7.16.2013: @RuthBourdain / Alex Stupak


@RuthBourdain’s Identity Revealed, Finally
Three years and nearly 3,000 Tweets later, the man behind parody Twitter account @RuthBourdain has been revealed. Turns out blogger Josh Friedland, author of The Food Section, is the brain behind the operation, which parodies the tone of “the culinary elite” in the voice of former restaurant critic andGourmet Editor Ruth Reichl plus no-nonsense hellraiser Anthony Bourdain. The result is a hilarious mashup that took on an unprecedented life of its own online, inspiring the James Beard Foundation to create a journalism prize for humor and even resulting in a Ruth Bourdain-penned book.
The attention to detail and voice here is astounding. The Tweets have long spoken for themselves, but even the book’s background information prompts laughter, full of wit and hilarity. Mostly, the fictionalized persona is notable for being the first major Twitter food parody — and with an audience of nearly 78,000 (and counting). And, unlike another notable outing this week, Friedland is happy the world knows he’s behind the character and its success. Major news for one of the OGs in the chefs+tech space. Well done.



The Alex Stupak/Empellon Show: So Good

New York City chef Alex Stupak — who recently scored some pipichia from SF’s Chris Cosentino afterasking for it on Twitter — stars in a few solid how-to videos from his restaurants, Empellon Cocina and Empellon Taqueria. The restaurants’ video channel contains a handful of videos, but its most recent Empellon Inside” series takes the cake, featuring fast and fascinating tutorials. The recent 1:33 scotch egg how-to is worth a view, if only to understand exactly how they coat a poached egg in chorizo deliciousness.
This channel is worth following to see what comes next. Best-of-digitally-savvy-breed Alex Stupak deserves all the attention he receives —  even Eater called out some of his best work on Twitter a few months ago. Keep it up, chef.


NYT Diner’s Journal Evolves

The New York Times chose to streamline its dining and food coverage, ditching the seven-year-old “Diner’s Journal” blog and rolling its features onto the main Dining page. An explanation from the Times says the blog, started in 2006 when mainstream publishers realized that blogs were a thing, used to serve as a “place for Frank Bruni, then the Times’ restaurant critic, to post news, notes and other observations about food that went beyond the borders of his weekly review” — aka, “there isn’t enough room on the printed page, so we’ll just toss this online.” While this tiny revamp will likely be nearly invisible to even the savviest of digital Dining section readers, it represents a major shift in the way offline/online publications display and share content. “Extras” tossed on the web for space reasons are meaningless; the same observations, posts, articles, notes and thoughts do just as well (if not better) when served up beside longform, produced or edited content. I’m not sad to see Diner’s Journal disappear — I’m excited to watch how social media and sharing affects all the Dining content now that the wall between print content and blog posts has come down.



Into Now + Food Network

Social television viewing has existed since the beginning of television when families gathered to watch together. Decades later, its evolved into a digital social experience, as viewers share show commentary and information through social networks. While social viewing applies to just about any television show, it’s particularly interesting in shows with an unpredictable outcome: usually sports, and any sort of reality television — especially competition shows. The Food Network has officially tapped into this logic, going beyond a simple hashtag and partnering with Yahoo’s IntoNow, an app for iOS and Android, during airings of “Food Network Star.” Using the app — instead of using something like a hashtag, for example — creates a dedicated environment in which to interact with the show and with your friends who are also interacting with the show.
I can’t say I’d use such technology, I generally prefer one screen at a time. But this second-screen experience applied to food television may spur interesting developments beyond rooting for your favorite potential Food Network Star. Plenty of websites and services offer this sort of 360 degree-experience (find a recipe, cook a recipe, evaluate a recipe, share a recipe);  networks are smart to approach content that appears on TV with the same thought process, staying relevant and driving engagement around what could previously be considered a mostly solitary experience.



Allrecipes Spins Off into Print Magazine

The ubiquity of digital technology has obviously changed the way we discover and consume media, shifting away from the traditional print and toward screens. Except for when it does the opposite: crazy-successful recipe site Allrecipes will now become a print magazine. Publishing company Meredith (other titles include Every Day with Rachael Ray, Ladies’ Home Journal and Eating Well) bought the site last January and plans to direct it toward “everyday cooks who want to share their ideas and inspiring recipes with friends, family, and other like-minded people.” With just six issues per year, the print arm of the online site won’t share nearly as many recipes (nor the convenience of a search function), but spending dollars to turn online success into offline success equals great news for traditional publishing and this formerly online-only brand.



Restaurant Owner Fires Employees Via Text Message

Oh, Florida. Apparently during the July 4 holiday, a restaurant owner notified his entire staff, via text message, that he had to close the restaurant (immediately) and they were out of a job (starting that day.) At least it wasn’t a public-facing Tweet?



  • Thorough piece on food startups and their unique challenges — Fortune via@FoodTechConnect
  • Publishing friends, look! A cheese Lorem Ipsum generator — Mashable 
  • When it comes to markets, sustainability, and shopping local, stop preaching to the choir —Food+Tech Connect

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