And LondonEater is officially one year old today.
My first post seems so long ago and since, I have written a further 230 posts, approved 1.8k comments and received 200k page views. It is both rewarding and daunting looking back at what a bloody long journey it has been. Highlights, low blows, great and appalingly awful eats, barrels upon barrels of laughs, it’s a rollercoaster and most things were delicious. Today, I’m happy to see LondonEater continuing to attract new readership. A special shout out goes out particularly to my super loyal RSS/Newsletter subscribers who are sharing this little gastro adventure with me every step of the way. We’re a small bunch, but we’re a hungry one. I continue to write because you keep coming back for more and I can only hope that my opinion has been helpful in your endeavour towards satisfying culinary curiosities. Oh, and I just want to say thank you for reading too.
Yes, there’s more hot air, keep reading.
I want to take this chance to stop for a moment and reflect on the past twelve months, and to blog about what plans I have in the near future.
I remember my first ever review, it was difficult to write and it was a breakfast at Balans, the place I used to go to think out loud and lay out my ideas. StumbleUpon became a great publicity tool which helped this fledgling blog gain 1000 hits a day , the post continues to receive views, and ironically, my post about eating in the dark at Dans le Noir, which has no pictures of food (since we were literally in the dark..) , still stands as the most widely read post.
As a blog, building lists was always high on my agenda, in order to create something quick and useful, I continue to (sparingly these days..) upload lists to Metrotwin, but I didn’t publish one on this blog until the end of ’08 with ‘The Greatest eats of 2008’.
2009 opened with a meal at ‘The Square’ and further Michelin conquests included Hibiscus, L’Autre Pied and my personal high: The Ledbury. My adventure was not limited to the expensive & indulgent as I ventured to wallet friendly and memorable thrills in Sushi Hiro, Franco Manca, Song Que and the Wet Fish café.
As we rolled into 2Q ’09, I looked to expand content starting with the introduction of a fortnightly newsletter, before opening Noir, the sister photography blog for those who prefer more of the visual and less of the chatty, food or otherwise. By far, the highlight of my blogging career came when one of my food photographs was published by National Geographic Traveller (its in the july/august issue!! Woohoo!).
Getting closer to food brought new friends as I met with contemporaries in the world of food: Helen of Wfg, Lizzie, Candice, Gourmet Chick, Helen of Gravy, Oliver Thring, Paula, Catty, FoodbyMark, Rachel Khoo, Bellaphon, Miss Marmite Lover, Super Charz, Euwen, tikichris , Melanie , the odd culinary hero in John Torode, Tom Aikens and Paul A Young …and if I’m missing anyone on this list, its only because my memory ain’t what its suppose to be. (Douglas, Kian, we should eat together soon.)
I’m glad that my enthusiasm for food remains as high today as it was when I first began writing, I feel just about as hungry as I’ve ever been…. except for the extra couple of stone I’ve put on, and the visibly thinner wallet. I do find myself going out of my way to try new and different things every week, of course, mostly with the help from the reviews already written by fellow bloggers and critics alike.
Going forward, I am interested in covering many more postcodes, I want to discover hidden gems, be it a buzzy bistro or caffe, great places which don’t occupy glamorous locations, more ‘exotic cuisines’ , and generally something a little different, a little alternative and anything that is delicious. Food is an adventure, and discovering is still at the heart of what I want to achieve. On the other end of the scale, I am aiming to hit more of the capital’s gastronomic gems, either to join the chorus of cheers for peak gastronomers …..or to suss out the pretenders. High on my current wish list are Le Gavroche, La Trompette, The Ivy, Fat Duck and whenever Angela decides to lift her no photography policy, I’ll be sure to stop by Murano’s as well.
Spinning out from the LondonEater project is of course, my new found obsession regarding the art of fixing the shadows. I have pretty much dumped my life savings into swishy new camera gear…. and am convinced more than ever, that great shots is 90% skill and 10% camera (not to mention photoshop.). Ok, not true £2500 better be a replacement for some skillz. There are a couple of photo-projects I’m thinking about, and I would like to be able to take this blog ‘behind the stove’ and cover the story of a kitchen. How and in what capacity? I don’t know yet. As someone who sees the final product, I’ve always been curious about what kind of work goes into producing plates of food. If you are a restaurant and this looks like something that could appeal to you, let me know?
I’ve started retrospective book projects and am looking at self-publishing platforms with the intention of reformatting my reviews into a paper version of this blog. I’m thinking an annual guide of some sort, although it’s more likely that this ‘guide’ might morph into a food photobook of sorts, working title : “100 London restaurants, illustrated.”. Will it work or will it pan? Who the hell knows, I just want to see my stuff printed.
I have also started with the assembly of my personal portfolio of photographs, I’ve photographed so much (9000 shots and counting) , that I just would like to be able to keep hold of them in a visual archive. This is a slow burning project…. its expensive to print. Got the leather book, got the portfolio box, and this baby is about as personally rewarding as it gets.
Phew. So that’s me, Kang, your author, your photographer, your blogger, your LondonEater, still going and still looking for ways to improve your reading experience. Above all else, I’m discovering new ways to flex those literary muscles. Still the biggest AA Gill fan. He is a hero to me, and his epic writing guides my hand on this blog, I know I’ll never be as good as the guy, but if I get even half as good, I would be pretty happy with that. At the core, I am just a fan. A fan of food, a fan of chefs, a fan of critics and someone who loves to eat.
Thanks for showing up, the partay is only just getting started, so get up from ya seat and do something freaky… and always order whatever you want, its only etiquette.