Interview with food blogger Helen Yee from Grab Your Fork (Part 2)

Posted on: July 30th, 2010

Following on from yesterday’s post on food bloggers and PR people, today Helen shares her insights about her blogging journey and the food blogger community.

RC/ How has blogging changed for you in the past year?

HY/ I find myself busier than ever, especially as my site, Grab Your Fork, has opened up a range of professional writing opportunities.  I now have my own column in Time Out Sydney covering hidden suburban eats in Sydney – a theme which ties in neatly with my philosophy of appreciating good food in all its varying forms and price ranges.  I was also responsible for writing the reviews for the just-published Food Lovers Guide to Chinatown, a free booklet designed to showcase Chinatown, as part of the City of Sydney’s new promotional campaign called Asia on Your Doorstep.

RC/ Are you still working full-time and blogging on the side?

HY/ I continue to work full-time, maintaining the blog after hours and most often into the early hours of the morning.  Whilst I’d love to blog full-time, my day job is essential for paying the bills!  I’m blogging a little less often than last year, pershaps 3-4 posts a week rather than 5-7, and I’m forever trying to tackle a backlog of posts.

RC/ Has the acceptance of food blogging grown in the media?

HY/ I’d like to think so. I think that in the past, food blogs were too often dismissed as trivial or lacking credibility or credentials.  What media can’t dismiss is their growing influence, particularily as their visual format and personal writing style can attract thousands of loyal readers every day.  There is often an idea floated that bloggers see themselves as a threat or alternative to traditional print media.  I don’t think this is necessarily the case.  I believe that blog content complements, not replaces, commercial media outlets. What is interesting to see is how media outlets have themselves adapted their communication channels to incorporate many of the social aspects of blogging, e.g. adding comment functions to online articles and maintaining Twitter and Facebook accounts to provide a more personalised and interactive approach.

RC/ What changes have you seen in the food blogger community over the past year?

HY/ The community continues to grow in leaps and bounds every year.  I maintain a list of active Sydney food blogs – 2008 saw the birth of 30 new food blogs; in 2009 that number more than doubled to 70. The explosion of food blogs means there is more content out there than ever before, covering a whole range of topics such as cooking, restaurant reviews, nutrition, travel and chefs.

RC/ Has there been any food blogger community events or initiatives?

HY/ The most fantastic aspect about the food blogger community is how tight-knit and supportive it can be.  Starting out as a new voice in the blogosphere is often daunting.  Fellow food bloggers recognise the importance of comments that provide both feedback and reassurance that yes, people are reading and appreciating your content!

Whilst we often interact with each other online, socialising face-to-face is always fun and more rewarding.  Together with food blogger Chocolatesuze, I organised a food bloggers’ Christmas picnic in December 2009 that was attended by over 50 Sydney food bloggers. Billy, from A Table For Two,  also organised a meet-up at a pub in the city that was attended by over 30 local food bloggers in April this year.  It can be hard trying to find suitable location, but it’s always fun to put faces to names, and find out a little more about the people behind the food blogs we read.

A big thanks to Helen for this interview.  If you’ve got any thoughts or comments on this interview please share them; we’d love to hear from you.

Posted by Renee Creer

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