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  • Mise en Place

    Specialist recruiter to the Catering and Hospitality Industry. Our values: Professionalism, Integrity, Flexibility, Partnership

  • Mise en Place

    Specialist recruiter to the Catering and Hospitality Industry. Our values: Professionalism, Integrity, Flexibility, Partnership

    lady chef
  • Mise en Place

    Specialist recruiter to the Catering and Hospitality Industry. Our values: Professionalism, Integrity, Flexibility, Partnership

    chef, waiter
  • Mise en Place

    Specialist recruiter to the Catering and Hospitality Industry. Our values: Professionalism, Integrity, Flexibility, Partnership

    bar man

Archive for the ‘website reviews’ Category

Eat My Words – The Critical Couple

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

When it comes to critiquing a restaurant’s food with intimate detail and with mouth watering images of the food you’re about to devour,  you can’t go past The Critical Couple, written by Nicole and David Williams. Their blog of the same name at: The Critical Couple  ranked #5 by Urban Spoon, is definitely worth a visit if you need to gain a complete picture of your dining place of choice. Enjoy this interview where you’ll learn to appreciate Nicole and David’s perspective on being passionate foodies.

From reading your blog you review food & drink with equisite detail including the beautiful photos you take. Each foodie or critic has their own style and spin for the reviews they do. What is your focus and style?

Our style seeks to take us out of the equation as odd as that perhaps sounds. While clearly a restaurant write up is a personal experience, including how you feel about the service, nevertheless, we believe people want to read about the restaurant, not about how our day was going or which friends we were meeting for lunch that day. Accordingly, it is the restaurant’s story not our own that we try to tell. With the photos, we try our hardest to get over to the reader the best representation of how the dish was. We want readers to share the experience, not simply be wowed about how clever the words are.

As the ‘critical couple’ have you always reviewed food and drink? What lead you to do this?

The blog was born of our passion for going out, eating, drinking, going places and all things related to that. When we started the blog however, we did so almost as a diary, a friends and family thing and didn’t ever think about it becoming something. At the beginning then we were freeform, and that included even things like book reviews. The blog now has a form and an identity centred around restaurant reviews but we still like to throw in unconventional posts from time to time also reflecting the fact that this remains a personal endeavour.
How do you choose a restaurant to review?

Very simply, do we want to eat there? If we wake up one day and feel like eating Italian, or seafood or whatever, we’ll think about where we haven’t been but think that we might enjoy. We pay our own way and if we are going to spend our own money, we want to enjoy it. Even if a bad restaurant makes good copy, we don’t make money from the blog so it’s bad economics. 

Who is your current favourite chef?

Without doubt, Simon Rogan.

How has blogging in general changed your outlook on food/restaurants?

Even when we first started the blog, we would return time and again to our favourite restaurants. The success of the blog has driven us to keep visiting new places. In doing so we have discovered two things. First, just how much great food there is in the UK right now, and we would especially note, it’s not always in London. Second, it’s not just about food, it’s as much about people. The majority of chefs we have met are massively hard working, super talented and genuinely nice people. We’re proud that some of them have become our friends.

What are 3 favourite places/dishes you just need to go back to regularly? (We’re thinking one of those may be Casamia? ;-))

Can we have four? L’enclume in Cumbria is in our opinion the best restaurant in the UK currently and we try to get there as much as we can. Brett Graham’s The Ledbury is in our view the best restaurant in London. We do love Casamia in Bristol run by two super talented super humble brothers (Jonray and Peter Sanchez-Iglesias) and we have even before the blog started been returning to eat the food of Alyn Williams (now Alyn Williams at The Westbury) time and time again.

What’s the biggest mistake a restaurant can make in your opinion?

Neglecting the importance of the front of house.

What do you think the London food scene is missing?

As odd as this may sound, genuine innovation. There is without doubt great food in London but it lacks ground breaking food. Where’s London’s El Bulli or Can Roca? London only has two 3 star restaurants and both have classical French orientation. New openings last year focussed on burgers, brasseries and steak houses. Even Bray’s The Fat Duck now seems somewhat dated while ‘new Scandi’ is now old Scandi. Awaiting then the next big original London thing.

What is your favourite food event?

We’ll be cheeky here, we’re organising a charity food, cabaret and music event called EatPlayLove2013 in September of this year. We would have to say that’s it.

