Chef Hermes writes a blog from within the catering industry, after spending over 20 years cooking with the inspirational, the talented and the egomaniacs of the stoves. He now spends more time writing and sharing from the inside of the catering industry. You can find Chef Hermes at http://chefhermes.com/ on facebook here or on twitter @ChefHermes. We caught up this week for a quick chat about writing and eating! Enjoy.
You run the blog chefhermes.com. How has blogging/writing changed yo our view on the industry?
Writing the blog has broought me into contact with journalists & PR companies, which has been a bit of an eye opening experience. Some of the PRs I’ve met have grabbed the ‘new media’ with both hands & have been more than welcoming and helpful. Others not so, which is slightly disappointing & sometimes annoying. PRs are playing a larger part in promoting restaurants & chefs than ever before. Freebies & press junkets are contributing to the growing demand for popularity lists, reviews and general food related writing. Most of the higher rated Michelin chefs (with the possible exception of Andrew Fairlie) are or have engaged with the services of a PR company. I’d just like to point out that when I have a story which will possibly end up on the blog, I also make a point of trying to get in touch with the related PR or chef for their response & point of view.
Which is the last restaurant you visited and what were your thoughts?
Gidleigh Park, Chagford, Devon. I’ve been three times in the past 18 months and the food is cleaner, sharper & more focused. It’s probably closer to the elusive third star now than it’s ever been. It appeared on chefhermes.com
Which is your favourite local restaurant?
Living & working in South Devon I’m virtually inundated with lots of hiddden gems, from my local pub to the recently Michelin starred Driftwood in Cornwall which holds great personal memories.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
Trying to restrain myself. I’m on the social networks quite a lot and invariably there are people who’ll disagree with me, and that’s fine. But occasionally there are people who feel the need to provoke and causing a heated discussion. Fortunately having already had a scrape with the legal system concerning the blog, it tends to stop me going a touch too far.
What annoys you in the hospitality industry at the moment?
How badly staff are generally treated relative to other industries. For example, lieu days are common place and are the biggest fallacy that employees endure. Poor wages, hours & the lack of training (as there is generally a cost attached to it) are all levelled at catering, & rightly so. Not everybody is so short sighted and it’s certainly better than it was when I first started over twenty years ago.
Who is your favourite food writer?
There are two writers which I admire. The newly appointed Guardian restaurant critic Marina O’Loughlin & investigative food journalist Joanna Blythman. Both have a natural talent to draw you into their writing.
What’s harder, writing or cheffing?
Doing both at the same time is a double edged sword, it helps with inspiration & material, but restricts time spent actually writing & publishing. I’d say on the whole cheffing is harder, but both require some similar disciplines: focus; originality; research & technical ability. Although people say ‘build it & they will come’ which is all very well, but neither a blog or a restaurant will grow unless they meet & exceed their users/guests expectations and needs.
Thanks so much ChefShare
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