7.9.2013: Twitter Accountability


Income Disparities in Expensive Cities = Chef Flight

Today in news from NPR’s consistently outstanding food blog, The Salt: apparently the high cost of living is making it hard for culinary talent to survive in the city — so much so, that it’s pushing them completely out and into smaller markets where they can make a good living from their talent/trade/skill.
This sort of disparity isn’t new to cities; especially New York. But unlike other lower-paying trade industries, these creative, talented, and well-connected chefs can, as the article shows, flee the expense of the big city and set up shop somewhere smaller and more affordable (the article cites Austin; Madison, WI; Chapel Hill, NC.) And thanks to the digital age, culinary talent can at once stay connected with the big foodie city and promote their out-of-area ventures in smaller markets.
Twitter and Facebook accounts promote ongoing and public conversations between chefs, regardless of geography. Connected locals and travelers alike sharing their experiences with increasing regularity keep what formerly would have been called off-the-beaten-path places on the map. One chef quoted in the article claims the only bit of New York City he can afford to keep is his cell phone area code — I’d like to remind him that his experience and online social presence will keep him just as connected to an eager audience.



A High-End Groupon

Launched two weeks agoGroupon Reserve expands the Groupon deal reach to upscale establishments in 10 markets: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C..
I’m skeptical, and while I’ve admittedly never hopped on the Groupon train, here’s the problem with Groupon-type deals at higher-end restaurants: Unlike, say, Gilt for retail, is there a discreet way to bring up the fact that you’ve bought a “deal” at one of these fancy places during dinner? I don’t know about you, but whipping out my phone for some sort of discount code during a super-nice dinner in a quiet restaurant isn’t necessarily the impression I’m excited to make. Even if the service pulls off discreet, voucherless redemption, (which, in fairness, they claim they’ll do) if history is any indication, they’ll be plenty of hiccups that require additional effort to get the deal. In my opinion, Gilt, and services like it, work because they are anonymous. Am I over-sensitive? Maybe, but there’s something about this combined experience that doesn’t translate well. I suppose this is a watch-and-see.



Can Anger on Twitter Hurt a Restaurant’s Bottom Line?

Chefs, They’re Just Like Us! And, really, what’s Twitter for if not posting photos of one’s food and, of course, complaining about air travel. Chefs have figured out how to do the former pretty well, but the latter… well, is it their realm? Brooklyn’s Dale Talde went on a Tw’rampage against  Spirit Airlines (strongly-worded example here) and my first reaction wasn’t positive.
I love chefs on Twitter because of their awesome, and sometimes explosive, personalities… which is why I’m not sure why this sort of digital negativity sits so poorly. I can’t decide which way I should feel. On one hand, with great power comes great responsibility. On the other, devoid of any personality, a chef’s Twitter account just becomes uninteresting corporate lameness. And, curious, could these sorts of public statements actually hurt a restaurant’s bottom line?
I mean… Paula Deen… just saying…



Yelp’s Ridiculous Word Maps

ICYMI, Yelp released a set of “word maps” last week — heat maps over its most popular cities as a visual representation of certain terms used by the masses in Yelp reviews. They’re good for a chuckle, especially in cities you’re super-familiar with (I’m happy to see “frat” mentions in my city are nice and far from my apartment,” but otherwise they seem about as useful as actual Yelp reviews. (Know me, know my Yelp stance.)
(If you’re in the mood for a laugh, San Franciscans will appreciate San Francisco Magazine’s fictional heatmaps much more than the originals.)



Outstanding in the Field on Instagram

For almost 15 years, Outstanding in the Field has hosted outdoor food events, aiming to “re-connect diners to the origins of their food and honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it.” These amazingly beautiful and delicous dinners have always been popular among an interested crowd, and a feature this week on Instagram’s blog showed how well the program translates to digital media (yay!)Photos are gorgeous and inspirational, making it well-worth an @out_inthefield follow on Instagram.



  • Sundance NOW streams the best food docs during the month of July; get them all for $5 —Bon Appetit
  • Farm-to-Tablet: The new face of local food delivery — Modern Farmer
  • Awesome interactive time-lapse map of wineries in America — NY Times
  • Happy Fourth, from Mario Batali and his grill — @MarioBatali on Vine

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