What has been your all-time favourite restaurant experience to date?

Another relatively easy and without doubt answer: 41 courses at El Bulli. It redefines the food experience.

What is one challenge you face when reviewing food and/or drink?

Getting the ‘ordinary’ experience. It’s a small industry in many respects and several times this year with new openings, we have been recognised by FOH who had looked after us at their previous employer. That in turn can lead to extras from the kitchen and more attentive service. We have a disclosure box on our blog to alert readers as to when that happens but our value to readers is greatest when we experience it like they experience it.

Thanks to Nicole and David for an insight into their foodie experiences and style. You can also follow their delectable insights and fundraising adventures 140 characters at a time via Twitter: @criticalcouple



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What does Food and Data have in common?

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

This week we look at Menu Spring, who provides an amazing service to Restaurateurs and the public alike by providing a comprehensive list of thousands of restaurants where you can explore their menus, as well as rate their food. As Ali Meruani of Menu Spring explains, they have created a wonderful match of food and data.

What was your main motivation for starting up Menu Spring

MenuSpring was started with the idea of bringing restaurants, consumers and publishers together. When I moved to London I felt the current website did not do restaurants in London justice. There are far more restaurants in London than those covered by these websites and I wanted to make it easier for these amazing small restaurants to be discovered and get the word out.

You say on your website that you are not a Social Media site or a menu aggregator, what would be the best description of your services?

At our core we are data Company that is passionate about food, it is what we do with that data, that’s what makes us amazing. MenuSpring helps restaurants get the word out, while helping users find the perfect meal every time.

You give reviews on practically any food location or restaurant from the humble hole in the wall to lavish top tier restaurants, what has been the most memorable review and why?

We cover all restaurants in London but the site itself site does not do any reviews. We actually do not allow any of our users to write reviews. As a user you can rate a restaurant and like a dish, our focus through and through has been on food.

Is there a particular menu that seems to hit all the right spots with your subscribers?

With such a huge database, we have over half a million dishes in our system, it is hard to pick out one menu that we say hits the spot.

What would be a common theme amongst your subscribers with regards to the positive attributes of your services?

Our subscriber look at us to provide them with the most amount of information about the restaurant in the shortest amount of time possible. We want to be able to tell you more about a restaurant in 1 min that will take you 30 mins on any other site.

What’s the most bizarre restaurant/food location to visit?

In terms of the experience I would have to say Khyber Pass. It is a tiny little restaurant with only 9 dishes on the menu, you sit on the floor and have your food. It is a hike to get to, so the overall experience is worth it. It reminds me of being at a dhaba (roadside restaurant) in Pakistan.

In terms of bizarre locations I would have to pick places from my travels, sadly I have not been to any bizarre food location in London yet. But if someone is willing to share a secret location I will be more than willing to check it out.

Thanks to  Ali for sharing information about their services which provides a great benefit to all foodies! If you want to check out their site go to www.menuspring.com or follow them via Twitter @MenuSpring


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Website Review: uksp.co.uk

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

This week we are having a look at a great resource for people in the hospitality industry – www.uksp.co.uk/

UKSP was developed by People 1st – the sector skills council for hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism.  It is a not-for-profit site which aims to give young people a platform through which they can find out more about the industries, with job information, qualification tips and a range of career tools that can help them find their perfect career path.

On UKSP employers can list job positions as well as source talent. However it was the resources available for workers and young people who want to get into the industry which we found particularly interesting.

Career Map

The career map section is a great interactive map of potential career paths. For instance you can start out from a Cashier and map your potential career growth all the way to upper management. This is a quick, handy resource for young people in the industry to ascertain what avenues they can take in their current career or the jobs which could take them where they want to go. THe map also gives a detailed description of each job and the national average salary, so you can work out exactly what you will be doing and what you should be getting paid.

Personality Test

The personality test is a quick and fun (5 minute) quiz in which you answer questions based on your work ethic, work preferences and personal tastes. AT the end of which UKSP give you a list of the jobs best suited for your personality type. These choices can then be mapped using the Career Map. This is a handy little tool, especially for people just joining the work force. As well as the Personality Test there is also a short Skill Assessment test which is more geared towards people within the industry allready who maybe want to know what other jobs they can apply their skill set to.

You can checkout UKSP www.uksp.co.uk/

Review posted by Mise En Place Hospitality Recruitment


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