. I only ever use my own pictures and try not to edit them too much as I want it to look as if it’s what the reader would see. I adjust the brightness sometimes but that’s about it.
Being a food blogger, can you ever “switch off” from being a food blogger? As in, can you ever stop analysing food? (That’s my biggest problem!)
No! My mum tells me off for it every time we are out for a meal. Having worked in hospitality previously, I know what to expect from a front of house team so any kind of bad service and I get annoyed quickly. It gets worse when I’m with Ashlea (my other half) because as I mentioned, he is a chef. If something isn’t right, we all know about it!
What do you think is the best part of being a food blogger?
For me, it’s having a hobby that I’m passionate about. I’ve taken up many over the years but after a few months, I’d get bored of it. With blogging, I love how it gets me out and about. No two visits are ever the same so there’s always something different to interest me.
And the worst part?
I haven’t come across a bad point so far! The only thing I could say is that I struggle to find the time to fit everything in sometimes, but then I love being busy!
I know you don’t give bad reviews. Was that a conscious decision, or do you think your stance on that will ever change?
No, I don’t think that will ever change. If I have a bad experience somewhere, I simply do not write a review. I will email the restaurant directly to let them know, but will not publish anything online. It’s never been my intention to give somewhere a bad name or reputation. I just like to focus on the good times.
There’s been a seismic shift in the balance of power in the food industry. Now, many restaurants seek out food bloggers. What do you think of this elevated status of the once humble food blogger?
I think it’s a great way for restaurants to get their name out there. When you look at websites like TripAdvisor, the majority of reviews left are bad. Customers are very quick to write a bad review but when everything is perfect, they’re content and don’t think to leave positive feedback.
With bloggers, they give their honest opinion (at least I hope so) meaning that you get a realistic insight into what you can expect. Some restaurants will provide bloggers with an incentive to visit (not all though) which when you compare it to other marketing methods, is a relatively cheap way to promote themselves.
What do you think about the Derby food scene?
I think it’s getting there. Luckily for us, there are more and more restaurants opening in Derby offering a range of cuisines. It would be nice to think that one day, Derby’s food scene could be comparable to Nottingham’s.
Are there any restaurants that you’d like to see in Derby?
That’s a tough one. I’d probably say a good quality a la carte Chinese restaurant. I’m a big fan of Chinese food and although there are Chinese restaurants in Derby, they’re mainly all you can eat restaurants which sometimes lose quality due to quantity.
What are favourite top three restaurants in Derby? What’s so great about them?
- My all-time favourite restaurant in Derbyshire is Stones. I’ve been visiting there for around 5 years now and fall more and more in love with it every time. It’s housed along the river Derwent in the beautiful town of Matlock and serves up incredible AA rosette fine dining food but in a relaxed, cosy setting.
- The Bulls Head at Repton comes in at second. Although quite a drive from where I live, this place is worth the travelling. Their gastropub food not only tastes amazing but stands out from the crowd with their funky presentation skills. It’s great to see how popular The Bulls Head has become and it’s very well deserved.
- The Peacock at Rowsley. I was recently sent over to this stunning Grade II listed building on the edge of Derbyshire’s Peak District as part of my work for as the regional editor for The Food & Drink Guide’s blog. With a seasonal menu comprising of locally sourced ingredients, quality is guaranteed and Head Chef Dan Smith is a very talented man.
What would be your ideal job? Would you want to be a full-time food blogger?
With the type of food blogging that I do, I’m not aware that it’s possible to take up as a full time job. If it was, then yes, I’d love to. Other than that, I have no dream job. I never have done to be honest – I’m too indecisive.
There is a fire (touchwood) and you have to leave the house in 15 seconds. What would you leave the house with?
The dog! He’s a Beagle called Bob.
Thank you for your time Monet, it’s been fab chatting to you!