The New Live Food Event
The James Beard Awards happened this week, which means it’s time to take an annual look at live food events and how they’re changing thanks to digital and social technology. (It’s a theme that comes up every year; I’m running with it.) In 2013, I was pretty excited that “chefs are (finally, finally!) embracing the power of their personal social media outlets, we all got a pretty awesome insider-y view.”
Last year at the Beard Awards, I decided we were all experiencing Twitter overkill.
What a difference a year makes, I guess. These kind of events are decidedly different now. Eater, The Infatuation, and Vice Munchies all have great Snapchat channels for sharing of-the-moment coverage. Two of my favorite technology-savvy chefs, Rene Redzepi and David Barzelay use Periscope to regularly show what’s happening in their kitchens (and beyond.) The live food event is changing, but not in a way I anticipated.This was evident in this year’s JBFA coverage, absolutely. There was less noise, less clutter, and more dedicated, thoughtful, live and interesting social fees across platforms instead of limited to just one.
What “Food Porn” Does to the Brain
Ugh, that term. Seriously. Regardless: it evokes a certain image: photographs so detailed, so bright, so stunning, that you can’t help salivating as you look at them. The Atlantic has a thoughtful piece that explains what, exactly, these images do to your brain. Fascinating, really.
The piece opens with a mid 20th-century finding that makes everything on the internet make a LOT more sense: “Across species, animals in experiments seemed to prefer prettier, flashier, more attention-grabbing versions of their natural environments even when those stimuli were fake.” The very basic tenet of food and the internet — that you can see it but you can’t smell or taste it — still puzzles researchers who are trying to determine what, in fact, food porn does to the brain. There have been studies and are plenty of ideas (seriously, read the piece, it’s great) — but it’s still territory that’s a bit unchartered. Super interesting.
David Chang’s Maple Launches in New York
Last November, David Chang (and a dedicated team) announced the impending launch of Maple, a food delivery startup. Now, Maple has arrived in New York City. Forbes has a good look at the new service, which will get you a hot, chef-prepared, quality meal in 30 minutes. Lunch is $12, dinner is $15. According to Maple’s executive chef, “This is a restaurant concept outside of the restaurant’s four walls.”
@TwitterFood (What took you so long?)
Twitter finally, finally has its own, in-house, sanctioned, curated @TwitterFood account. I don’t know why it took like five years to figure out that food and restaurants were a hot space on Twitter, but it appears someone finally has, and now there’s an account for “all the best of food and restaurant culture.” You can follow it if you want, though if you’re already into food and chefs, you won’t be surprised by anything you see. Mostly, it’s the usual suspects who do great things on Twitter: Batali. Bourdain. Alton Brown. Rick Bayless. (You get the idea.) I’m glad they did it, but I hope they use the account to highlight the best use cases of chefs and restaurants + Twitter, not just a bunch of well-known chefs tweeting images from the kitchen. (Until then, you know where to find that stuff.)
New York, Text Rex for Restaurant Suggestions
From the team behind The Infatuation comes Text Rex, a live, personal, written-by-the-founders restaurant recommendation service via text message. The service is brand new, so there’s an (understandable) wait to gain access — there are only three people manning the line at the moment. The whole experience is just like getting a restaurant recommendation from your in-the-know friend, instantly. I’m not in New York, so I can’t speak to the merits of each personalized rec, but given the site’s content history, it’s a safe bet that they’ll think past the big, flashy, popular spots and send you somewhere that fits your needs. (Seriously, who needs a recommendation site to tell you to go to Cosme or Gramercy Tavern.) This is fun, and I do love a human touch. I hope it scales past New York.
A Gorgeous Account Worth Following
There’s food porn and then there’s actual beautiful, artistic presentation. If you like these things — and especially if you like #ThingsArrangedNeatly — then you must follow @wrightkitchen on Instagram. Grub Street has aprofile of a series she calls #FoodGradients — basically, food arranged neatly. The images are spectacularly stunning.
Remembering Josh Ozersky
I never met Josh Ozersky and don’t have anything resembling the touching tributes and fascinating stories surrounding the food writer’s work and life. But I did enjoy his work and I am sad to hear of his passing. He didn’t touch too much on the restaurant+tech space, but when he did, he certainly let his opinion show. I am a fan of this. Two pieces in particular to revist: How a Hunger for Clicks Drives New York’s Brutally Fickle Food Scene and Why Zagat Guides are Terrible. May he rest easy.
- Florida woman users the Pizza Hut delivery app to ask for emergency help — Yahoo News
- New! The Eater Upsell podcast debuts today — Eater
- Trustworthy alternatives to Yelp — Fortune
- Uber’s food delivery service launched — Engadget