Impact Food speaks to Chris Pople about his blog, Cheese and Biscuits. With over 19,000 followers on Twitter, Pople is one of the best known food bloggers around. He shares his tips on starting your own food blog and how Michelin stars compare to cheap eats.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME CHEESE AND BISCUITS AND WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO GET INTO FOOD BLOGGING?
Well it was a long time ago now. I think what happened was that I was reading other blogs, there weren’t many eight years ago, or maybe just two or three. I thought, ‘I like eating out so why can’t I do it!’. I didn’t think anyone would read it. I was basically bored at work and even today its still where I write, in gaps between projects.
With regards to cheese and biscuits, I just thought of the most English thing I could think of. At the start I didn’t think it would just be restaurants, I thought it may be general food things.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR KEY TIPS TO ANYONE WHO HAS STARTED OR WANTS TO START A FOOD BLOG?
It doesn’t cost anything, so as long as you have got the time to do it, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t. Although there are so many blogs now that I wonder what a new one would bring. There are a lot of bad blogs as well, so I think if your good enough, people will start reading it and it will do well. But it must be a lot more difficult getting started now amidst hundreds of other blogs.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU EAT OUT A WEEK AND HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHERE TO GO?
I don’t really have a formal list of places. I get invited to them as well which makes a difference. The ones I pay for myself there is no particular reason why I go there, just word of mouth I guess.
WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANT YOU HAVE BLOGGED ABOUT?
I don’t really have one. I made Burger and Lobster my restaurant of the year for 2013 but there are lots of different restaurants which are excellent for different reasons. Its better to look at restaurants within categories or a certain area, say Indian or Chinese for example, and then pick your favourites.
HOW IMPORTANT TO YOU IS PHOTOGRAPHY AND WHAT CAMERA DO YOU USE FOR BLOGGING?
I just use my iPhone. I would never remember to bring a proper camera. I think photography is more important for other people because my photography is terrible. I use it more to remind myself what I ate. For some people photography is everything, but it’s less important for me.
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT COMPARING A MICHELIN STAR RESTAURANT TO A CHEAP EAT?
It’s really just whether I enjoyed the experience or not. I can have a horrible Michelin star meal and a brilliant cheap meal and vice versa. I don’t have a different criteria for different restaurants.
YOUR BLOG IS HUGELY POPULAR AND YOU HAVE OVER 19,000 FOLLOWERS ON TWITTER. HOW IN SUCH A COMPETITIVE WORLD HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO MAKE YOUR MARK?
I don’t do anything special, I just think it helps that I have been doing it for a long time. Your readerships builds up over many years and I’ve been around for a while.
HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU FEEL FOOD BLOGGING IS COMPARED TO FOOD CRITICS AND REVIEWERS?
If I were amazingly good at writing I would make a living out of that. But its getting really difficult, because food bloggers are doing what the critics are doing (although slightly worse most of the time). But it makes it harder for critics to make a living out of it.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE OTHER FOOD BLOGGERS?
Food Stories is great, as is Hollow Legs. Also Gin and Crumpets do some really interesting cake things which are very funny. There are loads – I can’t think off the top of my head.
APART FROM EATING OUT, WHAT ARE THE MAIN PERKS THAT COME WITH YOUR FOOD BLOG?
Just making lots of friends – you go to really nice events and meet nice people. Eating out is ultimately about enjoying yourself and so people involved in the industry tend to be very nice.
See the latest issue of Impact for more on food blogging.
Image credit: Jules Morgan via Flikr.