Have you noticed that food bloggers have suddenly become the new wine wankers? At your local restaurant they present as normal diners, happily chatting away like real people. Then suddenly, as soon as their meal arrives, they whip out their iphone and artfully take snaps of their skate, parmesan and broad bean flavoured sorbet, all ready to be uploaded to their word press site as soon as they get home. When they finally stop playing food stylist and actually eat their dish, they give a running commentary on the standard of the food, talking as loudly as possible so fellow dinners can marvel at what they’ve learnt from watching three seasons of Masterchef. When they finally shut up and split the bill with the aid of a calculator, they scurry off home to publish their illuminating restaurant review that will be read by at least four people.
It’s all part of this new cult of expertise, where we are suddenly driven to commentate on all manner of things with professional aplomb.
Blokes who used to talk about sport are miraculously having conversations about the relative culinary merits of Sydney’s hot new chefs, these young guns that specialise in trendy dishes like southern fried duck’s bum served with a fixed gear bike seat infused mayonnaise.
Now instead of smashing schooners they talk of matching craft beers or cider with some trendy dish that of course has been “twice cooked” (I think my mum used to call that reheating)
Sydney’s food revolution is also causing people copious amount of anxiety. The prospect of having friends round for dinner is now fraught with danger given the judgemental taste buds that gather round tables on Saturday nights. Couples who were once simply happy to be invited have now turned into snarky critics.
One of my friends has been scared off cooking since his lamb shanks were pilloried by a pal for being a “safe choice” and “predictable” as soon as he plonked them on the table. The final straw was when his carpenter mate proclaimed, “If you’re serious about going for a gelatinous feel with your slow cooked meat, you really should be using ox cheek.”
What happened to a bit of old fashioned respect for the chef? When did phrases like “This is a beautiful thanks David and yes I’d love another glass of Koonunga Hill.” tsuddenly become passé?
It wasn’t all that long ago that doing Jamie Oliver’s roast chicken or knocking up Bill Grangers ricotta hotcakes would have everyone raving.
These days, serve those up and you might as well of dished up Kantong or Hawaiian steaks. Mind you, I’m sure one of those hot young chefs is probably reinventing one of those right now using pork belly, organic grown pineapple and Himalayan Yak Mozzarella and somewhere a food blogger is ready and waiting to pounce.