The New Food Influencers
by Lee Schrager
Lee Schrager moderates the discussion at Edge Steak & Bar
How do your blogs differ from one another?
SG: We [Assault & Pepper] are not anonymous. Half the fun is getting to know the chefs, seeing their food inspirations, and talking to them about it—spending the day with chefs at farmers’ markets.
CG: I go in and nobody knows me, nobody recognizes me. I just stick to my dining experiences.
RR: If Yelp is a democracy, my blog is an oligarchy—four different food bloggers who get together and compile what they think are the 20 best restaurants that month and rank them. Most of the content on my blog falls under chef and restaurant news.
How do you judge a post on Yelp? What throws up a red flag?
JT: I mean, it’s pretty clear when there’s a vendetta. It’s why we have our Elite Squad and our trusted users, people who review a lot. I know that it’s their voices and opinions, which makes me more likely to care about what they have to say.
And if somebody is particularly cruel, is there a way to monitor that on Yelp?
JT: Yes and no. If there’s a review that breaks our terms of service—say, offensive language—yes, of course I can take it down. Yelpers can flag a review that might have disparaging comments, but just because someone disagrees with what they might have to say, you can’t necessarily take it down.
What advice do you have for those who want to start a food blog?
CG: Be honest.
JT: Be authentic, because people pick up on that.
RR: Don’t take a dollar from anybody. Don’t put up ads. Do it because you care about it.
SG: Learn. Just learn about food and the chefs.
GG: I want something unique—I want to hear a unique voice.
photograph by gary james